Lathe purchase advice sought

Machine weights listed on web pages seem to vary widely. Lathemaster *states* the 8x weighs 190 lbs (not just listed as a weight).
The 9x20 model probably weighs about the same, although the listed weight may be 250 lbs.
I believe most weights are shipping weight, which is usually clearly marked on crates for international transport. The shipping weight would then include the accessories, and the crating, gross weight, not the actual machine weight that needs to be lifted onto the workbench/table by the user after unpacking.
--
WB
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metalworking projects
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I guess I'd ask what your budget is, how much room you have and what you want to do in the future. In my not-so-humble opinion, unless you do a LOT of very small work where you need extremely high spindle speeds, I'd get a 10 or 12 inch lathe with a 3 foot bed and quick change gear box, at least.
How quickly do you need the lathe? Are you looking at Craig's List or posting a "wanted" ad there?
Pete Stanaitis -----------------------------
Doug Miller wrote:

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Six hundred, give or take.

Main limitation, actually, is the need to take it down a basement stairs.

Small work is all I plan to ever do -- doubtful I'll ever turn anything large enough to need a 10x36.

No real rush. I've been looking at Craig's List. Haven't posted a wanted ad yet, but I guess that's the logical next step.
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On Dec 3, 10:09 pm, snipped-for-privacy@milmac.com (Doug Miller) wrote:

It's easy to hit the 10" limit with a pulley or brake drum or wooden bowl.
jsw
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On Fri, 04 Dec 2009 03:09:29 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@milmac.com (Doug Miller) wrote:

I took my 11"x24" Delta (800 lb or so) down the stairs on a refrigerator dolly. The key is disassemble the easy stuff. Only the headstock and bed went down together. All the chucks, tooling, tailstock, cross slide, apron, etc. went down by hand in pieces. Piece of cake. I did have a rope on the dolly and my two sons belaying while I guided as a precaution.
Getting it back up the stairs was a significantly greater issue. I recently posted pictures of that event.
Pete Keillor

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wrote:

Far from being competent to give you advice, I am in the same club:
I have a Taig which I love and use more than I imagined I would. However, I quickly discovered the limitations of its size. More and more I find myself wanting to turn something just a bit bigger than what the Taig is capable of. Shaving off thou's at a time wears thin (pardon the pun) rather quickly. I went through the considerations of slowing the Taig down by various means, employing risers etc. but in the end I came to the conclusion that you cannot make a silk purse out of a sow's ear. I, too, looked at the 7X' and decided that the increase in size would be of minimal benefit.
I think the advice to get 10" swing lathe is a good one. It is on my list, probably in March, bar another surprise like Dubai etc.
Transport of a 400 lb beast is definitely an issue but as someone said I am hoping to strip it down to essentials and move it into position bit by bit.
BTW Southbend are supposed to be getting back to lathe manufacturing. They have been promising it for about a year but last time I looked at their web site nothing was happening.
Do keep us posted how you solved your problem!
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Michael Koblic
Campbell River, BC
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Jim Wilkins wrote:

This the one I am after:
http://busybeetools.ca/cgi-bin/picture10?NTITEM ²227L
There is an extensive discussion of it here:
http://www.cnczone.com/forums/archive/index.php/t-29399.html
Note the differences from the Grizzly item.
Here is a question: Given a 2" round steel bar (12L14), "ideal" speed and feed, HSS cutter freshly sharpened and a coolant/lubricant of your choice, what is the maximum reasonable depth of roughing cut one can manage on such lathe? Say reducing the 2" to 1" cylinder?
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Michael Koblic
Campbell River, BC
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I don't normally go in more than 0.050" per pass (0.1" off the diameter) with whatever feed the lathe is comfortable with. The limit is the tension of the flat leather belts, which I keep low enough to slip without (usually) breaking a jammed tool.
On drill rod and stainless I reduce it to 0.025" per pass and speed up the feed with the QC box. The time to remove a quantity of steel doesn't change too much, tool point wear increases which would cost more with inserts, with HSS it only costs grinding time, which doesn't matter if you regrind before finishing anyway.
They are round numbers to make tracking the diameter reduction easier.
The lathe can cut 0.1" deep, especially with considerable top rake on the bit, but then it's more likely to dig in. That's a problem on an old worn machine with tight and loose places in the slides.
I don't know the answer for gear driven lathes. Most of the ones I've used had broken gears. I can feed quite smoothly and evenly by hand and at home where it's quiet I increase the pressure on the handle until I hear the motor speed decrease slightly.
At work I am an independent contractor machining parts I designed, with no one watching closely, so I can use a safe, slower feed like an amateur at home, and don't have to make as many spares.
jsw
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Jim Wilkins wrote:

OK, that brings it into perspective.
I run out of the square stock for my dial bases so I decided to mill and turn a 3/4" square mystery bar from the scrap yard. I cut of a 3" piece - so far so good. It was quite clean yet rusty mostly covered covered with oxide. I tried to clean it up with the indexing mill but for some reason the head was misbehaving and rather than risk a broken gear I did it with end-mills. After a while the head saw reason and I was able to finish with the indexing mill afer all.
I chucked it then in my 4-jaw chuck (by now it is a 0.7" x 0.7" x 3" bar) and tried to turn a 1" x .350" step in the middle on my Taig. I am using indicators on both axes. I started with an HSS bit. It really did comofortably only 0.010" at a time but I noticed that during the cutting my slide was moving away from the headstock in spite of being locked. I did not believe it at first but true enough, there were definite shoulders at both ends of the bar. I could not find the reason for it so I switched to a carbide cutter (I know this defies logic but at this stage I run out of logical thought). Lo and behold, the carriage stopped moving even though the carbide cutter performed miserably as on all previous occasions. After I chipped two of the three corners of the insert (I thought carbide was supposed to be good for an interrupted cut!) I made a whole new left HSS tool and tried to finish the job. Somewhere along in the process I noticed that my spindle and motor pulleys were running well out of alignement - the headstock had shifted by a good 3/4"!! Repositioned, re-tightened, finished the job with a surprisingly good finish. I was able to drill the central holes at right angles by turning the piece 90 degs in the 4-jaw chuck.
The point of this rambling story is to show that a job which would have taken probably an hour even in my unskilled hands on a 10x22 took a whole day on the Taig.
I guess my point is that if I had my time over, the budget allocated to a small lathe and a small mill would have been combined to pay for a medium-sized lathe.
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Michael Koblic
Campbell River, BC
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On Mon, 7 Dec 2009 17:35:18 -0800, "Michael Koblic"
<big snip>

Other way around. Carbide is really hard, brittle. Use HSS for interrupted cuts. But you've got that figured out now :)
--
Leon Fisk
Grand Rapids MI/Zone 5b
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wrote:

Common sense really. And I am old enough not to believe everything I read on the internet :-) I guess I am still hoping that those carbide cutters are actually good for *something*.
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Michael Koblic
Campbell River, BC
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On Tue, 8 Dec 2009 21:45:16 -0800, "Michael Koblic"
<snip>

Need to cut some HSS, maybe an old tap/die? That would be a good place to try them out.
I broke off an "Easy-out" maybe a year ago. Not only did I have a broken off, stuck bolt, but also a hardened easy-out in the way. Sigh... Remembered I had a small carbide cutter that fit my Dremel Tool, never done much with it, had it around for +10 years. Kinda slow going, sparks flew, but it chewed through the easy-out. Then I kept going and chewed through two sides of the stuck bolt too. Should have done that in the first place :)
--
Leon Fisk
Grand Rapids MI/Zone 5b
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That's OK, I don't believe everything I write. jsw
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Jim Wilkins wrote:

Oh, no, I take your stuff pretty much as gospel. I do not remember where the link to the "carbide is wonderful and especially for interrupted cuts" is. Probably just as well...
I am still puzzled about the plunging business though. Today it got even more bizarre: I was center drilling, pecking as usual, using a No. 3, when on the second peck I noted that the point of the center drill would not enter the hole cleanly (table locked, piece in a vise) and the machine would shake somewhat almost like during milling process. I then went to drill a No. 7 hole (to tap for 1/4-20) and the drill was not lined up with the hole - off by some 0.020". Of course it flexes and finds the pre-drilled centre hole, but the tap was also off by the same amount. This happened with three holes! I wonder if it relates to the behaviour of the end-mills when plunging.
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Michael Koblic
Campbell River, BC
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On the lathe where the point is more visible I've seen a glob of steel form on center drills where the chisel edge of the web doesn't cut well. When it forms the drill will skate around until I stop and knock the glob off.
Sometimes I get better results from stubby split point drill bits like the ones for drilling Pop rivet holes. For the best accuracy I drill with collets instead of a chuck.
jsw
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Doug Miller wrote:

Doug, I have 3 working lathes set up - 7x14 MicroMark Minilathe 9x17 Logan 10x24 Enco - 25-year-old Chinese
I find myself doing 90% of my "work" on the 10x24. I think I could get it down into a basement with some care and a couple helpers. So based on that, I'd suggest you looked seriously at that 10x24 Grizzly
But any of the above can be resold without minimal loss if you find it doesn't work for you.
I confess that the minilathe is the most recent acquisition. It's the 3rd of those I've had. Can't stay away from them.
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Beyond my budget, unfortunately, and there isn't anything I can do about that.
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On Dec 2, 8:39 pm, snipped-for-privacy@milmac.com (Doug Miller) wrote:

These are all variations on the same lathe. I have the HF 7x, was on sale and I had a 50% coupon, so ran me in the neighborhood of $200. It's had some additions made and a stretch bed kit added to it from www.littlemachineshop.com. These guys have all parts for the thing, usually on the shelf, although they run short of some things sometimes. Check out the accessories. A metric conversion kit is available, leadscrew, half-nuts and indicator included. Beats trying to make-do with wacky change-gear clusters. The 7xs have a healthy spindle, takes a #3 Morse taper, the tailstock is #2. IIRC, the 6" Atlas uses something like a #1 or #0 taper, spindle is really skinny. Change gears for the 6" are zinc and they tend to crumble with age.
Downsides: Some of the early ones would pop the motor control MOSFETs, easy to fix, parts readily available. Chips would filter into the motor control box, shielding was needed. You kind of shoot craps with these, one will be great, another will need a lot of work. If you buy from the HF stores, they will take them back for exchange. The motor control on mine produces so much EMI that the UPS was complaining on the computer. Had to put a filter on the lathe.
I've been satisfied with mine, it's about the largest lathe you can pick up and sling back on a shelf, if that matters. I run mine on top of a Workmate, can actually be run off a car battery with an inverter. Back-country machining, anyone? There's a relatively new book out on just the 7x mini-lathes, British, Amazon has it.
Stan
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snipped-for-privacy@prolynx.com wrote: IIRC, the 6"

That would be the AA "toy"lathes - 1/2" Mt-0 spindle on bronze sleeve bearings. These are about the size of the 7x10 minilathe but much lighter. Vee ways.
The 618 has a quite robust spindle approx 1" OD, Timken tapered roller bearings, and a MT-3 spindle taper. These are about 3-ft long and weight 70-lbs or more, flat ways. They are nice lathes. I've had several, and I'll buy another if the right deal happens my way.

Zinc (Zamac) gears came with the AA and any other Sears-branded metal lathe, of any size or vintage. Most of those Zamac gears are still serviceable after 50 years or so, but there are also steel replacements on ebay. I haven't seen but a few that looked crumbly, and those had been poorly stored. FWIW - All the minilathes use plastic gears
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