Advice on Lathes

I would like to get a lathe, and I have read a lot of the advice in the
archives. My criteria are specific, so I would appreciate your
feedback.
I want a small to medium lathe, perhaps a 9X20. (My space is limited)
I want to be able to turn up to about 3" work and thread both metric
and English threads. Good precision is important. I would like to add
DRO at some point. I would like a good range of RPM with enough torque
to work at low RPM. I want a currently manufactured lathe that I can
purchase new and get parts for. (Southbend lathes sound great but I do
not want to bother with it trying to find all the parts.)
I was considering a 3 in 1 machine from Smithy, but I would probably
rather have a good small lathe than a compromise lathe/mill. My
budget is flexible, but I would be glad to spend 2K on the machine with
more for the extras.
I have access to a full machine shop at work, so I can turn big stuff
there. I want something that would be convenient for small work at
home.
Thank you.
Scott
Reply to
Scott
Loading thread data ...
I would suggest you look at the 8x14 lathes rather than the 9x20. While nominally smaller, they are built much more robustly. Reviews have been positive. But they do not have the (limited) QC box that the 9X does.
Next on the list would be this one:
formatting link
The milling attachment is just the column and head from a minimill. If you choose to separate them you can buy the MM base/table from littlemachineshop. The lathe is 10x22
Lastly, I'd consider getting a minilathe and a minimill. No other combination is so well supported. Look at the MicroMark versions, on sale right now.
The only lathe in this size range with anything like a QC box is the 9X. How important is that to you? If you are doing much threading, you might see if you can find a nice 9" Logan. I have a 9x17 with QC that sounds like just what you need. It fits on a normal 60" workbench with room left (on the backside) for a minimill. No, mine's not for sale.
Reply to
Rex
Summary: you want high precision, small footprint, light machine, digital readout, all for the price of $2k. Oh, and it has to be brand new.
Well, you can get a decent lathe DRO for that much, anyway. Now all you need is a little Hardinge lathe to go underneath it.
I suggest that you are going to have to compromise somewhere.
South Bend parts are readily available, both new and used.
Some guys learn to live with the 10" imports, but I never heard of putting a DRO on one. Check out Shooting Star's 2-axis DROs.
GWE
Scott wrote:
Reply to
Grant Erwin
Check out the Lathemaster 8x14. I have one with the optional 5C collet chuck. A lot of folks have added inexpensive DRO kits to these lathes. There is a Lathemaster group on Yahoo where you can get more info.
Ed
Reply to
cascadiadesign
Grant,
I can spend more if I need to. The DRO is on the wish list but certainly not necessary.
Scott
Reply to
Scott
Where in CA? There are a lot of metal workers around who can help you find a suitable machine.
The conventional wisdom is that it is better to buy a good old machine than a cheap new one. The simple fact is that parts availability on some of the old machines is better than on some of the new imports and, furthermore, unless you are doing production work, you'll probably not live long enough to wear the thing out. All you have to do is be careful in buying one that you don't get one that's already worn out...
Jerry
Reply to
Jerry Foster
9x20
As simple as that. You can steal a brand new one @ your local HarborFreight for $500. That's what I did, after owning 8x14 for a number of years. 9x20 has a very dedicated following, tons of resources on the internet.
There's a number of mods you can do, to make it even better:
- DC motor (and variable speed) - beefier toolpost and topslide mounts - ability to reverse direction of leadscrew (to cut LH threads)
Check out file section in
formatting link
Or ... if you are persistent and get real luckly, you can score a Hardinge in excellent shape for something like $3000 .
Reply to
rashid111
In what range? All threads available?
What is precise? 0.1mm, 0.01mm or 0.001mm? Do you need to make fits and in what diameter range?
Nick
Reply to
Nick Mueller
LittleMachineShop.com has 2-axis DRO for the MiniLathes for $129.
I added a QC (wedge AXA-style) to my MicroMark 7x14.
Reply to
Bruce Barnett
Let me add that this is the cheapo one. They sell 3 others - including the Shooting Star DRO as well - which someone here recommended.
Reply to
Bruce Barnett
snip-----
The DRO is on the wish list but
I would certainly think so. I've run lathes since the early 50's and have yet to use a DRO, on a lathe or otherwise. Mind you, I spent years running machines for a living. DRO's are a convenience, they are not a requirement for doing good and proper work.
Harold
Reply to
Harold and Susan Vordos
I purcvhased a lathe from "billstoolcrib.com. Had to get the three jaw chuch taken care of. It was promptly replaced.
Only real problem was al the cosmoline on it. I removed it all with mineral spirits. Also bough some accessories for the lathe from "Bill". Prompt shipping.
Bob AZ
Reply to
Bob AZ
I agree with Grant on Shooting Stars DRO. I have one on my 16X40 Victor and it is more useable and reliable than the Sargon DRO on my Bridgeport.
Reply to
Stuart & Kathryn Fields
Harold: I agree with you that DROs are not necessary, but for us in-experienced numbskulls, the DRO has reduced the number of mistakes that I make significantly. It also speeds my operations up. For a retired EE that is jealous of your machining skills, the DRO is almost but not quite a necessity.
Reply to
Stuart & Kathryn Fields
Scott, nobody has mentioned it so far, but metric threading is a whole different ball of wax. If you want to single-point thread in multiple passes, you need a metric pitch lead screw. You can certainly do metric pitches without the metric lead screw, by fiddling with the change gears, but then you can't disengage the half nut at the end of each pass. You have to run the spindle backwards. I'm curious, do the latest rendition of Chaiwanese lathes include change gear sets?
If you don't already own one, I strongly recommend you look into buying an older copy of Machinery's Handbook.
Reply to
Jon
To do English on a metric leadscrew or metric on an English leadscrew requires a 127 tooth gear and a 100 tooth gear (1 inch is, by definition, 2.54 cm). These gears are freaking BIG and generally don't fit inside the typical lathe gearbox. "Approximate" gear combinations are also available. I use a 37 tooth and a 47 tooth, which results in an error of two hundredths of a percent. This is close enough for a typical application where, maybe, a dozen threads are engaged. I could, however, tell you a very expensive horror story where about a two foot long Whitworth thread was cut on a metric lathe with approximate gears.
As Jon noted, you have to reverse the spindle to back up for multiple cuts when using conversion gears, but I've never found this to be much more of an annoyance than waiting for the dial to come around while waiting to engage the half-nuts (I'm pretty good at "just" missing and having to wait for almost a full turn...).
Not that any of this poses a big problem. You just have to be aware of how your machine works.
Jerry
Reply to
Jerry Foster
You can get metric threading assemblies for the 7x14 for $39
formatting link
Reply to
Bruce Barnett
And the thread-dial is quite useless with a 2.5mm lead-screw when cutting a 0.35mm (and others) pitch. And it doesn't help with imperial pitches at all. Same is true for imperial lead screw and metric pitches.
Nick
Reply to
Nick Mueller
Contact Leigh Knudsen at MarMachine down in Costa Mesa
snipped-for-privacy@aol.com
He had a decent SB Heavy 10 last I was in there, for somewhere around $1200-1300
Gunner
"Deep in her heart, every moslem woman yearns to show us her tits" John Griffin
Reply to
Gunner
Thank you for all the good advice! I will look for local used lathes (thank you for the tip Gunner) and consider the lathemaster 8x14 as a possible small lathe. My space is limited and I may not be able to make room for a full sized lathe. (There are only so many toys I can fit in my garage.)
If I found a used SB lathe, where does one begin on refurbishing? Feel free to point me to stuff I should be familiar with and am not.
I appreciate the comments on metric vs. imperial threading. It sounds like it can be a real pain going from one to the other, and solutions will be depend on the specific machine one is using.
Scott
Reply to
Scott

PolyTech Forum website is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.