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Ricardito 12-29-2012 08:04 AM

small metal lathe
 
Guys,
need some advice and pointers on the purchase of a small metal lathe for my home garage. It'll be used for simple (at least at first) jobs such as thread cutting, polishing, resizing metal (mostly aluminum) parts, fabricating uncomplicated pieces such as odd sized wflat wahers, etc. What brands are ok, how old can it be, what basic features should it have? Where should I look for one in good condition? My only criteria are that it should be a 110 v motor and cost me somewhere between $500 and $1,000.
Any and all (constructive) comments, derived from your own experience are appreciated.
Happy New Year.

hayasakiman 12-29-2012 09:06 AM

Craigslist is where I find deals on such equipments.

There's a machinist on the airport I work. He gets calls from other machinists who may be retiring and selling stuff/equipments, from time to time. You may want to go and see your local machinists and get some information like that.

P B G 12-29-2012 09:13 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ricardito (Post 20350787)
Guys,
at first) jobs such as thread cutting, polishing, resizing metal (mostly aluminum) parts, fabricating uncomplicated pieces such as odd sized wflat wahers, etc. how old can it be, what basic features should it have? Where should I look for one in good condition? My only criteria are that it should be a 110 v motor and cost me somewhere between $500 and $1,000.

Here's my take on this.

Thread Cutting being mentioned I would determine if you need metric or not on those threads - Metric can be... Problematic - Not to the point of impossiblity, but the older American Lathes that are so common/available/awesome are usually best suited for cutting standard threads.

Which brings you to features - The minute you say threads/Lathes in one sentance you are talking about a lathe equipped with a leadscrew, and gear box. As well as a threading dial. Those features are required. If you want to thread often you should look for a quick change gear box instead of a swap gear varient.

http://scottandersonpipes.com/atlas_...es/10lube7.gif

The quick change gear box lets you select threads rapidly.


Other than that I would be looking for the following as must haves.

Chuck - 3 jaw
Face Plate
Tail Stock
Powerfeeds - on the cross slide if possible, but atleast on the carriage.

As optionals that will save you lots of money later -
Tool Post quick change - Aloris or similar.
Centers - for headstock and tailstock
Chuck 4 Jaw
Collets for headstock and draw bar for same.


Which brings me to what to buy/age. You'll need to put a number on how large of parts you want to work with, lathes have a number like 6" 10" or 12", which represents how large of an object can be swung. Also look for how long you want to be able to work - some lathes are 3' beds, some 6' - bear in mind that this number is the length of the bed, the part it can turn may be far shorter if you need to use the tailstock to support the end, or a drill in the tail stock, or if it cannot fit through the throughbore on the headstock of the lathe - which is another good thing to identify.

Age - Older to me is better so long as it is good condition.

http://www.lathes.co.uk/page21.html

http://www.lathes.co.uk/latheparts/


Personally I would be buying a Southbend - I would want it to be in good shape, with lots of extra goodies. Having a south bend and an atlas, I would go for a worse shape SB over a better shape atlas, it just has far better features.

Stan_R80/7 12-29-2012 09:15 AM

One is the 8x14 (not to be in any way confused with a 7x mini lathe):

http://www.lathemaster.com/LATHEMASTER8x14Lathe.htm

Grizzly has sales where the 10x22 will be ~ $1k:

http://www.grizzly.com/products/10-x...al-Lathe/G0602

MicroMark sells a 7x type lathe with a longer bed that has been cleaned up a bit:

http://www.micromark.com/microlux-7x...athe,9615.html

Big Dog Metalworks sells a similar 7x14 package:

http://www.bigdogmetalworks.com/prod...&idcategory=15

The 10x22 weighs ~ 370 lb and is considered a small lathe. The 7x lathes weighs ~ 125 lb and is a mini lathe. Some older Atlas 8x and 9x small lathes are still around used. Good luck!

smilin'Ed 12-29-2012 09:26 AM

you mentioned a budget for the machine but don't forget that you'll probably spend the same amount in tooling to get set up doing a lot of common tasks. More $ if you get into things like a dividing head, milling in the cross slide, quick change tool post, carbide tooling, etc.

I'm still learning that lesson.

KustomizingKid 12-29-2012 11:16 AM

What is your realistic budget??

wyowillys46 12-29-2012 01:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by P B G (Post 20351248)
Problematic - Not to the point of impossiblity, but the older American Lathes that are so common/available/awesome are usually best suited for cutting standard threads.


Personally I would be buying a Southbend - I would want it to be in good shape, with lots of extra goodies. Having a south bend and an atlas, I would go for a worse shape SB over a better shape atlas, it just has far better features.

Finding an older American lathe is so location dependent that the recommendation verges on BS. Doesn't hurt to check Craigslist though.

I've got the Grizzly G0602 and it's been pretty good. It comes with some basic little hand tools and a set of change gears. Whatever you buy, mount it to something very, very solid.

Another bit of advice. You'll eventually want something a little larger. While the 0602 has been pretty good for tasks here and there, I wish I could turn brake drums and discs. Not something that's possible on a lathe with only a 10" swing. My next lathe will be larger.

P B G 12-29-2012 01:07 PM

I agree - here in the midwest old American tools are pretty available - lots were made in these parts.

Once you leave the used market where you look to buy a lathe with loads of good tooling in a combo buy - and yes it is used and needs cleaning/oiling/adjusting - but you skip into buying something with out tooling, and the tooling can sometimes be less common.

Just to be aware of... Might have good metric change gears though as well.

Chobro 12-29-2012 03:01 PM

myford 7"
 
My pops gave me this, he bought it for 200 bucks several years ago. He's a retired tool and die guy and always on the lookout for cool tools.

http://i202.photobucket.com/albums/a...n/DSCF0017.jpg

Ricardito 12-29-2012 03:04 PM

you guys are great. this is excellent advice and I mean to learn from all of the posts. As to my realistic budget, I'd like to spend around $1K--give or take--since I know next to nothing about possible uses. There are times, especially weekends or when I'm working on one of my toys (cars as well as bikes), when I'm sure I could figure out how to make or modify a piece of metal. Little by little I mean to learn, by playing with the lathe, by reading a manual or by watching others. My grandfather back in Spain was a machinist and so was his brother. Sure wish I could have spent more time with them.
So, is around $1K enough for starters or am I not being realistic? I think I'd rather have a small lathe rather than a mini lathe, now that one of you has pointed out the differences. The idea of doing brake drums or rotors is something that I'd forgotten about, but sure does have its appeal
For now I'll start watching CL in the Denver area and see what shows up. In the meanwhile if someone reading this knows of something suitable for sale, please, by all means let me know.
again, many thanks to those who've chimmed in.

showkey 12-29-2012 03:19 PM

Thread cutting on a lathe is not really needed on most projects..............quality tap and dies are the more common way and far easier shaft threading process.

It possible to get quality results with the 9x13 Jet, grizzly (sold under a dozen other names) some better than others. Most have to tuned and tweaked and have discussed in the garage many times. Some of the china stuff is real junk. Not all 9x13 come from the same place although appear to be similar quality and function vary widely.

crazydrummerdude 12-29-2012 03:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by P B G (Post 20351248)
Here's my take on this.

+1 to everything you said.

redprimo 12-29-2012 04:01 PM

The focus of my shop is mostly wood working with an emphasis on furniture and my space is very small. I wanted to add a metal lathe but with my limited space my options were limited. I ended up with a 6"x18" atlas that I found on cl for $150. It came with both a 3 jaw and a 4 jaw chuck, a full compliment of gears, boatloads of tooling, just about every thing but a milling attachment. Its a later model with Timkin bearings. Its not a south bend or a clausing, but its not a bad little lathe. I will always be able to sell it for what I paid and it would be a good tool to learn on.

P B G 12-29-2012 04:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by showkey (Post 20353150)
Thread cutting on a lathe is not really needed on most projects..............quality tap and dies are the more common way and far easier shaft threading process.

While I agree - particularly for common threads where you'd like to own the tap and die - and when you can use the center to get things started.

Those abnormal and large threads have dies and taps that cost as much as an old southbend lathe! Same with ACME threads and such.

1" dies 40$, 1.5" 100, 2" -400. And so forth.

Beezer 12-29-2012 04:31 PM

http://bedair.org/9x20camlock/9x20project.html


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