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Need advice on buying a small lathe

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Need advice on buying a small lathe

Old 05-31-2012, 05:45 PM
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Default Need advice on buying a small lathe

I need to buy a small lathe to machine the plastic. I would be turning down a plastic tube. I would like it to have a stop so I would make a few passes until it hits the stops and then I know its done. I would also like the ability to slightly taper the finished piece. This is for the base on a new flag pole for houses. The tube starts out at 1.33 and I need the bottom 4" 1.24 tapered down to about 1.22 and the bottom. The tube is I have built a couple by hand turning it down on a bench mounted belt sander and I am really liking it but it takes far too long.

Would like to find a good value as well.
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Old 05-31-2012, 06:04 PM
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How long do you need the tubes or distance between centers?
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Old 05-31-2012, 06:16 PM
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What is the total length of the tube?

I'm very fond of a tool room lathe or a chucker because of the stops but I'll bet an old basic South Bend could be had for 500 bucks including the 3 jaw chuck.

While you build a nice product I don't see the need for you to work with .001 repeats in your stops so the SB fits IMO.

I've only been out of the trade for 26 years or so.
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Old 05-31-2012, 10:09 PM
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I am looking at 10-12" mini lathes and everything I am reading is that 90% are made by the same company in China and get pretty good reviews. They are painted different colors and rebranded. The Harbor Freight model is pretty reasonable and should do what I need it to. Been searching for coupons now....
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Old 05-31-2012, 11:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Mr. Demeanor View Post
I am looking at 10-12" mini lathes and everything I am reading is that 90% are made by the same company in China and get pretty good reviews. They are painted different colors and rebranded. The Harbor Freight model is pretty reasonable and should do what I need it to. Been searching for coupons now....
harbor freight always has a 20% off one item on there website and in there magazine ads.
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Old 06-01-2012, 12:58 AM
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It's your dime not mine, but I really like the direction Rob is sending you in.

http://www.google.ca/search?q=tool+r...w=1024&bih=601

Yes any one of the above could possibly set you back more than your Harbor Freight Mad in China mini lathe, but look at what you could do with it.
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Old 06-01-2012, 05:00 AM
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You really can't beat an old Logan or a Southbend. My 1957 Logan is something like a 10" X 24", it's bullet proof. And I did pay $500 for it.
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Old 06-01-2012, 05:30 AM
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I'm in that business. PM me your contact info and I will walk you through a few things.
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Old 06-01-2012, 06:51 AM
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Delta 46-460 or Jet JML-1014I

The Delta has a bigger motor(1hp) and would me my choice. My dad had a Delta before he bought a Oneway 2416. His Delta is still running like new and it is 10+ years old.
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Old 06-01-2012, 08:24 AM
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Are you prototyping only or will you be in production? If you are going into production run far and as fast as you can from anything made in China! PM me if you like. I know of what I speak...


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Old 06-01-2012, 08:35 AM
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Sure those old South Bend lathes are great, but be careful shopping for one. If the rails are worn or if the bed is twisted they aren't worth a damn IMO. There are a lot of them out there with lots of wear on them. There are a lot of cream puffs too, just make sure you know what to look for or take someone with you who does.

I've been contemplating a small lathe for my basement but I have strict limitations on the size and weight of something I can put down there so I'm looking at mini lathes as well, particularly this one:

http://www.grizzly.com/products/9-x-...ch-Lathe/G4000

I'm leaning towards this model because it has a lot more mass than the 7" models. And it also has a gear box which is a big step up from a variable drive.
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Old 06-01-2012, 08:45 AM
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I was looking into getting one so I could fabricate parts for my RC race boats. But dang even the small mini bench top ones are crazy expensive.

Let me know what you come up with. I am not as heavy into the RC boats these days but I still wouldn't mind having one.
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Old 06-01-2012, 09:30 AM
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I am pretty much settled on a 12" mini lathe. I have nt found a mini lathe made in the USA. Like i said earlier, the ones I am looking at are all made by Siego and get very good reviews.

Heres the best info I have found.
http://www.mini-lathe.com/

There are Yahoo groups dedicated to these and everything I have read has been positive whether you purchase it from Grizzly or HF.....same lathe.

Last week I picked up a large dust collector from HF after reading reviews on the wood working forums. The HF model got great reviews. I have been using it he last couple days and my PVC, dust/chip problem has been cut by 90%. I found a coupon for $100 off in a wood working magazine. I have been told there are HF coupons for the mini lathes in the back of machinist magazines so I will be going back over to the book store
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Old 06-01-2012, 09:37 AM
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I assume you're referring to 12" length as opposed to 12" diameter? 12" diameter isn't so "mini".
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Old 06-01-2012, 09:42 AM
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Chris,
I just called and the 7x12" I wanted is discontinued in the stores but available at $599 online and 20% coupons are easy to find.
The 7x10 is on sale for $499 and because its a sale, not a coupon, you can use the 20% off coupon on top of that bringing it down to $399.
If you order online I think the shipping is pretty steep as these things weigh about 100 pounds.
Thats the best deal I can find right now.

http://www.harborfreight.com/7-inch-...the-93212.html
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Old 06-01-2012, 09:46 AM
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Correction:
HF will ship either for $6.99!

So....$599 - 20% = $480 + $6.99 shipping. I'm going to see if I can find a coupon for the 12" that would be a better deal.

Im just worried that if I have to add some attachments the 10" will quickly become a 7" or so....
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Old 06-01-2012, 09:52 AM
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Does that lathe have a through bore spindle and if so what size? If you use longer stock this could be handy. A Collet Chuck may speed up things depending on what you are doing.
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Old 06-03-2012, 01:38 PM
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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 for....no 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 Chinese....it'll cost you more in the long run.


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