PDA

View Full Version : Which Lathe?



sabrejet
08-16-2009, 01:11 PM
From this and other forums I have come to some conclusions, I do not want a 3 in 1, and I do not want Chinese made. That ofcourse leaves me with good old made in the US of A!!! I need your help in what brand I should look for. SBL, Logan, Clausing, Sheldon, etc. I find several Heavy 10s. Some nice Logans. What is your feelings? Thank you, Jay

JoeFin
08-16-2009, 01:15 PM
I am still of the belief "The Right Machine will Find You"

I was at aution last week and saw 2ea nice Clausing 10" go for $200 each. They were lacking Tail Stock and Steady Rest but for $200 you can't be too choosy

Keep looking and counting your pennys

Boucher
08-16-2009, 01:21 PM
I have a Nardini that was made in Brazil. I am pleased with it. I have the 12X30 and sometimes wish it was a 14X40. I would think that either of these would be a good prospect.

Mark Hockett
08-16-2009, 02:14 PM
What is your budget? What is your skill level? The lathes you mentioned are OK hobby lathes that can sometimes be found for reasonable prices. Chances are the one you find will be worn or need work so that is where the skill factor comes in, do you know how to inspect a lathe? I personally would take a Taiwan or better quality Chinese lathe over any of the lathes you mentioned, but I don't want to spend time scrounging parts and rebuilding tools, I want to use them for their intended purpose. I personally have a 13 x40 Taiwan made Enco Turn Pro lathe that has performed flawless since new in 1996.

winchman
08-16-2009, 02:52 PM
I don't know what your budget is or what you plan to do with the lathe, but I think you might like what you'll get for your money with a Taiwan-made lathe from the 1980s.

I've got a ('78-ish I think) Jet 1024 that doesn't have the problems that seem to plague the later model Chinese machines. I wouldn't trade it for all three of the professionally rebuilt LeBlond Regals at the school. I'll often use them for roughing out a part, then take it home to finish on the Jet.

Roger

gwilson
08-16-2009, 03:17 PM
A good Taiwan lathe will do just fine. My 1986 Grizzly is still like new. The newer lathes have hardened beds,which you can't always find on older machines. Some SB's,yes.

I certainly would not choose a lathe missing its tailstock,unless you want to build one. Even if you COULD find a tailstock,it would NOT perfectly align with your lathe. It is also very difficult to find steady rests and follower rests,or spare parts for many older lathes.

If you were exceedingly lucky,and found an old lathe in fine condition,WITH the accessories,that would be nice. Barring that,Taiwan lathes have done well for me since 1974. I also have a 1964 Hardinge HLVH,one of the finest lathes ever built,but my large lathe is 16" X 40",a Grizzly made in Taiwan (1986),and it is very accurate.

I am not fond of the Chinese stuff,either,but Taiwan is heading for the status that Japan now has,and their stuff will get more and more expensive.

radkins
08-16-2009, 04:19 PM
Is the China stuff really all that bad? I gave up and bought a Chinese 14x40 after spending months looking at old worn out American iron and I have no regrets at all. Everything I looked at was either a "project" lathe that was going to take a great deal of effort and money to get up to par or if they were in good shape they were REALLY pricey! Everyone told me to shop around that good deals are out there and maybe they are but believe me it is not what it was only a couple of years ago and there are a lot of people looking these days, the few truly good lathes disappear fast. I did a lot of searching and was told by a lot of different people that from the 12x36 stuff on up the Chinese quality is a lot better and this has certainly been the case for me, my 14x40 has run everyday since January of this year with zero problems and good accuracy, probably better than a well worn "old iron" machine. I am in no way trying to say that the China stuff is as good as domestic machines, they are not even in the same league, but a new ready to run Chinese machine can be a lot less hassle and a heck of a lot less money than a rebuilt "old iron" machine.

gnm109
08-16-2009, 05:39 PM
My 13 X 40 Enco Gapped, Geared lathe is still doing nicely after 15 years. It came new with all of the tooling. Enco and Grizzly still selling a model that's almost identical.

As mentioned above, Taiwanese machinery is getting more and more expensive all the time. It's getting to the point where the Japanese items are now.

I wanted an older USA lathe back then (and still do) but I've never run across one yet that was not in need of a complete rebuild. I looked at a nice Monarch 10EE recently in the same warehouse where I got my Webb Mill but it was $4,000. I'd sure love to have a Monarch but it's not in the cards, I guess.

gwilson
08-16-2009, 05:49 PM
I bought a Monarch EE,but decided it was too much hassle to gut the old variable speed mechanism and make up a new one,which includes refitting the gearbox on the old motor. It isn't any larger in capacity than my Hardinge HLVH,though a nice one in running condition would be a great lathe. my HLVH drives like a sports car,and everything is perfectly heavy duty enough for its capacity.

The Monarch is extremely overbuilt,but still has a very small spindle. Many ham handed machinists abuse them,thinking that they are heavier duty than they really are.

rantbot
08-16-2009, 06:20 PM
The weird thing about the cheapo-end Chinese stuff (and not just machine tools) is that someone seems to have neglected the idea that the machine has to perform some function. The products too often seem to be something that someone who didn't understand the machine or how it was supposed to work was given a non-Chinese original to copy, and copy it he did, but not very well.

This is clear when comparing a cheapo Chinese lathe to, for example, a well-designed western cheapo lathe, such as an Atlas. The Atlas has an appropriate range of speeds available through the drive system, the tool holder is held at the correct height for cutting metal, the carriage drive works in both directions ... all things most of us would consider fairly important in lathe operation. Some of the Chinese machines can't do those things, even when new and in perfect condition.

So there's the dilemma - should one recommend an old Atlas or an entry-level Chinese lathe to a nascent hobby machinest? The Atlas may have some wear problems, and some of the parts, particularly some of the zamak parts hidden inside the apron, will probably be broken, and these problems may be very difficult for a beginner to recognize. On the other hand, the Chinese lathe as supplied by the factory may be impossible to use, and the necessary modifications and fixes will also present some tough wading for a beginner.

I have no experience with the larger modern Chinese lathes. Several regular posters here have claimed that the problems of basic non-functionality aren't too bad in the larger (12" plus) sizes. On the down side, the larger Chinese lathes are much more expensive than one would like to see for an entry-level machine. South Bend, Logan, Sheldon, Rockwell, Clausing, Atlas/Craftsman, etc. are properly-designed machines which will work as they should "out of the box." However they are old, so wear and damage can be factors. The Atlas or Craftman lathes are not as sturdy as the others and are more likely to have broken parts. The others wear like, well, "like iron," not too surprisingly, and can be excellent buys.

Another factor I would mention to a beginner is that in this class Atlas (and Craftsman) and South Bend are very common and well-known, and because of familiarity are in high demand - that is, somewhat overpriced.

Fasttrack
08-16-2009, 06:31 PM
American Tool Works Pacemaker lathes. ;) :D

radkins
08-16-2009, 08:54 PM
This is clear when comparing a cheapo Chinese lathe to, for example, a well-designed western cheapo lathe, such as an Atlas. The Atlas has an appropriate range of speeds available through the drive system, the tool holder is held at the correct height for cutting metal, the carriage drive works in both directions ... all things most of us would consider fairly important in lathe operation. Some of the Chinese machines can't do those things, even when new and in perfect condition. I have no experience with the larger modern Chinese lathes. Several regular posters here have claimed that the problems of basic non-functionality aren't too bad in the larger (12" plus) sizes.

Very true for the "hobby" machines like the very popular 9x20 that is sold under so many different brand names but from 12x36 or larger it is a totally different story. These things have a decent range of speeds and in the case of my 14x40 changing speeds is as simple as flipping the appropriate lever or switching the two speed motor from high to low or low to high. Unlike the small China specials these larger machines do indeed have carriage drive in both directions as well as bi-directional cross feed that the small outfits don't do in either direction. The tool post height is in the proper place and has never been a concern but then it was not a concern on my 9x20 either. The carriage and cross feeds, again unlike the small outfits, are very smooth and mine has proven to be quite accurate in all feeds.




. On the down side, the larger Chinese lathes are much more expensive than one would like to see for an entry-level machine.


Using a 20% off (they have one almost every week) coupon at Harbor Freight I bought my 14x40 delivered to the store for pick up for a total of $2,559.20 or $2,795.93 with Tn sales tax . This is the same lathe that Enco sells (I have compared them) for around $4,000 and appears to be the same as the Birmingham 1440. For that price I just can't believe I made a mistake by not buying a well used machine and the more I use mine the more I am convinced that these larger Chinese machines are a viable option.

clint
08-16-2009, 09:47 PM
I have a 10" Clausing 4912, from my dealing with lathes it's a bit heavier built than the SB, Atlas etc, the bed is "Flame Hardened" which I guess is Clausing's way of saying hardened bed. I have had a few problems here, and there, but very minor... My biggest problems were getting away from a single phase replacement motor to a 3 phase motor powered by a VFD, then tooling of course.

Clint

MickeyD
08-16-2009, 10:06 PM
The 10L South Bend is a nice lathe and easy to work on. That being said, a lot of them had soft beds and since all of the carriage power comes from the lead screw, the screws are often very worn making consistent threading a challenge. Personally I think the 13" version is a much nicer machine and they made a lot of them during the war and many got passed down to school shops afterwards. Personally I have a 1946 Monarch 10EE that is a pleasure to use. Insanely accurate, friendly controls, and variable speed make work that fits a pleasure.

The Artful Bodger
08-16-2009, 10:24 PM
......I just can't believe I made a mistake by not buying a well used machine and the more I use mine the more I am convinced that these larger Chinese machines are a viable option.

My opinion exactly, I bought one of these:
http://www.chesteruk.net/store/crusad9.jpg
... and I am very happy with it as an entry level machine.

[Of course living where I do I do not feel under any patriotic obligation to support the products of any one country..]

flutedchamber
08-16-2009, 10:38 PM
I'll add another vote for the Nardini lathe. Mine is a 1760, 17 inch swing and a 60 inch bed. Extremely well made with zero wear on the ways after 20 years of use.

Probably it is more German than Brazilian, as many VW parts were and possibly still are made in Brazil.

.RC.
08-16-2009, 11:19 PM
I am in the same boat as sabrejet, Been looking for a replacement machine for 7 months now...No closer to when I started...Decent second hand is near non-existent on the open market, it is mostly being in the right place at the right time...

New within my price range is like a turkey shoot, which one is good and which one is crap...

The ones I like that I know are quality are $20 000+ :(

airsmith282
08-16-2009, 11:43 PM
i have abusy bee b2227l 10x18 lathe and the 7x20 ct129 mill and i have no problems with either, the lathe gets the most use of the 2 and its still great after the last few years and now over 40,000 hours of use and still going stronge like the day i brought it home , nothing wronge with chinese stuff as long as you buy from the right place...

toastydeath
08-16-2009, 11:49 PM
American Tool Works Pacemaker lathes. ;) :D

Quoted for truth.

If I had to have one tool, for all time, it would probably be a 20x80 ATW Pacemaker with the 27 speed gearbox. I have to clean up drool every time I see one.

hawgwrench
08-17-2009, 06:08 AM
From this and other forums I have come to some conclusions, I do not want a 3 in 1, and I do not want Chinese made. That ofcourse leaves me with good old made in the US of A!!! I need your help in what brand I should look for. SBL, Logan, Clausing, Sheldon, etc. I find several Heavy 10s. Some nice Logans. What is your feelings? Thank you, Jay

I think condition and tooling is alot more important than the manufacture.I bought an older model Enco 14x40 last spring to get me by while I made repairs to the other lathe,I was skeptical to put it mildly,but based on what I heard here I went with it.It has worked well with no probs other than the usual minor stuff.The other machine is a 5914 clausing,and this is definately a love/hate relationship.Its a heavy built machine that'll take one heck of a cut,and do it quickly.That said,the hydraulic speed control on these are a real pain,and woe be unto you if you have to contact Clausing for parts:eek: ;high priced doesnt say it....obscenely priced is more like it.Good luck with your quest.

loose nut
08-17-2009, 07:26 PM
i have abusy bee b2227l 10x18 lathe and the 7x20 ct129 mill and i have no problems with either, the lathe gets the most use of the 2 and its still great after the last few years and now over 40,000 hours of use and still going stronge like the day i brought it home , nothing wronge with chinese stuff as long as you buy from the right place...

40000 hrs.
My math might be wrong but at 8 hr. a day and 200 days a years as an average, apparently you have had it 25 years.