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dan s
10-14-2008, 06:52 PM
Tool snobs rant...

Some of them are arrogant, some are ignorant, some are both. Every time someone asks a question about a possible lathe purchase, one of them gives the knee jerk answer of "buy old American iron", or "the bigger the better" with no caveats of any kind. Honestly I think some them would have everyone own an old 12"+ atlas, or south bend, with every accessory known to man.

Lets now examine some concepts that need to be considered when dealing with the newbies.

Size:
Bigger is not always better... It the newbie is never going to make anything larger than remote control car parts, he doesn't need a 14x40. What he needs is something small, what will let him get in close to examine the work.

Accuracy:
If all the guys is ever going to make, is lawnmower parts, he doesn't need a 10ee, or a Hardinge. What he needs is a run of the mill lathe that will hold a tolerance of .003" (could be off, i don't make lawnmower parts) or better.

Power:
If the newbie is never going to make stuff larger than 2 inches in diameter or out of anything harder than 4140, he doesn't need a beast driving up his electric bill. Let's not even get into high voltage or 3 phase.

RPM:
Again, if he is never going to make anything larger than 2" in diameter, he doesn't need an old beast that's wheezing like a geezer just to crack 1k rpms. What he needs, is a machine that can hit 2k rpm or higher, and maintain it without having a bearing failure.

Accessories:
The snobs really drop the ball when it comes to accessories. I mean honestly, how often do you see an old chunk of American iron for sale that comes with everything included. This is an entire topic by it's self, and come to think of it we should have a sticky about it.

Thus for you tool snobs, if you can't offer sound advice to the newbies don't say anything at all.

I feel better now that i have that off my chest.....

miker
10-14-2008, 07:57 PM
Dan, how dare you come on here and talk sense!!

I had just been out and spit on my Chinese 12x36 for daring to work nicely straight out of the crate for these last 4 years. It obviously doesn't know it should be a useless piece of crap.

Stop causing trouble Dan. We know your type!! :)

Rgds

Your Old Dog
10-14-2008, 08:13 PM
When the object is to have a heart to heart talk with a bull and convince him to your point of view, you don't start by waving red flags in his face or pissing on him.

Frank Ford
10-14-2008, 08:15 PM
I agree - some folks are snobs, I suppose, and some are unsure enough about their own choices that they seem to have a subconscious need to try to get others to follow their lead for some kind of personal reinforcement. Others are real experts who can, if given enough information, be really helpful. It can be tough for a newbie to sort out these out, particularly on the Internet.

Me, I try to say only what I've done and how I felt about it. That way I'm not pressing any issue, but offering personal observations. I stress the "try" part because I sometimes get in the way of my own original intent, if you know what I mean.

I'm no real machinist, but I do have one area in which I am certifiably knowledgeable, and I find myself often asked about what tools a guy should get to be a guitar repairman. Nobody really likes my answer, because about all I can say is, "Well, I have this, this, and this, but I know any number of other professionals who use other things. It's more a matter of what works for you, and as you learn, you'll sort that out."

Fact is, after 40 years of full time experience in the field, I'm still not sure what tools are "best." One guy will drive frets in with a 12-oz ball pein hammer, and tell you that it can't be done with a plastic hammer, which is the only thing I use. Another will say hammers can't work, and only an arbor press will do the job. Yet all three of us may turn out perfectly good, efficient work.

So, I approach the machine tool world the same way - I try different stuff and figure out what works for me. I'm quite serious about my intent as I learn this stuff; I take the cost of tools as a part of my education.

dan s
10-14-2008, 08:23 PM
Sorry Dog,

I'm not the heart to heart type, I'm more of a shoot first maybe ask questions later type of guy.

I would be more than interested in contributing to some kind of group project, that covers what people need to consider when buying a lathe.


When the object is to have a heart to heart talk with a bull and convince him to your point of view, you don't start by waving red flags in his face or pissing on him.

J. Randall
10-14-2008, 08:25 PM
Dan, this is the internet, you are going to get opinions that range from one end of the spectrum to the other. You ask your questions, get your answers, and apply what you want from them to your own situation. I see no reason for name calling. I like to read all the opinions myself.
James

Fasttrack
10-14-2008, 08:29 PM
Well, there *is* a difference between old "American" iron (again using "American" very generally) and the kind of import machines that are comparable in price. If you don't mind waiting, and can afford to transport it a long ways, and if you have some prior knowledge, you can get a much better value out of a used machine. But that is alot of "if's". Personally I always suggest buying used machines over new ones, but I don't judge other people for not having "American" machines. Its just that when I got into machining, I thought the only way I could get a lathe for a decent price was if I bought an import. I didn't know how many used machines were available if you were patient and could drive a few hours to pick it up (or 18 hours in my case :) )

Import machines are a great way to learn. Thats what I did. I didn't have anyone nearby to teach me about machining and I didn't know jack about lathes or mills. I take what I know now for granted (I mean who doesn't know what a drawbar is?) but back then it is nice to start with a new machine since it takes some guess work out of the equation. On the otherhand, I quickly outgrew my machine. Within two years I was fed-up and wanted something bigger and nicer. Granted I started at the very bottom with a tiny 3-in-1 machine, but since then I've used many imports and American machines. Considering that the American ones are more pleasent to use and usually cost the same if you don't mind putting some minor work into them, it is important to consider both options. Obviously everyone isn't lucky enough to find an American machine that suits there needs and in some cases, imports are a better choice. The atlas/craftsman lathes, for instance, I view as basically an import lathe. Decent quality, they get the job done but they aren't as nice as other machine tools.

Whew... I'm rambling. Anyway, I've yet to find an import machine that had as nice a feel as the several different "American" made machine tools I've used. That doesn't mean you can't produce just as nice work on them (in fact most of you can produce better work on an import than I could on the best American made machine out there). And it doesn't mean I look down on people for owning import machines. It just means that it is another option, and one to be taken seriously.

As far as your point by point goes - yeah thats mostly true. It just depends on what you want from your machine. I often work pieces greater than 2" in diameter and I'm sick of import machines with nylon and phenolic gears that get destroyed when working the machine to its max capacity. I wanted something that was more or less indestructable, where working it to its max capacity would not significantly reduce its lifespan.

And for accessories, well my two lathes came with 7 chucks, three tool posts, 15 tool holders, 5 carbide insert holders, a huge boring bar, a 5C collet holder for the tool post, a sky-hook hoist, three coolant systems, 4 drill chucks, 3 live centers, taper adapters, face plate, steady rest, collet chuck, collets and I think thats it ;) (me, gloat? Never...) So, yeah some come with lots of accessories. But I think mine was a special case, thats why I was willing to drive 1040 miles for it!


Seriously though, I aggree with what you've said. I just want newbies to understand that their only option is not buying new if they want a quality machine. The advantage of buying used is that you can find really good deals on awsome machinery. The disadvantage is that you never know what your going to find or when your going to find it and sometimes you think you found one when you actually found a pig in a poke!

OldRedFord
10-14-2008, 08:30 PM
I see no name calling. All opinions on getting a lathe are noted. In the end its up to guy with the money. :cool:

dalee100
10-14-2008, 08:32 PM
Hi,

What needs to be remembered on both sides of this discussion is, what tools are available to the new guy. A lot of the guys who push for the big old iron, have good units available in their area for reasonable prices. Those who tend to promote new Chinese, tend to be in tool deserts.

While I think everyone should at least have the chance to use or even own, say, a pristine 13x36 LeBlonde. I know that not all of us can have that opportunity. And there is no greater purgatory than trying to make good parts on old clapped out machines if you don't have the skills or a good mentor available. And frankly, a 16x120 is more than a bit over kill for the vast majority work, (it's why big machines are available in pretty good shape for fair prices. Nobody used them when first bought, and nobody wants them now). And yet, a 7x12 is quickly over matched and out grown.

What tends to happen is, everybody starts in on their favorite machine. And no one stops to ask the new guy a few basic questions before starting the cat fight about old iron and new Chinese.

Before recommendations can be made we need to know if the new guy knows anything about machining? Does he know his local used market? What does he think he wants to make? There is no one solution. And what a new guy starts with isn't perhaps what he will end up with after awhile. That old Atlas might have been a fine tool for a year or two, but that new Chinese 12x36 might be just the thing that he really needed. None of us can see his future.

I'm going back to my lurking now.

dalee

Dawai
10-14-2008, 08:36 PM
"you pullled the chain.. it's gonna flush"...

As a tool snob with wore out old machines I can tell you that it was a talk around here a few years ago about "purchasing" a chinese made "new" machine, taking the motor apart and sending it out to be redipped in varnish before it burned up..
THEN, redoing the ways tolerances all the way down the bed making it accurate enough to actually use..
MY response to the "well known" machinist who suggested such nonsense? buy a older well made tool and rebuild it so you got more than a chinese lump of iron to pass onto the kids in your estate when you die.

I was not popular around Grizzly I am sure. Their products have gotten better thou.. critisizm?

That is a personal decision. I got harbor freight tools that work, some do, some don't.. that 3inOne tool is up north somewhere I bought and sold it. I know where the lil craftsman lathe is.. sitting in a barn rusting.. The 3rd upgrade (Leblond) is still making parts for me. You can turn small things on a large machine tool, but not turn large things on a small one. Buy what you can afford to buy. I gave $700 for the Leblond, $500 for the Southbend shaper, WAY TOO DAMN MUCH FOR THE BRIDGEPORT CNC.. Yes, my paint booth is now full of machine tools and I have the habit bad.. A machine tool junkie monkey on my back.

Now, It is off my chest too. All tools are disposable.. use them up.. I was cutting a new belt sander drum from a piece of six inch pipe today... NOT on a Sherline.. thou I'd like to have one.. My kids will inherit pieces of wore out crap.. I have tools to actually make things. I have a coal scoop to pick up chips.

Are you aware most machine tools don't get used.. they are bragging objects to be possessed, perhaps a key to a membership in a club.. Kinda like the Harley t-shirt "only" wearing Harley riders.

If you'll look up past posts, I was invited to go elsewhere with my Home converted cnc. I was not popular. Still don't give a rats ass in a popularity contest. I miss IOWolfie too.

I'd like to see a post started.. these things are good... These things are BAD.. HF 4" grinders? I burned up three in thirty minutes.. Not good.. When you are first starting out, people don't tell you the truth cause they are embarrassed they "wasted" their money.. or they never really used the tool anyways? If you never use something, it's great huh?

I've made plenty of errors buying things. I got this 24"x120 cinncinatti lathe, been used here twice.. ya need it?

Signed, the Hillbilly tool snob..

Fasttrack
10-14-2008, 08:41 PM
I've made plenty of errors buying things. I got this 24"x120 cinncinatti lathe, been used here twice.. ya need it?

Signed, the Hillbilly tool snob..

I need it!

no no, wait I don't need it... I'm trying to quit. I'm going to go take a walk and try to forget about all those beautiful old machine tools just waiting for me to put them back to work... I love the tools that give a lb/hour rating for material removal.

Dawai
10-14-2008, 08:47 PM
Hi bud:

Okay.. I didn't need it either.. It was gave to me.. had been sitting outside.. IT weighs about ten tons.. is on a 6" concrete slab.. shakes the whole building rumbling as it rolls over.. the big 4 jaw chuck never really balanced..

I turned a civil war style mortar on it. Shot plastic pails of flour..

Bring a crane, and large truck.. it broke the rear bearings in the roll back that delivered it.

(actually in retrospect? scrap was $260 a ton.. x 10.. whoo hoo, I may take a torch to it myself)

MickeyD
10-14-2008, 09:15 PM
I will readily admit it, I am a tool snob, but it comes from experience. Chinese motors that shoot fire, mill drills with sloppy quills from the factory, chinese lathes with enough chips in the gearhead to make an extra gear. If someone asks for an opinion, I will share it.

CCWKen
10-14-2008, 09:20 PM
The ole US vs. Import argument comes up a lot around here as well as "size matters". What it boils down to is what the user expects to achieve with the tool and whether he knows how to use it. Or better yet, how not to abuse it. If I can turn 6" stock on a 7x10, they can't be all bad. If I had room, the old 7x10 would be sitting right next to the 12x30 Atlas/Craftsman. If I had more room, I'd have that 24x120 too. The reality is that many folks just want a tool to tinker with and make model parts. Accuracy of any machine is user dependant.

Hey Dave, scrap prices down here just dropped to $200/ton. ($1/100-heavy) But they're still selling it at 15¢ a pound. :(

rantbot
10-14-2008, 09:24 PM
This is a silly thread. Snobbery isn't the issue. Posters are being taken to task for failing to answer questions which weren't asked. When a rank n00b asks what sort of lathe he should get, he almost never gives qualifying information - What size workpieces must the tool accommodate? What's his location? What's his budget? Nevertheless, a bunch of guys who have been using these things since they were at eye level with the carriage on a Hendey give him the best answers their accumulated experience allow them to make. Some of those answers may not be particularly appropriate when more particulars of the case emerge. In that case, it's the question which was poorly framed, not the answers.

J Tiers
10-14-2008, 09:34 PM
RPM:
Again, if he is never going to make anything larger than 2" in diameter, he doesn't need an old beast that's wheezing like a geezer just to crack 1k rpms. What he needs, is a machine that can hit 2k rpm or higher, and maintain it without having a bearing failure.


Wotta pongy mess......

You want low RPM for threading, and it might be a piece of 15mm stock....



Accessories:
The snobs really drop the ball when it comes to accessories. I mean honestly, how often do you see an old chunk of American iron for sale that comes with everything included. This is an entire topic by it's self, and come to think of it we should have a sticky about it.


Dunno how often they show, I bought the first one that came by, and quit looking.

Seriously, you are just having a bad day........ shake it off.

I don't care what you use. But I WILL mention something if it may be important.

The lack-of-slow-speed thing is a pet peeve of mine, and a "feature" of most chinese lathes, although that is changing. I'll let YOU thread 6 tpi up to a shoulder with a 150 RPM minimum speed....... thanks, I'll skip it myself.

Chinese stuff works at least after a fashion, out of the box no matter what it is.

And the larger stuff from reputable vendors is decently workable, or better.

Some vendors are not trustworthy, for instance Cummins (or whatever they call themselves now), and/or Harbor Freight, simply because they buy on price, and expect you to also. They don't know anything about what they sell. You might get a goody, or you might get one with so much sand in it you'll think you bought a cement plant.

But, I think basically you are just trolling and throwing stink bombs...... Hope you won't be wanting any advice real soon...... might not get a lot until your chip has fallen off......

dan s
10-14-2008, 10:04 PM
J

I agree 100%, but how often does your average home shot guy thread at 6tpi, or 8?

I guess my point is, enough guys on hear should know better.


Wotta pongy mess......

You want low RPM for threading, and it might be a piece of 15mm stock....

Fasttrack
10-14-2008, 10:15 PM
Funny that you should mention that...

I consider myself an average home shop guy, and I just (on saturday) threaded a 1.25" diameter 6 tpi acme rod to use as a hob to make a new gear for a thread dial. Previously the coarsest thread I've done was 10 tpi, and that is still way too coarse for 150 rpm. Not that all imports have such a fast "low" speed, though. The big MSC here goes down to 50 rpm - a little better. Not quite as nice as 22 for threading to a shoulder, but I take what I can get.

wierdscience
10-14-2008, 10:31 PM
If you got maried and your new wife started bitching and complaining constantly to a point you couldn't stand it any longer you have the option of divorce right?So if you don't like the first lathe or mill you get divorce it and get a newer better model:)

As a buddy of mine told his wife when sHe demanded a new car"you can be replaced":D

A.K. Boomer
10-14-2008, 10:32 PM
Personally im very happy that I dont have some massive bulky mill sitting somewhere where thats cold or I cant use it, I remember putting a bid on a mill 80 miles from here when I was checking them out on E-bay, Im so glad I got outbid, it was a monster and never would have fit in my basement, I was going to put it in my bro's garage cuz he's got pole fed 3 phase, Instead I have a mill that does everything I need and its just a trip down stairs about 15 feet from the coffee pot... single phase also, Bigger can be good - but it can be a hinderence also. Dont get me wrong i wouldnt want a little tinker toy either, but I think Id take a high quality little unit over a massive crude clunker if I had to choose.

J Tiers
10-14-2008, 10:37 PM
J

I agree 100%, but how often does your average home shot guy thread at 6tpi, or 8?

I guess my point is, enough guys on hear should know better.

How often? Anytime I want spindle tooling......

Even 14 tpi is no prize at high speed..... and 14 TPI isn't that uncommon.

And the nasty thing is that it's the smaller, low-powered machines that have the fast speeds...... so it's HARD to thread coarse stuff, due to lack of power.... couple that with no back gears, and its a problem.

back gears just do it all, torque multiplication, slower speed, keeping down to a reasonable speed in general.....

Ok... the prospective troll said 2" diameter..... let's look at that 150 RPM minimum..... that gives 75 FPM. OK for mild steel, 1020 or whatever.

Not so good for tougher stuff, especially if, as is often the case, there is a lack of power as well....

And tool steels, if you work any with them, may want to be machined around 30 to 40 FPM, although you can really dig in if you have the power. Try to go faster, with low power, and all that happens is work-hardening due to tiny nibbling cuts.

Go to a 3" diameter, and you get to 120FPM, which is fast for even some mild steels, especially with low power.

Any larger, and you really get into trouble. If you work aluminum all the time, it's fine.....

The stuff I really need higher speeds for is normally small, and goes to the little Boley....... It's good at that sort of work.

Liger Zero
10-14-2008, 10:46 PM
Got my Clarke lathe, got my Shurline lathe, got my Shurline mill. Don't need anything else.

WANT yes... I lust after that old Monarch from 1942 where I used to work. They will be folding soon, already talked to one of the partners. :)

Mcgyver
10-14-2008, 10:54 PM
i'm not sure i understand what you are complaining about, that some prefer old iron? count me in in that category but I don't know how that makes me a snob, or for that matter what a snob is, at least in the context of machining. Is a guy who buys a new HF or BB Chinese thing a new tool snob because he didn't by old iron? now that I'm more confused than when i dialed in, i guess I'll exit

dp
10-14-2008, 11:04 PM
I think there's an elephant in the room with these discussions. Some opine that you should buy American because it's the American thing to do and anything that supports the "Chi-Coms" is just un-American. And we've all see it here. It's a load of bilge, of course, but it's there.

I always wonder how our Canadian, Oz, Kiwis, and Euro friends feel about that claptrap. I prefer a pragmatic view - don't care where it's made, it's already in the country, it's affordable, it is effective, it is all that is needed to solve the problem. My shop, my iron, my choice. No flags were burned coming to this realization.

I do wish my Chi-Com lathe minimum spindle speed was less than 150 rpm, though :)

Tiffie has it right - if it does the job, use it and enjoy it.

I also don't think that this line of thought makes anyone a troll, but if it does I'll take that kind of trolling over any kind of nationalistic arrogance.

Doc Nickel
10-14-2008, 11:07 PM
I can see both sides of the argument.

When I decided to pick up my own lathe- in the days before eBay or Craigslist- I'd hoped for a good American machine, but none were to be found. I finally settled on a Grizzly 9x20", because, simply put, it was either continue to wait and hope, or just get the damn thing and start making parts.

The Griz worked fine for what it was. I'm glad I got it and I'm glad I had a chance to try it, but on the same hand, I was just as glad to get rid of it.

I "traded sideways"- neither up nor down- for a 9x36 Logan (nee' Powermatic) which had about the same power and accuracy, a few less features (no QC gearbox) but a much larger chuck.

In retrospect, it was kind of a poor tradeoff, as I lost a few features and it took up four times the space- but I'd convinced myself that "Old American" was better than "new import".

Not too long later, I added an 11x32" Logan to the shop. This one had more power, more top speed, more swing, came with more accessories and had the features I'd traded away- like the QC gearbox.

This 'old American' was better than the 'new import'- but then again, it was also better than the other 'old American'.

Then, at the beginning of this year, I sold the 9x36 to someone who was basically overjoyed to have it- he drove almost 300 miles one way to get it- and turned that cash right around- literally- to put a down on my 10x56" Sheldon.

Now, I paid a lot for that Sheldon- about what a 13"x36" Grizzly would have cost, delivered. But, I still feel that older, well cared for American is still better than most cheaper imports, and I was able to see, feel and try this Sheldon in person. Because of that, and the mound of tooling that came with it, the purchase was very much worth it to me.

But, prior to finding that Sheldon, I was seriously considering the aforementioned Grizzly. I'd needed a few things the Logan still didn't have- like a nonthreaded chuck, higher top speed, somewhat longer bed, etc.

Now, on the third hand, I went completely the other way 'round on the mill. I'd started out with a JET mill-drill, and eventually decided I needed a real, live, full-size turret mill, such as a Bridgeport.

However, such machines are even more rare than decent lathes up here, and again, in a couple of years of looking, waiting and hoping, none showed up- at least, none in anything like my price range.

I could have bought any number of Bridgies, Laguns or what have you, off of eBay and had them shipped up for $2K to $3K. But I'd have been buying the machine essentially sight-unseen, and as we all know from some of the more infamous eBay sellers, just 'cause you can still see the flaking on the ways, don't mean it's still tight and new. :D

I couldn't hear bearings, indicate the quill, check backlash, look for broken parts, etc. And I didn't want a project, I needed a tool I could plunk right down and start generating chips with a minimum of hassle.

To that end, I bought the second-largest Grizzly they carried at the time. Which, as it turned out, was a very nice Taiwanese Bridgeport clone, which in the last five years, has given me virtually no trouble or issues at all. It's still tight, there's less than 5 thou backlash in the X, the motor has never given me a hint of trouble, and the table and ways are all still completely unmarked.

So I can see both sides. I wanted an American lathe, and eventually ended up with one. But when I needed a better mill, I needed it then and there, and didn't need a kit that needed to be assembled first, so I bought a good import after quite a bit of research.

Neither way is the "right" answer. If you're just a tool nut, and don't mind putting in some work, by all means, buy the older American and do a bit of refurbishing. If you need the tool for actual work- whether for pay or just as a hobby- then by all means buy a good import, bolt it down, and start making chips.

Doc.

Michael Moore
10-14-2008, 11:35 PM
Quality is where you find it and knows no national boundaries. Junk is made around the world, and people who are 110% focused on quality also live around the world.

Evaluate the tool that is in front of you and decide if it meets your needs at a price that seems reasonable. If so, buy it without concern for the nameplate on it.

cheers,
Michael

dan s
10-14-2008, 11:43 PM
J with respect, This has to do with your personal preference, and comfort level.

I single pointed 10tpi on Saturday at 125RPM. Now I wasn't running right up to the shoulder, i has ~0.17" to play with. Now if I wanted to go slower than that, I would probably just set up a good VFD system, and rpm wouldn't even be an issue.


How often? Anytime I want spindle tooling......

Even 14 tpi is no prize at high speed..... and 14 TPI isn't that uncommon.


Ok this is splitting hairs. Most of us, even those with small lathes can smoke an M2 Bit. At some point the jump to carbide can be made to negate this issue.

With regard to power requirements, as I'm sure your aware simple formulas exist that let you calculate exactly what you machine is capable of doing before you stall the motor. And low HP is not just a new/import issue, My local tool dear just sold a 12x36 qc craftsman that only has a 1/2hp motor.



Ok... the prospective troll said 2" diameter..... let's look at that 150 RPM minimum..... that gives 75 FPM. OK for mild steel, 1020 or whatever.

Not so good for tougher stuff, especially if, as is often the case, there is a lack of power as well....


Come on J your a special case, how many people do you think have the space or the $$$ for multiple machines.



The stuff I really need higher speeds for is normally small, and goes to the little Boley....... It's good at that sort of work.



I have a proposal, and this is open to anyone.

Are you willing to chip in you knowledge and put together A "so you want to purchase a lathe guide"? I'm not talking about a this brand vs that brand guide I'm talking A how much HP and rpm range type of guide.

I have already started collecting my thought on the subject.

dan s
10-14-2008, 11:50 PM
My complaint is about how some hear blindly point the newbies to old American iron (and in some cases large) because that's what they have/like/want. When they should be prompting the newbies a little more to find out what they "need" and are capable of doing.


i'm not sure i understand what you are complaining about, that some prefer old iron?

oldtiffie
10-14-2008, 11:58 PM
Tool snobs rant...

Some of them are arrogant, some are ignorant, some are both. Every time someone asks a question about a possible lathe purchase, one of them gives the knee jerk answer of "buy old American iron", or "the bigger the better" with no caveats of any kind. Honestly I think some them would have everyone own an old 12"+ atlas, or south bend, with every accessory known to man.

Lets now examine some concepts that need to be considered when dealing with the newbies.

Size:
Bigger is not always better... It the newbie is never going to make anything larger than remote control car parts, he doesn't need a 14x40. What he needs is something small, what will let him get in close to examine the work.

Accuracy:
If all the guys is ever going to make, is lawnmower parts, he doesn't need a 10ee, or a Hardinge. What he needs is a run of the mill lathe that will hold a tolerance of .003" (could be off, i don't make lawnmower parts) or better.

Power:
If the newbie is never going to make stuff larger than 2 inches in diameter or out of anything harder than 4140, he doesn't need a beast driving up his electric bill. Let's not even get into high voltage or 3 phase.

RPM:
Again, if he is never going to make anything larger than 2" in diameter, he doesn't need an old beast that's wheezing like a geezer just to crack 1k rpms. What he needs, is a machine that can hit 2k rpm or higher, and maintain it without having a bearing failure.

Accessories:
The snobs really drop the ball when it comes to accessories. I mean honestly, how often do you see an old chunk of American iron for sale that comes with everything included. This is an entire topic by it's self, and come to think of it we should have a sticky about it.

Thus for you tool snobs, if you can't offer sound advice to the newbies don't say anything at all.

I feel better now that i have that off my chest.....

Good post Dan - very good indeed and very much needed.

You have hit some raw nerves and got some good answers that were pretty much to the point and some that were well intended but missed the mark or the point. Some were neither.

It is not really reasonable to expect a new entrant/member to know all the relevant questions. If he did it might be reasonable to infer that he knew all or many of the answers.

I'd guess that few of us (not me anyway) would know most of the questions or answers either.

If someone asks a question, I assume that it has been framed as well as they know how in the circumstances, whether it be lack of literacy or just not knowing the terms or the jargon. But he is entitled to respect and a polite answer - even if it is largely questions or suggestions to assist me or others to get enough information to either address his questions or needs directly or to direct or re-direct him to someone or somewhare else that may be better able to assist him.

There are a couple of "Urban myths" about as well that need to be addressed and probably discounted or disregarded:
- all "American Iron" is good to excellent; and
- all China/Asian is bad and somewhere between no good or not much good at all.

In a range of 10, where 0 is poor/bad and 10 is excellent/the very best, the answer is quite often somewhere between the 2-to-4 to 6-to-8 ranges - ie it may be in the range of 3-to-7.

It is a bit idealistic to expect to get a "10" every time.

The person who posed the question is probably seeking to address his options, requirements and limitations. That is a "big ask" - particularly as those options or requirements may change over time. "Local costs and supply and availability" are big issues too.

Whether the machine really needs a variable speed control or 3-phase power are big issues. Space is another.

But, by and large, knowing what the enquirer really wants to do on or with his machine is the fundamental issue as most other things - money and space/room either flow from or are closely related to those issues.

Tools and machines are addressed in the same way.

Whether the machine needs a power feed or a Digital Read-Out (DRO) or not is for the enquirer/buyer to decide for themselves.

The end decision is for the buyer alone. He does not have to satisfy anybody else but himself.

I presume that he is trying to get enough good advice and options to enable him to make an informed decision.

That others may or may not like or approve of what he does is of no matter or consequence as he is under no obligation to anyone else.

If the enquirer is in the US or Canada, I'd suggest that he look at Busy Bee in Canada. From what I've seen, the impression I have, is that BB has a very high success/score and will be very hard to beat on a value for money, quality and customer support basis. They seem to have a very effective quality screening and assurance process that might be lacking - from the impressions I've got from here - in some of the larger US "box-movers". So I'd guess that the BB-type machines - and probably tools - in the US would be well worth a good look at.

This quote/post by rantbot - along with some similar others - pretty well "nails" a lot of issues:

This is a silly thread. Snobbery isn't the issue. Posters are being taken to task for failing to answer questions which weren't asked. When a rank n00b asks what sort of lathe he should get, he almost never gives qualifying information - What size workpieces must the tool accommodate? What's his location? What's his budget? Nevertheless, a bunch of guys who have been using these things since they were at eye level with the carriage on a Hendey give him the best answers their accumulated experience allow them to make. Some of those answers may not be particularly appropriate when more particulars of the case emerge. In that case, it's the question which was poorly framed, not the answers.

My previous remark about clarifying what the issues are and what the questions are are fundamental to answering the enquirer such that his needs are addressed in terms of his options.

New members (I detest the implicit "put down" in the words "Newb", "Noob", "Noobie", "Newbee" etc. - when used in a derogatory fashion) have exactly the same rights as anyone else here - no matter how "senior" "others" are, or what "rank" those "others" have been promoted to or how "posts" they have credited to them.

Not all new members are novices in a machine shop - even if that shop was engaged in wood, plastics, fibre-glass, optics, sheet-metal - or what ever. Many may be less than pleased to be "talked/put down" to by some who may not be as experienced or as competent as the enquirer is.

I suspect that there are quite a few members who join the forum and just "look" but feel less than confident about "joining in" because of the "reception" they might get from some here.

Me? Its fair to say that I've been in and around shops and tools on and off for while and have a bit of experience. I also have a few tools that I can occasionally do some fair to middling stuff with and on. I have pretty well fitted out my shop with new stuff - almost exclusively Asian - and almost in every instance, it is very good as regards accuracy, fitness for purpose, durability and value for money.

Maybe I was just plain lucky or don't know any better - or perhaps not.

And for the record, I have no issue with tools or machines made in the US, UK and Europe as I've used or seen most of which is discussed here - but they are production machines that need to be made to "earn their keep".

My shop is small, as are the tools and machines in it which are in a "hobby" environment and my current machines and tools cater for me very well.

Now I not not very bright, so my opions or advice my not be as good as some really is, but I'd hope that it is as good as some never-the-less.

I just scanned for posts made while I have been typing and away and typing etc. and I see that there are some very good ones.

So, if I don't post it, it will never get done.

As I said, I'm a "bit slow" - even on a "good" day.

I hope that this is of some assistance to the Original Poster (OP) - dan s - and others.

lazlo
10-15-2008, 12:28 AM
My complaint is about how some hear blindly point the newbies to old American iron (and in some cases large) because that's what they have/like/want.

That goes both ways Dan. The folks who have Chinese machines, tend to recommend Chinese machines, and get really annoyed when the "other half" recommend old iron.

Some folks seem to turn this into an anti-American rant, but most people in the "Old Iron" camp aren't recommending old American Iron per se -- a good, used Boxford, or Hercus, or Myford, or Emco, or TOS, or ... is going to be superior in most ways to the typical Chinese lathe.

Like I mentioned in the other thread, Taiwanese lathes are a special case -- Feeler and Sharp et al make very fine lathes, for example, but they're freaking expensive. Jet/Shop Fox et al make nice lathes, but they're a heck of a lot more expensive than the mainland Chinese lathes.

I think Michael summed it up in a very concise way:


Evaluate the tool that is in front of you and decide if it meets your needs at a price that seems reasonable. If so, buy it without concern for the nameplate on it.

dan s
10-15-2008, 01:11 AM
Very true, and those recommendations should be quantified as well.

That goes both ways Dan. The folks who have Chinese machines, tend to recommend Chinese machines, and get really annoyed when the "other half" recommend old iron.


For the record, my lathe if a HF 8x12 (really 14), and it's not typical. I Have played with all the other HF models, and in my opinion my lathes fit and finish is better than the 7x12 9x20 and 12x36. I spent a great deal of time doing research, and I know why it's better. It's made by a different Manufacture in china. And I'm 99% sure its the same manufacture that makes the Precision Mathews 10x27 and 12x36, but not the 11x27. Thus in my opinion you can't say importer/brand x is bad, you have to go model by model. Doesn't the same issue exist with the old atlas/craftsman machines?

I would tend to agree, but we should quantify what's a typical chinese lathe is.

a good, used Boxford, or Hercus, or Myford, or Emco, or TOS, or ... is going to be superior in most ways to the typical Chinese lathe.


What about you Lazo, you up for throwing together a lathe guide?

rantbot
10-15-2008, 01:19 AM
What a rank beginner requires is a machine which works. The unguided tyro hasn't the foggiest idea if what he's doing is right, and if it doesn't work, he hasn't a clue what to do differently.

Well-meant but simple-minded mantras like, "if it works, use it" miss the point entirely. Really, D'oh! Of course, if it works, use it. But does it work?

Illustrative story. The first Chinese lathe I ran into - I didn't notice the brand - was not usable. It simply couldn't cut metal. The tool holder was held far too low, so the tool was nowhere near the centerline of the workpiece. It was at least a half inch too low. I managed to cobble up some shims and make them fit under the tool, and everything worked OK after that. I didn't have occasion to try threading, so maybe there were more surprises lurking in there, but maybe not.

I certainly couldn't recommend that lathe, without modification, to a rank beginner. (In this case I consider something as trivial as a shim a modification - it would be obvious enough to most every contributor on this board, but not to a beginner.) A beginner would try to use that, mess up a bunch of stock, and finally give up, never having learned that his problem was both obvious and easily fixed.

A better product would put a tool (if made of the proper size blank, as specified in the factory-supplied owner's manual) in the right place, without the user having to figure out a way to put the tool where the factory couldn't manage to put it.

Now the second illustrative story. I found advertised on the 'net a Logan, being used as a wood lathe in a school shop. It was packed full of sawdust but was otherwise lightly used. However it had been assembled incorrectly. Someone had put on a motor which was a bit too big and wouldn't fit where Logan thought it should. That meant that the motor mount had to stick out too far to the rear, which in turn tilted that strange over-complicated Logan drive box up too high, and that in turn meant that the belt cover wouldn't close all the way. The Logan belt cover is an overcenter arrangement which supplies belt tension. So the belts wouldn't tension properly, and the lathe wouldn't run very well, if at all. This was a simple problem, with a not-very-simple diagnosis, and, as it turned out, a simple fix (I used a Sawz-All to shorten one mounting flange on the motor - everything fit, problem solved.)

The Logan is a decently solid lathe, maybe just a notch down from the heavy South Bend, and certainly a better lathe to use than the Chinese specimen I described above. But could I recommend it to a rank beginner? Not really. I'm sure it worked fine when it left the factory 70 years ago, but with the replacement motor, it was fairly non-functional. I saw what was wrong with it right off, as could many here, but it would be asking a lot of a beginner to diagnose such a long chain of errors.

So what can one conclude from experience? I don't know. But as a practical matter, the difference is that new Chinese can be bought by picking up the 'phone. American takes more time and effort.

Incidentally, I bought that Logan with a bunch of chucks, backplates, toolholders, boring bars, a collet setup, and a steady rest for $150. And it is hardly "clapped out" - I need a rebuild more than it does. The idea that all old American tools are clapped-out junkers which need rebuilds is just a cliche.

Doc Nickel
10-15-2008, 02:30 AM
But as a practical matter, the difference is that new Chinese can be bought by picking up the 'phone. American takes more time and effort.

-And that's a major part of the potential equation.

As I said in my post of the mill, I needed a fully functioning mill now, not a theoretical mill sometime in the distant and indeterminate future, and not a "project" mill bought like a pig in a poke.

Therefore I bought a new import.

But, now that I have the two primary machines, I've been collecting other older American tools that DO need refurbishing- in large part because the ones that need repair are the only ones I can typically afford. :D

Doc.

oldtiffie
10-15-2008, 03:27 AM
........................................
...................................
For the record, my lathe if a HF 8x12 (really 14), and it's not typical. I Have played with all the other HF models, and in my opinion my lathes fit and finish is better than the 7x12 9x20 and 12x36. I spent a great deal of time doing research, and I know why it's better. It's made by a different Manufacture in china. And I'm 99% sure its the same manufacture that makes the Precision Mathews 10x27 and 12x36, but not the 11x27. Thus in my opinion you can't say importer/brand x is bad, you have to go model by model. Doesn't the same issue exist with the old atlas/craftsman machines?



I'd agree with that Dan.

My machine is the local (OZ) version (re-badged) Precision Matthews 10x27.

http://precisionmatthews.com/PM1027Lathe.html

A very good machine indeed. I'd like power feeds and perhaps a QC gear-box but I picked the lathe without them as the other features and my need for them out-weighed the need for the power feeds etc.

The 116 RPM lowest speed is a bit of a PITA but I get by. If I need it slower, I will fit a hand-cranking lever to the rear of the gear-head spindle and if screw-threading will put the geared head in "neutral" and leave the nuts engaged (with the "E-stop" securely engaged!!!) . I have screw-cut 6 tpi (metric lathe!!!) and I finished it off by pulling the chuck around by hand - possibly 2>4 RPM - fabulous finish!! But mine is a 3-in-1 and that small mill-drill has come in very handy (very accurate and "stiff") at times although I use my HF-45 mill-drill pretty well exclusively now. It is very similar to the Busy Bee (Canada) lathe that several on this forum have.

If there had been three lathes of generally similar specifications here in OZ when I needed and bought it, each (say one each from OZ, US, UK, Europe and China) would have been evaluated and bought purely on merit and value as the only criteria irrespective of source.

I was not interested in a "restoration project" as I didn't have a lathe to restore another then. I just wanted it to work and work well "straight out of the box" - which it did and still does.

I have seen some crap machines from all over - China and the US included - and likewise some very good ones too from the same sources.

I agree that if comparisons are to be made that they should be "apples with apples" and not "apples with oranges".

Advice should be impartial, focused and objective. "Sweeping" and "generalised" statements should be qualified as such.

A questioner is quite entitled to assume that he can expect nothing less.

dp
10-15-2008, 03:35 AM
What a rank beginner requires is a machine which works. The unguided tyro hasn't the foggiest idea if what he's doing is right, and if it doesn't work, he hasn't a clue what to do differently.

Well-meant but simple-minded mantras like, "if it works, use it" miss the point entirely. Really, D'oh! Of course, if it works, use it. But does it work?

It would indeed be simple minded if "if it works, use it" is the criterion, but if the criterion, as I suggested, is does it do the job and the answer is yes then you have a winner. Successfully doing the job is proof of performance whereas "if it works, use it" is open ended. There is no suggestion in it that indicates success. That, you must agree, is not a sound go/no go concept.

John Stevenson
10-15-2008, 04:02 AM
What's wrong with Old Chinese Iron ?? :D Seriously though there must be enough of those small 7 x ?? and the 9 x ??'s out there that probably exceed the total output of the South Bend factory since it started. In that case if they are so crap and don't do what the operator wants why don't they show up for sale in large amounts. I don't accept that it's because they are worn out and scrapped as there are still plenty of basket case SB's and Atlas's sold and getting buyers. .

rantbot
10-15-2008, 04:53 AM
In that case if they are so crap and don't do what the operator wants why don't they show up for sale in large amounts.
That would be a qood question even if they do do what the operator wants. The "used" market in just about anything is not generally filled up with trash, but follows the "new" market fairly closely.

So, where are they?

chief
10-15-2008, 05:10 AM
You buy what you can afford, it there was a reasonably priced America lathe I would buy it. I'd like a Standard Modern but can't afford a new one.
The people who irk me are the hypocrites on the PM who buy chinese equipment and then deny it. Milicron is the worst everything but American is junk to him, unless he happens to be selling something foreign made, then sudddenly it great stuff.

Norman Atkinson
10-15-2008, 05:26 AM
John is so right. I bought a 9x20 lathe because the Myford that I had could not be resurrected- at the time. I did resurrect an ML7 and now a Super 7B( and wrote it up)
The only real faults of the 9x20 were the high slow speed of 130rpm and a a short top slide for no2 Morse tapers.
Other people are producing sensible additions all over the internet.

Again, I bought , I think RF 25 , Warco Mill drill and I was at ArcEuro in Leicester buying Chinese scales for both mill and my 'new'( joke) Myford. John, I apologise for swearing at you over the phone from there!

What has to be remembered in this day and age is that repairs- if they can be done- may cost more than the Far East new replacement. Even then, there is no guarantee that all the replacements for British iron are there.
Letr me assure you that I am still making bits for my Myford- and have binned the ML7 because the spindle etc was dearer than a new lathe.

Pure accountancy- pure common sense.

No sticking my arse up in the sand like an ostrich and farting out all our yesterdays.

Norm

oldtiffie
10-15-2008, 05:53 AM
OK, as the topic is "Tools snobs", I can see no good - or any - reasons why it should be restricted to lathes or just machines either.

The same or similar attitudes seem to prevail no matter whether it be about lathes, mills (both vertical and horizontal), mill-drills, pedestal grinders, hand grinders and sanders, surface as well as tool and cutter grinders, battery and portable drills, welders of all types etc. - the list goes on and on.

And lets not forget hand tools, measuring equipment, guages, digital vs. vernier, surface plates, rotary tables, dividing heads, slip guages, 1-2-3 blocks TC tips (indexing and fixed), boring bars, end mills, HSS tool steel, machine and bench vices etc. etc.

Frankly, I don't think that source (Country-of-origin) is relevant from a "performance" and "value for dollar" aspect if performance and value are acceptable to the buyer.

I agree that there is sentimental value for some in having tools etc. made in a specific country and/or by a specfic manufacturer or a particular tool etc. just for the sake of having it.

Any advice given should be given freely and impartially without berating the enquirer who is or may be in a very vulnerable position not necessarily of their own making or choosing.

There are many ways that very acceptable tools and parts can be made or acquired by or for a new member - or even an older or more experienced one - if their needs are modest. That has been demonstrated very often on this forum.

MCS
10-15-2008, 06:08 AM
If you allow me to zoom in into a little piece of the argument:

The 150 rpm.

On my lathe the lowest gear was 60rpm, but I installed a VFD. A VFD is an really worthwhile addition (or is it snobbish?) to a lathe. Now my lowest rpm is in the region of 6, which would lower the 150 to 150/60 * 6 = 15.

speedy
10-15-2008, 06:17 AM
Thanks for that Norm. The image would have been too much to bare.
No sticking my arse up in the sand like an ostrich and farting out all our yesterdays As they say, "why post a picture when 17 words will do"

The way I see things. Buy what you can or cannot afford and what suits your purpose. Advice that you may get whether it be from "tool snobs" or not is advice after all. Use it or disregard it as you see fit.
Recently, I was lucky enough to find an old Kiwi made Apex 150sc arc welder. While it is not a modern unit with aluminium windings that I can carry in my wallet, it is a good one with high/low amp option.
Now all I have to do is resolder all the connectors, fit a new earth clamp and handpiece. Then strip, panelbeat and repaint the cabinet. Good as new and still a couple of quid in pocket.
Oh yeah, it also needs 4 swivel castors fitted. They're not standard issue but make the unit much easier to move about the shed and for parallel parking

Davek0974
10-15-2008, 06:30 AM
What a load, i'm not reading it all, just jumping in.

I admit to being an old-iron recommender but from experience not patriotism or anything else. I had a small budget and no knowledge when i looked for my first lathe, took a engineer friend round the budget chineese suppliers, they looked great to me. Then he pointed out the piss-poor machining on the ways, the massive backlash in the screws, the tiny bearings in the headstock and so-on.

Then he took me to a dealer he used, the machinery was dirtier and heavier, but as soon as i touched a knob or dial, the quality shone through. Everything moved smoothly, the carriage didnt jam as it went along, the tailstock didnt wobble up and down and so-on. The biggest eye-opener was that the price was about the same and it came with some accessories that would have cost more on the chinese POS.

Then we looked at the GOOD quality chinese lathes which were there, they felt the same but the price was a bit more. In the end i made my purchase and i still have it, a vari-speed Boxford VSL in excellent condition and still is. It's needed no spares, no repairs, no rebuilding, just goes on and on. I've just turned some gauges on it to 0.01mm, thats plenty good enough for me.

So when a newbie poses a question like "What lathe do i get" with no info on budget, usage, space available, I will ALWAYS say "get the biggest you can afford and fit in". I dont mean get a 14x120 as that is just being silly. But i certainly wouldnt recommend budget chinese tools over used iron, ever.

I doubt that any chinese low-end stuff will be around in 20-30-40 years. QUALITY STANDS THE TEST OF TIME. Quality is worth a little extra on any budget. There is also no use in getting a clapped out bit of old iron if you cant fix it up. Knowledge can help save money.

How about a sticky for all newbies, maybe a chart listing some intended uses:- Model cars, planes, watchmaking, steam modelling etc. Then go onto possible budget:- <£1000, £1000-2000 etc. Then maybe space available:- Basement, bedroom, garage etc. THEN give some possible types of lathe in each category - new and used.

OR

Give a list of questions to ask:-
Budget,
Intended use or hobby,
Space or location,
What area or country you are in.

This may help people post a reply that fits the question much easier, there is nothing wrong with the answers being given but the questions are too vague. Snobbery has NOTHING to do with it and usually only refers to people who have to get the newest and most expensive items, whether its golf clubs, cameras or lathes.

oldtiffie
10-15-2008, 06:33 AM
Ken,

I have an old 200+Amps "chokie" welder - made in OZ - about 40 years old, bought new that needed a whole lot of fiddly work to restore too (big thick copper coils) and now it works as good as or better than when new.

Its a bit like yours.

And "Kelly's axe": brand new except for four new handles and two new heads.

I bought it for when I was doing pressure plate welding courses. It did a lot of good work - as did my 9" "Bosch" heavy duty angle grinder!!

davidh
10-15-2008, 07:45 AM
If you allow me to zoom in into a little piece of the argument:

The 150 rpm.

On my lathe the lowest gear was 60rpm, but I installed a VFD. A VFD is an really worthwhile addition (or is it snobbish?) to a lathe. Now my lowest rpm is in the region of 6, which would lower the 150 to 150/60 * 6 = 15.

now just for the sh**s and giggles, exactly what is a VFD ? im not really a newby but some of the terms have me really stumped. . . i could google it, or search for it i suppose but its no fun doing it alone.

Dawai
10-15-2008, 07:47 AM
I had a real crappy Chevrolet once.. Words from the dealer.. Must have been made on a "Monday".

Ever eat at a good restaurant when they have just changed cooks. THE cook makes the food.. which the business future is made with.

I'm not saying all the foreign machines are crap, I am saying good and bad in all.


FRENCH MACHINE GUN: CHAUCHAT? CHOW CHOW?? Hey, we bought a million+ of them for our boys in uniform.


Sadly this hunk of junk was the most manufactured automatic weapon of WWI,outnumbering every other machinegun made, by the Allies and the Central Powers.

Now what exactly makes this thing a hunk of junk IMHO

1. First and most obvious was the horrendous Magazine. The magazine was not solid and infact had large wholes cut into it (so soldiers could see the rounds remaining) That might sound like a good idea until you try to use it real world, and in the trench warfare of WW1. Dirt and muck would easily find its way into the exposed magazine making them useless
pic (http://www.munavia-21.org/CHAU-2/CHAUCHAT-16.jpg)

2. Parts were not interchangable from one gun to another. They were produced so poorly that parts from one gun could not be used on another. Not very handy when your in the field.

3. The Chauchat is built of inferior metal, and thus the moving parts wore out very fast. It was also very prone to jamming made even worst by the fact,When the gun did jam, tools were needed to take it apart. Very bad when your in the middle of a firefight

4.The bipod was 3-feet tall!, because the French believed the only accurate way to shoot the thing was on top of the standard 3-high sandbags.Also, each leg moved independently, and was inherently instable and prone to bending.

5. When it was finally chambered for 30-06, the proper bullet dimensions were not incorporated by the French so some tended to explode on firing

I dont even want to think how many Allies lost their lives because of this hunk of junk. The worst part is the allied had better guns already like the BAR they didnt because of political reasons.

(hint: Not Iso rated.. Made on poor tooling)

FOR SALE: Made in America Lathe used by a lil ole lady from Pasadena to turn ink pens for her once a year Christmas presents. Lightly used.. In fact.. she may have allowed her grandchildren to crash the machine fifty times a day. OR even worse? used by "new students" and TEACHERS/KNOW-IT-ALL-Engineers in a school. AND it's been stored under a tarp on a piece of SWAMPLAND in South Florida for the last two years, but don't worry, it's only been underwater a few times. Has nice RED Patina finish. Notice the new spray-can paint job thou. Ways are not twisted, we propped one end up to allow the seawater to drain out each time it flooded.

small.planes
10-15-2008, 08:01 AM
now just for the sh**s and giggles, exactly what is a VFD ? im not really a newby but some of the terms have me really stumped. . . i could google it, or search for it i suppose but its no fun doing it alone.
Variable Frequency Drive, usually an inverter based box of tricks which allows you to vary the frequency on the input AC to the motor, thus making it run at variable speeds. I have on on my L5 but mostly it stays set at 1000 /1200 ish rpm and the lathe in top gear (love carbide :) )

As for tool recomendations I personally look for a proper industrial tool that was designed to make a living. It not snobbery that makes me do this, but ergonomics. Tools designed to work hard and make money have little features which make them nicer to use: power feeds, suitably large motors, proper RPM ranges etc. If you find the correct one thats been reasonably looked after then the design to run a 12 hour shift day in day out is usually built to last being run at that rate. using them lightly in a hobby enviroment wont stress them at all.
Note that I made no distinction about *where* the tool was made. I have tools that origniated in England, Czech Republic, Germany, Taiwan, China, and the US. All of them do the job they are designed for, all be it at usually much less than there real full load capacity.

Dave

J Tiers
10-15-2008, 08:04 AM
Ok this is splitting hairs. Most of us, even those with small lathes can smoke an M2 Bit. At some point the jump to carbide can be made to negate this issue.

As I am sure you are aware, this is another issue entirely...... If you believe the "tool steel snobs", carbide can't even be bolted onto a small low power machine, let alone used. It's a crock, to some degree, but you'll see it here.

And they have a point. Carbide does NOT have a point, it is blunt, and needs more power.....


With regard to power requirements, as I'm sure your aware simple formulas exist that let you calculate exactly what you machine is capable of doing before you stall the motor. And low HP is not just a new/import issue, My local tool dear just sold a 12x36 qc craftsman that only has a 1/2hp motor.

and that 1/2 HP will go a lot farther with back gears / slower speeds. I have a 250W motor on my 10 x 20 (1/3 HP) and never run out of power.



Come on J your a special case, how many people do you think have the space or the $$$ for multiple machines.


You must be talking to somebody else...... or not paying attention, or not understand the concept of "multiple"......

I have ONE 10" lathe, plus a 2" Boley (all of 12" long overall bed length), ONE mill, and ONE DP in the shop. Plus I happen to have 2 Atlas shapers, because I am supposed to sell one. That one was my "mill" for years.

derekm
10-15-2008, 08:29 AM
...
I'm not saying all the foreign machines are crap, I am saying good and bad in all.


FRENCH MACHINE GUN: CHAUCHAT? CHOW CHOW?? Hey, we bought a million+ of them for our boys in uniform...



Compare and contrast the Lee-Enfield .303 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lee-Enfield)
or the Bren (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BREN)

Mcgyver
10-15-2008, 09:37 AM
It just occured to me that the guys who think others are tool snobs might be missing the point....it has absolutely nothing to do with nationality (that imo is a silly notion, we all have products around us from every country out there, its value we're after not origin). However it has everything to do with quality. For my $1500 i would much rather get into an industrial quality $10,000 or $15,000 or more lathe that is used/older than a new $1500 lathe, believing that that you are getting a far superior machine for the dollars. you want to run a 15,000 lathe or a 1,500 lathe, there is a difference.

There's also lots of high end machines coming out Taiwan for example, so the 'buy old iron' gig (imo anyway) isn't applicable in that instance...first off few home shop guys are spending 8k on a new mill and second of all because this stuff looks pretty good, there's no benefit to buying old iron. No its not a country thing, its a quality bang-for-the-buck thing which of course can change; over time there will be less old iron in good shape and offshore quality will improve

Of course there's the contravening points of scarcity and risk of it being worn out and the difficulty in determining that (esp for newer enthusiasts) which are valid issues. At the end of the day it is a sense or belief not a fact because every machine will stack up differently. I fully get that the entire world isn't going to line up with or adopt my opinion, but when presented it is not arbitrary or prejudicial; its an opinion rooted an rational thought not nationalism or snobbery

That there is a long run of used western world iron and the new cheap stuff comes from China is just a circumstance of the current reality - remember talk like a pirate day? there's may be correlation but there is not causality. If history was different, and China had the 100 year run on quality machine tools and NA were just coming out with low budget stuff, I'd be advocating buy old Chinese iron, fix it up and you'll have a better machine. Its about bang for the buck not nationality or snobbery.

DR
10-15-2008, 10:28 AM
One thing I can say for sure about cheapo, third world tools and machinery.....their owners can be irritating.

Seems like every time I buy quality equipment or tooling it never fails someone will come through the shop and ask what I paid for it. Then they proceed to tell me I could have gotten the "same" thing at Grizzly for a fraction of the price.

Dawai
10-15-2008, 12:01 PM
Warning: sideways post..

DerekM: Okay I love the brit 303.. and 30/06 (when they got it right) AND the O3A3 I could hit cans at 100yards with..

THE Bren made in Britian.. Okay.. THAT IS a perfect example of what I was trying to say about different days in different machines. Some of them are "pretty" and some had turning marks akin to a rat tail file on the barrel.. THEY all shot thou.. WHen you take that shining example of ingenuity made for what? $0.85?? The oppressive goverments of the world should be afraid of home shop machine tools..

Some of those weapons are beautiful.. some are ugly.. but all I know of worked well. Using a enemy established caliber they took what they had and made the best of it. A farmboy who had never held a gun could use it's simplicity.

THE Chinese SKS, milled early versions.. worked really well.. the spot-welded on trigger guard versions made to sell to "idiot round eyes" were pretty junky.

Okay.. back on track?

lazlo
10-15-2008, 12:09 PM
Seriously though there must be enough of those small 7 x ?? and the 9 x ??'s out there that probably exceed the total output of the South Bend factory since it started. In that case if they are so crap and don't do what the operator wants why don't they show up for sale in large amounts.

The 7x10's and 9x20's do show up in large numbers, on Craigslist and Ebay, often in immaculate (i.e., barely used) condition.

I don't think there's a week that goes by on Austin Craigslist (which isn't one of the bigger lists), that a 7x10 or a 9x20 shows up.


The first Chinese lathe I ran into - I didn't notice the brand - was not usable. It simply couldn't cut metal. The tool holder was held far too low, so the tool was nowhere near the centerline of the workpiece. It was at least a half inch too low. I managed to cobble up some shims and make them fit under the tool, and everything worked OK after that. I didn't have occasion to try threading, so maybe there were more surprises lurking in there, but maybe not.

I certainly couldn't recommend that lathe, without modification, to a rank beginner.

That sounds like the 9x20 -- arguably the worst of the Chinese lathes. I had one for awhile, did a bunch of the mods on Steve Bedair's site, but got fed up and it went on Craigslist :) Aside from a teeny compound that chattered like Grandma's dentures and wasn't even close to the correct tool height, it didn't have a tumbler reverse, the tailstock clamp is a bare bolt holding a roughly cast plate, there are no bearings on the crossfeed or compound, and it uses a tiny little 5/16" leadscrew on the cross feed, so there was no "feel" when you would take cuts.

Not surprisingly, there's a huge list of "mods" to make the 9x20 usable -- the first and foremost is the 4-bolt compound clamp, where you replace the compound clamp with a rather large (1/2" x 3 x 4") piece of steel plate. This makes a huge difference in chatter -- I have no idea why the Chinese haven't incorporated that fix.

http://www.bedair.org/9x20camlock/9x20project.html

By the way, I kept my 7x10 lathe, which is nicer in many ways than the 9x20, but still a toy compared to an industrial machine. But it's really nice to have a little lathe that you can pick up and carry around the shop when you need to make a bushing or spacer for your "main" lathe (a Clausing 5914).

Alistair Hosie
10-15-2008, 12:11 PM
I don't think any of the advice is snoberry, people just speak from the heart Old American iron in good condition is better than new Chinese crap-junk no argument.Some Chinese stuff is ok but there has been a lot of people very dissatisfied after paying a lot of money for inferior items is that snobbery I don't think so one has a good track record and the other doen't yet meet that requirement. Simple enough to inderstand ! and snobbery has nothing to do with it.Alistair

Dawai
10-15-2008, 12:17 PM
Alistair:

Some of the chinese machine tools are okay. Not all..
Just like some wore out "good" american tools are no longer servicable.

Knowing "which is which" when you are just starting out is a real problem. I'd say most home shops have went through several before they settle on something that makes them happy.

Like a first car, you are probably going to trash it anyways.. I mean my first car would fly.. A factory race car. See why all my family thought I would not live past 18?

I'd like to see a "this is good, this is bad" post.

Alistair Hosie
10-15-2008, 12:27 PM
David the Chinese stuff and the Indian stuff has improved. However you must agree when they first started selling their wares they were regarded as pure and utter rubbish.Now they have improved.I remember people buying lathes and mills which nearly all had to be finished to satisfactory levels before use many parts nuts bolts switches had to be replaced and some iron had to be ground or filed to get rid of sharp edges etc etc etc we all know this.But they have pulled their socks up quite a bit one day their stuff will be actually well sought after just like the Japanese stuff is today they started off the same way everything was junk now look at them.Alistair ps keep well my freind I sure miss old thrud god bless his soul.Alistair

derekm
10-15-2008, 12:31 PM
Warning: sideways post..

DerekM: Okay I love the brit 303.. and 30/06 (when they got it right) AND the O3A3 I could hit cans at 100yards with..

THE Bren made in Britian.. Okay.. THAT IS a perfect example of what I was trying to say about different days in different machines. Some of them are "pretty" and some had turning marks akin to a rat tail file on the barrel.. THEY all shot thou.. When you take that shining example of ingenuity made for what? $0.85?? The oppressive goverments of the world should be afraid of home shop machine tools..

Some of those weapons are beautiful.. some are ugly.. but all I know of worked well. Using a enemy established caliber they took what they had and made the best of it. A farmboy who had never held a gun could use it's simplicity.

THE Chinese SKS, milled early versions.. worked really well.. the spot-welded on trigger guard versions made to sell to "idiot round eyes" were pretty junky.

Okay.. back on track?

According to a retired Firearms expert in the Army I happen to know (Has he own 25 pounder :D and a recoiless rifle etc...) The BREN ceased production because it was too expensive to make :eek: if you have handled one you can see why.
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d5/Bren1.jpg

As opposed to the STEN which was engineered for cheapness and even saw use in Vietnam in the hands of US special forces
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/9/99/Pistolet_maszynowy_STEN%2C_Muzeum_Or%C5%82a_Bia%C5 %82ego.jpg/800px-Pistolet_maszynowy_STEN%2C_Muzeum_Or%C5%82a_Bia%C5 %82ego.jpg

Norman Atkinson
10-15-2008, 01:00 PM
David,
In two days time, I will celebrate the 60 th anniversary of going deaf using a Sten gun!
Not many of you have used one in operational circumstances. My Sten gun was in the corner of my old sections and our aircraft were stripped out to squeeze our last few miles to success or oblivion. I can say that few could use a Sten with any degree of success. I fire a clip of 28 rounds into a 4" square with 14 of them into the square and the rest around it- from the hip. My boys couldn't.
The odds of killing me and the Weapons guy standing behind them was far higher than killing spomeone who had just arrived-with snow on their boots! All that can be said for the Sten was that apart from trimming finger nails in the breech, it would use any 9mm stuff that could be picked up. It was the finest example of cheap need it now engineering done by unskilled labour.
The old 303 Lee Enfield might have been used by my Dad or someone else's in a far off war but round after round would go where they were intended.

So back to today. The 918 lathe is far better than the price tag. adding a 3phase converter and 3 phase add a degree of accuracy which was actually beyond the capabilities of the new inexperienced users. I have one of these digital camera things- and I confess to never being to post here on 'Photof*ckit' It isn't my thing.

Sometime back, I wrote up( whether anyone reads it is immaterial) on hopw I had modified my 918 to accept ex-Myford bits. None of it was rocket science or even original as these bits were really suggested and successful on the Myford. Again, I hybrid-ised( a new word) tool and cutter grinders. Again, I was not the only one. In the past few months, people are going to press and publishing exactly what we had been doing for years. You have been getting all of this for free. Here are a lot of people who have given their experiences for free, for years.

So what's new, ***** cat? and I got flamed for that on one priceless- penniless forum.

Cheers

Norm

I wrote P as in bath, U as you, ss as in 2dollars and Y Why as as in why the ****

Dawai
10-15-2008, 01:14 PM
Sorry, the sten was on my mind... ANd a few other problems here.. Multi-tasking has never been my strong suite.

Norman Atkinson
10-15-2008, 01:29 PM
David,
Can you get into Practical Masochist? There is a guy who wants to know about 'Twitters' He describes himself as an old fart.

Google the Dance of the Flaming Arseholes and inform the poor creature.

It should bring great joy

Cheers mate

Norm

rantbot
10-15-2008, 02:05 PM
That sounds like the 9x20 -- arguably the worst of the Chinese lathes. I had one for awhile, did a bunch of the mods on Steve Bedair's site, but got fed up and it went on Craigslist :)
It may have been a 9", or it may have been the next size up; some things are just too awful to remember.

Not surprisingly, there's a huge list of "mods" to make the 9x20 usable
Yes, just the thing for hobby use.

But my point was that I wouldn't be doing a beginner any favors by recommending something he'd have to modify the bejabbers out of just to make it useable. He should be able to buy a lathe, assemble it as per the instructions, and be able to use it exactly as shown in any of the "Beginning Machining" books in the local library. Those books don't include useful hints such as, "If using a modern Chinese lathe, the tool holder may be at the wrong height. If so, get on the Internet and ask for help."


By the way, I kept my 7x10 lathe, which is nicer in many ways than the 9x20, but still a toy compared to an industrial machine. But it's really nice to have a little lathe that you can pick up and carry around the shop when you need to make a bushing or spacer for your "main" lathe (a Clausing 5914).The 7" lathe may account for the continuing popularity of the Craftsman/Atlas line. There weren't all that many manufacturers interested in the 7" size, but for someone who lives in an apartment and really has to work out of a closet, it may be the way to go.

RPM
10-15-2008, 02:21 PM
I am still pretty much a newbie, although turning to a 'tenth' on a 12x30 Atlas might prove I've learned something :-)
When I first picked up my Atlas, as a newbie who'd only seen a Myford before, I was very impressed by its weight, cos I had to carry all of it. And well-wishers on various groups who described it as a 'light-lathe' must have been smoking something funny, I was sure.
Then when I tried a heavier cut, I got chatter, and I got noises I'd never heard before, and after the tool bounced out of the 'heavy' cut a few times, I realised that I'd have to take lighter cuts. And cutting off was a nightmare.
So I eventually realised that I did indeed have a light lathe, and learned how to do things more slowly, and I also started taking an interest in the Heavy South Bend, and a few others that had more iron/weight for the same lathe size.
From what I've gathered, and you can tell me if I gathered wrongly, old Iron from whichever country it was made is normally a lot heavier for its size than the cheaper 'modern' Chinese lathes?
I also have a 1967 Rockwell Delta drill-press, which is also heavier than heck, which is why I can use it for light milling if I have to ( I know, but the Morse Taper Chuck is physically locked in place in the spindle :-)).
Looking around at more 'modern' drill-presses, they all appear to be half the weight of mine...
So was one previous poster (one of the tool snobs?) correct in suggesting a newbie should look for the heaviest he can find, at the size lathe he needs? I certainly would now if I had a lot more spare cash, any free Monarchs looking for a new home ?

Richard in Los Angeles

dan s
10-15-2008, 02:53 PM
It depends on the model/manufacture/intended purpose of the lathe.

grizzly 12x37 1213 lbs. (http://www.grizzly.com/images/specsheets/g4003g_ds.pdf)

atlas/craftsman 12x36 500 lbs?

logan 12x36 ??? (right up there with the grizzly I think)

Some of the other Asian imports in that size range are even heavier. A smaller "capacity" Monarch 10EE (3400 lbs?) bring a crane and check the thickness of the concrete shop floor.




From what I've gathered, and you can tell me if I gathered wrongly, old Iron from whichever country it was made is normally a lot heavier for its size than the cheaper 'modern' Chinese lathes?

Dawai
10-15-2008, 03:16 PM
NORM:

Good thing I don't have the "green pill" or I'd probably take it after seeing that on youtube.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DDrc6XTxf-0

More than a naive Gawgia boy can stand. I must admit, some of them boys can move.

S_J_H
10-15-2008, 04:39 PM
The grizzly 12 x36 is actually around 900-1000lbs without the stand.

An Atlas 12x36 is no where close to 500lbs. More around the 250lb range I am pretty sure.
And those machines are really just 10" lathes on risers.

A 9x20 import is just under 250lbs.

I had a modded to the hilt 9x20 with a 1hp 3ph vfd drive as well. I could run it as low as 25rpm and cut 8TPI threads with ease. It still never had real back gearing type power though.
I added bearings everywhere and in the end it was a decent little machine.
I used it to help rebuild my SB9A. My SB9 was a real case when I picked it up. It would have been useless to anybody new to machining.
In terms of rigidity, yeah my SB9A will easily take double the max cut depth that my 9x20 could.
But that 9x20 if used within it's range was quite accurate.

Also had a 7x10.

The new little Sieg c4 lathe looks pretty decent for a small starter lathe with power cross feed and variable speed drive.

I also have a quite old 11x24 Artisan as more of a show piece for my shop. Not something of much use though for the guy looking for a first lathe, although it honestly could be put to work and crank out some very nice parts as it's very accurate.


Steve

John Stevenson
10-15-2008, 04:43 PM
The new little Sieg c4 lathe looks pretty decent for a small starter lathe with power cross feed and variable speed drive. Steve

Wait until you see the C5 lathe..........

.

Norman Atkinson
10-15-2008, 04:47 PM
So David, still fancy the freemasons?
That's me 'blackballed' again.

One Christmas, our Dear Queenie , mother of Big Ears and Mother in Law of a horse remarked in one speech of having an Anus Horriblis. She was never terribly good at spelling or was she?

Norm

Now what has this to do with tools ans snobs?
Would you believe in her being a bit of a snob but she qualified as a driver/mechanic in the war- so there.

dan s
10-15-2008, 04:52 PM
I won't be getting one, but got any sneak peak photos???


Wait until you see the C5 lathe..........

John Stevenson
10-15-2008, 05:27 PM
Not for general release yet as it's still very much a work in progress but it looks more like a western machine than any other brought out yet.
Also has many western features and there will be a basic and pro model.
High speed threading is one option on the pro version.

lazlo
10-15-2008, 07:30 PM
High speed threading is one option on the pro version.

What's high speed threading? Did they add a flying dog clutch?

oldtiffie
10-15-2008, 07:38 PM
The new little Sieg c4 lathe looks pretty decent for a small starter lathe with power cross feed and variable speed drive. Steve


Wait until you see the C5 lathe..........

.

I too am looking forward to that machine John - any idea as to when we will see it?

lazlo
10-15-2008, 07:54 PM
David the Chinese stuff and the Indian stuff has improved. However you must agree when they first started selling their wares they were regarded as pure and utter rubbish.Now they have improved.I remember people buying lathes and mills which nearly all had to be finished to satisfactory levels before use many parts nuts bolts switches had to be replaced and some iron had to be ground or filed to get rid of sharp edges etc

Alistair, I've heard that said several times -- that the quality of the Chinese machine tools has improved. But I think that's wishful thinking -- that the Chinese are eventually going to sell better quality machine tools for the same price. When I look at a modern Harbor Freight or Grizzly lathe or mill/drill, it looks exactly like the one's I've seen, and owned, from 10 - 15 years ago.

Flip through some of the old, black and white Home Shop Machinist magazines from the late 70's, early 80's, and you'll see the modern Grizzly 12x36 "Gunsmithing Lathe" virtually unchanged in 20 years. Stephen Thomas' "Mill Drill Adventures" from the early 80's shows the exact same mill drill that you buy today from Harbor Freight. (Sorry to "out" you Stephen! :D ).

Like we've said a thousand times in the past, the Chinese are capable of building quality tools, but at the prices that people are expecting at Harbor Freight, Grizzly, Industrial Hobbies,... you're not going to get precision bearings, meehanite castings, dynamically balanced motors, and ground leadscrews.

John Stevenson
10-15-2008, 08:20 PM
What's high speed threading? Did they add a flying dog clutch?

Typically running a 5/8" x 18 thread at 800 rpm up to a shoulder.
Takes full advantage of carbide tooling.

.

lazlo
10-15-2008, 08:34 PM
Typically running a 5/8" x 18 thread at 800 rpm up to a shoulder.

LOL John, I know what high-speed threading is! :D

You said that there will be an option on the C5 Pro for "high-speed threading". Since you can thread at 800 RPM up to a shoulder on a stock 9x20 (not that you'll necessarily means that you won't crash :) ), that seems to imply that Sieg has added some feature to make it easier?

Like the flying dog clutch on the Hardinge HLV, that automatically releases the feed when the saddle hits a threading stop, or the Monarch electronic leadscrew reverse (which would be cheap/easy to add to a stock Sieg), or the Colchester High-speed Threading Attachment (a second set of halfnuts that release when it hits the thread shoulder stop), or even a Geo Thomas style quick-retracting toolpost?

MickeyD
10-15-2008, 08:59 PM
That is only going to be moving the carriage at 45 IPM but you will have to rapid the cross slide a little faster than that. If you size the motors right, it should not be a problem.

JRouche
10-15-2008, 10:27 PM
Im a snob!! Ill take anything from old broke down shapers that dont work to a lil Chinese lathe. I want them ALL LOL I just love machines, all of them.. Greatest invention since air really.. Im a tool snob.. I confess :) JR

J Tiers
10-15-2008, 10:32 PM
From what I've gathered, and you can tell me if I gathered wrongly, old Iron from whichever country it was made is normally a lot heavier for its size than the cheaper 'modern' Chinese lathes?


Not really..... The 9 x 20 is very light, lighter than Atlas, the bigger get heavy..... can be very heavy at the 14 x 40 size and up.

Old iron of the heavy industrial variety may be anything.... The Monarch and Springfield machines, for example are REALLY heavy in general.... And old "super-duty" machines, ones that take off chips that are the size of "parts", they may be extremely heavy. Won't be a problem for most HSM type, they may have 40HP or more....

Norman Atkinson
10-16-2008, 01:54 AM
I'm a bit 'crook' as the Oz would say. Consequently, I have been forbidden under pain of death or maiming to risk the workshop.
I've been watching the falls in the stockmarkets. The Far East has taken another tumble this morning of 10% and yesterday a mere 7% with threats of job unemployment of 2 million in the UK in the immediate future and a gloomier forecast thereafter. The mining stocks are first in the chain and they are being hit hard- because no one wants raw materials because no one wants finished goods.
Certainly, India and China are reacting strongly to a drop in demand.

Perhaps this is the end of cheap tooling-- or the ability to buy any tooling regardless of its age or origin.

I got an E-Mail yesterday, it was from a tool supplier- and they were literally screaming for orders.

Makes me think. What say you all?

Norm

J Tiers
10-16-2008, 08:13 AM
So far, here, lack of demand is causing lots of sales..... If demand for stuff from china goes down, expect rock bottom pricing (or lower).

As always, in a depression (assuming you think we have one) people with money get some screamin' deals.

People with no money, but lots of "stuff" get "took".

People with "fixit" skills will pretty much always eat.

oldtiffie
10-16-2008, 09:06 AM
Typically running a 5/8" x 18 thread at 800 rpm up to a shoulder.


LOL John, I know what high-speed threading is! :D

You said that there will be an option on the C5 Pro for "high-speed threading". Since you can thread at 800 RPM up to a shoulder on a stock 9x20 (not that you'll necessarily means that you won't crash :) ), that seems to imply that Sieg has added some feature to make it easier?

Like the flying dog clutch on the Hardinge HLV, that automatically releases the feed when the saddle hits a threading stop, or the Monarch electronic leadscrew reverse (which would be cheap/easy to add to a stock Sieg), or the Colchester High-speed Threading Attachment (a second set of halfnuts that release when it hits the thread shoulder stop), or even a Geo Thomas style quick-retracting toolpost?

Well, I sure would want to be using a ball-screw as my lead-screw. Using traditional half-nuts with those speeds would just about rule out using a thread-chasing dial!! It would play hell with the lead-screw and the half nuts as the the lead-screw acted as a spiral "shearing" cutter (like a meat mincer!!) on the half nuts as the nuts rubbed waiting for a thread to drop into. It would only work with a thread that was a multiple of the lead-screw pitch. It is quite possible at those speeds that the half-nuts would not fully engage either.

Getting the half-nuts disengaged so that the screwing tool stopped right in the relief groove without either crashing into the job or tearing into the previous thread grooves would be no mean trick either!!

It would be an even better trick if you were using the "top-slide rotated 29 1/2 degree" method!!!

I think I'd leave it entirely to CNC.

If that Seig lathe can do those things - and as John S says it will and can and so I believe it - I would love to see it do it!!

I think I'd better start filling a jar or two with small spare coins to buy one of them lathes!!!

Dawai
10-16-2008, 09:17 AM
Norm:
The Masons turned my petition down. I understood it to be a organization that had a strong belief in god and the will to do good for the community. I've Never been to prison, never been convicted of a serious crime. Good morals and honest-speak the truth.

Looking around, a lot of them guys are so self centered and so vain, perhaps they didn't want to be around a commoner? Several have been to prison, still members.. On Construction jobs, the ring bumpers get the best jobs. Stay the longest on the jobs to make the most. Meaning a good thing to be in for the money. ON the net?, discovery channel says they are a cult of the most devious nature. The root of all the problems in the world. Elitist who think they are above the rest of the common folk.

My buddy who joined about two years back has lost his damn mind. He brags so much now that I worry about his family when it all falls in on him. He does things like borrow corvettes to drive to the lodge. Vanity and pride, what a way to pass your life. I'd rather be humble and ride a donkey than brag about owning something I didn't own.

I'm not here to make friends. Not real sure I even want the godless lot of them in My neighborhood. Who are these morons? These Jay-birds dressed up so fine and driving the "best" vehicles? Living in houses large enough to hold church in? Most speak to women as TOLD to by the stories of Solomon being a womanizer? Playing on the vanity of others as a joke.

Tell me some more parables about Hiram A myth being the Jesus Christ story? Doing a good work on earth till "smitten" by his piers?

Humility, Honesty, steadfast in beliefs are some to be respected and honored. Not a bunch of bragging crows and jaybirds.

Dawai
10-16-2008, 09:37 AM
http://images.grainger.com/B270_28/images/products/1MCE6.JPG

THIS heah, is a job box.. gang box.. a place to keep the "tool snob's" tools that are easily pawned and traded for crack rocks. I've got tools I've had since the 70s for a reason. I take care of them.. I work them hard, but store them well.

Mine has rollers.. that is good and bad.. good to move in a plant, bad to roll it all off like a shopping cart.

http://www.grainger.com/Grainger/items/1MCE6 Currently at $407, considering I have about 100k in tooling.. well.. the easily carried off things fit in here.. I'd like more boxes like this.. some vertical ones to hold tooling.. them mill collets are pricy.

Ronald Kim
10-16-2008, 09:41 AM
I was always led to believe that if you are really good at your craft, it doesn't matter what you use to practice it. This applies to many different disciplines. As a kid I remember Frank Sinatra getting air play on a local radio station singing Old McDonald's Farm. Who woulda thought!!!
In my short time as someone who has been making small pieces of metal out of big pieces of metal, I have met men who have consistently turned out nice work on equipment that should have turned into boat anchors a long time ago. However, in my case two sayings come to mind more accurately describe my abilities,
"I would rather be lucky than good." and "Swerved into that one didn't ya."

mochinist
10-16-2008, 10:52 AM
I didn't read much past page 3 but let me say I love Chinese machine tools, I have had three different lathes in the shop this year alone for warranty repairs, they were all brand new and had yet to be used by the shop owner:p

thistle
10-16-2008, 11:16 AM
I am a tool snob ,I dont have any Chinese tools as i take issue the the Communist goverment , and their record on human rights, treatment of the Tibetans ectectect

Buy your communist tools if you want , dont whinge in 20 or 30 years when there is not much white and blue left in your flag.
I have a US and British made tools , i have had one machine rebuilt in the US.I will get some of the other machines rebuilt as well.

rantbot
10-16-2008, 11:40 AM
as i take issue the the Communist goverment , and their record on human rights, treatment of the Tibetans ectectect
I could say much the same thing about my lathe. It was made in Chicago.

But I don't blame the lathe for that - it had the good sense to get out.

thistle
10-16-2008, 11:58 AM
that made me laugh!

used to work in Chicago, in an old department store.
I used to work in Chicago, but I don't work there anymore.

Rich Carlstedt
10-16-2008, 12:39 PM
The "Old Fight" with new words..
Solutions only avail themselves to real problems.

it reminds me of Don Quixote’s "tilting at windmills"

And "it" will never be decided, because it is a personal thing.
Just remember, most guys who post with these "requirements
expect silk to be made from corn husks !

"I want to turn to .0001 accuracy", "be able to run at 5K RPM",
"have DRO's ", "and no backlash...and I have 500 bucks in my budget"

I believe most responses to such posts are sincere and try to convey the important things to keep in mind..
Just realise- like tools, we all have different women, because our tastes
are different.

As long as that is understood, bring it on....
Rich

BillH
10-16-2008, 02:55 PM
Bigger is better for 9 out of 10 reasons.
More mass the better...
This has nothing to do with being a snob, and all to do with science.
Now if some one just wants to play in their living room turning brass...

Alistair Hosie
10-16-2008, 03:38 PM
Lazlo perhaps your correct I only said it has improved Because I have a German friend who sells the stuff all the time as a job has done for years.,he tells me they have dramatically improved but then he was talking about little items like collets and holders int taper spindles For mills etc kindest regards Alistair

DR
10-16-2008, 03:50 PM
I was always led to believe that if you are really good at your craft, it doesn't matter what you use to practice it. This applies to many different disciplines.

.............................................



Yep, agreed in some fields, not metal machining though.

Without good equipment you can't do good work. Take a look at some production machining, notice the cutter marks, nice and even. That can't be done on a low quality machine no matter how skilled the operator is.

lazlo
10-16-2008, 04:24 PM
I have a German friend who sells the stuff all the time as a job has done for years.,he tells me they have dramatically improved but then he was talking about little items like collets and holders int taper spindles

Ah, now that part I can agree with Alistair :D I think we're talking about two different issues: the quality/price of the low-end/hobbyist products, and the quality/price of industrial grade products.

I bought a Hertel (Kennametal) 50 taper ER-40 collet chuck, and was disappointed when I saw that the box was marked "Made in India." But the fit and finish are superb, and the runout and spindle fit are as good as any Western tool I've purchased.

So the Chinese and Indians are certainly capable of quality, it's just a matter of getting what you pay for...

lazlo
10-16-2008, 04:27 PM
That is only going to be moving the carriage at 45 IPM but you will have to rapid the cross slide a little faster than that. If you size the motors right, it should not be a problem.

Mike, the C5 is a manual machine -- basically Sieg's version of the 9x20.

So I'm still curious what feature they're adding to make it easier to do high-speed threading?

dan s
10-16-2008, 04:53 PM
hopefully a flying dog clutch, that would great for stuff besides just threading.



So I'm still curious what feature they're adding to make it easier to do high-speed threading?

Spin Doctor
10-16-2008, 10:15 PM
I admit it, I'm a snob. A complete and utter tool snob. And that's on top of being a tool junkie. But being a snob I also understand the average home shop is not the same as an industrial tool shop. The things we do are labours of love for the most part. And the machinery we use it what we can afford. Sure there are guys here who are making a buck at their "hobby" and more power to 'em. Then there are the guys like me who did this for a living or still do and still found the idea of having a shop in the basement, garage or barn appealing. Not because it was a "busman's holiday" but because they could work on stuff they found interesting. And lastly there are the true hobbiests. The guys who got lured into this insanity by the promise of fast cars, faster women and cheap beer. And they find the HSM world is populated by a percentage of opinionated jerks just like the rest of the world (guilty as charged). Any hobby has its snobs. The hot rod world has its "if it isn't a '32 ford it isn't a hot rod types" (I've actually seen that in print). I'm sure there are fishermen who look down there noses at the guy weilding his old Zebco spinning reel. The film buffs who are dismayed by the success of the American Pie movies while true art can't draw an audience. The point is if you are using a PRC 9x20 and enjoying it, I'm not going to complain. Also if you have a rusty old piece of American Iron that always seems to turn out of round parts but you are happy have at it. But don't stick your nose into my shop and tell me what I should or should not be running for equipment. You can give advice, which I may listen to or not. But pass commandments from on high and you are likely to get told you are #1.

Norman Atkinson
10-17-2008, 01:51 AM
Being a sort of rich snob- now although that was not always the case, leads me to a valid point.
It is called size. If people have oodles of room, they can more or less choose what they want. Moreover, there is plenty of tooling which is on the market and is dead cheap and will get cheaper. The shrinking market for raw materials and scrap will force prices down even further.
In other pages, I have already said that things like tool and cutter grinders which cost many thousands of pound and twice that in dollars are cheaper than buying the castings and the steel and the motor and -- whatever.
The problem for many of us is space rather than cost.
Really, we have people now who have these mountains of obsolete or near scrap tooling and writing- 'Please sir I 'have a bloody big Bridgeport and it wont work'
In another generation, thee would be a tiny little lathe with an old ex-washing machine motor mangling away and with a vertical slide as a Bridgeport substitute.
It would be running in in a garden shed or if the guy was rich, at the end of his garage tacked to the little house and he did all his work with the fender of the little car to sit on and pushing the wife's laundry basket to one side.
Oddly, for many of us Brits anyway, we have moved up from a cranky warped cantilever 7" or less swing lathe bought on hire purchase. There is still the same old houses. They might have got a posher car and the garage is too small to get it in but there is still the need for something to replace the ageing lathes of the 50's and pre-war mangles.
If someone comes on the market and says 'we can flog you a lathe which will be cheaper, more accurate and fairly easy to use, it can be Chinese, American or whatever.
But Britain isn't making lathes now, Austria's is too bloody expensive and I shudder to think if America has anything either. The Far East has something which is cheap, improving and fills the needs of that group- of which I am one.

What 2008 will end with is anyone's guess but I can see money getting so tight that we will be thinking that a secondhand 9x20 will be the next best thing to sliced bread.

airsmith282
10-17-2008, 02:37 AM
I will readily admit it, I am a tool snob, but it comes from experience. Chinese motors that shoot fire, mill drills with sloppy quills from the factory, chinese lathes with enough chips in the gearhead to make an extra gear. If someone asks for an opinion, I will share it.


you must have gooten some really bad chinese stuff

my lathe and mill are both busy bee made in china stuff and i love them and they work hard for me everyday and iam happy ,,,

in the words of my old boss its all junk just some junk is better then other junk and some times what we think is bad junk is good junk to but who am i but a man that owns noting but junk some good some bad but its still all junk


on a more serious note , you get what you pay for most of the time but not al the time and some times you can get some really bad stuff but you can not sit and say its all bad cause its made in china or the US really, i make some amazing stuff on my china made stuff and i can do the same work just as well on a 5000.00 lathe just as good but i dont have 5000.00 and i dont need a lathe that big either

i started with a 800.00 7x12 made in china lathe and it died after 2 months to me it was crap but then i gota 999.00 on sale 10x18 at busy bee and have had it for over 3 years and i work the hell out of it everyday and only had one bad item was the tail stock sleeve and they repalced it , factroy defects happen ..

iam sure there is alot of american stuff thats pretty crapy as well .. and stuff thats just right cool and kick ass ,,

bigger is not always better and that is a fact .

speed is nice to have horse power is better then speed to me .. if you have speed and lack tourqe then you got some problems there id think..

the min lathe in my opnion would be a 10x18 great for small stuff and some larger stuff as well you gota have a machine thats also fairly rigid as well and that 10x18 is very well made .. ok i swear by it, its treat me like a king and made me lots of money so i can buy more tools...

for what i need to do and want to do it and my mill are more then sufficent

some guys need bigger and better but alot of us really dont so why tell us we do if we really dont..

one thing i dont do is try and keep up with the clicks and stuff

iam me and you are you and thats cool,,besides how good of a machinest you are is not determend on the size of the tools you own. to me its what you can do with thoes tools that you do own wheather they are cheap made in china or made in usa or made in poland really dont matter ..


the 7x12 i had by the way when it was running was awesome and could turn out some really sweet stuff

J Tiers
10-17-2008, 08:22 AM
i started with a 800.00 7x12 made in china lathe and it died after 2 months to me it was crap but then i gota 999.00 on sale 10x18 at busy bee and have had it for over 3 years and i work the hell out of it everyday and only had one bad item was the tail stock sleeve and they repalced it , factroy defects happen ..

You need to realize that the 'Old Iron" crowd have usually got machines that may be 80 years old and still capable of good work.

My lathe is 65, the DP is 55, the mill somewhere in between. Youngish.....

The question of durability is not what happens in 3 years, but what happens in 30, or 60..... Is tehre any reason why the chinese stuff should NOT be running then? Don't know...... possibly.

I have seen some pretty bad chinese stuff.

Cheap old American stuff, like Atlas, is STILL around after 50 years or so.... but it was made by folks who knew how, and made things cheaper, but not necessarily crappier (aside from zamac....).

Chinese X-Y table lead screw..... The ridgy part at left is the bearing.......

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/0803/jstanley/chinlead.jpg

JoeFin
10-17-2008, 08:43 AM
I think what is VERY TELLING on this topic is they had a guy from India posting over at the PM forum asking about all the "Old Iron" machine tools.

Turns out these shops in India were buying up American Iron machine tools so they could make the import stuff they ship here

Norman Atkinson
10-17-2008, 08:48 AM
Joe, equally what is Hyundai doing?

One answer is making the machinery to make European cars to compete against Hyundai cars.

There is a moral somewhere

Carld
10-17-2008, 11:21 AM
It all boils down to you have to buy what you can afford to do the job you want a tool/machine to do. Home machinists on a limited budget have to search for a tool/machine that has the quality they need for what they have to spend. A machine shop that is doing production or job shop work has to have a tool/machine that will hold up under hard long use. The two situations are not the same and can't be put in the same box.

Each person buying a tool/machine has to devote time to find what will work for them. For someone to come along and tell them they bought worthless crap is not nice or conducive to good relations. It's best to say nothing especially in a home shop situation because in most those cases your dealing with a friend or neighbor so why make an enemy. After all, he has already bought it.

Because I have worked as a job shop machinist I know good tools/machines and what to expect from them. Since I have retired and have my own shop at home I have to carefully determine what I want to buy and how I will use it. Sometimes I buy a high quality tool and other times not. It's based on my expected use of the tool.

The problem is when a home machinist has no experience to fall back on or a friend to help him pick out a good tool/machine for his needs he may buy a poor quality tool/machine not knowing he is.

That is why, in my opinion, it is better to instruct a person inquiring about a tool/machine than to tell him/her it is crap. If we tell him/her what may be wrong with the tool/machine and what to look for when he/she buys then we are truly helping. It's not always necessary to buy old American machines, there are many good machines built in Asian countries as well as Europe, you just have to look for them with some knowledge of what your looking at.

The fact is if people wise up and don't buy the bad tool/machine then they will stop making them and make a better tool/machine. If they can't sell it they won't make it.

Mike Hunter
10-17-2008, 11:22 AM
I’ve been listening to this American v. Import banter for quite a few years (haven’t we all?). I’ll just add my .02 cents worth.

Now I’ve got what I would consider a fairly well equipped shop; couple of mills (Bridgeport’s), three lathes (1 POS 7x10, a Sheldon and a Grizzly), and a couple of surface grinders (Delta & Harig).

For a couple of years my main lathe was the 10 x 56 Sheldon (old American iron), Made in 1952, it had a good long life and still capable of producing quality work. But as with all lathes that age, parts were worn, and things would break. As a result I spent a lot of time Ebaying for parts or making parts on that 7 x 10 POS lathe. Motor went out, had to adapt the mounting plate to fit a new motor… not a big deal, except when the machine is down, I wasn’t getting stuff out.

Decided to get a different lathe; really wanted a Nardini, good quality ..moderately priced. Every Nardini I looked at was either missing something, usually the steady or follower rests, or had problems (used in trade school…crashed several times). I was not going to” EBay” to keep my lathe running any more.

Stopped by the Grizzly showroom, took a look at their 14 x 40 lathe (G0554), runout with POS Chinese 3 jaw: .0025. Dials were right on, everything nice & tight. Decided to buy one… Out of stock, 9 coming in next month, 7 already sold. (Somebody’s buying them).

Got mine in, no sand in the castings, no shaving in the headstock; everything seemed to be right. Accuracy at spindle w/o chuck: .0002, I can live with that. Precision Tapered roller bearing in headstock, hardened bed.

After 2 weeks motor burned out; Grizzly replaced. I replaced all the Gits oilers, factory ones were crap, plastic knobs replaced with golf balls (hey they're cheap..and work) . Lathe has paid for itself several times over in the past 3 years; now only use the Sheldon when I don’t want to disturb the setup in the Grizzly. And have yet had to make any parts for the Grizz on that POS 7 x10.

So would I buy another Sheldon… not on your life. Would I buy another Grizzly, well a 10 x 54 Grizzly mill in the shop would really make life easier.

Now if anybody has a 14 x 40 fully equipped Nardini with low miles that they want to sell cheap…let me know

Mike Hunter

Ries
10-17-2008, 11:39 AM
OK, I admit, I am a tool snob.
In the sense that I LOVE good tools.
And I am willing to pay more for em.

There is something about using a really high quality tool, even if I dont really "need" it, that gives me pleasure.

And hey, life is short- soon enough, money in the bank wont do me any good.
So I buy nice stuff, when I can afford it.
I make a point of buying a Starrett tool or two, NEW, and at FULL PRICE, at least once a year- because they feel so nice when I get em out of the box, and also because I want Starrett to stay in business.
I know, Harbor Freight will sell me a ruler for less. But when I use my 6" Starrett rule, it makes me happy.
So I wasted 20 bucks. Big deal.
I can eat a meal that costs twice that much, and still wake up hungry the next day.

Slowly, over time, I have been getting rid of my barely adequate, but cheap tools, and replacing them with tools that I enjoy using. I was never as happy as the day that Atlas lathe left. Sometimes I can afford new. Other times, I get a good deal on used.
I happened to find a Haberle, german made cold saw, used, for a thousand dollars, way back in 92. That seemed like a LOT of money to me then, when $85 would buy you a chinese abrasive chop saw. But I have never regretted it. It is a joy to use, accurate, quiet, no sparks, and so well built it still runs perfectly, all these years later.

I am too old for partying all night, I have no interest in chasing loose women, and I cant afford a Vincent Black Shadow- but a few bucks extra, to buy a great tool, as opposed to a merely adequate one- to my mind, thats money well spent.

airsmith282
10-17-2008, 12:51 PM
sometimes " alot of the times" your big bucks your paying is no more then the name on it.

wierdscience
10-17-2008, 12:59 PM
sometimes " alot of the times" your big bucks your paying is no more then the name on it.

It is for that reason I save my reciepts.I don't care where it's made if it's crap it's crap and it's going back.

People forget it's feedback to the retailer/mfg that improves quality.

lazlo
10-17-2008, 09:35 PM
I make a point of buying a Starrett tool or two, NEW, and at FULL PRICE, at least once a year- because they feel so nice when I get em out of the box, and also because I want Starrett to stay in business.

Like Wierd was alluding -- be careful about buying Starrett hand tools if you're trying to buy Made in USA. Some of their hand tools, such as the machinist clamps, the edge finders, telescoping gages, v-blocks etc are now made in China.

If you can get a paper copy of the latest Starrett tool flyer, there are little footnotes that indicate which tools (almost entirely hand tools) are made by "Starrett International" at the Starrett plant in Shanghai, China.

lazlo
10-17-2008, 09:40 PM
Turns out these shops in India were buying up American Iron machine tools so they could make the import stuff they ship here

Damn if that isn't the saddest thing I've heard since Bernanke's economic outlook (last Tuesday).

wierdscience
10-17-2008, 10:25 PM
"Turns out these shops in India were buying up American Iron machine tools so they could make the import stuff they ship here"


That's been common here for at least 30 years.Lots of machinery has gone to Mexico and SA along with China.Mexico used to have a huge tax on new machinery so the used stuff would be bought here and shipped down.There was also a dealer near Laredo that sold new"used" equipment.

Woodworking machinery for years was near impossible to get a good buy on at auction if the auction was of any size.Many SA dealers used to attend and buy.They could get 3xs down south what a machine was worth here.

Mosey
12-12-2009, 07:13 PM
I have this friend who is an Off-road Diesel mechanic. Blow up your Caterpiller and he comes out in the mud to get it going. I thought that diesels were precision. Well, he says come on over and look at my new machine. Wow, off I went. The entire basement, wall to wall with no room to squeeze by was filled with snapon rolling cabinets to the ceiling. Open a drawer and you see arrays of reamers, micrometers, gages, and whatever else Starrett made. Packed full!!
He had an old Clausing 8530 mill that I wet myself over, and another old South Bend 10" lathe. Wet, again.
No, he hadn't used any of the hoard of tools that he bought from the widow for $3000. He bought a brand new Harbor Freight 6" combo lathe. He was making valve shims for an Alfa Romeo on it.
Naturally I offered to help him set up the real machines, no deal. I also offered to take it all for a fair price. Nope.