Lathe & Mill

Hi has anyone had anything to do with Chester UK Ltd as I am just trying to set up a small home workshop the machines I have been looking at are the 626 turret mill
and the 920 lathe has anyone any experience with these are they any good thanks for your help nick
--
Nick Holden
Banbury (UK)
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wrote:

Nick
Mixed views. A search on Chester in the group archives should give all flavours of opinion. http://groups-beta.google.com/group/uk.rec.models.engineering?hl=en&lr Regards
Charles
Visit http://www.homeworkshop.org.uk The free pages to buy and sell workshop equipment
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These will probably summarize as
- the machines are o.k. provided you don't expect miracles and don't flog them.
- Chester's delivery, after-sales service and spares supply can be diabolical.
I've had a Chester lathe-mill for five years and been satisfied with the machine itself. I seldom try to hold tolerances better than a thou and don't take heavy cuts. After five years' regular use, there has been no deterioration in performance.
It was well worth the money, and a damn sight easier than restoring a couple of clapped-out machines to give me the same facilities at the same cost. Delivery was very slow; no assistance was provided to get the thing to the workshop, although it was promised; it usually takes Chester several tries to supply even the simplest spare - like T-bolts. The lathe tools supplied with the m/c were rubbish.
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i bought a chester conquest and it was atrocious. it constantly neede
maintaining and burnt out a motor and controller after 18 months. get secondhand myford.i now have a myford ML10 and it is far superior!
-- bolma ----------------------------------------------------------------------- bolmas's Profile: http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/member.php?action=getinfo&userid )26 View this thread: http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?threadid9422
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Bought a Warco BH600 lathe and a Chester 626 mill, Warco were no problems but Chester did not deliver on the day they said they would, the machine was faulty and the finish of the paint is poor. Got it all sorted now and the machine does all I want it to. My advice would be to pay the little bit extra and get a Warco.
Paul.

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I think you have to be careful to generalise, some Warco machines are identical to Chester machines just a different colour. I think the key difference from my experience to date is that Warco tend to know what they are selling and feel an obligation to help when you have a problem.
Steve
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Steve,
You may be right but my experience of comparing the two companies' machines is that although they are essentially the same, the finish on the Warco item is much better. It may amount to just a bit more filler in the castings and a better thickness of paint but it may also indicate a general increase in quality control. Having said that I have machines from both companies and have to say that, finish aside, they have both performed well enough. My small Chester mill needed to be completely resprayed to increase the paint thickness in order to make it durable (also to reduce the amount of white, which is not a great colour to use in an engineering workshop!).
Overall, I agree with Paul, if the price difference is not too great, buy the Warco. But if you have time on your hands and fancy stripping, refinishing and rebuilding your machine, save the extra money and buy the Chester.
Mark
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machines
item
and
Last time I made a comparion (at a ME show), the Warco and Chester lathe/mills were not identical: hence the choice of the Chester.
After five years, there is hardly a mark on my Chester Lathe/Mill paintwork, and it gets used almost daily.
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I have a Chester Lathe, Mill (now superceded with a Warco item) and a multi-former. I've found them pretty good as long as you're not expecting a rolls Royce for mini costs. They all need some finishing to make them easier to use (simple stuff such as lever screws instead of the supplied allen heads etc.) bit nothing major. The finish is not as good as the Warco equivalents. Overall they work, they are, after all, only the same Chinese/Taiwanese stuff that everyone else is selling.
I've heard some things about their after sales service that doesn't sound too impressive but fortunately I've never had to use it. I've never had any delivery problems with them, they have always delivered on the day they said they would.
Although I had some minor issues with Warco on delivery, I would seriously look at their equivalent machines as their build quality seems to be very much better, although their prices are slightly higher to compensate but I understand that their after sales services is excellent (again, I haven't had to use it).
I hope it helps
Mark
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wrote:

Well after reading some of these remarks with the usual Chester / Warco remarks I'd like to add something.
First off we are talking cheap import models here, in fact they are not even cheap, they are ridiculously cheap. Lets take a lathe something along the style of a Myford. On one hand we have the Warco / Chester offering at around 850 and on the other we have the Myford at around 5,000 to 7,000 depending on spec. But it doesn't stop there. the C/W series are complete with chucks steadies etc, the Myford isn't.
So just on price it's obvious that there will be a difference and this shows in the fit and finish area's more than anything else.
As regards main machining I dare say they are just as good. remember these are being made on state of the art CNC machining centre's and CNC grinders capable of working to sub micron level. These are the type of machine only seen in the West in R&D and Aerospace applications and believe me they aren't operating for 20 per hour.
Myfords on the other hand are still using the same machinery they were using 30 years ago but it now has 30 years more wear on it.
Now lets take service and faults. To do this we will have to split into three entities as each company operates differently.
Warco operation is well known as is there support but even they get complaints because they are working to a price.
Chester is similar but what a lot of people don't realise is they have their own factory out in China with one of the Chester guys there full time. Chester also sell far more industrial machines than hobby machines. Were you see complains to these people remember that they are minute compared to sales.
Myford is a much reduced company from what it was, staff is around 15 to 17 total from a workforce of 400 plus a few years ago. Production is limited and at the moment there is a waiting list as there are a few people already waiting on machines ordered. They are no immune from complains either. Can you remember that post on here about two years ago where that guy had bought a new lathe and it wouldn't screwcut correctly ? Mark Rand borrowed a gear off someone and went and sorted it. Myfords were to busy !!!
You will never stop people complaining about machines, most are retired with too much time on their hands. That time would be better spent addressing issues like value for money.
Spend 850 for a complete machine and I mean complete and you have the difference between that and 7,000 to play with.
Don't expect that 7,000 machine for 850, if you get close then you have scored.
-- Regards,
John Stevenson Nottingham, England.
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Its a pity about Myford, very nice people to deal with and you very seldom, if ever, have to deal with them because their lathes are/were first class, mine is forty odd years old. Unfortunately schools no longer buy lathes and technical colleges are now pseudo universities offering courses in media studies etc. No volume, same overheads, the price has to go up. Moore and Wright is another name that springs to mind, I have one inch and two inch micrometers purchased from birthday money at the age of fifteen, fifty five years ago, still in use and as good as they were when new. The same can be said of many things, Diston wood saws, Stanley chisels and screwdrivers, Britool spanners etc etc etc. In my younger days the advice was to buy the best and it will last you a lifetime. Current advice seems to be to buy cheap and throw it away when it ceases to work or another more glamorous object appears. This is all fine but we have to remember that the earths physical resources are finite and our present generation worldwide appear to have little thought about those who follow. That being said I think the advice to buy the best has much going for it.
Donald, South Uist
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Some really good points coming out in this discussion that for once goes beyond the "mine is best" syndrome. Some 20 years ago after a series of secondhand (very) lathes that were all a disaster of one type or another I bought a brand new Myford (Speed 10), the cost was 550 for the basic machine. If one takes the usual "money doubles every 7 years" the equivalent today would be 4400, not far from where a Speed 10 would be in the market if it were still made. A couple of years later I obtained (at almost no cost) an import 920 type lathe and so for some 15 years I used these two machines side by side.
I think one has to think very carefully what you want the machine for, if you just need to turn the odd component and have the time and patience to accept the minor limitations of the lighter build of the import lathe, then I found it would produce work every bit as accurate as the Myford. If you want to do more than just turning then the Myford, or rather the accessories available for it came into its' own. The Myford was much more forgiving of milling and boring for example. The 920 could be encouraged to do it but it objected and is a much less flexible design. With the Myford (particularly the 7 series) you are buying into a "system" much like when I bought an Olympus OM2 some 25 years ago, the basic camera was excellent but the accessories available for it made it the entry point for a superb system that would cover almost any aspect of photography you might want. If it can be done then someone has done it (and written about it) on a Myford, of course that DOES NOT mean it can't also be done on a modern import. To balance this one needs to remember that a 920 lathe and a 626/VMC mill together will be half the cost of a new basic Myford so, if space is not a problem, this "system" argument will not be a major player in the decision process.
Another point worth considering is the re-sale value if (when) you decide to move to something bigger/better. When I took early retirement a couple of years ago and planned to spend much more time in my little workshop I decided that both machines had to go but for very different reasons. The Myford because it was just too small and basic and the 920 because I didn't enjoy using it, and enjoyment is the basic reason I want to be in the workshop at all. The Speed 10 I replaced with another Myford, a Super 7 (secondhand) and the 920 with a Boxford AUD. I find both machines a joy to use. The Myford sold instantly without advertising to a friend at a value (his valuation) well above what I paid for it and above the cost of a new 920. The 920 is still here looking for somewhere new to live. Although it is still an accurate machine it seems the chucks and motor are worth more than the whole machine. Seems a pity but my plan at the moment is to use it for a bit of wood turning.
So from my experience, if the machines are mainly used to support another main interest then I see nothing wrong with the import machines. If however, using the machines is the major interest then I believe investing in a top quality machine is worthwhile. Unless you are very lucky or have good contacts this is likely to cost a good deal more than 700/1500 when the required tooling is added even at second hand prices. I also believe that for someone just starting out and not sure if this will develop into a major interest then the import route could well be the best. The machines might not be perfect but they will be capable of accurate work when you are. If the hobby becomes a passion then you will want to change it eventually anyway.
I agree with John S the retirement market must be difficult to sell into, we all have a lifetime of experiences both good and bad that condition our thinking and given that most retired people have a reduced income we also want the best possible deal for our money. This doesn't always equate to best value for money however and I suspect that many buy what they have always wanted without doing any sort of cost/value analysis. If I don't buy what I want now when will I buy it?
I believe that these import machines at the moment are absolutely superb value for money and will certainly do the job. That however, is not always the test and only you (the buyer) can decide what the test should be. I have bought from both companies mentioned and got what I paid for. The finish on the Warco equipment is slightly better and they are a very friendly company to deal with. The equipment from both worked equally well and I haven't had any problems to sort out. If I was to buy what I need it would be import, if I was to buy what I want the money goes to Myford but, of course I'm different - we all are.
Regards
Keith
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On 19 Jul 2005 13:58:21 -0700, jontom snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

You have answered your own question here, if it was a question <g> You say retired people are on a reduced income but think about this. If it was not for these imports, at whatever quality, then most wouldn't get a chance to enter this hobby. Lets take the two options open if we leave the imports out. One we can rush out and buy a new Myford that's if they can actually deliver before the undertaker catches up. Last call on this was the Co-op funeral service was quoting 2 weeks for a cremation, Myfords were quoting 6 months for a non guaranteed delivery.
Second option is to buy secondhand. As Keith has said in an earlier post about resale values, the better machines keep them so to get decent you need to pay more. From reading the adverts it looks like a lot more than import to get decent. So because money is tight you buy to a price. Now you have a worn British lathe, made umpteen years ago on machinery left over from WWII.
So now you are at the same point or probably worse than an import. all the things people remark on with import faults, tatty paint, marks on bed and slides you have now bought AND you are proud of it. So the next few weeks is spent putting this back to rights as much as you can, given you don't posess bed grinders, line borers and measuring equipment able to do this. But no one moans about this. Slightest scratch on an import and whey hey lets slag these off on the group.
These people like Chester, Warco, Arc Euro etc are actually doing you all a favour selling these lower cost machines. If it was not for these then many wouldn't be able to get a decent workshop set up.
Think about this. Lets take the early mill drill, various models, various names and about three different sizes. All had faults according to many. Crap build, sand in the castings, you lost register when you moved the head etc, etc, ad nauseam. Shipped over here literally by the many thousands, everyone was and still is selling these, even Seeley.
Where are they??????
I deal a lot with scrap people and have never seen a scrap one yet. Hardly ever show up in adverts........ When you consider that since these have been imported as I say they have been in their thousands, now take Tom Senior, how many do you think they made ? , as many as these mill drills coming from about 10 factories in 5 countries ? No way but you see plenty of Tom Senior's for sale.
So where are these crap mill drills? The answer is the people who bought them still have them. If they are that bad why haven't they flooded the market with them? The answer is they aren't that bad.

good point..

-- Regards,
John Stevenson Nottingham, England.
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On Wed, 20 Jul 2005 12:00:14 GMT, John Stevenson

Hey, that Union Jag drill press you sold me a couple of years ago had sand in the castings... the column had the entire core still in it! Still using it though.
Mark Rand RTFM
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On Thu, 21 Jul 2005 00:21:19 +0100, Mark Rand

That's ballast, there's a difference <g>
-- Regards,
John Stevenson Nottingham, England.
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John/Mark
Thats the real reason for all the complaints about imports and sand then - the "ballast" is missing or "leaking".
An interesting response (or lack of it) to these "some imports are OK and are actually good value for money" comments, perhaps the "silent majority" are finally having their say. Hope so because I totally agree with John that without these affordable machines many would be forced to remain as "dreamers" and never experience the pleasure of filling the house with swarf. The major benefit of this side affect to our hobby is of course that SWMBO is so busy moaning about the " sharp bits" in her carpet that she totally forgets about all those jobs you haven't had time to do. Some hope!!
Regards
Keith
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John/Mark
Thats the real reason for all the complaints about imports and sand then - the "ballast" is missing or "leaking".
An interesting response (or lack of it) to these "some imports are OK and are actually good value for money" comments, perhaps the "silent majority" are finally having their say. Hope so because I totally agree with John that without these affordable machines many would be forced to remain as "dreamers" and never experience the pleasure of filling the house with swarf. The major benefit of this side affect to our hobby is of course that SWMBO is so busy moaning about the " sharp bits" in her carpet that she totally forgets about all those jobs you haven't had time to do. Some hope!!
Regards
Keith
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On 21 Jul 2005 01:24:32 -0700, jontom snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

A lot of it is that peoples expectations don't match their wallet <g> True we would all like the latest, all singing, all dancing, super finished machine and still have change out of a quid for a pint <g> , sorry - won't happen.
True there was some shite out there in the early days, mismatched holes, rat holes in castings etc but mainstream things have changed and it's all based on money.
Behind all this is cash flow and investment. There is still a lot of money in the western world from investments, pensions, shareholders etc. Now these companies that handle this have to make a return on their money to pay out dividends and pensions etc.
So where to invest it? No good in the west we are a declining manufacturing nation by virtue we haven't had investment capital available, governments haven't been receptive and unions and health and safety have generally stiffed things up big time, - but lets not get political here, just filling the gaps in.
So now our investment company is looking to give money away to make more. So they go East and say do you want 10 million dollars if we can get more back. So this Eastern company says yes, goes out and buys the latest brand new computerised machine and starts churning out perfect parts by the million and earns a good return on the capital.
Now straight away they are not one rung up the ladder from us but five. That machine they bought we have never seen, no one over here has had the balls to buy one because of high overheads.
After they have got over early teething troubles they are churning out parts to a far greater accuracy than we can and were able to do on 40 year old semi auto machines.
Take a classic example like a spindle. Our method is to rough turn, send for hardening, collect and grind to finish. possibly a three day turn around and 2 to 3 hours involved per part.
The new method is to take a pre hardened blank and hard turn to finished size, accurate to a few microns, same day turn around and possibly 7 to 15 minutes per part.
Where they come unstuck is finish, One coat of paint and out the door. After all it is only a lathe isn't it. Now I know there are anally retentive purists out there that *need* a finish on a machine that's better than on their car but is a 500 paint job going to get you any better a job ?
-- Regards,
John Stevenson Nottingham, England.
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On Thu, 21 Jul 2005 08:54:41 GMT, John Stevenson

Well spoken that man!
-- cerberus
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message wrote:>A lot of it is that peoples expectations don't match their wallet <g>

I bought a Mill/Drill from Warco, just for fun. It's been lots of fun. What came in the box? 63mm face mill, 16mm drill chuck, pozilock chuk and collet set, and an tilting machine vice (which was utter crap!) however, you get the thing out of the crate on the bench and start to play. I probably should have gone for an R8 rather than MT3 taper but thats me not WARCO's "fault".
I can't afford a new "Western" made mill or accomodate one. Never mind for fun.
I'm planning on getting a Chester lathe next (DB10G), (to replace my old American centre lathe) again fully equipped (chucks, centres etc) with calibration certificates and lots of change out of a grand. At that price, its pretty much paid for itself once you have had 12 months fun turning perfectly good barstock into swarf and chips, never mind produced anything useful!
John S spot on as usual.
Steve
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