small metal lathe

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by Ricardito, Dec 29, 2012.

  1. 2WheelsOnly

    2WheelsOnly woodsrider

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    #61
  2. Kannonball8

    Kannonball8 Adventurer

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    Does anyone here use a Smithy 3-in-1 machine or Shopmaster Bridge Mill? I realize that these are not good machines for real precision or production work but one of them might work for someone like me who wants to learn and doesn't have the space or budget for real production quality equipment. I expect I could use a lathe and mill combo to make things like tools, bushings, spacers and verious odds and ends I always seem to need around the shop. Looks like a mid level Smithy would cost around $2700 w/ some basic tooling and the Bridge Mill is about $1000 more. Any experience with either of these?
    Thanks,
    Bruce
    #62
  3. sailah

    sailah Lampin' it

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    My experience with all in one machines for woodworking is that they are compromises everywhere. If you have $3000 to spend you can buy two real machines if you shop around.

    Believe me, you'll outgrow one of those hobby machines quickly

    Having a real lathe that uses standard tool is a huge plus. I learned on a big enco and I had never made a chip in my life. I wish I had better instruction but it's not terribly hard to get the basics. A real machine is so much heavier and cuts better because everything is solid. I think it allows you to learn faster too.

    If I were you I'd buy a $1000 american machine that is tooled and learn the basics. Once you've used it you'll have a better sense to sell it and go bigger or what to shop for in a milling machine like a bridgeport or clone.

    If you buy right you won't lose a penny these machines don't depreciate in a home shop setting. A smitty will though so def buy one used.
    #63
  4. Chobro

    Chobro spinning the wheel

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    +1 on what Sailah said.

    We use a Smithy at the science museum where I work, I've seen it converted for milling once in the two+ years I've been there. I would not buy one. The tail stock has very short travel, one of many things that bugs me about it. It's better than nothing, but, if I was going to spend 2700 on my own shop, I'd get each tool separately. On the plus side, Smithy parts are available when it breaks and customer service is decent.
    #64
  5. 4play

    4play Next?

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    Anyone else practically giving away a small lathe? I would have jumped all ove that Enco. My little atlas 618 is cute, but I have to borrow a bigger machine far too often. Here in AZ, SB lathes are rare or super expensive.
    Looking at 10 & 11" imports out of necessity...
    #65
  6. Donkey Hotey

    Donkey Hotey De Jo Momma

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    Trust me: if you're using it at all and the Atlas is too small, spend the money and time moving up to a 14--or preferably--a 16" lathe.

    To hold most of what you're probalby wanting to work on, you need something that will take an 8" chuck. That generally means a machine with 16" swing.

    The 14" manual lathe (and 6" chuck) we have at work is a tad too small to hold things around 2" in diameter. Such is the nature of tooling and workholding. Yeah, you can always make soft jaws to hold larger parts on a 6" chuck but, that gets old quickly.
    #66
  7. 4play

    4play Next?

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    I was a machihist in my past life & I understand what you're saying. Used lathes in that size range around here very pricey or completely clapped out.
    For my limited amount of money, space and mostly motorcycle projects a decent 10" lathe like a South Bend would take care of 99.8% of my hobby needs. Around here a 10" SB cost what a really nice motorcycle does.
    #67
  8. GreaseMonkey

    GreaseMonkey Preshrunk & Cottony

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    Try putting out some ads offering to trade your 6-18 + cash for a larger lathe and see what comes up. If you actually use one, a lathe it is never too large, but if you have a lathe in your garage that you are bumping in to all the time and only use it every other year, a smaller machine can be a nice compromise.

    Reminds me of a story- I bought a sailboat from a guy, but he had given the outboard to his brother. Found out his brother was a pilot with an old airplane, called him up and offered to trade him an altimeter I had that was the same type as in his plane for the outboard. He wasn't to interested but said he'd look at the altimeter so I dropped it off at his house.

    A week or two later he called and said he'd trade. Then he said "I probably won't use either of these, and your altimeter is a lot smaller than my boat motor!"
    #68
  9. 4play

    4play Next?

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    The Atlas just sold, I'm poking around for a deal on something a bit more substantial.
    #69
  10. sailah

    sailah Lampin' it

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    check industrial auctions...that's where I score the killer deals. Be prepared for 3 phase though..
    #70
  11. 4play

    4play Next?

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    Thanks
    #71
  12. Rafiki

    Rafiki Some Dude

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    Found my SB 10k on craigslist after looking there and on lathe sale.com for @ a year or so.
    They are out there,just keep looking and don't give up.
    #72
  13. 4play

    4play Next?

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    My search is over. I found an odd older Asian (Taiwan) lathe. It's tagged as a Vico, but is virtually identical to the older Jet 12". The model # is GT-1024 BUT it's a 12x24 with a 1.5" hollow spindle. Speed range is 65-1300, power feed in two axis in either direction, hardened ways with no defects. I paid $90 more than I sold the 6" Atlas for :clap It only came with a 3 jaw chuck & a pair of faceplates, but appears to be a 2.187" x 6 spindle so finding a 4 jaw should not be too hard.
    #73
  14. Rafiki

    Rafiki Some Dude

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    Congrats!!!
    Now start making some chips!
    #74
  15. groundrules

    groundrules Long timer

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    Oh hiya
    Just saw this one for sale locally. Oh, you said small..... :lol3

    [​IMG]
    #75
  16. P B G

    P B G Long timer

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    OOOO look at the belts on that thing!
    #76
  17. groundrules

    groundrules Long timer

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    If anyone in the midwest/Ohio Valley is looking, there's an Enco listed in the columbus Craigs list. I'm not sure what the policy is about posting CL links here (i'm not selling, have no skin in the game, etc). But you can search for "Enco Steel Lathe" and find it. $3K OBO and lots of tooling.

    [​IMG]
    #77
  18. Ironwood

    Ironwood Friday Harbor, WA

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    But it is an Enco!

    It is not a respected name in the industry. And the chuck key was left in the chuck. Not good.
    #78
  19. Desert Skies

    Desert Skies One brick shy...

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    I just picked up this Smithy Granite with all the options for 2K. Still had cosmoline on it.

    [​IMG]

    I have this Atlas that I was going to bring back to life (leavers were pilfered from the quick change) that I'll let go for $50 if someone wants to come and get it.

    [​IMG]

    Here is a 618 Atlas my FIL left that I brought back to life and still use.

    [​IMG]

    And here is the first lathe/mill I bought 30 years ago for $120.

    [​IMG]
    #79
  20. Dirt Road Cowboy

    Dirt Road Cowboy Sometimes I'm A Jerk

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    As the owner of a 7x14 mini lathe, I would say that there really isn't anything wrong with one.

    I found it on ebay, and made an offer that was a lot less than HF wants for their 7x10 mini lathe (which in reality is only 7x8), and it was accepted!

    I am not a professional machinist, so it does everything that I need. I can make bushings, spacers, custom pulleys, and various other small parts.

    I cannot justify the cost of a big lathe, and the cutting tools to go with it. I would also have to build a bigger shop, have it wired up to code, pay the electric bill, etc.

    If I need something bigger than what I can make, or if it is a critical part, I just do what I have always done before - I'll pay someone a few bucks to make it for me. There are plenty of local machine shops that can get it done better and faster than I could.

    Not too long ago, before I bought the lathe, I needed a custom pulley and a few other pieces made. I found a guy online that is a retired machinist, gave him a description of what I needed, and asked him if he would do the job.

    He cast the parts in aluminum, machined them to my exact specs, and only charged $30 including shipping! :evil

    If I need brake drums or rotors turned, there are auto shops that do it cheap or free in some cases.

    So, if you just need something for small (less than 7") parts, softer metal, or non critical pieces, a 110v cheap Chinese mini lathe may be all you need. Plus, they fit nicely in most home shops/garages.
    #80