Mill or lathe?

This question is probably akin to: "How long is a piece of string?". However, having done as much research as I reasonably can and with no local
resources to fall back upon I feel compelled to ask this here:
If you had to equip a small workshop dealing mainly with hobby manufacture of small parts, space being at a premium as well as finances, would you: a) Buy a lathe first b) Buy a mill first c) Buy a combination machine
Then, of course, the question is which ones. Here is a current crop of lathes available on EBay:
http://cgi.ebay.ca/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&rd=1&item '0264670143&ssPageName=STRK:MEWA:IT&ih7
http://cgi.ebay.ca/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&rd=1&item#0280828454&ssPageName=STRK:MEWA:IT&ih 3
http://cgi.ebay.ca/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&rd=1&item '0265278704&ssPageName=STRK:MEWA:IT&ih7
http://cgi.ebay.ca/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&rd=1&item60080330081&ssPageName=STRK:MEWA:IT&ih 3
http://cgi.ebay.ca/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&rd=1&item 0252466204&ssPageName=STRK:MEWA:IT&ih7
http://cgi.ebay.ca/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&rd=1&item "0269782539&ssPageName=STRK:MEWA:IT&ih2
Forget for a moment issues like shipping from Australia etc. I guess I am trying to get a better handle on what I should be focusing on in future. I tried to find courses locally on either milling or lathe but without success.
For instance if I understood some of the recent threads correctly, a big lathe is not necessarily the way to go as it will not handle small work. Then of course the question is how small is big enough etc, etc.
I shall be grateful for any advice.
--
Michael Koblic,
Campbell River, BC
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Mon, 18 Aug 2008 22:01:03 -0700, "Michael Koblic"

It really depends on the parts you are going to make. Are there more mill parts, or lathe parts?
You can mill on a lathe sorta..and you can turn on a mill..kinda sorta
Combination machines give you the worst of both millers and lathes.
This is actually a decent enough lathe...
<http://cgi.ebay.ca/JET-1440D-GAP-BED-METAL-LATHE-EXCELLENT-TOOLED-UP_W0QQitemZ250282811274QQihZ015QQcategoryZ97230QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem
#1 question...what is the biggest part you are likely to very turn on a lathe, both diameter and length?
Id say that for most hobby work...a 12x24 or 13 x 36 would hande 99.99% of everything most folks will be doing.
Next big question..are you needing to work in metric, or English units? Many lathes wont do metric and if they do...they dont do English.
Since the value of the dollar is low now compared to the Canadian...lots of lathes available in California, if you are in BC..its entirely doable. <http://cgi.ebay.com/JET-MDL-GH-1340A-GEARED-HEAD-ENGINE-LATHE_W0QQitemZ150282132644QQcmdZViewItem?hash=item150282132644&_trkparmsr%3A552%7C39%3A1%7C66%3A2%7C65%3A12%7C240%3A1308&_trksid=p4011.c0.m14
Gunner
The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who in times of great moral crisis maintain their neutrality", John F. Kennedy.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Mon, 18 Aug 2008 22:01:03 -0700, "Michael Koblic"

<http://cgi.ebay.com/TAKISAWA-14-x-30-PRECISION-GEARED-HEAD-ENGINE-LATHE_W0QQitemZ360079672117QQcmdZViewItem?hash=item360079672117&_trkparmsr%3A552%7C39%3A1%7C66%3A2%7C65%3A12%7C240%3A1308&_trksid=p3286.c0.m14
Good shit, Maynard.
The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who in times of great moral crisis maintain their neutrality", John F. Kennedy.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Gunner Asch wrote:

<http://cgi.ebay.com/TAKISAWA-14-x-30-PRECISION-GEARED-HEAD-ENGINE-LATHE_W0QQitemZ360079672117QQcmdZViewItem?hash=item360079672117&_trkparmsr%3A552%7C39%3A1%7C66%3A2%7C65%3A12%7C240%3A1308&_trksid=p3286.c0.m14
Nice looking lathe, shame about the butchery around the collet closer. It may be cosmetic and hopefully doesn't indicate the regard held for the rest of the lathe if any other work has been done.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Tue, 19 Aug 2008 12:40:41 +0100, David Billington

Hey David,
Yeah. Makes me think that they may have had, or tried, a power collet closer at one time.
Webb is pretty good stuff, but I'd question the 1-1/8 spindle bore. Doesn't seem quite as big as it needs to be for 5C collets does it? And the chuck mounting is quite a bit rarer than the D1-4's common on this size and so easily found available used.
No tooling either, although I would trust Reliable to give you everything that came with it.
Take care.
Brian Lawson, Bothwell, Ontario.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Tue, 19 Aug 2008 09:09:58 -0400, Brian Lawson

Thats about the average size for 5C bores. Allows you to sometimes use a 1 1/16th collet.
What they did was measure the ass end of the spindle bore, made a best guess, and not the front. I know how Reliable does things.....

Still common enough.

KDK 100 series or Nix (KDK clone) set of tool holders have been pretty common on Ebay recently. A KDK 150 series MAY..MAY fit...probably not, maybe ...on this lathe.

The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who in times of great moral crisis maintain their neutrality", John F. Kennedy.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Tue, 19 Aug 2008 12:40:41 +0100, David Billington

Actually pretty common. Thats an aftermarket collet closer, probably a Royal or JFK, and that sort of cutout is pretty common on most lathes Ive seen that had an aftermarket CC installed. In fact..most look FAR worse...shrug
Its only a fiberglass cover. Machine shops have drill motors (sometimes) but they seldom have a sabre saw.
Gunner
The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who in times of great moral crisis maintain their neutrality", John F. Kennedy.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Gunner Asch wrote:

I'll give you that as you have far more experience with these things from what I read here. I would make it clean and neat or it would annoy me but that's not really a problem if it is functional. I do work for myself and others and try to maintain a high standard that I am happy with or they can get someone else to do it. Regarding the cover, I had assumed from the picture that it was cast aluminium, or aluminum for the US market, due to the apparent finish and as the collet closer looks to be mounted to it so a hefty piece of fibreglass if so like old corvettes.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Tue, 19 Aug 2008 23:09:55 +0100, David Billington

Looking at it again..it is cast aluminum. But yes..such is all to common in good machine shops
Gunner
The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who in times of great moral crisis maintain their neutrality", John F. Kennedy.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Tue, 19 Aug 2008 01:56:24 -0700, with neither quill nor qualm,

I wonder how many of those 32 bids are shills, given the bidders' histories of zero and minus one auctions. =:-o>
-- It is pretty hard to tell what does bring happiness; poverty and wealth have both failed. -- Kin Hubbard
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Tue, 19 Aug 2008 08:27:28 -0700, Larry Jaques

Its Reliable Tools...think they woul shill bid?
Its been alleged quite widely...that yes...they do indeed.
As has been my experience in dealing with them on some items, "sold" and found sitting in their warehouse a year later...ebay sticker still attatched....
The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who in times of great moral crisis maintain their neutrality", John F. Kennedy.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Tue, 19 Aug 2008 14:57:45 -0700, with neither quill nor qualm,

I hadn't noticed. Is this one of Al Whassisname's stores?

<sigh>
Bad juju, bwana.
-- It is pretty hard to tell what does bring happiness; poverty and wealth have both failed. -- Kin Hubbard
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Am I mising something? If the shill bid wins the seller still has to pay EBay the final value fee, right? That has got to get expensive in the long run or if done with any frequency.
Presumably the shill account will not be paying by PayPal :-) However, soon nobody will be allowed to use cheques or money orders anyway.
--
Michael Koblic,
Campbell River, BC
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

my observation is that reliable tools gets top $ on their ebay auction - however, to their credit, if there is something wrong they make it right - I haven't bought a $$$ thing from them, but I did get a small tool holder, which they sent to me - it was damaged, I picked it up locally (when they still had a retail store) and they credited me immediately, no questions and I got some other stuff.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Wed, 20 Aug 2008 22:09:46 -0700, with neither quill nor qualm,

The shill bidder can hike up the auction amount by tens, hundreds, maybe even a thousand dollars. What're a few bucks in eBay fees to that? Shills also seldom win the bid.

Yeah, we'll all have to buy eBay Bucks or something...
-- It is pretty hard to tell what does bring happiness; poverty and wealth have both failed. -- Kin Hubbard
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Will this not make shilling (is that a verb?) impossible? If you win as a shill the only way to hide the actual non-payment from EBay will be claiming cash for a direct pickup. OTOH, why not?
The most recent changes really do not make it worth while for small sellers to use EBay: 1) Compulsory PayPal, insertion and final value fees will make the EBay take on your sale 30-40% on low value items. 2) Shipping cost upper limits mean that EBay will get more money in final value fees. BTW I eventually found the actual figures which are well hidden on EBay web site. I used to sell books from Canada and this is now dead. The maximum shipping on books is $4 which is about half of the cheapest postage let alone packing etc. Including the postage in the price of the item for the low-end collectible books is just not an option. 3) The whole fee structure seems now heavily skewed to fixed price-high ticket items.
I know there has been a lot of similar comments here about EBay but things are getting worse by the day.
--
Michael Koblic,
Campbell River, BC
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I would buy a good mill, first. My mill gets used quite a bit for all sorts of things. Much more so than the lathe.
--
Due to extreme spam originating from Google Groups, and their inattention
to spammers, I and many others block all articles originating
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Mon, 18 Aug 2008 22:01:03 -0700, "Michael Koblic"

buy a lathe and a vertical slide and you also have the equivalent of a small mill.
Stealth Pilot
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

...
To oversimplify, a lathe makes moving parts that transmit power and a mill makes the stationary structures that hold them. The small companies I've worked for typically made their structures on a mill and bought the round moving parts, or occasionally had a small local shop make them. I've seen very little lathe work within those companies, even the one developing ink-jet printers. OTOH the clock and model engine makers seem able to do everything on a lathe.
I've used a Smithy lathe, an RF-31 mill-drill and the smallest Enco knee mill, 100-5100, which Grizzly now sells. While they weren't nearly as well made and nice to operate as my old Clausing mill and South Bend lathe they did the job well enough after I figured out their peculiarities and weaknesses. I also used a Prazi lathe clone which was OK for small parts and the Sherline mill and lathe which were ridiculously inadequate even for the electronics parts I was making.
I originally learned machining on a 15" lathe and Bridgeport. I think they are the right size for an inventor or commercial research and development, the maximum for a hobbyist and difficult to stuff into a basement. Smaller machines like mine are more fun to use.
I could have made the parts for my front end loader and sawmill with a bandsaw and drill press by redesigning them and buying new valves and cylinders instead of adapting used ones. Otherwise I mainly used the mill to drill accurately sized and located parallel holes, the lathe for grease passages in the pivot pins. Usually I visit a local supply house first, buy whatever shafting, bearings or hydraulics they have or can order, then design the machine to fit them. All I need to know beforehand is what size shaft will handle the horsepower and speed. I can figure out the details at the counter.
Tell us what you're doing. Are you building new stuff (mill) or replacing worn parts (lathe)? Depending on your interests there may be ways to do the work of a lathe on a mill or vice-versa. For instance you can turn a snap-ring groove on a short shaft by chucking it in a mill collet, or machine flat surfaces on small parts on a lathe face plate. You can thread the end of a shaft to attach something, or drill and pin it. These substitutions can let you live with only one machine tool if you can adapt to them.
Jim Wilkins Clicked 'Send', results inconclusive.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Tell us roughly where you are. Who knows, one of us may live a mile (km?) away or closer!
How small is "small"?. If you are going to make parts for a bicycle, then any lathe you listed is small enough. If you are going to make parts for a watch, then that's a different story. You have listed quite a variety of lathe sizes here. I have an old Atlas 10 inch lathe and I can turn a sharp point on a piece of 1/18" diameter tool steel. I seldom use speeds of over 1000 rpm. But if you are constantly turning tiny things, sure, smaller is better. If you see yourself every turning things a couple of inches in diameter or bigger, I'd go with a 10 inch lathe. But if you get a used one, then you immediately have the issue of chuck quality, collets, etc.. You can easily pay as much for a new 3 jaw chuck and a set of collets as you did for the lathe. As you probably know, you can easily invest more in the tooling than you have in the original piece of equipment. I know I did.
I don't have any personal experience with the combination machines. They have always looked like a neat solution to your problem, but they certainly are a "compromise" machine. If you consider getting one, I'd try to get a feel for the rigidity of the one you want. The tool posts are always so high in the air that I can't see how they can take very large accurate cuts on steel parts.
I know I probably will get a lot of heat for this, but if you get a small lathe, you can forget about carbide inserted tooling for the most part. You will need sharper tool geometry than carbide will permit to minimize springiness and the lack of predictable accuracy that follows.
You can mill on a lathe, but you can't do much turning on a mill.
Consider putting an adverstisement in your local papers to look for others in your area who do what you want to do. I'll bet there are people not far away who could help you in this area. If there are any secondary schools in your area that do have machine shop facilities, how about contacting the school and talking to the shop teachers. Maybe you could make a connection there?
Finally: Nothing is forever. Get something and get started. Save the mill for later.
Pete Stanaitis ---------------------------------------
Michael Koblic wrote:
<snip>

<snip>
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Polytechforum.com is a website by engineers for engineers. It is not affiliated with any of manufacturers or vendors discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.