HF Mini Lathe - Ready To Step up Already


I've got an HF 7 x 10 mini lathe and its actually done ok. Quite often it
exceeds the workability of the materials, but I found it to be just a tad
under powered yesterday when I was roughing an injector nozzle out of
aluminum. It could also stand a more rigid tool post / cross slide
assembly. I don't plan to get rid of it as its very handy for some small
work. In fact I plan to get the 14" bed for it from The Little Machine
Shop, and if I can figure out a way to improve the rigidity of the tool post
and cross slide I will.
However, I am looking for something a little better and a little bit bigger
also. I'm not made of money and I was kinda wondering what a nice middle
range machine would be without going to one of those names that is priced as
much by name recognition as by quality.
Reply to
Bob La Londe
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Logan , or it's Wards alter-ego Powr-kraft . Well supported , and they come up on eBay regularly , in all kinds of price ranges . Mine's a Wards 10X31 , and other than parting/form tools and some boring bar work it's as smooth as I could ask .
Reply to
Snag
The Harbor Freight 9x20 bench lathe would be the next step up at moderate cost. Wait for a 20% coupon and a sale and get a really good deal. It's light years ahead of the little 7x10 in terms of power and rigidity, and reported to be a decent machine if you spend a few days on the initial overhaul and setup.
Reply to
Pete C.
Don't overlook used Taiwan-made Jet lathes. I have a 10x24 and I've made all sorts of stuff on it, including internal and external single-point threads. It's a little more noisy and a little more flexible than I'd like, but it has always gotten the job done.
Reply to
Jim Stewart
Forgot to mention that it also gets you threading capability.
Reply to
Pete C.
Actually my little 7 X 10 claims threading capability and it came with a bunch of interchangeable gears for different thread pitches. My experiments with that so far have not been as wonderful as I would like, but I am a backyard machinist with zero education and zero professional experience in machine work.

Reply to
Bob La Londe
20% Coupon
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This lathe?
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Reply to
Bob La Londe
Ok, how about "easy quick change threading capability"?
Reply to
Pete C.
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Yep, that lathe. The stand is sold separately. It's a big step up in capability from the 7x14, at a fairly small step in price.
Reply to
Pete C.
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I guess I'll have to wander by the local store and see what the in store price is (if they have one), and if they will honor that coupon.

Reply to
Bob La Londe
LOL. I can say that swapping the gears and getting everything lined up is not a snap on this 7X10.

Reply to
Bob La Londe
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Yes, the instant in-store gratification and lack of shipping hassle is a big plus. The fact that parts are available inexpensively, if slowly, from HF is another plus.
Reply to
Pete C.
The suggested 9x20" lathe may give a larger work envelope, however the typical 9x20s from China have issues too.
The worst problem of the 9x20 (as far as effecting operational performance) is a weak mount for the compound/top slide. With an improved mounting plate, chatter problems are greatly reduced or eliminated. Some eBay sellers offer CNC machined mounting plates. Most of the other issues are fairly easily corrected by an initial tear-down and cleanup, such as tightening or replacing cheaply-made fasteners. Some 9x20 users have had problems with the skinny drive belt breaking, but that wasn't a problem with the 2 models I've used. There are numerous websites with good upgrade/improvement projects for either model, as both the 7x and 9x20s are popular models.
I don't know where HF gets the idea that their 9x20 is a geared head machine, but I haven't seen them. Yeah, gears are attached to the headstock, but there doesn't appear to be any gears inside the headstock. The earlier models were definitely not geared-head versions.. the only parts inside the headstock are a set of tapered roller bearings and the spindle.
The major feature of the 9x20 is the quick-change gearbox for the leadscrew. Other features/improvements over the 7x include metal change gears, larger motor (although not variable speed), and possibly more accessories. The accessories included from different dealers can differ quite a bit.
A much better quality lathe is most likely going to cost considerably more than the commonly available Asian imports.
The Austrian Emco models are regarded as very good quality machines.
Reply to
Wild_Bill
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The big headache for me with parts has always been finding the correct HF catalog number. Usually I resort to contacting HF customer service.
As far as gratification. Eh!. At $103 for freight and I have to pay sales tax whether I order it on-line or get it in the store even if it's a little more in the store the net is still sometimes cheaper.
Now to go visit some customers, the bank, and HF.

Reply to
Bob La Londe
Is Jet better than other mid price models? I notice they cost a little more for tools the same size as some other manufacturers.

Reply to
Bob La Londe
Once upon a time Jet was Taiwan manufacture. My Jet items are a big band saw and a jointer. That is about 10 years ago, decent enough stuff.
Jet vs HF, I'd take a chance on Jet unless a bit of due diligence (googling your arse off) comes up with something otherwise.
Wes -- "Additionally as a security officer, I carry a gun to protect government officials but my life isn't worth protecting at home in their eyes." Dick Anthony Heller
Reply to
Wes
According to comments I've read over the years, the major difference between the Jet 9x20, and the generic models from various dealers, is that the spindle has an inch-thread, instead of metric. Another feature may be that the motor is UL approved, but I don't know how much that means when many domestic USA motor brands are now made in China.
The generic Asian 9x20 models are capable of cutting the metric spindle nose thread, although the thread chart doesn't show that they can. There is an expanded threading chart in an old Dropbox annual archive.
As far as getting the most for your money, the included accessories will probably be the best indicator.
After one makes a few improvements, and replaces the motor with either a DC drive or a 3 phase and VFD, the 9x20 models are a decent benchtop HSM lathe.
And I forgot to mench, the head/tailstock tapers are the same as the 7x models.
Reply to
Wild_Bill
your arse off)
Ive worked on a fair amount of Jet machinery in the last 5-8 yrs..and its pretty decent right out of the box. Most of course is Chinese..but its a higher level than most. Not hugely better, but decent enough.
Gunner
Reply to
Gunner Asch
If you are going to go with a Chinese 9x20 regardless of the name I strongly suggest visiting the Yahoo 9x20 group. As others suggested, there is a lot of work to be done on the machine to make it useable.
I have recently graduated from Taig to a 9x20 and have so far replaced several parts including the dreaded compound attachment (there is a better way than just making or buying a 4-bolt clamp - it's called a Pitkin Donut - details on the group files). Having said that it is an OK machine for someone like myself. I am enjoying the extra size and power. I went through months of agonizing over the choice but in the end this is as big as I can handle and probably need. Here are some pics:
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Hope this helps.
Reply to
Michael Koblic
Unless the bed is a heavier casting it will probably flex more than the 10" one.
You might look for a used Clausing. I'm quite happy with my 12x24" one and it doesn't have the hobby market name attraction of the South Bend, so you can probably find a much more affordable one, with patience.
One thing to check when you find one is the bore through the spindle. If it is 1-3/8", you can fit it with 5C collets and a closer. If it is smaller, the collets which can be fitted to it will be smaller as well, and much more expensive. 5C is common enough so there are lots of makers, and thus some brands are quite affordable.
Enjoy, DoN.
Reply to
DoN. Nichols

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