hobby lathe and mill

Anyone have any suggestions on what lathes/mills would be a good size for a home/hobby metal workshop?
Or at least give an idea of the questions I should be asking myself. I
think a full size bridgeport and Harrison lathe may be overkill.....
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Tough one to answer without knowing how you intend to use the machines. Any machine outside the work you intend to do, be it too large, or too small, is not a great idea.
Harold
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Your first decision should be quality used US iron or new Asian. Old argument here. US iron was WAY better made, and has much better resale. Old equipment takes some searching to find and may need significant repair if you're not careful.
The Asian equipment can be extremely low quality, but easily found. Jet brand seems to be the best of the worst. Stay away from the extremely small low price units.
Personally, I'm a proponent of US iron. Nearly all HSMs that have been in the hobby for years are. I'll leave this argument here. Search the NG if you're interested.
For US iron, the small well made units actually command a premium price. The best values can be found in the average size units. Assuming you have the room in your shop, I'd go with this size range.
For milling machines, its hard to beat a Bridgeport. They are extremely common, parts are readily available, easy to resell for same price, etc. You can go from $1K for a wore out beat up one (will still make great parts) to over $10K for a nice like new 2J with chrome ways, DRO, and power feeds.
In lathes, there is a very large selection. Logan is great brand to look at because of great value a good parts availability. South Bend is another. These are both cabinet or bench top lathes. (I'll put in a plug for my favorite, the Monarch 10EE tool room lathe - may be overkill for a newbie, but won't you ever go back once you run one)
Just one guy's take on this.
Karl
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wrote:

The problem with US iron, though, is that these are usually not small combination machines, they are big, heavy and specialized. Not good for someone with only a little space.
i

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Karl Townsend wrote:

I would have bought US iron if I could have.
A reasonable compromise if available is Taiwanese- made machines, with Jet or Enco labels. I've had very good success working to .001" on both my Jet 10" lathe and my Enco 3/4 scale Bridgeport, both made in Taiwan.
Could I have worked faster and taken deeper cuts with solid US iron? Yes, without a doubt, but for someone working as a hobby and doing one-off tooling for work, they have served me well.
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On Thu, 12 Oct 2006 07:09:14 GMT, with neither quill nor qualm,

Are you going to make miniature watch parts, remanufacture tractors, build wings for experimental aircraft, or rebuild 30-ton steam engines, Al? All of these are hobbies. Size, of course, does matter.

What parts will you build? What sizes, minimum and maximum? What materials will you be working in? What tolerances will you be working to?
Answer these, add your own questions and answers, then post them here. These guys can answer your questions better if you ask the right questions. Those were too open-ended. Like the guys who called the body shop to see how much it would cost to repair their fender without disclosing what make/year/model of car, which fender got bent, how bad the damage was, frame damage if any, if it had a custom paint job, etc.
Ta!
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As to the size of the projects I would be doing probably not anything larger then maybe lawn mower engine repair. I'm sure that I would be doing small fixtures/jigs for doing woodworking though.
I ventured intothe Harbor Frieght store and wasn't impressed with the things I saw. Seems like I'd be spending a lot of time making parts to improve the quality of the equipment if I went that route.
quickly quoth:

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Is that a new crankshaft or just a new jet for the carb? :-)
Nick
--
The modular DRO
<http://www.yadro.de>
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Actually, working on a stealth system for my mower in my hood of retired people I'm the only person on the street that works, lawn mowing is a big thing so I know if I could mow my lawn without them knowing and it suddenly be done..the panic that would arise would be fun to watch as they all run to the garage and get the riding mowers out....biggest lawn around the street 50'x100'
I'm coming to the conclusion that I just need to setup a machine shop in my garage. The more I look the more I start thinking bigger is good. I just hope a mutli turret cnc lathe and cnc mill will fit in my garage, I'll worry about power later :)
I'm a woodworker trapped professionally in a machinists world and government jobs are just too much of a hassle.
wrote:

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Whatever size you buy, it will be too small. The bigger the later.
Nick
--
The modular DRO
<http://www.yadro.de>
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snipped-for-privacy@gmx.de (Nick Mller) wrote:

IF you get a big enough one, and the workshop to house it, the lawn mowing issue is moot. jk
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jk wrote:

Astroturf.
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For a 3 in 1 machine look at www.shoptask.com- its the best choice of the imports- they also offer a version upgraded in USA but at a higher price.

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albert gilmore wrote:

Size your tools to the projects you wish to make, and size your shop for bigger tools, because sure as anything, you will find that you have projects that won't fit on the equipment you have, and you will start looking for bigger stuff.
Cheers Trevor Jones
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Countless HSMs are happy with Chinese-made equipment. While troublesome when they were first introduced in US, the quality has since greatly imporoved.
Me owns: mini mill, 7x14, 9x20, TIG, MIG, 8Gal air compressor, 4x6 bs etc etc etc, so I speak from rich and diverse :) experience. Not a regret accross.
So, for the mill you have the following choices:
- $500 mini-mill (X2) @ 100lb - $1000 X3 @ 350lb - ~$1500 RF-45 clone @ 700lb+
And lathes:
- $400 7x14 @ 70lb - $500 9x20 @ 250lb - $1200+ 12x30 @ 700lb+
For good overview of capabilities etc, visit www.mini-lathe.com . All of the tools have thousands of users, thriving forums (groups.yahoo.com, cnczone, practicalmachinist etc etc).
Most of us HSMs would love to be able to have Hardinge and Bport, but for many size, weight and price are often prohibitive.
I could certainly afford a used Bport, but there's simply no space for it in me garage. 9x20 fits in nicely, but it is the largest I can have, size and weight-wise.
Now, my personal opinion is: start with 9x20 and X3. I went with 7x14 first and upgraded, just 2 weeks ago to 9x20. I started with X2 first and now I find myself visiting Grizzly's X3 page way too often ...
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Rashid, how are the welding machines working for you?
i

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MIG's been exceptional . Ditto for TIG. I have added a slider POT to the torch just few days ago. Used XLR connector from RatShack, so I can switch between that and yet-to-be-made foot pedal.
Every now and then I wish for HF start and square wave :). But then I recall it only costed me $200 and it certainly has been worth every penny.
Ignoramus534 wrote:

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