Starting Out Machinst

I am an experienced woodworker and use a woodworking lathe. I'd like to get into metal working without a huge outlay of cash. I am somewhat familiar with metals processing (turning, plasma spray, electron beam and other sorts of exotic welding, turning, grinding, drilling, CNC machining, and so on) though not necessarily hands on, from the aircraft repair industry where I was an engineer. I also weld, have a drill press, and have shop hand tools like grinders, drills, sand blasters, micrometers, etc.

What I am looking for is how to start out on machine tools like surface grinders and lathes and what sort of equiupment to get for my first purchase to be able to make small parts for projects and repairs to my various bits of outdoor equipment. I have seen some einteresting looknig stuff at Harbor Freight, Chinese made of course, like a combinmation mill/drill press/lathe for around $500. The Smithy stuff looks interesting too.


Reply to
Steve Mellenthin
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The most important issues are money and size.

How much do you want to spend? You'll need a number or you'll be spinning your wheels.

What size parts are you going to want to make? This is a painful decision and is affected by the money issue, but buying a machine that is too small (or too big) for the work you want to do now (and later) is a waste.

I'd go for used American/English/German/etc. iron but that means you'll probably have to hunt around and then make sure that the machine you want is in good condition and that parts are available (at a reasonable price). There are import machines that aren't bad, but there's a reason they are so cheap.



Reply to
Robin S.

Since, from your background, you proly have some appreciation of quality, HF is only for "disposable, expendable" items, or cheap winches, perhaps a cheap table saw, but not for real tools. IMO. And I've bought from HF. Smithy winds up not being so cheap. I'm used-machine hunting myself (see my recent inquiry here), and you can get (I think!) serviceable lathes for $1K and under, Bridgeport mills for 1-1.5K (if you shop hard). There are also Jet-type mills, which you could do if you had to. (jet bought powermatic, I'm told). Get the lay of the land before you buy. "Standard" tools are easier to service in the future thru networking, deales, etc. Sears can only be fixed at sears; smithy at smithy, HF nowhere, etc.

---------------------------- Mr. P.V.'d formerly Droll Troll "Steve Mellenthin" wrote in message news:

press/lathe for

Reply to

I'm not too sorry to rebuff this, I have had no problems with parts from any of the importers I've dealt with. None, zip, zero. Don't believe all the "I wish it were true" that you hear.

I don't like the 3 in 1 machines, it might do what they say, but it's not really any good at any of them. Mediocre might be the best word.

Old American iron, only if you know what you're looking at and can make a reasonable deal on it. I have a 9" South Bend in the basement, had it for a year now, and I'm still making the parts for it. Just because South Bend made it, doesn't mean that they're going to have parts for it, and if they do, you might find that they cost more than you paid for the whole machine. Been there, Didn't do that.

As far as a basic machine goes, and you'll hear a lot of ham fisted machinists that will shout me down, the Harbor Frieght 9 X 20 lathe wouldn't be a bad one to start with, just think beyond the bullshit. It isn't a Monarch, and don't expect to take cuts like a Monarch would. It's a light duty machine, but once adjusted and set, I've found mine pretty damned accurate, even if a little slow to work with. If you're in it with time as your prime consideration, then no. If that's the case, go buy a Monarch or Hendy

IF you're looking for cheap, Homier sells a 7 X 12 for $300, add on more if you want the accessories kit, but still the cheapest one on the market. Takes a little tuning up, but it's pretty nice for the small stuff. MicroMark even sells a small tool post grinder for it, but no, Martha, you won't grind tapers with it.

And as every newbie should know, you're going to screw up and do something bad to it someday. Would you rather mess up a cheap import that has parts available reasonably priced, or something that the only way you're going to get parts is to buy another one just like it to raid for parts?

Two sides to every question, and usually fifty bad answers for every good one.

Reply to

a quick FYI - the almost famous LittleMachineShop has every part for these mini lathes

-insert standard I-have-no-connection-with-them disclaimer here-

random thoughts in no paticular order

the Taig is a more solid and capable machineway you're going to get parts is to buy another one just like it to

Reply to

The Taig is also more limited, no power feed anywhere, speeds that are too high unless you make a countershaft, and 4 1/2 in swing 8" between centers. A good machine for a hobbyist, but much over an inch diameter and it starts to groan a little. I'm not knocking it, they are deadly accurate, but also this depends on how much time was taken in the initial setup of the machine itself.

They are light, but flimsy isn't a description. They're no more clumsy than a Myford or any other of the left handed bastards, and far less clumsy than any german machine. Accuracy, again this depends on the initial setup and how carefully you keep track of things for a few jobs after that. The gibs and ways are going to settle in a little, and if you don't watch for it, it loosens up and you get what you deserve for not watching. I've said it before, these aren't Monarch or Hendy, but if you take lighter cuts, maybe less feed, and watch what you're doing, they are capable of accuracy that is far in excess of what is needed 99.999% of the time. IF you're in a hurry, and try to push it, I don't care who made it, you'll go beyond it's limits and it'll tell you about it. Getting in a hurry is also the surest recipe for scrap anyhow.

Reply to
Lennie the Lurker

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