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View Full Version : Suggestions for 6x lathes for a school.



toastydeath
01-31-2008, 01:30 AM
This thread is something I posted over at PM, but I'm not getting anyone with experience in the machines I'm looking for. I figured I might stand a better chance of getting decent information over here.

Sorry for the cross-post, but I'm trying to help the school out.



Didn't really get a response in another discussion so I'll post a thread. Did the standard search.

My school has 6 rather crappy lathes, 14x40, of a couple unbranded varieties. They always fall apart, and there's inevitably between one and three machines down at any given time. This eats into class time, because there's 13-15 students in the shop and six lathes, five mills. On top of that, they're not well tooled with lantern style toolposts, and mostly four jaw chucks. It's very daunting to try and get people to center up a four jaw chuck and then set a tool on center in the limited amount of time available in class. Then, when they are running, chatter is a continual problem. Projects are not that large. .75" to 2" for standard machine shop projects, and 4-6" long. Stuff does get bigger for one class, where students make some.... thing. The issue comes in that the lathes we use are not rugged by any definition, and they're sloppy and hard to use. I am sure given a hobby or prototype situation where someone had the slightest clue what they were doing, they'd be acceptable machines.

It will take several years to get the money approved to replace the machines, and they don't want to waste money on another set of crappy machines. There's an interest in replacing them, but they don't know what to replace them with, and they're not able to request money in a future budget without an idea of what they want.

My first idea is to look at 16x40" lathes, since there seems to be a very large jump in workmanship between imported 14x40" and 16x40". I'm aware of the usual import suspects (Birmingham, Victor, Sharp, etc), but I don't know which models to look out for and which to avoid. Being a school, they're cost-conscious. That being said, they're now aware a $3000 lathe is just not a frugal investment for the kind of use they'll see.

The other option is to try and find six Leblonds, to match the one they already have. That's a sketchy proposition, as rework on a fresh purchase is not an option for them.

So what does everyone feel is a solid lathe at not necessarily a cheap, but inexpensive price? Doesn't have to be all that accurate, most students can't hit +/-.005 without five or s ix scrap parts. I'm looking for something to recommend that's a bulldog a lathe - a lot of grunt and the handles don't fall off.


I kind of need to add some qualifiers right here - I'm looking for very specific information on 16" and larger swing lathes. Anything that does not use a D1-6 spindle, has fewer than 3 hp, or where the bed width is smaller than the distance to spindle centerline are not being considered.

This is the casting I see over and over again under different manufacturers -

http://www.machinetoolonline.com/PM1640.html

If anyone has experience with this lathe, by ANY brand - Birmingham, Sharp, Victor, Jet, Precision Matthews, etc - I'd love to hear it.

Mark Hockett
01-31-2008, 02:15 AM
I don't have experience with that specific lathe but it looks like a very solid machine. I have known a few shops running the Victor brand and they were very happy with them.
Here are some links to other brands. I'm not saying one is better than the other and I have no idea what your budget is, it's just some other options to compare too. Plus its always fun to spend other peoples money.

http://www.clausing-industrial.com/Products/Lathes/Colchester/15gh.htm

http://www.clausing-industrial.com/Products/Lathes/CV/13-14.htm

http://www.lagun.com/products/americanturnmaster/AT-15-50.html

http://www.southbendlathe.com/turnnado.htm

http://www.partnermachines.net/products/hml/hml1640_details.htm

tony ennis
01-31-2008, 09:21 AM
What type of schooling are we talking about? Are you training tomorrow's machinists, or is this an industrial arts class designed for students who will never touch a lathe again?

If projects fit into a 2"x6" cylinder, why buy 14" lathes?

Is CNC a requirement?

toastydeath
01-31-2008, 09:37 AM
This is a shop in a mechanical engineering program at a college, the students are mechanical engineers and are being introduced to how things actually get made.

There is one class that machines things much larger than 2x6, the engineering project class.

Looking for manual only.

There's a massive difference in quality between 14" swing lathes and 16" swing lathes. I look around at the 14" models, and they're all essentially the same as we have now. Not what we are looking for, and this point is not up for discussion.

Ian B
01-31-2008, 11:16 AM
Are you also looking at used machinery? If so, then a Colchester Triumph 2000 would probably fit the bill. D1-6 spindle nose, modern hardened 11" wide bed, 7.5HP, 15" swing, large spindle bore, definitely won't fall to bits, common enough that spares are available.

http://www.lathes.co.uk/colchester/page21.html

Ian

GKman
01-31-2008, 12:28 PM
I assume that your college is in some third-world county if the equipment is never maintained or upgraded, you are teaching that things are being made on manual equipment, and there are no safety concerns (starting students on giant unforgiving equipment. Is there dependable electricity to operate them? If it will take several years, do you expect to have the same administration making the decision, the same government or currency?

tony ennis
01-31-2008, 01:23 PM
most students can't hit +/-.005 without five or s ix scrap parts.

Buy some Chicom 9x20s for Those That Can't Measure. Affordable and effective. Buy enough that your students aren't waiting around too long for machines. Part of their time can be spent using these lathes to repair the other lathes that are always breaking down. Analysis and fabrication sounds like a great way to learn. I've learned a lot by repairing my 'project' lathe.

Then worry about spending the better part of your budget on the 16" lathes for the Engineering Project class.

Basically, you have two problems, not one.

/puts on asbestos undies for daring to suggest a Chicom 9x.

toastydeath
01-31-2008, 03:09 PM
Small lathes aren't under consideration, plain and simple, no matter how many people decide they want to chime in. As the only person who has been in and said classes, you'll have to trust that they're inappropriate. I don't know where people think this magic "time" stuff comes from, but there's not an infinite supply of it per semester to be fixing machines, do the projects, and somehow try and teach what we're trying to teach all at the same time.


Are you also looking at used machinery? If so, then a Colchester Triumph 2000 would probably fit the bill. D1-6 spindle nose, modern hardened 11" wide bed, 7.5HP, 15" swing, large spindle bore, definitely won't fall to bits, common enough that spares are available.

http://www.lathes.co.uk/colchester/page21.html

Ian

That's exactly the machine I think they're copying. I'll definitely add it to the list, they're not entirely opposed to used. It's just not first choice if a new, good lathe can be found.


I assume that your college is in some third-world county if the equipment is never maintained or upgraded, you are teaching that things are being made on manual equipment, and there are no safety concerns (starting students on giant unforgiving equipment. Is there dependable electricity to operate them? If it will take several years, do you expect to have the same administration making the decision, the same government or currency?

It's clear you have zero experience trying to teach fifteen students even the basics of CNC in a college class format, with one instructor twice a week for four hours. Even job shops start people off watching and operating machines for a year before they attempt to teach programming and setup. And our brief CNC project at the end of the second shop semester takes forever, because the kids do not have any foundation in CNC operation and just the basics of general machining. Fifteen students, most whose only experience with mechanical objects is a cordless drill to assemble Ikea furniture, are not exactly paragons of practical aptitude.

The class is to give some mechanical experience to the future engineers in class, not to magically make machinists out of them in two semesters.

Oh wait, I forgot to mention we have CNC machines because it's completely irrelevant to why I started this thread. How thoughless of me to not include information not purtinent to the discussion. In case it comes up, the capital of France is Paris, and there are 50 stars on the United States flag. If there's anything else I should have added that doesn't contribute to the topic, I apologize and will do better next time.

Our biggest lathe is also the safest. When you "crash," it makes the cut, and the kid can stop the machine and back out of it. By comparison, the little machines wind up and snap something, kick the part, throw shards of tool, or hurl other dangerous shrapnel at you. I'd much rather have someone learn on a big, roomy 7.5 hp lathe that won't really mind no matter what they do. If they get their finger caught, a small 6x20 lathe will take it off just as fast as the big one will.

The students are not afraid of starting on a big machine, they have no clue what a lathe is or that they come any smaller. The greenest students I've seen shun the smallest machine we have because they think it can't do the work they need to do. They're wrong, I've yet to see a student afraid of turning even our biggest lathe on. They're certainly not afraid of using the equipment.

daryl bane
01-31-2008, 03:29 PM
I have spent alot of time over a Victor 16X30. I always thought it was a solid excellent machine. It is basically a Mori Seiki copy. This was a number of years ago and I can't vouch for current quality. I understand the Sharpe is equally as good. I would think this would be a good choice for your application. I would like to own one as well. There is a Korean lathe, Wasino,I think, same size or smaller that is really superb.

torker
01-31-2008, 04:16 PM
Just a thought here. Seems schools/colleges all across the country are getting rid of shop classes.
The first thing they do is sell off the machinery. Some of these places have first rate equipment that sells for cheap. Here it is through the hidden bid process.
I don't see why one of these places would be against selling everything to a school as a package....and giving them "first dibs" as it were.
Other schools have to sell their equipment every so often to retain their budget. I've seen beautiful, well tooled machines go for a pitance from these places.
Russ

wierdscience
01-31-2008, 09:32 PM
I kind of need to add some qualifiers right here - I'm looking for very specific information on 16" and larger swing lathes. Anything that does not use a D1-6 spindle, has fewer than 3 hp, or where the bed width is smaller than the distance to spindle centerline are not being considered.

This is the casting I see over and over again under different manufacturers -

http://www.machinetoolonline.com/PM1640.html

If anyone has experience with this lathe, by ANY brand - Birmingham, Sharp, Victor, Jet, Precision Matthews, etc - I'd love to hear it.

There are several versions of the same song.All were originally copied off a Mori-Seiki toolroom lathe first made in Japan.The Koreans,Taiwanese and now the Chinese have all had thier versions.The current batch are Chinese IIRC.Each incarnation has seen some changes and updates over the original.

Kent comes to mind-
http://www.kentusa.com/products/lathes/default.html

Grizzly even has one-
http://www.grizzly.com/products/16-x-40-Lathe/G0509

AFAIK they are good solid machines and the extra 1,000lbs of cast in the base make for a ridgid machine.The only negatives I have heard about them are the usual new Asian machine gripes,minor things like oddball fuses and leaky oil seals.

bob_s
01-31-2008, 10:18 PM
One would think that your average mechanical engineering student should be able to analyze what is wrong with the current crop of lathes, design and build whatever was required to make them work properly. But maybe I'm being naively old-fashioned.

toastydeath
01-31-2008, 11:23 PM
Thanks guys. You've pretty much reaffirmed what I thought about that lathe. Nice to hear it's a Mori clone.

The option to buy from other closing programs is a good one. The chances of finding a matched set or well tooled lathes is better, I suppose, so that will be passed on.

PaulF
02-01-2008, 12:29 AM
Hi,
I am not particularly fond of some of the quality coming out of the PRC.
However, that being said, I think there are ways to beat the system.

Look at Knuth tools..they are Chinese but are of better than average quality.
Not near Mori Seki.

If you need less expensive look at GMC MMC at southern tool.

If you decide on these do these things:

If you add an XY DRO get English or Mitutoyo and have the factory install them. The thought here is the machine must be inspected before it is sent out because they will test the DRO. If there is a problem they will swap it out with a good one.

I , against all my wishes bought a 1440 GMC with change gears and a Newall English DRO. I very carefully inspected every thing!!! gears, wiring, brake, tail stock taper, nose taper, etc, etc. I was very careful to set the machine level and stable.

I build prototypes for the Navy and although I'm not a production shop, I must say the machine meets all calibration specs supplied from the factory.

I know the next machine in line may have been a nightmare! I got a good one.
The guy in California that set up the tool was easy to contact and very helpful (I can give you his name and phone if you want).

I would really like to knock the Chinese tools, but this one is spot on. $4500 with the DRO and I have carefully checked all the usual problem places.
All and all I got my moneys worth and then some.

If you are buying for a school I bet they may let you inspect the machines before they are shipped. Go with a tool box and measure for yourself and don't except crap!!! The quality of this stuff will track what is excepted.

If you would like to talk about it contact me at farleymarinesystems@olypen.com.

The 1440 I got is worth the price and then some.

PaulF

spope14
02-02-2008, 08:39 PM
As for5 6 new lathes of a good size, here is a novel idea. You have the challenge of teaching both manual, but your student skills suffer if they do not have CNC experience.

HAAS has a toolroom lathe, runs both manually and CNC, 14 to 16 inch size. HAAS loves to work with schools that purchase the machines and will give big discounts. You could probably get the CNC/manual toolroom lathes at less coat all tooled up that you could a good quality manual 16" lathe if you play your cards right.
I am looking at two or three of these myself in the next two years.

Oldbrock
02-03-2008, 01:03 AM
I had a turnnado from South Bend in the school shop in which I taught. superb machine if you can afford it. Have been a machinist for 50+ years in GB and in the oilpatch before teaching. Just to let you know where I'm coming from.