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Lathe

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Lathe

Unread postAuthor: inonickname » Sun May 03, 2009 8:48 am

Well I have a lot of workshop tools available (drillpress, beltsander, grinder, die grinders, jigsaw, router, drills, whatever) but after some discussion with parents they have eventually decided to nurture me in the process of absolutely destroying things and buy me a lathe.

It's a combined birthday/Christmas present and I may put some money in also.

It cannot be a full size lathe (purely due to size limitations) so I'm looking at a baby, micro, or mini lathe. As the budget is big enough, is a mini lathe the best choice? I'm not necessarily asking for a particular model, but if anyone has experience with good ones let us know :)

The main point I have questions about is tooling. (and capabilities)
Here's what I'm looking for:
-Drilling/chuck
-Cutting tooling
-Boring bars
-Tapping/dies
Precision.. And other standard lathing practices.

What I'm asking is for a good price range to pay for these tools.

I have calipers, files and most of the things except for specific lathe related tooling. Already got a tap and die set..

Any thoughts, ideas? Most of you have probably seen the scales I work in, mainly bores under 10mm.
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Unread postAuthor: Navigator7 » Sun May 03, 2009 12:47 pm

Don't buy new!
Buy used.
Bigger is always better......
If I had the choice between a long ways and short ways I'd go with the short length lathe.

The 3 in 1 lathes always attracted my interests but I've never used one and quality always seemed compromised.


The fact of the matter is....with some research and investment in time, you can find the right machine and tooling by watching the ads religiously.
Good deals come and go everyday. You need to educate yourself to value. A lathe without tooling is useless.
Under $1000 depending on where you live.
You can pick up a 3 jaw and four jaw chuck, face plates, measuring tools, fixtures, stock boring bars and tool posts holders at pennies on the dollar.
Divorces, deaths and people cleaning up their lives just want their garage cleaned out.


It might seem like a lot but there is really no end of buying if you buy new.

With todays carbide tooling you want a machine that can spin fast.
I'd go with at least a 1/2 HP and no more than 1 HP.
I wouldn't even bother learning how to grind and sharpen HSS cutters.
Carbide is way better. The Aloris tool post is a plus.

For PVC and UHMW I used to saw Skil saw blades with a hack saw to make parting and cutting tools. A green stone grinder is a must.

I like the gap bed engine lathe which allows you to swing something just a little bit bigger.

To me, the only way to buy a lathe is with a dial indicator. Look at the ways. If the area under the chuck is all beat up be very careful.

Remove the chuck, place the dial indicator on the inside and the outside and at the flats and roll the shaft. There should be only minimal movement for nicks and such.

Check for shake on the tool post. Do all the gibs screws turn or are they stripped?

If things are broken on the lathe...move along to the next one unless the price includes tooling and the cost is very cheap.
You want the quick change gear box and not the kind where you often have to unbolt three gears just for one cut and then do it all over again.

At the savings you will experience by shopping long enough....you want the threading feature. You may never learn how to thread properly but then again, you will never learn if you don't have the ability.

I used to think a pretty and clean lathe was a good buy. People buy anything that is well painted. Fresh paint is a warning sign. A lathe buried in chips and oil and dirty as can be may be a creme puff......When you find out the owner died in a plane crash or some such....the wife wants to get rid of memories.

Tooling and stock is often more important than the lathe.
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Unread postAuthor: inonickname » Sun May 03, 2009 5:53 pm

Thanks, that's really helpful! I might buy secondhand for better quality but space is the deciding factor. IF I was to get a fullsize lathe it would have to go on top of the bench so coolant could be a problem.

Thaks :wink:
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Unread postAuthor: Navigator7 » Sun May 03, 2009 6:13 pm

Buying second hand you will get incredible bang for your buck...if you know what you are buying.

If space is the deciding factor......buy a used small lathe.

If you use carbide cutters you won't need coolant.
If you are threading....a different story.
If you are cutting PVC and plastic ..... forget coolant.
Yeah....you may go through a cutter faster without coolant but you can ruin cutters just as fast by interrupting the flow of coolant.

Far better to make sure your cutters are dead on center, the working spinning at the proper speed...which is usually WFO and the rate of feed is within the rate spec'd out by the cutter.

You just won't be hogging material like the pros and coolant on a hobby lathe is a pia!

If you are machining UHMW...I don't think carbides are the best. I used mainly HHS parting tools....dealing with the chips is the biggest problem.

Maching that palstic is like mating a rooster with a telephone booth. You get a 10' cock that wants to reach out and touch someone.!
;-)
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Unread postAuthor: twizi » Sun May 03, 2009 6:54 pm

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Unread postAuthor: SubsonicSpud » Sun May 03, 2009 8:07 pm

I purchased one of these about a year ago, and I am very happy with it

http://cgi.ebay.com.au/C2-VARIABLE-SPEE ... 7C294%3A50

They are not great quality, but with a bit of mucking around and adjusting they can get to a good standard of work. Things like laping the beds and ways help a huge amount, and improve cutting acuracy greatly.

Most of the work I do is in brass, aluminium and plastics so it is perfect for this purpose. If you are going to machine a lot of steel then you would want something a little bigger and better quality. They usualy sell for around $600-$700 AUD if you add buying a whole heap of extras, like boring bars, 4 jaw chucks, drill chucks and other tooling, you will probably still be under $1000.


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Unread postAuthor: LeMaudit » Sun May 03, 2009 8:26 pm

I warmly recommend the one I have, a Sherline lathe. It is small, but if it fit your machining envelope it is a good investment and it is incredibly accurate and have a very large range of tooling available.
http://www.sherline.com
They have package with everything you need to start comfortably. Don't thing the tooling is cheap, that's a good part of the price, so keep that in mind.

It resell also very well, you can have a look on eBay. So if you change your mind the money is not completely wasted.

But again, it is small, so my advice is dream about the biggest thing you'll ever want to machine, multiply it by 50%, and buy the lathe accordingly ;-)

You can have a look to my website, I describe many machining process with it, and also the mill.
http://www.nutsnbits.com

There is an attachment for this lathe to use it as a mill (a milling column) so you can also buy tooling and extensions step by step.

If you have specific questions I'll be happy to answer.
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