View Full Version : How do I get started?
09-14-2001, 08:26 PM
[This message has been edited by pgmrdan (edited 03-19-2004).]
09-14-2001, 10:08 PM
Well first off what do you want to do?
Lindsay books has a LOT of books to help(www.lindsaybks.com). Become moderatly aquanted with what to look for and purchase a GOOD quality (but inexpensive) lathe. Also look into tech schools for instruction. DON'T expect to learn everything instantly (I have been doing this both at work, and as a hobby off and on for over 30 years and I usually learn something new all the time)
09-15-2001, 02:24 AM
Guy Lautard (www.lautard.com) has a video on how to buy used machines and what to look out for. He also has kits, books, and no end of good advice.
If you decide on smaller machines Sherline sells a great book by their president - a good read.
And of course Village Press has lots of great books and three periodicals full of info.
Rob is right, check the local schools and see if you can take a night or extension course. A course would also give you an idea if this is really what "turns your crank" or if you would rather do something else.
Read, take courses, then decide what you want to do with the tools and proceed from there.
I assume you're subscribing to Home Shop Machinist; that's a good start. As Roberlt says though, don't expect to learn everything instantly. I've been at this hobby about 25 years), and I'm learning something new all the time too. That's one of the neat things about it, I think; it's always new.
I think the main thing one may need to learn is abiding patience.
As for books: a classic book is "The Amateur's Lathe," by L.H. Sparey. I'd definitely recommend that one to get you going.
See if you can connect up with a machinist club in your area; having kindred spirits to talk with (preferably people who know more than you do) is a huge help. I started off as a "lone wolf" and it all became a lot easier when I finally found some like-minded people in my area.
As far as buying a lathe.... Take a look at Meridian Machinery's web site (http://www.mermac.com). Everything I've heard about Dave and his business has been positive. I think he has some advice pages on the web site.
Checking out used machinery can be really tricky, although I think "good used" is definitely the way to go if you can find the right machine. As far as checking out a lathe, see http://people.ne.mediaone.net/wasser/NEMES/RDMLatheAlignment.html. It's about lathe alignment, but it's also a great way to check out the condition of a lathe bed. The only problem is that you need to be able to adjust the leveling of the lathe to find out if any taper you see using the technique is a real problem due to bed wear or simply the result of a (correctable) twist in the bed because it's not sitting evenly. You might not be able to do that amount of messing around at a used machinery dealer, but if you can it will REALLY tell you if the lathe can turn parallel.
As far as problems other than a worn bed, things such as bent/missing are pretty easy to spot. You may want to use a dial indicator to check for loose headstock bearings. Don't expect to be able to tell by feel; they can be sloppy and still feel fine. You should see basically 0 movement on a dial indicator with moderate side pressure.
Or rely on a reputable used machinery dealer such as Dave Fricken (Meridian Machinery) to tell you. Others that have good reputations are Dave Sobel in New Jersey and Joe Bergamo (Plaza Machinery) in Bethel, Vermont. (Sorry these are all in the Northeast, if you're not; I'm in Massachusetts.)