Buying my first metal working lathe

I've been watching this forum for quite some time now, absorbing al

your suggestions regarding which metal lathe to buy.

I've been squeaking by, doing some very limited metal work on my 5 year old Delta-Milwaukee wood-working lathe with a compoun cross-slide. Now I'm wanting a "real" metal cutting lathe.

My first choice was to find some old American-made 10" x 24" iron, bu I have been striking out so far. I did find a ratty old Atlas wit broken teeth and inoperable tail stock, and who knows what else, tha the seller won't budge from $860.00.

I've been haunting Ebay for some old iron, and have found som candidates, but the typical crating and shipping costs preclude thi from being an economical solution, not to mention the risks of buyin sight-unseen, etc.

I'm going to look at some old Logans tomorrow at an equipment broker i the Detroit area, but expect that they will be well-worn.

I've taken to heart, the stated opinions here that Jet is typicall higher quality than Grizzly, but Jet doesn't offer an 11" x 26 version. Now I'm seriously considering the Grizzly 11" x 26". Some o my main considerations are economics and weight. Economics because m allowance is only so big, and weight because I have to get it down m basement steps.

My application is hobby use, mainly turning aluminum parts, and I ma never need to, but I've seen some posts here regarding the inability o this lathe to cut left handed threads.

The poster alluded to a modification that would render this lath capable of cutting LH threads. Can someone elaborate on what it woul take to make this modification?

Thanks in advance

-- J. Mark Wolf

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J. Mark Wolf
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It looks similar enough to the 9x20's that you should be able to adapt this mod to it:

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If you can swing it you'd probably be quite a bit better off to go with a larger lathe though. If not, you might be happier starting off with one of the 7x10's or 7x12's with variable speed, reversable lead screw and possibly even powered crossfeed which I really miss on my JET 9x20.

Best Regards, Keith Marshall

"I'm not grown up enough to be so old!"

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Keith Marshall


Go Grizzley outstanding customer service! I disagree on quality between two as Jet being superior fewer have seen or used a Grizzley. While Jet is sold at about every machinery dealer. Down stairs with that size lathe is not bad just some thought and take it slow. A few boards and a com-along might be one method 2 people and a hand truck another. Just de-box it an mimimize weight for move. I do own a 12 x 37" Grizzley lathe.

Ken Kenneth A. Emmert

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Kenneth A. Emmert

What is seldom mentioned here is that 'for sure' some machines are superior to others and for sure the old American iron out does the cheap imports everytime but - geez - damnit - those machines don't make the parts! You - the 'machinist' - make the part! To be sure - a well made precision machine makes it seem easy - But just think about this for a minute - Just how did this come about?

What I mean is who in hell originated this precision!? I will give you a hint - or maybe not - screw it - figure it out yourself. No clue? You! It is all here! Chasing precision is pointless if you do not understsnd how precison is achieved. With a chisel and a file one can (and this was required for apprentice machinists of old) achieve fits with a precision that matches (and can exceed) the best that 'modern' state-of-the-art machine tools can do. It is high time that we as custodians (best word I can come up with) of an 'art' that we, as a civilization, cannot afford to lose realize the importance of what we are sharing and preserving. Polititions and civilations come and go but the engineers and machinists make progressl.

End rant.

Regards. Ken.

Reply to
Ken Davey

I don't know what your budget is but a good place to look is surplus record:

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While you are there drool over this machine:
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|P A rare find and it looks to be in very good shape.


Reply to
Dan Murphy

If you can, find a Logan 11". They take 5 C collets and are a good starter lathe that you can grow with.


"Gunner, you are the same ridiculous liberal f--k you ever where." Scipio

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damnit -



Good Rant! Reminds me of the old/new story about the man and his grandchild. The child asked Grandpa what it was like to grow up without electricity, or telephones, or television, or computers. Grandpa replied, "We were busy inventing all those things for the next generation." "What do you plan to invent for your grandchildren?" Bugs

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Very, very excellent rant. The machine can make precision easier, but it's still the man that is responsible.

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On Wed, 29 Dec 2004 10:03:12 GMT, Gunner calmly ranted:

OK, Gunner, spill! How many of these do you have? ;)

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - If God approved of nudity, we all would have been born naked. ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- -----

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Your Wild & Woody Website Wonk

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Larry Jaques

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How cheap is cheap, and estimated weight? I would be shipping to Oklahoma or picking up if close enough?

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$500 cheap enough? OBO. Im located near Bakersfield, California (Third word an oki baby learns..momma, poppa, Bakersfield) I also might trade for "stuff" though cash is king.

Use mapquest for a road trip mileage time estimate.

Of course, Id send photos etc before you made a decision.


"War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself."

- John Stewart Mill

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Excellent Rant..! And this should be said more often..!

The mach Look around you; If what you are looking at is not growing out of the ground, somebody made it. They made the first one as a modelmaker;

The second through XX by a machinist or modelmaker. (substitute definition of "individual short run production" for that product)

The inexpensive thousands of items that you can afford, by a machinist.

If it is a production-line item, no matter how automatic, one of those made the production line.

He also gave me a challenge that I still value. He asked whether I thought I could conceptualize the process of starting with "nothing" and finishing with a modern product. You begin with the concept of "interchangeable parts," of course, that you do not have to re-invent.

What you have said became central to our conversations: precision...!

How do you get more precision in a part than the machine you are working on can directly produce...! This is required for the super-precision machines we have today... Could you start in a forest, with soft wood and supple wood to make the machine tools that would produce a "hardwood" lathe capable of better? Then produce a metal lathe...? Then a better one... (The concepts and the steps - not the actuality)

The real lesson, of course is to continue for your entire life, imagining how you might make whatever it is you are looking at; possibly better, faster, more simply, and more beautiful. All metalworkers do this... They are all great men... Not many people know or acknowledge it...that's all...!!! JHbs

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