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View Full Version : Request for opinions (mini-lathe & mini-mill)



kyfho
09-29-2010, 06:45 PM
I've been looking for a new mini-lathe to replace a completely worn out & abused Atlas/Craftsman and WAS looking at going the HorrorFright route. Then I stumbled across the MicroMark web site and was impressed with what I saw and read about their 7 x 16 lathe.

http://www.micromark.com/MICROLUX-7x16-MINI-LATHE,9615.html

Does anyone have any experience, tales or opinions about the company or their equipment? Where it's made? Am I going to have to do a complete tear-down & cleaning to get rid of the gunk & sand? How's their customer service?

If I end up buying the lathe and it works out well, I'll probably go ahead and buy the mini-mill too.

http://www.micromark.com/MICROLUX-HIGH-PRECISION-HEAVY-DUTY-R8-MINIATURE-MILLING-MACHINE,9616.html

Have also been considering the HiTorque lathe & mill from LittleMachineShop.

Please Feel free to voice any and all opinions. :D

squirrel
09-29-2010, 06:51 PM
It looks like a Harbor frieght machine in different colors. Have you looked at a Sherline?

macona
09-29-2010, 07:17 PM
The micromark machine is made by Seig to their specs. For instance they specify .050 per turn screws on the cross slide and compound. The 16" bed is kind of interesting as well as the brushless spindle motor with readout.

Dunc
09-29-2010, 08:45 PM
of the 7 x 16 micromark.

http://www.mini-lathe.com/Mini_lathe/Reviews/MM_7x16/mm7x16.htm

Edit: http://arceurotrade.co.uk/projects.aspx offers a review of the (original) mini-lathe and articles for cleaning & prepping the mini-lathe & mill (scroll thru the url above)

RB211
09-29-2010, 09:02 PM
Forget all of them, get the HF 8x12 or Lathemaster 8x14 if you want that size machine. Too big? Get a sherline or Taig.

I have a lathemaster 8x14, same lathe that HF sells. It is far more rigid than the 7xx series. I compare it to my South Bend 9", does the same work.

Dr Stan
09-29-2010, 09:10 PM
Take a look at the offerings at Blue Ridge Machinery and in particular look at the Myford 7. http://www.blueridgemachinery.com/machinery/myford_lathes/myford_super_7_lathe.html

kyfho
11-22-2010, 05:12 PM
OK, finally made up my mind and took the plunge. I just ordered the Grizzly G4000 (9 x 19). It has a little more capacity and ALOT more mass.

Now I guess I'll have to learn how to be a real 'Moshinist'

Thanks for the input guys.

RB211
11-22-2010, 05:39 PM
OK, finally made up my mind and took the plunge. I just ordered the Grizzly G4000 (9 x 19). It has a little more capacity and ALOT more mass.

Now I guess I'll have to learn how to be a real 'Moshinist'

Thanks for the input guys.
The 8" Lathe that HF and lathemaster sell has FAR more rigidity than the toy you just bought.

kyfho
11-22-2010, 05:46 PM
I checked with LatheMaster and they are out of stock of ALL lathes. And have never been happy with the fit and finish of the HF tools I have seen. I have however heard good things about Grizzly's Customer Service and that goes a long way with me.

Anyway, the Grizzly lathe has GOT to be a step up from my worn-out dead Atlas. The spindle bushings are shot and the chatter I get is IMPRESSIVE.

I'll just be happy to get a workable lathe.

The Artful Bodger
11-22-2010, 06:11 PM
The 8" Lathe that HF and lathemaster sell has FAR more rigidity than the toy you just bought.


It is impossible to buy a lathe that satisfies everyone.

The Artful Bodger
11-22-2010, 06:14 PM
I'll just be happy to get a workable lathe.

Have fun with the new lathe!:)

macona
11-22-2010, 06:33 PM
We have one of the Jet versions of the G4000 at work. What a horrible little machine.

The Artful Bodger
11-22-2010, 06:57 PM
Is it really necessary to spoil the guy's enjoyment of his new machine?:mad:

kyfho
11-22-2010, 07:27 PM
Yeah, thanks guys. :(

I'm getting buyer's remorse already and I don't even have the lathe yet. :confused:

KEJR
11-22-2010, 07:46 PM
I hear that the 9x20s have their shortcomings but alot of them can be worked around. One of the things I hear is that the compund attachment to the cross slide is kind of weak, but others have made simple plates to overcome this.

I'd just check everything over when you get it and make sure there are no serious alignment problems with the headstock-tailstock and that the spindle runs out good (check spindle taper with a dial test indicator while spinning by hand).

Subscribe to one of the 9x20 groups (yahoo might have one) and think about which mods you might want to do.

Have fun with it.

KEJR

uncle pete
11-22-2010, 08:10 PM
Man, Cut the guy some slack. Everybody has their own level of expectations, budget, And what they want to do with their equipment. A Myford? At around $14,000.00 plus for a pretty well bare machine? If? I could buy one I wouldn't, There's much better equipment that's far more rigid for less money. Are they nice machines? You bet but not 14 large nice. If anybody here has a perfect machine tool in every single way that the average person can afford then I'd be suprised. I hope the OP get's a great deal of satisfaction out of his new purchase.

Pete

lynnl
11-22-2010, 08:37 PM
Yeah, thanks guys. :(

I'm getting buyer's remorse already and I don't even have the lathe yet. :confused:


Hey just because a couple of others don't think highly of it doesn't mean that it won't suit you just fine.
Some people will offer objective feedback, and others tend to get overly emotional. Words like "horrible" and "toy" tend to suggest something less than an objective assessment, to me at least.

A good example is the current thread about the Buick plant closing. Some commenters described Buicks as crap, but my last 3 vehicles have been Buicks (all bought used), and I rate them as the best cars I've ever had any experience with. ...BY FAR!! The two Oldsmobiles (1970 Delta 88 & '81 Cutlass) I owned, both bought new, gave me the most trouble.
So opinions are just that, not the final word on the worth of what you bought.

AllThumbz
11-22-2010, 08:50 PM
Yeah, thanks guys. :(

I'm getting buyer's remorse already and I don't even have the lathe yet. :confused:


There are some fabulous mini mill sites out there, and some where, with a few mods, these machines are really impressive.

Check out this link on my site:

http://hobby-machinist.com/index.php?topic=247.0

These are some of the major mini mill sites. Then there are the 7x10 and 7x12minilathe Yahoo groups which you should join:

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/7x12minilathe/
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/7x10minilathe/

After you see what some of these guys have done, you probably won't be sorry you went for it.

I wish you lots of luck with it and enjoy your lathe!

woodspinner
11-22-2010, 10:54 PM
I have a Jet 9x20 I just got about 2 mths I completely love it.Yes alot of the
"machinist" are down on the 9x20s cause most of the say you have to have old American Iron to do anything.Have fun and congrates of the lathe.
I also have the Grizzly G8689 mini-mill and it does everything I've needed it to.
yes it is small but thats why I bought it I needed small.By the way the 9x20's witch is what yours falls under do need a 4 bolt hold down upgrade so go tothe
920 lathe group on yahoo everything you need is there.
If you don't wont to make your hold down you can buy one from Chris at Little
Machine Shop there about $48.00 I belive.
Hope this helps

sansbury
11-23-2010, 12:50 AM
I have a Harbor Freight 7x10 and mini-mill. They have their weak points but somehow I manage to make parts. I've converted both to CNC with I think good results.

I would not sweat the 9x purchase. It has its flaws too but if you ever see one for sale on Craigslist you'll see it usually doesn't last for long. If I had space I'd look at one for sure. The 8x14 lathes have a very good reputation--different factory and design--maybe the best of the under-$1000 lathes. But I wouldn't feel bad about buying a 9x. I almost did, then realized it was going to be $#@! getting it into my basement. So the 7x it is.

I've seen Sherlines and for the life of me I can't see why anyone would choose one over a 7x, unless they rarely turned anything much over 0.500". It is a very nice but TINY machine. I can see why the model-makers, model railroaders, etc. would like them, but my work is a bit bigger usually. The 7x's have a lot of issues but for what I paid I got a lot of lathe.

The same goes true for the min-mill. The machines are all the same except for paint color but I think Grizzly has the best price these days once you figure in shipping. I wish it had a little more Y travel and a faster spindle, but it's not bad. LittleMachineShop has a souped-up version with a bigger table and the newer BLDC spindle drive. I would definitely go for that if I was buying new. Otherwise you will want the belt drive kit which costs $150 and cuts the noise level immensely.

I've cut lots of aluminum and my share of stainless and tool steel on both of my toy benchtop machines. Not always fast, sometimes not fun, but have found a way to make almost everything. The one thing I gave up on was turning some hardened ball screws. But your 9x could probably handle that, so if I were you, I'd sleep easy.

lbhsbz
11-23-2010, 01:18 AM
A tool is what the operator makes of it. My first lathe was a seig 7x12 from cummins. I used the hell out of it, and at times, wish I still had it. Some of the projects included: machining down th OD of some 300zx front hubs for new brake kit, putting a .750 round pilot, 1 inch long onto a 4 inch piece of 2"x2" chromoly square stock, and I even machined new threads on the end of some 30" long shocks by bolting the tailstock to some blocks of wood on the workbench 2 feet away from the lathe. Was it a piece of junk?.....yes. But I did amazing things with it and had a good time.

In choosing a machine on a budget, a lot of research is required in order to make sure you make a good choice. I personally would not have chosen the 9x20, but you have.....and you will enjoy it. Hell, half the fun is figuring out how to do stuff people tell you won't work.

RB211
11-23-2010, 02:04 AM
I've owned every lathe that has been mentioned, the 9x20, 7x14, 8xXX, old american iron SB9, and I own a TAIG lathe.

I find the little Taig the most enjoyable to use.

I do not like the 9x lathes because they are under-built for their size range and are little chatter boxes. The 8xXX lathes are much more stout for their size, and believe it or not, the HF 8x12 is the same exact lathe that Lathe Master sells, from the same factory with the same finish.
The 8xXX lathe can take the same DOC as my SB 9" lathe without chatter.
The Taig is the most accurate one I own.

You can enjoy your 9x20, you will need to make the 4 bolt plate for the compound.

I can't decide which lathe I dislike more, the mini lathe or the 9x20.

baldysm
11-23-2010, 03:51 AM
I bought a new Sherline lathe and mill years ago. I had intended to make steam engines as a hobby as I was a computer geek at the time. (I graduated to network nerd and retired from the profession). I got my start in machining back in high school with Bridgeports, LeBlond and Southbend lathes.

I was all excited to start machining again and after about a week, I stopped using the Sherlines. It just wasn't fun. Had I started with Sherlines, I think my opinion would be different.

I am of the opinion that if you have experience with "real" (for lack of a better word) machines as I did, you'll be disappointed with Sherlines. If your starting machining with Sherlines, you'll be happy with them provided the projects you work on are within their work envelope.

I now have a Birmingham 13x40 lathe, a Shop Fox 6x21 mill, a Omniturn CNC gang tool lathe, and a Sherline 4 axis CNC mill (although the only things left that are Sherline are the rotary table and the spindle/motor).

The next machine I will purchase (for business) is a replacement for the Sherline mill. I may get a surface grinder and a TIG welder (no reason to get those for the business).

I have no experience with Micromark, so I can't comment.

My machines aren't perfect, and I would change things with them if I were designing them. I suspect that to be true with any off the shelf machine being put into a shop to make _____.

Some awesome stuff has been made with Sherlines, with equipment that is crap. Some awesome crap has been made with Sherlines, with equipment that is top of the line. The difference between awesome crap and awesome stuff isn't the machine. It's experience, it's skill, it's patience, and it's knowing your machine and how to work around it's flaws.

I hate it when people criticize your decision. If your experiencing buyers remorse before you even get the machine, how much fun are you going to have with it? If you don't get that negative feedback, and have the attitude that the machine you bought was the best machine for your budget/shop/uses/experience, etc. your whole mindset is different. Without the negative feedback, you know the machine isn't the end all/ be all machine and are much more willing to work around the machine's shortcomings (size, quality, etc). With the negative feedback, you'll always have the thought in the back of your mind that you should have bought some other machine, you made a poor choice and/or you got screwed.

Atleast that's the way I felt with my Sherline purchase. I didn't have negative feedback, but I had experience with a whole different class of machine and it wasn't fair to compare them apples to apples. If your machine is for hobby use, it sucks the fun out of what your doing, and it could end up being a boat anchor.

So the machine you ordered is awesome. It's perfect for you. Have fun with it.

macona
11-23-2010, 04:05 AM
He asked for opinions and is getting them. Im not going to pull punches.

You can always send the machine right back.

I too have had many of these machines. 7x12, Old iron (Artisan, SB9A), now 9x20 at work. Even a little Sherline CNC.

The 7x12 was a bit above the 9x20 even thought it did not have a quick change. The build on the 7x was actually better than this 9x we have. Everyone at work that has to use it thinks its a joke. Making consistent cuts on diameter is not fun. The compound is a flimsy, drive belt is a undersized, bed is already showing wear.

baldysm
11-23-2010, 12:47 PM
He asked for opinions and is getting them. Im not going to pull punches.

You can always send the machine right back.

I too have had many of these machines. 7x12, Old iron (Artisan, SB9A), now 9x20 at work. Even a little Sherline CNC.

The 7x12 was a bit above the 9x20 even thought it did not have a quick change. The build on the 7x was actually better than this 9x we have. Everyone at work that has to use it thinks its a joke. Making consistent cuts on diameter is not fun. The compound is a flimsy, drive belt is a undersized, bed is already showing wear.

No problem expressing any opinion, just express it before he orders the machine. It's pointless after it's ordered.

Yup, he can return it. He'll only loose $200 in shipping charges for absolutely nothing.