Just curious-if y'all had, say, $4K to spend on a new small lathe,
what would you buy? Guidelines-11 to13 inch swing, 36" or so between
centers, single phase power and a minimum of 1 3/8" spindle bore, 1
1/2" preferred. I am located in Louisiana so shipping is also an issue
because it affects the overall total cost. Seem to be quite a few out
there in this class and all of unknown quality, to me at least.
Can you live with 20" length? If so, the Monarch 10EE is the finest machine
in this range. I'd suggest you buy one with drive issues and install a three
phase spindle motor and VFD.
Just one example:
================A suggestion here.
A lathe without attachments and accessories is minimally useful
[except for making accessories..]
It is not uncommon for person to invest as much in accessories as
the basic lathe by the time their shop is "tooled up."
Be sure and check about the price/availability of chucks, collet
adapters, steady rests, traveling rests, rear mounted cut-off
tool holders, quick change tool holders, spindle crank, and
milling attachments/vises for the specific models you are
On the other hand, if you have a face plate, a few clamps, head
stock/tail stock centers, some sort of lathe tool holder, and a
tail stock drill chuck, you will be able to do most any machine
job, but the set-up time may be extended. If you have these
basics you can make many of the accessories such as the quick
change tool holders at considerable cost savings while honing
your machining skills.
Don't know, but I wouldn't worry about the single phase. Three phase
is easky with a VFD with single phase input, and at very reasonable
prices. Or if you like to roll your own, build a phase converter. I
have heard that three phase gives a lot smoother finish in some
circumstances, primarily because the power never goes to zero like a
single phase does twice each cycle. Also, single phase motors of any
size are more expensive and harder to find.
Having to build/buy a rotary or static converter just adds more
expense and eats up space in my small shop. This is a residentail area
so 3 ph power is now available, either. Single phase has to be cheaper
to start with.
I have an old Sheldon and I am tired of trying to get a few more
months from it every time something fails. Just want something that I
won't have to work on as often and new seems to me to be the way to go.
Personally, I agree about the phase converter. That's why I run mine
(1 Hp. 3 ph) on a 2Hp. VFD. It was less than $200, mounted on the
wall, is about 4"W x 10"H x 6"D, which isn't in the way at all, fed
from a 240V 10A breaker, single phase. It's very efficient, very
little noise, and allows variable speed while I can directly read out
amps so I know if I'm overloading. I wired up switches for run-stop,
forward-reverse, and a pot for speed, all on low voltage from the VFD,
in a box where the original drum switch was.
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