Advice on choosing a mini lathe

On Tue, 22 Jun 2010 12:52:07 +0100, Scrim wrote:


I did - why do you think I didn't get one.
--
Neil - reverse 'ra' and delete 'l'.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Hi Alan, There was a Mini-lathe on Fee-pay not long ago, used without a motor, it went for about ten quid less than a brand new one. What was that about a fool and his money soon parted? Buy new and get the "warranty". If you are determined to buy one, I would suggest you buy the WPS book on the Mini-lathe first, and if you want "precise" be prepared to do a bit of fettling. Once sorted, they can be quite usable. T.W.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

Hi Alan, There was a Mini-lathe on Fee-pay not long ago, used without a motor, it went for about ten quid less than a brand new one. What was that about a fool and his money soon parted? Buy new and get the "warranty". If you are determined to buy one, I would suggest you buy the WPS book on the Mini-lathe first, and if you want "precise" be prepared to do a bit of fettling. Once sorted, they can be quite usable. T.W.
Thanks. I would rather have something like a newer Myford, but it needs to fit in a small bedroom with other gear and I can't stretch to, or justify, paying thousands. If there's something that would fit my bill that I've missed, please let me know. Another concern is annoying the people in the flat below. I imagine it will be easier to isolate the rumble from the floor with a lighter mini lathe than from a heavy full sized one. Alan
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Scrim wrote:

Emco made a lathe in about the same size range. Probably some used ones running around.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Scrim wrote:

First, minilathes are quite mini - think of a beercan, it's hard to make anything bigger on one.
Cheap secondhand ones do not seem to be available. I don't know why, though I assume it's because the people who buy them don't sell them, even when they get a bigger lathe.
Things to look out for - motor power, get lots of power. Essential for low-speed work.
Hardened bed, at least 14" long.
US-made printed circuit board, or equivalent. Some Chinese PCBs are/were rubbish, though these are getting rarer.
Lever tailstock.
IMO digital readouts are a convenience, but that's all. The others are necessary!
Looking at some models, prices include delivery and VAT:
AET super C3         506 500W 400mm dials lever US
- New model, powerful motor, longer bed. Sounds interesting.
AET C3            416 350W 350mm dials lever US
- Standard C3.
AET C3:dro        486 350W 350mm digital lever US
- Standard C3 with DROs.
Warco Mini         435 400W 300mm dials lever Hardened US
- Nice, standard upgraded with good tailstock and better motor. Bed seems a little short (actually the bed is normal length, the tailstock is just longer).
Chester Conquest     415 400W 325mm dials Hardened? US
- Standard C3, awful paintjob, no lever tailstock, otherwise OK.
Chester Conquest Super     557 400W 350mm digital Hardened? US
- seems very expensive for what it is.
Axminster C2A        436 250W 300mm digital
- this is a 2a, not a C3 - teensy motor, Does have digital readouts.
Machinemart CL300M    504 300W 300mm dials
- not enough to be interesting, especially at that price.
I'll pick three out of that lot - first, for a cheap standard one, the AET C3 at about 415. You might also consider the Chester Conquest - more powerful motor, the disadvantages being the paint job and no lever tailstock.
Next a slightly more expensive model, the Warco mini at 435. Nice machine, powerful motor and a good tailstock, Hardened bed, and Warco are famous for good service.
Last, the AET super C3 sounds very interesting at 504. I haven't seen one in the flesh or tried one out, but the more powerful brushless motor and the longer bed are definite pluses, and it doesn't have gear change - apparently it doesn't need it as it has enough low speed power - which, if it works is really good news, the gears break and are noisy.
If I was in the market for one I'd try the AET super C3 at low speed, and if it worked well that's the one I'd go for - but it's a bit new just now (and the metric one isn't in stock for 2 months).
After that, I'd consider the extra 20 on the Warco would be well spent.
-- Peter Fairbrother
(no connection to any of the companies mentioned) (bribes gratefully accepted, though :)
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Thanks. I've noticed variations in motor power, but I haven't noticed any with a Hardened bed. Beer can sized would be big for me!!! I'll check out Warco. Alan
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Peter Fairbrother wrote:

Forgot to look at the ones on fleabay. There's two at 405, from amadeal888 and harryuk123. I have bought stuff from both in the past without problems.
Both have 4" chucks as standard, which is most useful as the hole in the chuck is bigger than in the usual 80mm chuck, and 20mm bar will fit inside it.
They have lever lock tailstocks and 550W motors (!). They also have spindle speed DROs, if that's of interest. Slightly more risky than the others, but ... well worth considering.
-- Peter Fairbrother
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

... ... ... ... ... ...

I like the Warco. Shame it's only 300mm. I like the idea of the quieter AET super C3, but I don't think it has a hardened bed, and newness + 2 month delay are a pain. Alan
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Peter Fairbrother wrote:

I digital speed readout has value.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I'm keen on digital electronic enhancements if they help. Alan
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

My recommendation is that you should join your local model engineering club wherein you will find a lot of helpful fellow enthusiasts, who will also have their tabs on decent second hand equipment for sale.
There is a local society for almost every county and major city in England.
For what it is worth, here is mine ... www.wwsme.org.uk
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Thanks, Have joined the forum, but it looks a bit quiet! http://www.nlsme.co.uk / Alan
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
OK, I think I'll be patient and go for a metric AET super C3 http://www.arceurotrade.co.uk/Catalogue/Machines-Accessories/Lathes/Model-C3-Mini-Lathe
I've got my eye on these accessories from further down on the same page:
Super C3 Digital Speed Display. C3 Milling Attachment MT2 Rolling Tailstock Arbor with 13mm Key Type Chuck (M10) ??? C3 Face Plate 160mm C3 Face Plate Clamping Set C3 Digital Readout Conversion Kit Metal Gear Set (as required) C3 #94 + #107 Brass Gibs Set
The main problem I can see, apart from not having the built in RPM readout of the standard C3, is that it doesn't have a hardened bed. What do people think? Alan
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

At present, you dont need:

-You just need a standard drill chuck and arbor - call us and speak to me. The MT2 Rolling Tailstock Chuck and arbor were a product for a different application to probably what you ar thinking.

-Get used to the dials and consider later. Also, if lathe is placed in cold workshop, these readouts start to become sensative at temperatures below 10 deg.C, especially if cheap batteries are used such as cheap 1.00 strips, instead of silver oxide type. having said this, most of these units come installed with the cheap batteries instead of SR type. Both types drain with colder temperatures. If the machine is in a heated environment, then the batteries drain at a slower rate.

-These are designed for use by Hells Angels only.

-This makes things smoother, but if the originals are adjusted correctly, they should work as well.
Spindle speed readout is useful, but not entirely necessary. Hardened bed - well there are over a 100,000 of these units around the world which dont have the hardened bed. If you look at the picture at the end of beds of mini-lathes which say they are hardened, it shows that only the V part of the bed and the same on the parallel? side is hardened. This raises the question - what is the meaning of "hardened bed" in the context of a mini-lathe. The word "hardened bed" is a great marketing tool. This is open for debate - one which I am not qualified to get involved in. Myfords didnt have a hardened bed. Rest is up to you to decide.
Ketan at ARC.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Ketan Swali wrote:

[...]
Agreed.
I have one, and consider I need, one, having broken two plastic gears ..
But the SuperX3 doesn't *have* gears, so even the Devil himself wouldn't need one of these.

I bought some brass to make some gibs, and put it somewhere safe - consequently/subsequently I have never been able to find it since. The normal ones are OK though.

Agreed.
Afaict the only [1] minilathe available in the UK with a hardened bed is the Warco. It's induction hardened, which probably means it's only hardened on the bearing surfaces - but then that's where you need hardening.
I have heard that they resist dings from dropped chucks etc much better than unhardened ones, but I don't know how reliable that is. The main point however is that they should also wear a lot better, and unfortunately modern minilathes are really too new for that kind of data to be available.
Ketan, how's the low speed torque on the Super X3? No gears is okay if that works (the brushless motor sounds good enough for normal speed work) -
- though a minilathe with backgear ... and power cross feed ...
... Oooh. :)
I'd buy one, even though I don't need one. Even if it was 100 extra, or more, though I'd hope for a hardened bed too, at that price :)
A lathe really needs backgear. Though for a short term occasional temporary expedient, the minilathe is small enough that you can augment the slow speed torque by using a handle on the main shaft. Is that why they don't have proper backgear?
And power X-feed / L-feed, preferably on a seperate shaft, or using seperate motors like the HLV-H. The seperate shaft/motors is needed so that you can set up the gears, banjo and leadscrew for screw cutting, and leave them set up while you do other work, if nothing else.
[1] the Axminster X2A may also have a hardened bed, but I don't really consider it as being a minilathe (or worth the price).
-- Peter Fairbrother

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

My point exactly - PF is a "noisy" hells angel :-)

Thank you for the correction. You mean Super C3. and yes, you are correct - it doesnt have these gairs. Lapse of mind!

You mean Super C3 . The torque at low speed on this is surprisingly good!

The C2A does not have a hardened bed. No mini-lathes from the SIEG factory have a hardened bed. If you want a hardened bed, you need to look at the Yangzou Real Bull factory product sold by Amadeal.
Ketan at ARC.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Ketan Swali wrote:

I resemble that remark. I only use one metal gear, one plastic, and I have your taper roller main bearings - so not so noisy.

Curious - Axminster say their C2A has a "Precision ground Vee bed with hardened slide ways" [1], Warco say their lathe has "Induction hardened and ground bedways" [2], but afaict Amadeal don't mention it either way [3].
The US Mad-dog (or something similar) Real Bull lathe has a hardened bed, but I don't see anything that says the Amadeal ones do.
Chester Conquests used to claim (and have) a hardened bed, but they don't claim so any more, just "precision ground" [4].
-- Peter F
[1] http://www.axminster.co.uk/axminster-sieg-c2a-300mm-mini-lathe-prod564883 / [2] http://www.warco.co.uk/Metalworking-Mini-Lathe-D4121A9297.aspx [3] http://www.amadeal.co.uk/acatalog/7_X_14.html [4] http://www.chesteruk.net/store/conquest_lathe.htm
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Peter Fairbrother wrote:

Peter,
This Amadeal lathe mentions hardened and precision ground http://www.amadeal.co.uk/acatalog/AMA_180V_-_7_X_12.html
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
David Billington wrote:

So it does - but afaict, unlike the Amadeal 7x14, it's not a Real Bull lathe.
Confused,
-- Peter F
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

Just to add a bit of paranoia to the picture. The Hardinge HLV that I'm rebuilding has a hardened bed (mid 60's HRC). I still had to grind 8 thou each off the top and both sides to get under the wear marks, then scrape 4 thou off the carriage to level that up.
Mark Rand RTFM
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Polytechforum.com is a website by engineers for engineers. It is not affiliated with any of manufacturers or vendors discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.