Lathes and not knowing

Hello all, i have reading over your shoulders for a little while now, im not in any of your leagues so i have kept quiet and just read all the info that you all
contribute to each other, some of it way over my head but some sinking in.
ok my problems. i was a wood man until i found that metal can be more forgiving. i don't do anything very precise, mostly making kite buggy's or fishing rod rests, all of 304 or 303 A2 stainless. i make the odd tool as well. my workshop isn't very big so im after a small lathe and ideally would be one with the milling.
a few years ago i was given a 450a Derbyshire, no tool post but i have sorted it out with an hacksaw, file and a lot of sweat. it was the lathe only with no motor of pulley blocks and the lathe only had the one block inside it. only use it had from him was to sharpen points for compasses. i tried to use different motors but with little (none experience) i didn't know what to do so i ended up using the motor out of my lawn rake and i made a speed controlled. this has been working fine for a few years even if it is very loud. it has collets and a little 3 jaw chuck and a few other chucks ad a Jacobs, no live centre of any type. that was my first think i made but its just a centre. my problem it i cant use the lathe for anything over about 15mm as the lathe struggles to turn when starting to cut, even then i only take very small amounts off at a time. i need a proper job now i think. i would like something small like a Boxford but i know very little about them and the best place to get one. eBay i have been looking for a long long time for one but they seam to go for a fortune.
i have been looking at new the Clarke with the mill would be perfect size but its a Clarke and i was told no don't do it. i have also looked as the warco is it? i would love something like it but where can i get a good lath from at a good price. anyone want to sell one to me?
im need help and guidance gent please.
kind regards Phil.
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[snip]

My first lathe was a Boxford and although I have moved on since then I have no doubt that, purely by chance and good luck, it was the right choice for me. So go with your gut feeling if, for no other reason than that if you don't find it to your liking you will have a) some experience under your belt b) avoided the inevitable depreciation that goes with buying new. With a something like a Boxford you will have a fair chance of getting a reasonable proportion of your money back if and when you sell.
--
Mike Hopkins
CSME <http://www.cheltsme.org.uk>
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Phil Morris wrote:

Phil, Hi, most small lathes will do a bit of milling if you fit a vertical slide. The capability is a bit limited but many model engineers produce first class work with this set up. Unfortunately, for your comment below re Boxfords, they as standard are difficult as the cross slide is not flat topped to act as a boring table. You can buy a suitable cross slide but when added to the cost of a vertical slide can become somewhat expensive. Many first time buyers also look at the "combination" machines that have both a lathe headstock and a milling head. Unless you are really strapped for space I believe that they are too much of a compromise particularly with the milling capabilities. Better to look for a small milling machine to compliment the lathe, almost all of these will have better milling capability than the combination machines. That said many use them successfully.

As Mike has said the Boxford is an excellent small lathe and is more robust than many of the new import machines currently available. However, the fact that it is a good machine means that there are plenty about but although many have had little use in schools etc, many have had long hard lives in industry. You need to be able to distinguish between the two extremes or it could be an expensive lesson. I currently have a Boxford and am very happy with it. The most prolific models are the AUD, BUD and CUD. The AUD is favourite as it has a gearbox and power crossfeed, the BUD does without the gearbox and the CUD does without both. The CUD is a fairly plain lathe and is the one I think is sometimes overpriced as people seem to think the machines are all the same. Typically many of these were put into schools and have had very little use, in my opinion if you are going to develop your use of the lathe they are too basic to consider. I bought my Boxford AUD via this group, it's in first class condition and I paid less than the cost of an import 918 type machine. The Boxford is quite heavy though with it's cabinet and will certainly need a van or trailer to move complete. Lots of Boxfords are 3 phase and although convertion is fairly easy it will add more to your cost.
Phil, you need to give us a few more clues, what area of the country are you in, what sort of price do you want to pay and do you see yourself developing beyond the type of work you have outlined. Even if your first thought is no I would recommend that you buy a better equipped machine as not only will it be suitable for a wider range of work but it will also retain it's value better.
Don't automatically discount the new import (Warco, Arc EuroTrade, Chester, Engineers Toolroom etc) machines as the quality has improved greatly over the last few years. They normally come reasonably well equipped and are an excellent starting point. You will need to decide exactly what you want to do though as the choice is wide and buying on price alone is not recommended. Warco have north and south showrooms these days and a visit to have a look athe the machines is well worth while as is visiting one of the many "shows".

Phil, don't be in too much of a hurry to spend your money, a good look round and carefull consideration will inevitably produce a better decision. I'm sure someone on here will have or know of a suitable machine although it might take a week or two. Keep your request near the top and I'm sure something will turn up. Buy bigger than you think you need and be prepared to spend as much again on tooling after the initial lathe purchase.
Best regards
Keith
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Phil,
I have a Clarke Lathe with the mill attached and find the lathe does everything I want of it, it has it short comings as all lathes do but as an engineer by profession I overcome them. I have not used the mill, I bought the setup second hand from a company I worked for who bought it but never used it, because I also have a small Mill/drill which is equally a good machine. I manufacture parts for Stationary Engines and do model engineering with it as well. As the others have said you must decide what you want and what you can afford.
Martin P

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I have recently bought a Warco machine, and it seems fine so far. Its not the best machine inthe world, but worth the money.
Depending on where you are, a visit to their showroom is deffo worth it
Ed
On Wed, 28 Jun 2006 21:56:48 +0100, "campingstoveman"

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phil hi, some very good sound advice already given, my advice is not t
rush into anything, "dont" go splashing out your dosh at the firs lathe that comes your way, if you are interested in doing only genera model engineering stuff, then a boxford, myford ML7 or super 7 harrison, or a small colchester all will see you ok for many years t come, i started with a myford ML7 and to be honest i wished i had neve parted with it, the myford range have a huge tooling range thats easil sought but a little pricey, but all lathe tooling is expensive n matter what lathe you end up with, could you post some more info o were you live and what you intend on making ect then we would be abl to give you more advice
-- blueswar ----------------------------------------------------------------------- blueswarf's Profile: http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/member.php?uv57 View this thread: http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?tS614
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Thanks gents for the help so far. im in Gloucestershire in a little village called churchdown. im not into models like steam boilers or engines so i don't need and cant see me going down that road. what tends to happen is someone asks if i can repair a fishing rod rest or make then a set of stainless one. there's no need for very tight tolerances and most of the time its to the nearest millimetre. the problem i have with the 750A is i cant go any bigger the 15mm as the torque needed just burns the speed controller out. i would love to have money burning holes but alas i have to make do most of the time. i have a tubla pipe bender here that hasn't been used in a long while so the plan is to sell it on to someone that will get use from it and then the money from that sale will help in the new lathe for me. the benders at 1000 new so im hoping the sale with almost cover the lathe. all i have been doing is looking in the local rags and on eBay. nothing has been in the papers and eBay i would like to see before i buy but then the prices things go for seam rather high.
i have no one around here into the same sort of things and i work from home so i don't get to hear about lathes going for sale.lol.
i had a play on a small Boxford a few weeks back and a Harrison. the Boxford was about the right size for the space i have. it was about 4 foot in total. what other lathes should i be looking at of about that size. idea it should be able to handle stainless upto 50mm and be able to take 20mm bar thought the chuck in longer lengths, sorry i don't know what the hole through the headstock is called. i have a bad memory.lol. i was looking as the Clarke stuff again .....just for size that's all.lol. the small yellow ones they do look a little small and i would worry about killing them like i have with the Derbyshire. there bigger lathe with the milling head would be about my max size.
i think i will go for lathe only and then wait for a mill to come along. i haven't had one yet so but there has been times when i could have used one, not that much to warrant the extra expense at the moment.
thanks again gents kind regards Phil.

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Phil Morris wrote:

Phil, small world, although I now live in South Wales I was born in the Cotswolds and lived for a number of years in Winstone near Birdlip. I'm afraid that I am totally out of date with whats available up that way. Used to visit a place called Toolco at Ebly, Stroud. They had good stock but quite expensive.

If you are absolutely certain that this is the case then many secondhand lathes will do the job for you. Do you need to cut threads as that will require a more complex machine? I'm not sure I would recommend buying in this part of the market because if you do need to change it later for a more accurate/complex machine a very basic lathe that you appear to need will not hold it's value or sell well. If you do go for an old simple machine make sure you only spend what you are prepared to lose.

Phil, I still can't grasp what sort of budget you are looking to spend. I've seen a number of Boxford AUD/BUD go on E-bay for something about 5-600 which I feel is good value for money as long as they are OK. If you want to go cheaper then the simpler CUD or the extremely basic TUD should be much cheaper (isn't always true though), I wouldn't recommend such a basic lathe though. I do agree however that you must see it before you buy it. A number of less popular lathes might be worth considering but they will be cheap because they are old and worn, look for Raglan Littlejohn which is Boxford sized but a little heavier built or even an old Atlas 10f which is a very lightweight 5" lathe. I wouldn't pay very much for either myself but they would do what you want although the spindle clearance will not be sufficient on the Atlas. The few things I have bought via E-bay have taken a lot of patience as I have to wait until something close is listed. As has been said before the danger is rushing to buy something today.

If you get a good price for the bender and want to spend 600ish then you should find a reasonable Boxford. If you want to go new then look at the Warco, Chester 918/920 type lathes. They are the same capacity as the Boxford although very lightly built (not a problem for your needs) spindle clearance is 19mm and they come reasonably well equipped. In the present market you should certainly get one of these for less than 700. If you are tempted by the huge capacity of the larger Clarke type lathes then be realistic in what you are buying. They can be made to work successfully but are not very sophisticated and do not keep their value well at all. If you have an engineering background then for the capacity they provide they are cheap. Unfortunately not just the capacity is cheap. The smaller Clarke will not have much power as you say and I don't think the spindle clearance is anything like 20mm.

If you can get a larger machine in then they are normally a bit cheaper particulary the older ones. I've just been told of a Colchester Student that went for 75 (6' long though and heavy). Boxford, Harrison, Colchester (Bantam or Chipmaster), Raglan etc are all well recognised lathes. Don't forget though if you find an older model it could be well worn although I've not seen one that would not work to much tighter limits than your 1mm. If you find a different lathe on offer have a look at http://www.lathes.co.uk/ for information.
Many schools and universities are still closing down their metal technology departments so it would be worth contacting the local educaton department and then the local schools. You will need to work your way through the usually unhelpful "jobsworths" though. I've not been successful with this route but many have. Also put a wanted ad and keep a watch on http://www.homeworkshop.org.uk/ it is a well used site so if you see something that takes your fancy be quick.
Good luck hope you find something suitable
Keith

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thanks Keith. very interesting read there and a lot of ideas are running in the grey matter now. although screw cutting is would be nice i still cut threads the old way with tap and dies.
i think i will just have to learn a bit more patience for the right lathe to come along. in the mean time i will have a look at the Chester as i have had a few people tell me that they would do the job
thanks again people for all your help and guidance, i will let you all know what i went with in the end. kid regards Phil.
Phil Morris wrote:

Phil, small world, although I now live in South Wales I was born in the Cotswolds and lived for a number of years in Winstone near Birdlip. I'm afraid that I am totally out of date with whats available up that way. Used to visit a place called Toolco at Ebly, Stroud. They had good stock but quite expensive.

If you are absolutely certain that this is the case then many secondhand lathes will do the job for you. Do you need to cut threads as that will require a more complex machine? I'm not sure I would recommend buying in this part of the market because if you do need to change it later for a more accurate/complex machine a very basic lathe that you appear to need will not hold it's value or sell well. If you do go for an old simple machine make sure you only spend what you are prepared to lose.

Phil, I still can't grasp what sort of budget you are looking to spend. I've seen a number of Boxford AUD/BUD go on E-bay for something about 5-600 which I feel is good value for money as long as they are OK. If you want to go cheaper then the simpler CUD or the extremely basic TUD should be much cheaper (isn't always true though), I wouldn't recommend such a basic lathe though. I do agree however that you must see it before you buy it. A number of less popular lathes might be worth considering but they will be cheap because they are old and worn, look for Raglan Littlejohn which is Boxford sized but a little heavier built or even an old Atlas 10f which is a very lightweight 5" lathe. I wouldn't pay very much for either myself but they would do what you want although the spindle clearance will not be sufficient on the Atlas. The few things I have bought via E-bay have taken a lot of patience as I have to wait until something close is listed. As has been said before the danger is rushing to buy something today.

If you get a good price for the bender and want to spend 600ish then you should find a reasonable Boxford. If you want to go new then look at the Warco, Chester 918/920 type lathes. They are the same capacity as the Boxford although very lightly built (not a problem for your needs) spindle clearance is 19mm and they come reasonably well equipped. In the present market you should certainly get one of these for less than 700. If you are tempted by the huge capacity of the larger Clarke type lathes then be realistic in what you are buying. They can be made to work successfully but are not very sophisticated and do not keep their value well at all. If you have an engineering background then for the capacity they provide they are cheap. Unfortunately not just the capacity is cheap. The smaller Clarke will not have much power as you say and I don't think the spindle clearance is anything like 20mm.

If you can get a larger machine in then they are normally a bit cheaper particulary the older ones. I've just been told of a Colchester Student that went for 75 (6' long though and heavy). Boxford, Harrison, Colchester (Bantam or Chipmaster), Raglan etc are all well recognised lathes. Don't forget though if you find an older model it could be well worn although I've not seen one that would not work to much tighter limits than your 1mm. If you find a different lathe on offer have a look at http://www.lathes.co.uk/ for information.
Many schools and universities are still closing down their metal technology departments so it would be worth contacting the local educaton department and then the local schools. You will need to work your way through the usually unhelpful "jobsworths" though. I've not been successful with this route but many have. Also put a wanted ad and keep a watch on http://www.homeworkshop.org.uk/ it is a well used site so if you see something that takes your fancy be quick.
Good luck hope you find something suitable
Keith

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