Which machine?

Say guys, I'm tired of hand tools and want to get a real machine tool
besides my drill press. Strictly hobby and shop. Which would you buy first,
a lath or a mill?
Thanks for any input.
Reply to
Bullfrog
Loading thread data ...
If you want to work with round things and cut threads, get a lathe. If you want to work with not-round things and bore holes, cut slots, etc get a mill. Personally, I think a lathe is by far the most useful thing in a general shop. A mill would be a close second, unless you plan on doing work where it it required.
GTO(John)
Reply to
GTO69RA4
I like John's explanation. I'll add that a lathe is easier to learn (in my opinion).
Reply to
AL
With the addition of a milling attachment you can also do some small part milling in a lathe. Think horizontal milling machine.
Best Regards Tom.
Reply to
AZOTIC
You can turn things in a mill, and mill things in a lathe.
I personally went with the mill first. Then I got a lathe. Its an addiction. Stop now before its too late.
Reply to
Scott Moore
I personally can think of a lot of things that can be done on a lathe with a 3 or 4 jaw chunk, faceplate and centers... add a milling attachment and you're set with just one machine. :) But then, everything looks like a lathe project when you're building a lathe...
Tim
-- "I've got more trophies than Wayne Gretsky and the Pope combined!" - Homer Simpson Website @
formatting link

Reply to
Tim Williams
Lathe.
Gunner
That rifle hanging on the wall of the working-class flat or labourer's cottage is the symbol of democracy. It is our job to see that it stays there. - George Orwell
Reply to
Gunner
Which ever one presented itself to me, first. You'll know it when you see it. Just start looking for both of them. One will wander into your sights soon enough.
Jim
================================================== please reply to: JRR(zero) at yktvmv (dot) vnet (dot) ibm (dot) com ==================================================
Reply to
jim rozen
It's kind of a toss-up, but generally people tend to go for the lathe first. I did it sort of differently, myself. My first major machine purchase was a small lathe and mill pair (individual pieces, though). Then later, I got a large lathe (13 x 40), 2 mills and a 20 inch drill press.
If starting over, I think I would take a serious look at one of the 3-in-one combos in the largest size and best brand I could afford. That way, threre'd be a little more machine "capacity" than the tiny lathe and mill pair I started off with. IMO, a 3-in-one would launch you into machine work in good style. Besides, you'd be so happy to get away from hand tools it would take a while before you began to notice the deficiencies.
Bob Swinney
Reply to
Robert Swinney
A lathe is probably the better "first" machine, but it is probably irrelevent because the second(or at least the desire) will follow so quickly you will barely remember which came first. And from there, you will need a welder, then a .... :)
JW
Reply to
Jeridiah
Depends on what you want to make. Most of the stuff I do is small. Personally I've found the mill to be much more useful. Anything I needed to lathe I've done on the mill. I'm only getting and setting up a lathe now, more because I want it, than I need it. I think this fits into the 'addiction' catagory as Scott says. I've had the the mill now for 10 year & 2 days.
Reply to
Wayne
On Mon, 12 Jul 2004 09:30:10 GMT, Gunner calmly ranted:
Why are so many of youse guys so hot for a lathe? What does a lathe do besides make round things?
I've always yearned for a mill.
----- = Dain Bramaged...but having lots of fun! =
formatting link
Comprehensive Website Development
Reply to
Larry Jaques
Aww c'mon, the best things in life are round.....
Tim
-- "I've got more trophies than Wayne Gretsky and the Pope combined!" - Homer Simpson Website @
formatting link

Reply to
Tim Williams
It being a dull day, I decide to respond to what Gunner foisted Mon, 12 Jul 2004 09:30:10 GMT on rec.crafts.metalworking , viz:
I can see the cascade now ...
Mill. Lathe! Mill! Lathe!! Mill, you technoreject from the eight dimension! I'll mill you, you unrepentant purchaser of Harbor Freight's rejects! Ah your dog is ugly and your mother dresses you to look like a rutabaga! Bourgeois Commie product of the oppressor class! Right deviationist Trotskyite! You couldn't make a square part if your paycheck depended on it!
on and on and on ...:-)
Get what you want to do first. there's stuff you can do easier on one than the other. So I'm looking for something in the multi-mode line. (space considerations.)
Reply to
pyotr filipivich
Well thanks for the responses, guys! Got a welder, and an ox/ac right I use a lot. Also got a room full of wood working tools I don't use due the dang problem of finding any decent wood for a decent price:(
So, I get myself a lathe or a mill. Anybody care to recommend a brand or place to buy it? I've shopped the South Bend ones (used), and can't stand the bite....If I get an old industrial type, I won't know how to tune it or anything......Is this genetic info, btw? Man, I hate to buy another HF tool, although I'm quite happy with the drill press for $150. Anybody got one to sell or trade, maybe?
Reply to
Spike
This came up a few years ago, when someone asked "Why does everyone buy a lathe instead of a mill... unless all you want to make are candlesticks and cannons?"
One observation was that parts that need a high degree of precision tend to be round (shafts, bushings, etc). So if you need a mill you can often rig up a substitute using other tools, but if you need a lathe, you really need a lathe.
Mills are good if you need to make a part that fits some other existing part, and it doesn't happen to be round. But in many cases, the parts that are subject to wear are round.
Google probably has the thread, it was from December of 2000 and the subject line was "How come most people get a lathe?" The Message ID that started the thread was
Reply to
Ron Bean
I got a lathe before I got the mill. I woudl use the lathe 100 times more than the mill. I now have 2 mills (1x old horizontal, 1 x horiz with vertical head - I use this the most) and 2 lathes, and have my eye on a (bigger) third... It depends on what you make. Main tools I use for making "stuff" are the cutoff bandsaw, welder, gas set and lathe and drill press, in no particular order. The bigger drill-mills can be good value and can do good work, within their size limits. It may be heresy to some, but some of the Asian lates, etc are very good. Expect to pay good money for them however - there is no free lunch, just a discount... Likewise, some of the East Europena and Russian (Tos, Stankoimport) stuff is good and very solid. Geoff
Reply to
geoff m
Dave Gingery did a lot of facing work on the lathe. Small things can be made flat with a lathe and faceplate. Larger things would be best milled... I got my 35" lathe bed milled. (That's another story BTW, since the college down the street only has a little BP J-head...) It would be horrendously inconvienient to face that on a lathe.
If you have enough swing, a milling cutter thrown in the spindle and swapping the compound for a vertical slide and work table gets you a horizontal mill. I frankly don't see any need for a mill anymore. :)
Hmm. I was going to put in more interesting points rather than just reiterate, wish I could remember...beh... time to sleep I guess.
Tim
-- "I've got more trophies than Wayne Gretsky and the Pope combined!" - Homer Simpson Website @
formatting link

Reply to
Tim Williams
On Mon, 12 Jul 2004 23:51:57 -0500, "Tim Williams" calmly ranted:
Perhaps, but the Great Spirit saw to it that we were provided with round solid things, and hollow, cold, metal things just don't do the trick (at least not for me) Tim. ;)
----- = Dain Bramaged...but having lots of fun! =
formatting link
Comprehensive Website Development
Reply to
Larry Jaques
BOTH!! When faced with the same question, my neighbour showed me an add for a Smithy 3-in-1. Not ideal but given limited money and space, I went for it. No regrets after 10+ years.
I've posted these comments before (and probably will again) but they may be relevent to your situation.
" As a teenager, I had an elderly South Bend which I had to sell when my folks (with me in tow) moved to an apartment. As a math-physics senior and physics grad student in university I had access to the Physics Dept work shop where they had three SB lathes for student use. I don't recall more than one or two projects I could complete without an awfull lot of handwork due to the lack of a mill. Once you get into machining, you will be surprised at how soon you lust after a mill.
Over 10 years ago I bought a Smithy 3-in-1 which I still have and constantly use. Despite the screams of protest from the "buy old 'muricun iron" crowd, I have enjoyed my Smithy, still do and expect to continue doing so. It might be nice to have bigger lathe (like my friends Colchester) and a Bridgeport but I have neither the space nor the money for them. Meanwhile my projects keep getting done on the ol' Smithy. If you want to see a couple, check out
formatting link
and particularly
formatting link
one that I thought might force me to "the machine shop" but didn't, see
formatting link
Whatever, enjoy! " Also: " About ten years ago I set out to buy a lathe. At the time I was living in North Vancouver, BC, Canada. I watched the local papers, checked the local dealers, etc. Nothing worth having.
We had started on building our retirement home in the Okanagan valley and were travelling back and forth, frequently via Seattle. So I included Seattle and Portland (not *that* much further). Same result. I could afford to spend maybe as much as a month on this because I had a repair job that would become a problem in about that time. I could either spend a couple grand on a machine and tooling or replace the problem item for about the same amount of money. You can guess where my preference lay.
While in the Okanagan, my neighbour showed me an add for Smithy in Kitplane magazine. At that time, Smithy still had a facility in the Dalles, OR so we decided to go take a look. I liked what I saw. This was going to get me a mill and a lathe for what I was prepared to pay for a lathe. I was somewhat concerned about the size of, particularly, the mill.
My wife made an interesting and fateful comment, "Buy the Smithy. If it proves to be too small, too inaccurate, too whatever, take the job to a machine shop. If that happens more than a couple of times, sell the Smithy and get something else."
Ten years have past. I still haven't been to the "machine shop" except to scrounge or buy off cuts. I've always been able to get my stuff done with a little ingenuity. YMMV. "
Reply to
Ted Edwards

Site Timeline

PolyTech Forum website is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.