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Old 06-03-2012, 01:38 PM
boat user
Senior Member
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: texas coast
Posts: 1,122

Sorry, didn't realize this was hobbiest type stuff. I used to purchase machine shop equipment for companies I have worked for. Usually spent anywhere between 5k and 500k on any one piece. A place I worked was bought out by a family one time and the young kid of the lot was put in charge. His idea was that you made money by buying the cheapest crap around and have your highly skilled labor make valuable parts on this crap.
We needed a moderately large lathe and I did some research and let the kid know what I found out. Unknown to me was he had been looking at online stuff too. I made my presentation after which he asked about all the features needed for our use and I told him just what we needed. He sticks a flyer under my nose. It was a 22in swing lathe, 108in between centers, taper attachment, steady rest, follow rest and a fair selection of feeds, speeds and threading options, coolant tank and pump, chip guards, etc. Then I read the brand name which was Summit. I had run Summits before but had thought they were out of business. Only thing I couldn't cotton was that it only had a 7 1/2 hp motor which I pointed out. Then he tells me to take a guess at the price. I'm thinking 25-30k. Nope, all this kidding.....11k...!!! I wanted more info on it but he jumps the gun and orders one.

First thing that was a problem is it arrived covered in cosmoline and Chinese newspaper. We were on our own. Took 2 guys almost a week to get it assembled and cleaned up. The motions were all tight and anything but smooth. Adjustment screws broke off, extra passes had to be made cause it didn't have ba**s and things fell off, it broke down. We had it for about 18 months and it operated for about 8 months between factory repairs done under warrantee that occured regularly and always took at least a week to resolve. At the end me and the other fab super took the headstock apart and discovered in this most critical piece of a lathe they didn't even line bore the casting. We found alignments on some bores to be out by as much as .060.....! No wonder everything was tight and hard to work without breaking.......worst POS I have ever had to work with. Turns out some fly-by-night company stole the name Summit after it went out of business and was trading on the previous good name with Chinese garbage. After 18 months of aggravation the kid boss decides he wants me to find another lathe and sell the one we got. Nobody will touch it. Ended up buying a Toolmex 25in lathe with all the goodies AND rapids in both directions AND a 20hp main motor......35k but worth every penny. It could run circles around any modern lathe I'm familiar with. Oh, the Chinee lathe? Far as I know the kid boss could only get scrap value for it, probably went back to China for re-melt and gracing wally world shelves in a few stores now...........

Friends don't let friends in business buy'll cost you more in the long run.

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