To recondition or to buy new, that is the question

I have an aged Atlas 5" lathe which needs reconditioning. To have the bed ground flat, buy a new leadscrew, new half nuts, belts, possibly a
new motor and various other sundries will cost about £700.00.
For that I will have (hopefully) an accurate lathe with power feed both to the carriage and crosslide, forward and reverse feed for the carriage, screwcutting capability, thread indicator, sixteen speeds including back gear, easy access to all the working parts. I have several 3 and 4 jaw chucks, the full range of change gears, t-slotted crosslide, drawbar and 3C collets and a general use drawbar.
But I will still have an old lathe with a diminishing number of new parts available.
For about a £1,000.00 I can buy a new Warco WM250 (the current new lathe favourite) which has about the same dimensions as the Atlas. It comes well equipped and the only serious gripe I have read is they are a bit underpowered. Warco have a good reputation and a friend who is a retired toolmaker has one of their lathes and is pleased with it.
I can afford the £1,000.00 but no more and I haven't got room for anything larger.
I am in a quandry as to which way to go. Any suggestions and reasons to go either way would be welcome.
John H
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Grinding the bed lowers the carriage relative to the leadscrew. I machined 0.025" off the ways of an old 6" AA/Sears and have to shim the carriage up with brass strips to thread or use the power feed.
For me the answer was to put a minimum of money into reconditioning the old lathe and buy a larger, better one for precision machining, and use the old one for messy grinding and polishing jobs. I set it to spin much faster than the bigger lathe, so it's more useful for polishing and drilling small deep holes. Its last job was grinding a custom router bit to deepen the o-ring grooves in a hydraulic pump.
jsw
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wrote:

My view is that if you were using it for business purposes or really _had_ to make that 5 1/4" gauge Titch, then sell it and buy new.
However, it it's for hobby use and you have a general interest in engineering and more time than money, then go for the rebuild. I've spent the last 4 years completely rebuilding a Hardinge HLV lathe. It still isn't perfect, but its currently better than anything I could buy new for less than the cost of my house.
This year I hope to start on rebuilding my 10"x48" Beaver milling machine.
I've learned a lot and it's kept me out of the house, but it hasn't built any locos or traction engines :-)
Regards Mark Rand RTFM
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First of thanks to everyone for all the information and comments.
I suppose I can blame Mark for my decision as he was the person who put the situation in a nutshell
However, it it's for hobby use and you have a general interest in engineering and more time than money, then go for the rebuild. I've spent the last 4 years completely rebuilding a Hardinge HLV lathe. It still isn't perfect, but its currently better than anything I could buy new for less than the cost of my house.
As it is for hobby use, and I like messing around making things and solving problems, the rebuild is the route I’m taking. But I am going to limit my expenditure at the outset so as give me the possibility of changing my mind in the future. As the Atlas is a simple machine to strip and rebuild I will do the basics now and if everything works out OK I’ll continue improving it. I do realise the problems associated with the Atlas but think a lot of them can be overcome.
I did consider looking, amongst other makes, for a Raglan 5” as they have a good reputation but that would risk being in the same position as with the Atlas, having a well worn machine in need of restoration.
The link that Bill supplied was very informative and although there is hostility to the Chinese machine tools I think it is misguided. As the link that Jim supplied showed the Warco is a well equipped hobbyists lathe, but built to a cost. Most people seem to want to have a Porsche but only want to pay for a Ford. Out of curiosity I compared the Warco with a German sourced Wabeco of a similar size and found a £2,500 difference in price! What would the price of a new British built Raglan be now!
As was said, the only logical route for somebody wanting a new lathe at a budget cost is to buy a Chinese machine and immediately strip and rebuild it. I wonder how many Wabeco lathes are sold as compared to Warco.
John H
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Take note of this if you lower the leadscrew bearings: http://bellsouthpwp.net/t/h/thib9564/Atlas_Lathe_Leadscrew_Bearings.htm
jsw
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On Sun, 30 Jan 2011 15:16:23 -0800 (PST), John

It's over 10k for a Myford with fancy paint.
http://www.myford.com/s7c-prices-options.html
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The Other Mike wrote:

And £1600 to add TWO scales .... I'm not charging enough :)
--
Lester Caine - G8HFL
-----------------------------
  Click to see the full signature.
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On Wed, 02 Feb 2011 11:55:01 +0000, The Other Mike

That's for the conny sewer version - a shade less than that for the super 7 sigma...a snip at 7K...
Regards, Tony
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Same situation here, this is the smallest and cheapest South Bend, the Light 10: http://www.grizzly.com/products/South-Bend-10K-28-Bench-Lathe/SB1002 A Heavy 10 like I have was over $10,000 until discontinued a few years ago. Mine barely survived 20+ years in a trade school. Every small fitting had been broken off and the tailstock spindle used as an anvil horn. Luckily they didn't use it as a lathe very much, so it had relatively little wear.
Even good lathes succumb to multiple careless or destructive users. OTOH the 15" lathe from India that I learned on was in a high school shop run by a stern and watchful instructor and had remained in good shape except for the wad of chips embedded in the camlock spindle taper.
This leaves the budget hobbyist who may not ever cut his weight in swarf with the choice of old, worn and questionable or new, cheesy and questionable.
From what I've seen of the imports, a careful owner/user can get good service from a decent example, but they don't tolerate abuse well.
jsw
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wrote:

I've only just realised that if you want any of these 'new' models in Myford Grey it's another six hundred quid extra"
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On Fri, 21 Jan 2011 14:32:05 -0800 (PST), John

Have a look at these photos:
http://www.model-engineer.co.uk/albums/member_photo.asp?a 378&p"6563 Strange mixture of excellence and bodgery, precision grinding and foundry sand. Bill H Derby
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Over here the usual advice is to treat imports like a used machine or a temporarily assembled kit of parts; tear them down, clean out the dirt and fix any problems you find. In my experience the major parts are reasonably well made, it's the small stuff thats junk.
jsw
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wrote:

The specification of the 1330 lathe is very impressive: http://www.warco.co.uk/productimages/documents/P43.pdf
What I find hard to understand is the strange mixture of some precision, highly finished parts combined with a complete lack of care or quality in other ares. I can only think that many of the machined parts are subcontracted but the main assembly factory is under pressure to meet demand and has recruited substandard fitters and supervisors. The worst aspects are in the areas out of immediate view to a customer so it is likely that the worst offenders are higher specification machines with enclosed gearbox subassemblies.
I notice that some of the importers offer a preparation service for about 25% extra that includes stripping and removing the debris and relubricating and adjusting. Possibly this incudes selective assessment from the delivered batch of machines. This service seems like a wise buy - although at asian labour rates you would expect that modern supply chain management would ensure this quality was provided at source and at little additional cost.
Also the design of the parts looks like they have been draughted by a college student with no real appreciation for the proportioning of machine parts or how to design a casting. Form follows function; if it looks right etc
Bill H Derby
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I have an aged Atlas 5" lathe which needs reconditioning. To have the bed ground flat, buy a new leadscrew, new half nuts, belts, possibly a new motor and various other sundries will cost about £700.00.
For that I will have (hopefully) an accurate lathe with power feed both to the carriage and crosslide, forward and reverse feed for the carriage, screwcutting capability, thread indicator, sixteen speeds including back gear, easy access to all the working parts. I have several 3 and 4 jaw chucks, the full range of change gears, t-slotted crosslide, drawbar and 3C collets and a general use drawbar.
But I will still have an old lathe with a diminishing number of new parts available.
For about a £1,000.00 I can buy a new Warco WM250 (the current new lathe favourite) which has about the same dimensions as the Atlas. It comes well equipped and the only serious gripe I have read is they are a bit underpowered. Warco have a good reputation and a friend who is a retired toolmaker has one of their lathes and is pleased with it.
I can afford the £1,000.00 but no more and I haven't got room for anything larger.
I am in a quandry as to which way to go. Any suggestions and reasons to go either way would be welcome.
John H
I would avoid Warco and anything else from the far east. Friend of mine bought several Warco lathes for a training centre, there rubbish compared to a good used Colchester, Boxford or even a Myford. Bob
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A thorough look at a new one: http://www.cign.org/lathe.html
jsw
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wrote in message

A thorough look at a new one: http://www.cign.org/lathe.html
jsw
Don't be fooled............ They are rubbish, countless little niggley bits that are only acceptable with a little bit of TLC and adjustment, and wont last for long. Forget them, go for used good English or even American stuff like the old South Bend machines. Bob
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I have a 50+ year old South Bend lathe and Clausing mill in my shop but there aren't nearly enough good ones to go around, or affordable spares to fix the worn ones. The South Bend Heavy 10 lathe has attracted collector and restorer interest which is pushing up the price of a machine with half a century of wear above that of a new import.
So what should one suggest to a beginning hobbyist who lacks the experience to evaluate a worn machine, or the skill to restore it?
jsw
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On Tue, 25 Jan 2011 16:48:05 -0800 (PST), Jim Wilkins

Buy a new machine from a reputable supplier. However, even then, life isn't always plain sailing - I hear that even at Myfords exalted prices you still can find that a new machine is rather less than perfect.
Regards, Tony
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http://www.supplymachinery.com/myford_lathe.htm
jsw
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On Wed, 26 Jan 2011 06:08:33 -0800 (PST), Jim Wilkins

...and your point was...?
Regards, Tony
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