Been sort of lurking on the group for awhile and have a couple of questions:
1) looking at a chinese 12X24 lathe that busybee tools in Canada used to sell and that I see Grizzly sells would like feedback from anyone who has experience with this unit.I will be using mainly for motorcycle related projects(metric)
2) shop walls I will be putting the Lathe in the basement(insulated) and was wondering what sort of wall covering people use is drywall OK?
My shop walls are a combination of concrete and drywall. I have no pretensions about this being a candidate for Better Home and Gardens so I didn't bother with finishing the drywall too carefully. I wanted to leave it uninsulated with exposed studs, but the city wouldn't let me. Just make sure you take good pictures of your walls before you put up the drywall, and make sure you know where the studs are. Think about things you might want to run inside the wall. Power, air, phone, speakers, garage door opener remote switch, even phase converter start/stop wiring, maybe others.
You might consider a used lathe. Around Cleveland, the used marked is glutted with machine tools.
For wall covering, I recommend drywall covered with pages ripped from the Bible mixed with newspaper clippings about serial killers and shoe advertisements. If nothing else, people won't hang around and bother you.
You waon't get very far into your projects before you _really_ feel the need of a mill. If you can afford both the dollars and space for separates, then by all means get your lathe and start looking for a good Bridgeport knockoff. Otherwise, consider a 3-in-1 (he says slipping into his asbestos suit). I have a Smithy which has served me well for the last ten years. While I would prefer separates, I cannot afford either the space or dollars.
About ten years ago I had to repair a riding mower (parts were no longer available) or buy a new one for a couple grand. I felt I would rather buy a lathe than a mower and fix the mower. I'd been wanting my own lathe for a looooooong time. I mentioned this to my neighbour who pulled out an experimental/homebuilt airplane mag and showed me a Smithy add. This would give me a lathe AND a mill for about what I expected to pay for a lathe. My wife pointed out that if we got the Smithy, I could go to a proffesional machine shop for the odd job that was too big/fine/accurate/whatever for my own machine. If this happened more than a couple of times, I could always sell the Smithy and get something bigger/better. I bought the Smithy in '91 or '92 (forget which) - haven't been to the pro shop yet. Numerous things have been improved on the machine. See Smithymods.txt at
I looked at several options before settling on the Smithy including both other imports and used "American iron". I have had experience with South Bend lathes. When I was a grad student in Physics, we were allowed access to the Physics Dept. workshop which, among other things, included three South Bend 9" lathes for student use. Not bad machines at all but I could do nothing on them that I cannot do on my Smithy. The converse is not true since, for just one thing, the South Bend chucks screw on to the spindle. As a result, running the machine in reverse is fraught with danger. (There are certain threading and machining operations where reverse running is a significant convenience.)
You can see some of my work in MWN and the dropbox. A few examples are
If you want any further details on my machine, its faults, its advantages and/or what I've done with it, contact me directley.
I'm just finishing up a reduction drive for my neighbours homebuilt. There was a part of this job that I thought would drive me to the "proffesional machine shop" mentioned above but a little ingenuity and a shop made accessory and the Smithy came through again. As soon as I get the photos sorted out, I'll post this project to the dropbox.