View Full Version : For Beginners

12-08-2003, 12:51 AM
I know that this has been asked but bear with me. I'm new to machine work and learned on a Monarch 10EE with many bells and whistles. I would like to purchase my own lathe perhaps an Atlas/Southbend etc. 120 or 240 VAC. I have also looked at the Harbor Freight special for $799. Is it ok or is it junk like I suspect it is? Any ideas on price for a used lathe? I live in Cedar Rapids, IA USA and items such as lathes and mills aren't exactly abundent. Thanx.

Jerry B
12-08-2003, 02:13 PM
I was in the same boat as you a few years ago. The one piece of advice I can give you is: Don't jump on the first item you see.

Shop around. Ask questions about the machines history. Things like: Who owned it previously? Why did they get rid of it? What did they use it for? Production or maintainence? What did they replace it with? Where is the wear located and how bad is the wear? How much and what tooling comes with it?

Don't worry about being 3 phase or single phase. You can overcome the 3 phase problem easily enough with home made converters.

It is my undersanding that the HF line of tools is the lowest degree of quality of any of the asian imports. If you wan't to purchase new asian tools, try the Enco line.

12-09-2003, 11:46 AM

[This message has been edited by pgmrdan (edited 03-08-2004).]

12-09-2003, 01:07 PM
Only reason I bought my HF micro mill was the price and size. Ofcourse I would rather have a Bridgeport, and one day I will.
Anyhow, Dan, if the HF stuff scares you, you've should of seen the condition of the box my micro mill came in, would of gave you a heart attack. Box was smashed to pieces, the mill was loose, knocking things around. I accepted it though, I figured I could fix anything that broke quicker than waiting for a another one.
Turns out, nothing was broken or bent, amazingly.

12-09-2003, 01:24 PM

[This message has been edited by pgmrdan (edited 03-08-2004).]

12-10-2003, 03:51 AM
Kinda spoiled by that 10ee ain't ya? That is one of the very best lathes made. Follow your heart and wallet my freind. I want you to get the very best you can reasonably afford and avoid crap. do what you have to.

12-10-2003, 08:06 AM
There is a local guy here that has a Logan 10 inch for sale. It is not a quick change like I thought Logans are but it's supposed to be in good shape. He is asking $590 for it. Not sure if that is a good price or not. I was planning on looking at it this weekend.

12-10-2003, 09:29 AM
The Logan is a very good lathe, and often overlooked. They did come in change gear models as well as quick change.
The price is not bad for a machine that is in good condition. Usual hints for inspection are in order of course. Primarily look for bed wear, loose spindle, wear and backlash in lead screws and so forth.
With real estate, they always talk location, location, location. With machine tools I push accessories, accessories, accessories. The machine should be complete, and include minimum of 3 jaw and some sort of tool post at that price. Dig for anything else the owner might have, and make sure that is included in price.

[This message has been edited by JCHannum (edited 12-10-2003).]

12-10-2003, 11:38 PM
Even the grinder stands are crap. Take that post and throw it out. Get a piece of old well pipe that won't crush when you tighten the clamping bolts.

12-11-2003, 09:27 AM

[This message has been edited by pgmrdan (edited 03-08-2004).]

12-11-2003, 10:11 AM
I have been reading these posts about buying used equipment and, well, my opinion is i wouldn't do it unless i had someone with alot of experience with me to help me make my decision.

How can you tell if the ways are worn or the bed just isn't level. Maybe it was dropped on one of the moves it has had. I doubt a 1950 or 60 lathe has only been moved once. Not too mention gears that may have been repaired etc.

I bought a new 3in 1. Not a top of the line machine but i now know the drawbacks and weaknesses of the machine. I have looked at a few used lathes and i see some advantages and disadvantages. I would not have known any of this if i had initially bought used. I would have just figured this is what lathes are like.

In short i agree with Thrud. Find something you like in your price range. I sould just suggest that used is just that. USED! Not always bad just buyer beware!


Excitable Boy
12-11-2003, 01:43 PM
Look at www.mermac.com (http://www.mermac.com) . There are a couple good tutorials there on how to look at a used machine.


Pursue Excellence and the rest will follow.

12-11-2003, 01:45 PM
There is a local 10x20 Logan here, guy is asking 250$
Also a 10" southbend for 500$, 10" Atlas for 750 obo, The southbend im going to look at for 475, he also has a Pristine perfect condition 10" southbend he wants 1600$ for, damn, wish I could afford that.
Also a Clausing lathe in excellent condition for 1500$.
I guess I am blessed to live in an area where machine tools are plenty.
Oh yehs, Theres a few 13", and 14" southbends.
Also your share of Bridgeport mills, with Chrome or without.

12-11-2003, 02:29 PM
BillH, where are you located? I'm in Cedar Rapids, IA

12-11-2003, 04:32 PM
Im in CT. We have a classifieds newspaper, which only serves CT.
CT is right in the heart of a industrialized area that has been in a decline, thanks to high taxes and an income tax.
Bridgeport ring a bell?

However the one foreman I am friends with, his machineshop has doubled in amount of mills he has going, lathes as well, so It's not bad for everyone.