View Full Version : harbor freight 7x10 - is it worth it?

03-26-2005, 04:55 PM
while browsing craigslist, i found one locally for $300 in "new" condition. guy claims he's only used it once then upgraded to a bigger machine.

i know it's a tiny piece of equipment, but it sure beats the hell out of my current lathe: no lathe. it also fits my current space availability, i think.

03-26-2005, 05:16 PM
Yep, any lathe beats no lathe by a large margin. You can always sell it for about what you have in it, or use it as a second operation machine should you become an addict (like most of us here).

03-26-2005, 05:53 PM
Read everything here, then you will want one..



I have a Cummins 7x12 still in the box, next project.

Lynn Standish
03-26-2005, 05:58 PM
Do a search for Varmint Al and visit his website and mini lathe pages to get a feel for the lathe.

If you don't know how to use one, it's a cheap way to learn the basics. You can do quite a lot on one. Varmint Al has some well explained modifications for improving it, also.

03-26-2005, 06:02 PM
You'll get lot of pros and cons on the 7x10 but one thing for sure, it's better than NOTHING. I've had one for about three years and it gets hard use. As small as it is, it has the same funcions as much larger machines at 1/10 the price.

Variable speed, carriage feed, forward and reverse plus reverse carriage feed. Not to mention being able to thread. You won't find that in any other machine for the price. As long as you're aware of it's limitations and it does what you want, there's no better deal.

Go to: www.littlemachineshop.com (http://www.littlemachineshop.com) and follow some the links from there. There's tons of info and accessories are readily available.

Will you get any tooling with the deal?

03-26-2005, 06:12 PM
Buy it, remeber what it's for, and you will like it.

I have a lot of table top equipment. I use it more then I do my bigger
equipment. Just depends on what you want to do or make.

Have Fun
Be Safe http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//smile.gif

[This message has been edited by Tinker2 (edited 03-28-2005).]

03-26-2005, 06:20 PM
I have a Homier (similar to the HF 7x10, but the tolerances tend to be tighter) - it's an OK machine, if you keep in mind it's limits.

03-26-2005, 07:40 PM
I have a 7x12 Grizzly mini-lathe and it gets a lot of use. I like it very much.
I am able to do quite a bit with it.
It is just like the 7x10 except slightly longer.

03-26-2005, 08:17 PM
I bought one for my father-in-law a few months back. I'm hoping to give him the machining bug. He's been building a 1:16 scale model of an old lumber mill for about five years now with only a drill press, hacksaw, grinder, and whatever help he can get the millwrights to give him in their free time at work. No lathe and no mill.

Granted a lathe won't do everything he needs, but he seems to be enjoying it pretty well, and it is DEFINITELY better than nothing. I don't live nearby, so I didn't want to leave him high and dry with regard to learning how to use it. That's one of the main reasons I thought it would be a good lathe for him to learn on.

I still think about getting one for myself to supplement my Craftsman 109, but I think since I already have a small lathe that I'll try and hold out for a bigger one.


03-26-2005, 08:57 PM
The 7X10 only has about 8" twixt centers, however there is a kit to upgrade to 12"
Mine was done when I bought it used, still have the short bed.(Never throw anything away!)
I enjoy the little guy, if/when I buy a larger one, will keep it.
I adapted a windshield wiper motor to the feed screw, can feed it very slowly, very smooth finishes.

03-27-2005, 08:00 AM
Buy the 7x12 Speedway from Homier.com instead. I had one and was happy with it.

You'll gain two inches, more or less, a nicer blue color and cooler sticker, all for the same price http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//smile.gif

03-27-2005, 08:08 AM
I was amazed how I still use the 7 X 10 lathe so much, its so handy with so many small jobs, almost sold it when I bought the bigger lathes. You'll really enjoy getting started with one of these, but still becareful it can be almost as dangerous. PS it came from Harbor Freight, used it right out of the box for 6 0r 7 years now, and your price is way less then I paid.

03-28-2005, 03:36 PM
well, it looks like i might be picking it up either tonight or tomorrow afternoon.

admittedly, it's defeinitely not my first choice in a lathe, or my second choice, or third choice -- well, it's probably one of my last choices on a machine -- but i'll finally be able to make round parts so i'll shut my mouth and appreciate what my few dollars can get.

03-28-2005, 06:06 PM
I have had several lathes, have several now. Never had a 7X, but I will buy one just 'cause they are so damned cute! Actually, I'd like to take a sewing machine cabinet and build on into that http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//smile.gif
Have fun with it.

03-28-2005, 07:33 PM
I used my 7x14 until I got the southbend. Was my first lathe, still have it, im sure I will use it again if I have my SB setup for something specific, just dont have any room for it at moment. You wont be happy though if you ask the mini lathe to do more than what it should.

03-29-2005, 08:59 AM
Hey all, I'm also looking for a small lathe, and it's getting harder and harder to wait for a good deal on real lathe. Does anyone have any photos of things they done on their mini lathe that they felt was the limit or pushing it. Just trying to get an idea of what my limitations will be if I go with the mini.

03-29-2005, 09:20 AM
Well pushing the minilathe, what I was doing was making train wheels for 1" scale live steam locomotive. adapted a 4" Bison chuck to turn 1018 wheels that were nearly 3.5 to 4" in diameter?
Im my oppinion, when you have to take cuts of maximum .015 to avoid chattering, A you're either pushing the lathe too much, or B, your lathe is not rigidly mounted. My lathe was not rigidly mounted, infact it was on the rubber feet that came with it. Perhaps if youy bolt it to a piece of Channel Iron that Evan recomends people do with any small lathe, you'll get better performance. But on this mini lathe, even if it was bolted all the way down, I managed to strip a gear tooth doing cuts like that.
For bigger sized parts, your best to use leaded steel like 12L14 on the mini's. Now my 9" southbend on the other hand just hogs metal away. I can only imagine what it is like to use a 12 or 13" lathe.
I now have the 4" bison on my SB. If you never used a lathe before, then you will love it until you start doing something monotonous like facing 8 wheel blanks at .015 max per pass and you have to remove LOTS of material because the stupid steel house cut the chunks too big because the woman at the front desk couldnt accept a decimal number but wanted a fraction instead for size, and you were too lazy to think really hard about it and just plopped out a safe number but didnt know any better because you never used a lathe before.