View Full Version : Which 9X20 bench lathe

09-08-2002, 09:26 PM
Greetings all

Need another opinion. What would be the best 9X20 bench lathe. I expect lots of feed back. Have looked at the Chinese made model at Harbor Freight. What about Enco, Jet and such?



Al Messer
09-08-2002, 09:50 PM
Look for a good used Logan, Atlas, Myford, etc.

09-08-2002, 10:20 PM
I'll second that, but Grizzly has a slightly larger 11x24 that looks a bit better in the catalog they sent me.

I saw one of the little 9" ones, didn't like it, it looked like a reasonable 5" that got stretched too far. The usual quibbles about stupidly setup accessories apply............

I don't like buying Chicom products, but you seem to be already going there.

09-08-2002, 10:30 PM
Go for the lathe. I just got an enco 13x40 for $2600. On sale I looked at used American ones but said huh, buy a new one for the same price. ps do you know how to move this thing. Also every one craps on Harbor Freight but they still buys there tools. Like there 4 1/4 in grinder. I have one and can not kill it. Also just got a Toyota Matrix 2003. I bet a lot of them have a rice grinder car.

09-09-2002, 12:03 AM
My two cents are to buy a good used
Southbend or Atlas that usually can be had for less than a new 9" import. Bought my used 9" 1936 Southbend for $500 and it works great and came with a lot of expensive accessories. As far as imports, I would look at the Jet 9 x 20" model. Their quality seems to be the best for the imports. Good luck.

09-09-2002, 01:50 AM
Ok, if money is no object, what's the best manual lathe that I can buy that's brand new.


09-09-2002, 07:45 AM
I bought a Enco 9X20.

Then I bought a fully tooled 9" South Bend Model A "Workshop"

The Model A ran rings around the Enco. Not even in the same league!

I gave the Enco away. I feel bad that I hadn't PAID him to take it away.

09-09-2002, 01:58 PM
I have two 9" lathes, a Jet BD920 and an old South Bend 9" Model A. The South Bend is twice as heavy, smooth, and has power to the cross slide. The Jet is more accurate - I'll keep both.

Something to consider....A Jet 9x20 runs +/- $1,000 (depending on the sale) and Harbor Freight has a decent 12x36 for $1,800. If you can save the extra bucks, forgo the 9x20 and move up to a 12" lathe with power to the longitudinal feed and cross feeds - you will be glad you did.

09-10-2002, 02:26 AM
Hardinge HLV-DR (metric/inch) fully loaded $65,000 plus freight and taxes - includes two days instruction and machine setup and adjustment. 3,000 lbs. 7"x18" (over cross slide). It comes with DRO, Lexan guards, Lighting, and a genuine Hardinge chair to park your arse on while watching one of the very best lathes in the world do its thing.

Highly recommended.

09-10-2002, 10:45 AM
Although I'm pretty new to this BBS, and relatively new to machining, I will chime in. Be patient, watch estate sale bills and other auctions. I was seriously looking at an import 7 x 10 (because of $), but I decided (this goes against my Gen-x, gotta have it now, mentality) to look for a used one after reading posts on this and other boards. I'm glad I did. I found a 12 x 36 Atlas with a whole mess of tooling, I've had to replace some parts and will have to add more in the future, but I have a working lathe w/ tooling and I am still right around the cost of a Homier 7 x 10 w/ no tooling ($299). Just a newbie's opinion.
My "new" atlas has alot of character and is well seasoned. Plus the whole auction thing was alot of fun, and my "new" machine has a history. Sorry this doesn't directly answer your question. Matt

Ragarsed Raglan
09-10-2002, 10:52 AM

Nice choice! Me I'm drooling over this little beaut (a Schaublin 135) thats up for sale with a UK dealer for a snip at £6750 (circa $10,500USD)

Only being 'pre-used' I don't suppose it counts!

Listen to Al, Southbend, and debequem....feel the quality, don't be blinded by the shiny paint. Its only skin deep!


[This message has been edited by Ragarsed Raglan (edited 09-10-2002).]

09-10-2002, 09:31 PM
Thanks for the positive input. The primary reason I looked at 9X20 was space. Should have mentioned that right off. Don't know which way I will go yet. Auctions and shop closings are probably the best bet. Again, thanks to you all.



09-10-2002, 10:25 PM

As usual, your taste in lathes is outstanding my friend! That is a beauty, I see it is pretty well loaded too!

I have two pieces of Schnaublin tooling an E25 MT#2 collet chuck and collets and a MT#2 1.25" face mill - triple insert. The collets are a bitch to get out and around $100 each. My solution was a Lyndex ER-25 Ball Bearing Nut and ER-25 Precision grade collets. The Ball Bearing Nut allows you to put enough pressure on HSS drills to mar the shanks, so pull out with 5/8" and smaller endmills is pretty much nil. The extraction groove of the ER-25 also makes it easy to get the collet out with the ball bearing nut. This was only possible because everyone threads the nose of the toolholder the same metric pitch world wide - another good reason for standards!

Blah, Blah, Blah. Yup, they make nice stuff! http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif

Ragarsed Raglan
09-11-2002, 10:56 AM

Like you once said "...any more room and I'd have no more room" I lie in bed at night and picture how nice that Schaublin would look in my workshop; then I remember how the ears would burn from the lady besides me; then I cry.....

I use ER25 collets with my Aciera F3 miller (the Schaublin W20 collets are good.....but not that good!!). To do this I had to make my own W20 to ER25 collet holder. The collets I bought were ETM brand, and at the same time I bought an ETM replacement nut. They slip in and out like a rat up a drain pipe! But do they grip!! never had any problem with pull out, nor with tool shank marring. The ETM nut also has a little diamond marker etched on the nose to show you where to slant the collet when fitting or removing ~ neat touch. The real cool thing about ER's is the way that you can cover 1 mm increments with the collapse range; whereas the original W20 collets would only tolerate a few thou discrepancy, like use a 5/8ths slot drill in a 16mm collet is a BIG 'no - no'. Converting to the ER's has allowed me to redeploy the Jacob's drill chuck back to the lathe tailstock (only for rough work, the Rohm is kept for precision stuff!)

BTW ~ does the ER stand for Easy Release??? anyone know??


09-11-2002, 10:04 PM

It might have been something like that - they are far better than their sans-groove versions! Try a Ball Bearing Nut - I started with a Narex, but the set screw retaining the balls flew out under power along with the all the balls, so Now I have a Lyndex nut - better made, injectionmolded plug to retain bearings.

I would not mind a Aciera F1 with all the goodies - could squeeze that in the basement shower stall! I thought about building a clone from billet, but I am still hoping I come across one from someone does not know what they have! Hey, I can be a dink when you dangle the right bauble under my nose! I would calmly pay what they ask, get a receipt, and laugh maniacally all the way to the truck! http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif

Ragarsed Raglan
09-13-2002, 10:56 AM
I warn you Buddy ~ this is going to hurt some (probably more than a dental extration without the novacaine), it did me.

One of the younger guys at work was asking me about 'old' machinery. He's settled in with a nice bed warmer, and was looking for a cheap machine to help with his winter months project (racerising a Yamaha EXUP motorcycle). He'd picked up an old Myford and had been offered this 'old' miller a few months previously. He had been around to look at it, and told me it was a bit rusty, really small and hadn't been used in years. The guy wanted £200 ($300USD/$390CND) but might take less. We logged on to Tony Griffith's website to try to establish what he had seen. I started with what I thought it might have been, a Centec bench mill, and worked my way through the most likely candidates for a cheap mill ~ all to no avail. At the point of giving up he said "What have you got?" ~ I told him, and went to the Aciera folder to show him. When he saw the F1 he said "That's it".

The road from the factory gate to the old guys house almost burnt as we raced over to it, only on getting there to find it had gone down the tip the week before.

Told you it would hurt....


09-14-2002, 01:18 AM
Rusty, I picked up a 9x20 Enco about a year ago EXTREMELY well tooled, and I played with it a couple months. The lack of cross slide feed and limited speeds more than offsets the bonus tooling. I'm back over at the 'monster' (a 16/24 Southbend) figuring out easier ways to do small stuff. I haven't given up on the little one just yet, but I got tired of its limitations pretty quick. BTW, the Southbend isn't really a monster, but it doesn't fit very well in my little shop.

09-14-2002, 05:36 AM
...can you see the tears? http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//frown.gif

Ragarsed Raglan
09-17-2002, 02:03 PM

Just to cheer you up I found this for sale on the same site as the Schaublin.


Sixus is (sorry was!) also a top swiss manufacturer as was (is!?) Aciera ~ before they sold out to the Malaysians. Looks to me like it has been used for jewellery manufacture - they look like ring collets in the last picture.

She's eaten the roses, and buried the chocolates ~ what do I do know?


[This message has been edited by Ragarsed Raglan (edited 09-17-2002).]

[This message has been edited by Ragarsed Raglan (edited 09-17-2002).]

09-17-2002, 10:08 PM

Damn, that is a nice machine...

I know, threaten to adopt me. Tell her I can almost fart "o' Canada" on demand (in french and english), but lately the odd wet round is fired. So she may have to buy a mop and bucket...and a shovel to clean up after each performance! Just between you and me, none of that is true - I can only get a few notes off before I start laughing so hard I have to be shot with a tranquilizer gun... http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//tongue.gif

09-18-2002, 03:46 AM
WIll I just went through this.So what did I do. I went up in size and got a Enco 13x40 on sale $3100.00 at my door. I look for a used US lathe on e-bay ect. But for the money I went for the Enco. Why, swings more and does more. Im looked at the 12x36 nice lathe. But for about $700.00 more I got 13x40 I have had South bends, Atles, ect sold my 9x24 Sb for the Enco. Biger is Better.

09-18-2002, 02:55 PM
I had just gone through all of this myself.I had always wanted a lathe, at least for the last 26 years. Wife had always objected sooooooooo I now have a lathe but no wife.The plant I work in sent us to a short machining course 2 years ago,they had machines with manual feeds and then they had machines with power feeds.It took us less than ten minutes of machining to figure out that power feeds were better.So I looked at all of the options out there,used as opposed to new,and just bided my time.I ended up with a used English made lathe and I am very pleased so far.Before long,I hope to buy a milling machine.BTW I have been reading all of these posts on a daily basis and I have also been reading the archives. You guys are a wealth of information and have helped me tremendously.I would just like to say thank you,you have really helped this new guy out.

09-20-2002, 08:45 PM
If you are looking at a lathe, and are considering a Jet, look at a Birmingham. They are exactly the same as a jet, for much less money. Birmingham also offers a 12x36, which I think would be perfect, it does threading, single phase, comes with tons of accessories, and is a little better quality than an Enco or Harbor freight. (I have ran all of them, and it is a bit easier to hold tolerance the Birmingham.

I am a dealer, BUT I am not just trying to sell a machine. I have a bit of a better insight on the machine market, and how it works than the average person. I know who makes what, and who sells the same thing as who for more money. Feel free to email me if you have any more questions at mnadeja@stargate.net.

10-09-2002, 10:13 PM
Ok guys..watch out for the MSC tent sales..I bought the same 14x40 gap bed lathe for $500.00 This was a as is type sale.I had to
add a motor and streighten the lead screw and feed shaft.MSC and ENCO are sister companys so you will see products from both companys.