I'd like to buy a small lathe

Hi all,
I had a Harbor freight lathe that I bought used.
While I got some utility from it, it was rusted after a hurricane
damaged my shed roof. I sold it cheap letting someone else do the clean up.
So, I want another lathe, I don't want anther HF unit, not even sure I
want one of the larger Grizzly Lathes. Might be convinced though.
I have looked at Bolton Lathes and they interest me, But I'm really
stretching what I want to spend at $2,000 by the time I buy some
accessories.
I have looked for a used lathe, but I don't want to start with
other people problems.
Any suggestions what to look at?
Mikek
Reply to
amdx
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They come with dead centers, would you add $35 for a live center? What other accessories would you add?
Mikek
Reply to
amdx
Ask Mark Wieber for one. He has dozens that mysteriously "appeared" in his "shop."
Reply to
Michael Terrell
clean up.
I guess it depends on what you want to do with it. Any lathe similar to the HF lathes is going to need work to be passable. That being said I made parts with my little HF lathe.
Little Machines Shop has lathes from $699 to 2349. IN that small lathe category. Chris tends to have better stuff than Harbor Freight. They are in California so I don't know if they are shipping right now.
Grizzly also has low price smaller lathes, but they also sell bigger heavier beasts. They even have a smaller one at 4x6 for only $427. Their 7x14 is almost $100 more than Little machine shop, but they have lots of options to look at.
Personally I like Precision Mathews, but my PM lathe is a 14x40 that weighs in at 2K lbs and $5K. It came with a ton of options, better specs, and marginally better price than a similar size Grizzly or Bolton. Harbor Freight, and Little Machine Shop don't have anything that size. I have heard negative reports on some of the smaller PM machines, but Precision Mathews will stand behind what they sell and send you anything you need to make it right if you have a problem.
I can't really recomend anybody or any machine unconditionally in the smaller size. They all have need to be gone through to be decent. If you know that upfront and expect it then you are fine.
Reply to
Bob La Londe
Hi all, I had a Harbor freight lathe that I bought used. While I got some utility from it, it was rusted after a hurricane damaged my shed roof. I sold it cheap letting someone else do the clean up. So, I want another lathe, I don't want anther HF unit, not even sure I want one of the larger Grizzly Lathes. Might be convinced though. I have looked at Bolton Lathes and they interest me, But I'm really stretching what I want to spend at $2,000 by the time I buy some accessories. I have looked for a used lathe, but I don't want to start with other people problems. Any suggestions what to look at?
Mikek ================================================= What do you want to do with it? If it's to make model engines etc you can size the model to the lathe, but for repair parts and prototypes of your bright ideas you may need a larger capacity, perhaps 8", 9" or 10" diameter.
Mine is a 10" and I make machinery I designed and repair parts for old equipment. I mostly could have managed with an 8" lathe, maybe a 7", but probably not smaller. When I was building custom electronics I had a little Prazi clone which had enough capacity though I didn't appreciate the lack of half nuts to disengage the carriage from the leadscrew.
I turn enough 1" shafting and drill rod to appreciate my lathe's 1-3/8" spindle bore. A bore that won't take 1/2" rod would limit the load capacity of axles you could make. 3/4" is a decent size for loads of several hundred pounds and 5HP motor pulley shafts.
Welcome to 2020. Now go home.
Reply to
Jim Wilkins
... I have looked at Bolton Lathes and they interest me, But I'm really stretching what I want to spend at $2,000 by the time I buy some accessories. ... Mikek
===========================
I used a Smithy lathe/mill when the CNC lathe was busy, which was most of the time. Though I sorely missed my 10" South Bend's smoother controls and better ergonomics it was quite adequate to turn robot parts. The mill section's drive was broken so I can't comment on how useful it is.
Reply to
Jim Wilkins
amdx on Sun, 12 Apr 2020 13:51:33 -0500 typed in rec.crafts.metalworking the following:
I'm assuming you want a metal turning lathe? (I have various plans for wood turning lathes which can be as simple or as elaborate as you can imagine. "Some day ....")
Reply to
pyotr filipivich
Maybe smaller than you have in mind, but I'm pretty happy with my Grizzly G 0602, decent quality and has done most I needed to do so far. I added a li ve center (like this one, but MT3
formatting link
and a b unch of other tooling including an AXA quick change tool post and carbide i nsert tooling. Even got some CBN inserts last year that I've not tried out yet.
25mm is listed as the spindle bore, but mine will take 1" (25.4) easy.
Best regards, Spehro Pefhany
Reply to
speff
What's THAT say about Chinese precision, eh?? I suppose that allows for tolerance of 500 thou - at worst case 1 " will fit?
Reply to
Clare Snyder
...... Maybe smaller than you have in mind, but I'm pretty happy with my Grizzly G0602, decent quality and has done most I needed to do so far. I added a live center (like this one, but MT3
formatting link
and a bunch of other tooling including an AXA quick change tool post and carbide insert tooling. Even got some CBN inserts last year that I've not tried out yet.
25mm is listed as the spindle bore, but mine will take 1" (25.4) easy.
Best regards, Spehro Pefhany ==================================
Good, we need more positive reviews of decent-sized machines that are currently available. It seems quite well equipped for the price.
Reply to
Jim Wilkins
sure I
lly
Yawn...........................
Reply to
Michael Terrell
I don't think that so much reflects on precision, as it does an accommodation to the American market and Imperial units. Mikek
Reply to
amdx
Thanks Spehro, that is useful.
Mikek
Reply to
amdx
Maybe smaller than you have in mind, but I'm pretty happy with my Grizzly G0602, decent quality and has done most I needed to do so far. I added a live center (like this one, but MT3
formatting link
and a bunch of other tooling including an AXA quick change tool post and carbide insert tooling. Even got some CBN inserts last year that I've not tried out yet.
25mm is listed as the spindle bore, but mine will take 1" (25.4) easy.
Best regards, Spehro Pefhany
==================================================
Do you regret not buying the DRO version?
( I bought a 6 jaw chuck for less than the price difference.)
Reply to
Jim Wilkins
Ya didn't see the at the end eh???
Reply to
Clare Snyder
[snipppp]
Misread as "buy a small latte..."
Reply to
danny burstein
I didn't, but there is a bit of truth in questioning precision on many Chinese products.
Reply to
amdx
I didn't, but there is a bit of truth in questioning precision on many Chinese products.
===============================================
The remaining precision on old American iron like mine can be questionable too. Fortunately if you measure and understand it you can correct or work around (or frequently ignore) many problems. For example you can measure the out-of-squareness of the crossfeed by facing a disk and testing across the far side with an extended dial indicator, which will read double the error. It won't matter for the average pulley sheave, custom spacer bushing or shortened bolt.
Indicating the surfaces of the chuck is another good easy test. I found the worn and unworn sections of my lathe's leadscrew with an indicator, and now cut non-critical threads with the worn section, and critical ones on the tailstock end of a long bar.
The limit to your attainable accuracy is what you can measure, not so much what the lathe can do by itself.
Reply to
Jim Wilkins
Several home machinist friends talk about having bought a partly assembled lathe kit, or a partly assembled milling machine kit. When they got them home they dissassembled them, did remedial machining and fitting, then did final re-assembly. Had pretty decent machines when they were done
Reply to
Clare Snyder
There was a good write up in IIRC Model Engineer some years ago about the purchase/dismantling and rebuild of a Chinese gear head lathe and it was the usual sand in castings, fettling, and proper assembly. The author thought the parts were of high quality and well machined but assembled by monkeys but after all the work the result was decent .
Reply to
David Billington

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