What to look for and what to avoid in a hobby lathe or milling machine

It's been 30 years since I last used a lathe or milling machine.
I now need something that can do small scale machining (2 to 40 mm) of
fibreglass/epoxy and the occasional bit of stainless steel.
Slow cutting is OK as it's just a hobby thing. 0.1mm precision is probably good
I looked at some of the videos on youtube and some people made negative comments
about plastic gears and so on.
What other things should I watch for?
Reply to
Mike B
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Plastic gears are not "always innately" bad. On some machines they serve as the mechanical fuse, so if somebody decides to tackle twice as much as the machine can handle, the plastic gear fails. The operator making a video to show the world rarely admits that he was abusing the machine when the gear broke, of course.
If replaced with another (cheap, buy a few spares, it's a fuse) plastic gear, the rest of the machine keeps working.
If "upgraded" to metal, a more expensive or inconvenient part of the machine may fail "next time." There may also be excessive wear on metal parts that were expecting to run against plastic.
Not to say there can't be or are not crappy machines which happen to have plastic gears, but be careful of thinking "plastic == bad" in a knee-jerk manner.
Reply to
I find that people who use youtube videos as a substitute for writing out information are generally not the kind of people I would desire to receive any type of information from.
Reply to
Jon Danniken
Question #1 How much can you afford to spend?
Question #2 How much room do you have?
Question #3 How often will you be needing to machine?
Answer those..and we can begin to assist you.
Reply to
If you are buying new for a machine to work in that range, you just need to order a minilathe from Micromark, or possibly Grizzly. It will do what you need, with some minor tweaking.
Reply to
Fiberglass is nasty stuff. It can bind gears or grind stuff to pieces.
Kinda like grinding. Protect yourself and the lathe / mill from grit. Glass grit.
Maybe a small watch lathe would do what you want.
Reply to
Martin Eastburn

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