cadillac lathe purchase - opinions?

I went to look at a cadillac 1440 lathe yesterday. Visually it looked ok, albeit well used, and there was a lot of backlash in the cross slide (about a half turn worth), but I guess this is normal? The ways looked clean but I didn't take a test cut or anything. The spindle sounded good in all speed ranges and I didn't see any broken teeth on the gears. I talked with one of the machinists on the floor who uses it for odds and ends (big company with a lot of cnc turning centers) and he said it would make a decent home lathe but he warned me that a part mounted in the chuck would not turn true to the part, but it would turn true to the lathe. I think what he was trying to say was that there is about 5 thou runout in the headstock? The seller (different person) claims the headstock spindle bearings were replaced 3 years ago...perhaps they didn't do such a good job?

The lathe has quite a large set of tooling that goes with it, including a 5C lever operated collet closer, 3 chucks, lots of collets and bit holders.

He is asking $3500. Should I make an offer or run away fast? This lathe looked identical to the YAM lathe I posted about...I think they came from the same factory.

Thanks guys,


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Cadillac made some good lathes. The lathe you are looking at probably has a chuck that doesn't hold the part concentric. This is common with cheap chucks and worn out ones. To test the spindle runout the chuck needs to be removed. Put an indicator on the taper that locates the chuck. It should have .0002 max runout. Maybe .0003. The lathe may be all worn out so it's hard to say if the price is right. I have two cadillac CNC lathes. I use the piss out of them and they are both good lathes. These are 21" swing machines. If you look on the web for Meridian Machine,

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, you can read his section on how to buy a lathe. There's some good advice on his site. ERS

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Eric R Snow

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