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Splinztz
08-20-2010, 02:51 AM
I'm looking for a benchtop lathe. I realize that it's not optimal, but I don't have the space (small apartment with no basement, expensive industrial space). I'm looking to do small, non production, and mainly aluminum parts so raw size isn't particularly important.

I'm not really looking for a used machine. I'm willing to do some adjusting, but don't want to restore a lathe straight off, or track down rare parts. I like Cowell's lathes but they're a little too small for what I'm looking for.

Is there anything on the market that's better than the imported products in this market?

~Patrick

whitis
08-20-2010, 05:04 AM
On your side of the pond, you might look at:
EMCO, Prazzi, Proxxon, Wabeco, Schaublin

The EMCO Compact 8E is apparently made in china now, though maybe to a better standard than the knock offs.

Sherline has dealers in europe. Probably not as rigid as the Cowells but they are well made, the long bed version has twice the distance between centers of the Cowells, CNC available, and lots of accessories. Still kinda small.

Edit: Ooops, you aren't where I thought you were. Cowells threw me off. In the US there is a big vacuum in bench lathes north of a sherline/taig, other than the chinese and european imports.

Lathemaster has a better reputation among the imports. Micromark has a souped up import: http://www.micromark.com/MICROLUX-7X14-MINI-LATHE,8176.html
And the real bull machines (sold at big dog metal works) may be a little better than average imports.

Taig isnt much bigger than the Cowell's.

Ed P
08-20-2010, 09:25 AM
If you don't mind spending some money,

http://www.manix.co.kr/eng/

Ed

oldtiffie
08-20-2010, 10:55 AM
Why not try the model-makers forums?

Those people do some superb work and I'd bet that don't all have 14" lathes (no matter where they are made).

I'd bet that many will have and use a machine that is just right for your purpose as I can't imagine that they'd all have big shops or a lot of space or power either.

I am sure that some here can and will provide the advice and links required.

loose nut
08-20-2010, 11:27 AM
What size range 7", 8", 10", 12"

Splinztz
08-20-2010, 12:41 PM
I'm looking for something in the 7-9" range. I'd love a Schaublin or Wabeco and haven't ruled them out, but they're on the pricey side. Has anyone used one of the Proxxon/Manix lathes?

Pat

Too_Many_Tools
08-20-2010, 12:54 PM
Why not try the model-makers forums?

Those people do some superb work and I'd bet that don't all have 14" lathes (no matter where they are made).

I'd bet that many will have and use a machine that is just right for your purpose as I can't imagine that they'd all have big shops or a lot of space or power either.

I am sure that some here can and will provide the advice and links required.


Do you have any links to such forums?

Thanks

TMT

Too_Many_Tools
08-20-2010, 01:02 PM
I'm looking for a benchtop lathe. I realize that it's not optimal, but I don't have the space (small apartment with no basement, expensive industrial space). I'm looking to do small, non production, and mainly aluminum parts so raw size isn't particularly important.

I'm not really looking for a used machine. I'm willing to do some adjusting, but don't want to restore a lathe straight off, or track down rare parts. I like Cowell's lathes but they're a little too small for what I'm looking for.

Is there anything on the market that's better than the imported products in this market?

~Patrick

I really like the Emco line of lathes...great quality in the model making range.

The BIG problem is hard to find, expensive and NO PARTS AVAILABLE unless you find another machine to strip.

With that said, I think it is the best PORTABLE bench lathe...one can pick it up and place it on end in a closet when not being used.

With compromises, I think one could use one of the smaller SB or Logan bench lathes with mods to them for breakdown and closet storage.

I also have Unimat and Sherline lathes which are great for their size but one always wants 'MORE POWER" so I would try for the 7-9" range of lathe.

TMT

Waterlogged
08-20-2010, 01:06 PM
There was someone advertising a brand new Emco 5 on CL in California recently. Might still be around.

Too_Many_Tools
08-20-2010, 01:07 PM
I'm looking for a benchtop lathe. I realize that it's not optimal, but I don't have the space (small apartment with no basement, expensive industrial space). I'm looking to do small, non production, and mainly aluminum parts so raw size isn't particularly important.

I'm not really looking for a used machine. I'm willing to do some adjusting, but don't want to restore a lathe straight off, or track down rare parts. I like Cowell's lathes but they're a little too small for what I'm looking for.

Is there anything on the market that's better than the imported products in this market?

~Patrick

Patrick, a side question...in my experience finding a lathe is easier than finding a mill for the size range you are looking at.

Any idea what is available today?

TMT

Splinztz
08-20-2010, 01:48 PM
Mills seem to be a similar situation to lathes. Taig and Sherline both offer small mills, both seem to be decent looking products. Proxxon offers an ok looking machine. Cowell's offers a small watchmaker's lathe, personally I think it's a little too small. Wabeco has a small mill around $3500-4000, Minitech offers a few machines that look to do really nice CNC stuff, but $20k isn't a challenge with them. Probably a few others that haven't turned up in my searching (haven't started on that yet).

Pat

Too_Many_Tools
08-20-2010, 03:59 PM
Mills seem to be a similar situation to lathes. Taig and Sherline both offer small mills, both seem to be decent looking products. Proxxon offers an ok looking machine. Cowell's offers a small watchmaker's lathe, personally I think it's a little too small. Wabeco has a small mill around $3500-4000, Minitech offers a few machines that look to do really nice CNC stuff, but $20k isn't a challenge with them. Probably a few others that haven't turned up in my searching (haven't started on that yet).

Pat

I would agree.

My solution that would be an Atlas horizontal mill with a vertical head...still portable with a *grunt* and with a comparable work envelope of the lathe size you are looking at.

TMT

Waterlogged
08-20-2010, 04:45 PM
OP is looking for a lathe....

Too_Many_Tools
08-20-2010, 04:59 PM
OP is looking for a lathe....

I know...but he will be looking for a mill soon after.

I was considering that Atlas in the 50's addressed this hobbyist market segment with the 6" Atlas lathe and the Atlas horizontal mill.

TMT

reggie_obe
08-21-2010, 02:33 PM
How often will you need to use the lathe? Maybe an industrial arts or machine shop class at a high school, technical college or adult vocational school would fill your need for lathe access. The bonus would be access to other machines, tooling and proper instruction if you don't already have the skills and experience.

wierdscience
08-21-2010, 02:44 PM
If you don't mind spending some money,

http://www.manix.co.kr/eng/

Ed

Isn't that the same as the Sakai lathes offered in HSM a few years back?

Too_Many_Tools
08-21-2010, 02:47 PM
How often will you need to use the lathe? Maybe an industrial arts or machine shop class at a high school, technical college or adult vocational school would fill your need for lathe access. The bonus would be access to other machines, tooling and proper instruction if you don't already have the skills and experience.


This is a very good idea.

In the past, I have used this approach to access machining when I was thousands of miles from my own tools.

TMT