There may be another chance to look at a used lathe: The details are not clear, it sounds like a Craftex B2227L - 9x18, 3/4HP, lowest speed 115, some tools included. I am told it is about 4 years old and saw minimum use (presumably by one careful lady owner).
At this point the price is around $650. The problem is that I could not tell a bad unit from a good one. What do you look for? I understand that the ways have to be clean, but can they be warped? Can one test them for that? I gather the lathe is sitting on a garage floor and inspecting its operation maybe a bit tricky. Anything else I can look for apart from the motor going "Vroom"?
Yeah....take along a few pieces of scrap steel and try it out. Take a truing cut about 4" long, take it out and reverse is and look to see how much run-out there is on the previous turned section. Try ALL the speeds including back-geared if it has it, and ALL the feeds. Look for limited play in all the hand-wheels, and no "grinding" feeling in them. Scroll the chuck jaws off and back on. Remove the chuck, or try to without breaking anything, and check for a clean spindle nose and inner taper is clean too. Take a printout of the catalogue items you see on the website you quoted, and make sure all the stuff is there and goes with the deal.
If it is in a home shop.....good. If it is some factory and looks like it gets 8 hours use a day.....bad.
I bet you are pretty eager to get going, but a word of advice or maybe of safety caution, that you won't realize why until you are well into using the new toy some day in the future.......the longer the lathe bed, the better. 18 inches between centres isn't "long" for a lathe. The 18" is "between centres", so the chuck takes up some of that probably, and a drill chuck in the tailstock with say a 1/2" drill bit in it takes up A LOT of the 18". Be aware that friggin drill bit is SHARP, or maybe hot too. Please don't ask how I know these things!
Brian Lawson, Bothwell, Ontario.
ps... a friend here on RCM who is without a doubt a MASTER modeler has the slightly larger brother to the one you note. He really likes it. Turns out some great stuff.
Thanks. I am not sure that this unit is a position to be turned on (the last one I did not go to see because it was not). After 2 and a half hour of searching and reading I found an excellent article on buying used machinery:
I am trying not to be an eager beaver. There are many issues to consider apart from money, space for one. There are others. I feel stupid not having done this homework before but I really thought that a lathe purchase is something that is a few years away and possibly unrealistic.
Still, today was not acomplete waste of time: I got a Mastercraft drill press for $25 (yay, two step pulleys!) and a DeWalt circular saw for $5 (so I won't feel bad about running a steel-cutting blade in it). Nowadays I seem to spend half a week cleaning the Saturday garage sale purchases (last week it was a stack of taps - some really nice ones made in US, Canada, UK and Australia - and drill bits. Note to self: Need more Evaporust!).
Michael, There used to be a fellow contributor to this NG a few years ago that was a professional machine dealer. He wrote an article about this subject in 1997 and it is definitely worth reading. It can be found here
The only known problem I'm aware of is that the motors have been known to die on them. The lead screw nut is a split type so you may want to check for wear there. Drain a little oil out (drain screw is in back in front of motor, or, pull the top cover off- metric allen screws), the facory does not flush all the sand out & fill with good lubricant before delivery :(. Other than that much depends on how well it was set up when purchased, mine was pretty "loose" leading to chattering & sloppy tolerances on work, virually everything had to be checked & adjusted, pay particular attention to the gib screws.
That aside they seem to be fairly decent lathes, i'm realluy happy with mine.