Combined Lathe / Mill

We are currently looking at combined lathe / milling machine. The Clarke CL500M / Warco (seems to be the same machine as the clarke
wearing different clothes). Also seen the Chester Model B Super.
Cost and space (hence combined machine) are significant factors.
Constructive advice / comments would be much appreciated, particularly from anyone who has one of these machines.
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snipped-for-privacy@emjay-services.co.uk wrote:

I've got a Warco 300 combo. The lathes acceptable - although I've recently run in to some problems with the 3 jaw chuck being well out :-( - the mill head I consider to be not even worthy of a boat anchor, but I will have to add it depends on what material you plan to work on. For steel it's rubbish, just not solid enough and impossible to clamp the quill and column firmly enough - I even bust the quill clamp on one head trying to get it clamped enough, luckily I was able to pick up another head off ebay. If you're dealing with softer metals or plastic, then you can get it to work OK, but the range of movement isn't very great, nor the table size that big in reality. Also you'd need to get the machine block, sold separately, to raise the work up high enough to reach the head if you're milling thin stuff.
I've recently got hold of a old Marlow milling machine that I've been vaguely restoring and expect to be able to do some decent work on. In the future I'd like to replace the Warco completely with something of about the same size and capacity but with a decent speed gearbox and screw cutting gearbox, but for the time being I'll cope with the lathe as is.
Cheers, Rob
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On or around 17 Dec 2006 14:30:05 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@emjay-services.co.uk enlightened us thusly:

The milling part of it especially looks suitable only for very limited work. The lathe (clarke's one is the only one I've examined) looks OK but made down to a price like most of clarke's stuff.
I've got the bigger Clarke milling machine which is still not all that good, really. It's a fine thing for drilling big holes but milling-wise it's not really up to much. Mind, it'd be better with a better cutter.
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Thanks all for your replies.
I have spoken to quite a few people and the general consensus of opinion seems to be that the Clarke Lathe (CL430) is quite good (for a budget lathe) but that the mill attachment, which hops this machine up to become the CL500M, is not really worth having.
In light of this it seems likely that we would go for the Clarke lathe (the spec seems quite good) and a seperate axminster mill (similar to the bigger clarke mill). A little more expense and space than we had hoped.
What would your comments be?
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I have the Clarke CL500M and the lathe does everything that I want it to, as a machine tool fitter by profession there are things that I have improved on including lock nuts on all the slide adjustment, locking screws on the incremental dials. I have the articles that were in MEW and intend doing them for myself and a friend. The mill part I have never used, I bought this lathe second hand new from a company I worked for who bought and never used it. I got it for 300 pounds with a lot of tooling, chucks etc. My Mill is a Warco Major with a different badge on it and it machines steel with no problem at all, that also came from a previous employer for 50 with tooling and hardly any use. They both have their faults but then so do brand new more expensive machines. You would never get the perfect machine in your garage\workshop for size, cost or weight.
Martin P

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On or around 18 Dec 2006 10:45:06 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@emjay-services.co.uk enlightened us thusly:

dunno. The CMD1225 is what I have here. It's reasonably solid and as I said is an excellent pillar drill. Milling-wise, the cutter that comes with it is not much cop but you could fit others. The table moves well enough and has gibs to adjust play in it. The fine feed had "issues", it's done by what appears to be a cast iron (it machines like cast iron) worm wheel on which the teeth broke - however, some study of this indicated that the worm was meshing near the end of the teeth and thus not as well engaged as it could be. I took it off and machined some off it so the wheel would go further onto the spindle and this made it work again, so far, it's OK.
As for the lathe... my personal thoughts would be to hunt a decent s/h Boxford or Colchcester Bantam or similar. The older lathes are much better made (of course, when new, they cost much more). Same may well apply to milling machines, but I have little knowledge there. The clarke one is OK as far as it goes but I would definitely go and see one in the flesh, so to speak, before buying. Basically, they're budget machines and are worth what you pay for them...
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The CL300 has a swing over bed of 305mm whilst the Chester Model B is 420mm - quite a difference.
This could be the answer to my flywheel turning problem, but is the Model B really rigid enough as a lathe to do a good job on a 12" flywheel?
On 17 Dec 2006 14:30:05 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@emjay-services.co.uk wrote:

John Ambler Sussex, UK Return E-mails to snipped-for-privacy@skiprat.net http://www.skiprat.net
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In terms of separate lathe and mill axminster machines have been recommended (C6 and ZX25 i think).
Does anyone have any experience of axminster machines, we have only ever used them for the odd hand tool.
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enlightened us thusly:

yeah, but the CL430 is very likely the same machine. CL300 is the baby one, and a nice enough thing in it's way.

I've got one that will swing 12" over the bed. But mine's a Colchester Student...
There are a couple of they on fleabay at the moment, one of which looks distinctly rough and would need inspecting before handing over the readies.
There's also a colchester triumph (next size up, ISTR 13" swing and 40" BC but I could be wrong) but they weigh about 2 tons and are beyond the scope of the typical garden shed - 7 days to go but currently up for abotu 29 quid (!)
The student isn't all that heavy, summat around half a ton.
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