Pictures are here:
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 in1944.
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. Thanksi