Monarch AA vs Polamco/Toolmex TUG 40 lathe

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Right now, my "shop lathe" is a Monarch model AA 16x54 lathe. The
amazing thing about it is that it is almost brand new (!!!) and has no
wear whatsoever. I know that it is weird, but it is true. Somehow or
other, it escaped the usual fate of these lathes, it was made in
1944.
It has only two problems:
1) It is slow, top speed is 500 RPM
2) Someone told me that the lubrication system in the head may not be
working right, based on what he saw in the sight glass.
I recently purchased a AFM Toolmex or Polamco lathe. It has about the
same size, and its top speed is a respectable 1,600 RPM. It does have
wear, unlike the Monarch, but very little. It also has a removable
gap, which we do not care for too much.
There is two people in my shop who use a lathe, me and another guy. I
told him that we can now pick the lathe out of these two.
So, I wanted to solicit some opinions as to what lathe is better. I
know that I can get good money for either of them, so money is not the
issue.
Another option is to keep the Monarch and add a small Hardinge HC for
working on small stuff at high speed. I bought three small hardinges
for $200 each two weeks ago.
I will appreciate some intelligent comments. Thanks
i
Reply to
Ignoramus8699
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I have no worthwhile advice on which lathe to keep, Ig. But I would like to find a Hardinge lathe for $200. And you found 3?
Reply to
Garrett Fulton
All other monarchs that I have ever seen are always worn to death. I save tailstocks, cross slides and handles and scrap the rest. This one was so unusual.
The thing is that I am still in love with it because it is so good looking. Have hard times letting go.
What, exactly, is bad about slow top speed? That works takes longer to finish? I keep hearing how high RPM is needed for carbide, but I use carbide at low speed. I do not quite get it. I am sure that I am missing something.
i
Reply to
Ignoramus8699
Slow speed has been the Achilles' heel of Monarchs for decades. They are magnificent machine tools -- one of the best representations of American machine tool design. But they were made for HSS tooling.
I don't know what the speed of Iggy's machine should be, but even if it's running at its top designed speed, if it's from 1944, it will be slow.
Reply to
Ed Huntress
It is 500 RPM.
Ed, can you explain what is so bad, other than more time spent machining, about slow top speed?
i
Reply to
Ignoramus8699
Carbide needs higher speed only to get the best par-part cost out of the machine. It's an economics thing. The idea that you need to run carbide at high speed is a myth.
Reply to
Ed Huntress
OK, so, if I have a 1500 RPM lathe, vs 500 RPM lathe, I can make anything on both, but with a faster lathe it may take me less time. Right?
i
Reply to
Ignoramus8699
That's it, Iggy -- more time spent machining.
These are commercial machine tools. The objective is to produce quality parts at the lowest cost. That means, first, the shortest part-to-part cycle time. Then you factor in the tooling cost; generally speaking, running tools faster wears them out at a faster rate. In other words, they last for fewer parts.
Running those two curves in an equation -- cycle time and tool life -- is the traditional way of optimizing cost-per-part. Today's multi-coated tools confound the simple curves a bit, because some of them, particularly those with an aluminum-oxide top coat, or a lubricating top coat of molybdemum disulfide over aluminum oxide, need to run very hot to perform well.
In general, though, with the tools we use in hobby work and in most general machine-shop work, the only thing you lose by running slower is time. There are some exceptions regarding surface finish, where faster can be better, but that's the general rule.
Reply to
Ed Huntress
That's pretty much it. But some of the guys here with a lot of experience probably will chime in on the surface-finish issue.
Reply to
Ed Huntress
Since you already have a smaller lathe for small-diameter parts, the Monarch probably will be a good complement to it -- a luxury few of us have. You'll probably notice the machine's qualities when you have to turn a large-diameter part, or you have to take heavy cuts.
Old Warner & Swaseys were the real monsters in that regard, but Monarchs also were excellent.
Reply to
Ed Huntress
I do not "have" a smaller lathe, right now, but I could take one of the three Hardinges off sale and then I would "have" it.
I think that what I really need is this Monarch and a hardinge HC style for small parts and high speed.
We use the lathe for shop purposes only, not to make money on it.
i
Reply to
Ignoramus8699
Ed Huntress fired this volley in news: snipped-for-privacy@4ax.com:
Even older -- the old F.E. Reed taper machines. 'Built like tanks! They could turn a full-swing part to tolerance every time -- but slowly, natch.
Lloyd
Reply to
Lloyd E. Sponenburgh
At least you ACK that flaw. ;)
Because it has a 16" swing, top speed is lower, da? If you do more work on smaller diameter items (who doesn't?), then select the lathe with the higher speeds. It all depends on exactly how the lathe is being used and what the lathe is being used for in -your- shop. You (probably) already have all the info you need to choose.
Reply to
Larry Jaques
Iggy , the Monarch and a smaller lathe with higher speed will give you the best of both worlds . I've never seen a Hardinge , but everything I've read indicates they're very good machines . Fortunately , the 10" Logan/Wards fills my needs quite handily .
Reply to
Terry Coombs
I feel the same way about this. Hardinge for tiny stuff, Monarch for everything else. Low top speed also is safer.
i
Reply to
Ignoramus8699
First, if Iggy keeps that Hardinge for the small diameter work, I'd agree keep this Monarch lathe. I'll wager if he keeps two, the Monarch will sit unless he can't fit the part in the Hardinge.
I find surface feet per minute critical for finish and part deflection, especially if you get under 0.500" diameter. My lathe does 4500, I'm up to top end often. I needed a number of long 0.125" diameter parts with threads and snap ring grooves a while back. Ended up running them on my neighbor's lathe that does 10K.
I also find carbide will just chip if you try to run it slow. i loose more inserts to chipping than to wear.
Reply to
Karl Townsend

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