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View Full Version : SO...if you had a lathe budget of 1500..



scphantm
04-03-2012, 11:10 PM
Hello all.

i am in the beginning stages of putting together a home machine shop (imagine that on this board, hu, amazing). My obvious first machine tool is a lathe. i have been looking around for nearly a year now and havn't found anything that peeked my interest so decided to ask here.

First piece of information you need, what do i plan on doing with it. well the primary thing i want to get into is model engine building. im pretty mechanically inclined and have been simply fascinated with some of the tiny creations that true craftsmen have put together and wish to join their ranks. so for the lathe i would buy, i would see lots of aluminum, brass (when i can afford it) and copper (when i find it) in its future. with the distinct possibility of an occasional chunk of cast iron just to keep things interesting.

Second issue, old iron. i love old iron as much as the next guy. there is just something about the beautiful lines of an old monarch or leblond that no one can deny. but i have a problem. i live in pittsburgh, on the edge of the rust belt. if im looking for 5 ton machine that can make a widget for every man, woman, and child on the eastern seaboard, no problem. i can find that. but a small benchtop that can make cool little doodads for my desk at work, not so much. everything that i have been finding, the current owners are either VERY proud of them or the machine itself would do better turned into a coffee table than making chips. and we won't mention the problem that its really hard to rebuild a lathe without a lathe.

third, capability. it will be a while before i can justify a mill so i plan to work old school and use the lathe for milling as well. This means that i will be getting a milling table for my lathe (please don't suggest a 3 in 1, ive used a few, they suck). Accessories have to be easy to come by.

so, after a while of searching, im thinking of the Grizzly G9972Z 11" x 26". i realize that i will most likely have to tear it down and polish the gears and also most likely have to replace the motor and most of the electronics over time, but it has the size that im looking for and seems to fall into that category of "good enough" on quality and cabability. its inside my budget with some to spare for tooling. what do you guys think?

Bob Ford
04-03-2012, 11:20 PM
For small work sherline and then you have money for tooling. http://sherline.com/

Roughly tooling is at least the same cost as the machine. Think boat a hole in the water in which you pour money.

Bob

scphantm
04-03-2012, 11:28 PM
oh trust me, as the proud owner of a 50 foot custom hull Mainship, i know ALL about those floating black holes.

i thought about the sherline's, read up on them and such, but i look at the engine plans that i want to build and they are all spinning 4, 5, even 6 inch flywheels. i can't turn that on a sherline. i just figured if i got a sherline i would use it about an hour before i began wishing i had a bigger machine.

Dr Stan
04-03-2012, 11:35 PM
Ditto what Bob said about tooling.

Where have you searched for a lathe? I've found several good buys on Craig's List for my own shop. What about this one: http://pittsburgh.craigslist.org/tls/2936462713.html

This one is above your price range, but you never know http://pittsburgh.craigslist.org/tls/2928504212.html

Bob Ford
04-03-2012, 11:43 PM
Like I said small work, but with the raiser blocks you can turn 6". http://sherline.com/1291pg.htm

The hole through the headstock is about 7/16". I have the long bed lathe and the 2000 mill. The rotary table I have comes with stepper and control. http://sherline.com/3700pg.htm They are great for small work. Big stuff is done on my large lathes and mills.

Bob

scphantm
04-03-2012, 11:59 PM
Ditto what Bob said about tooling.

Where have you searched for a lathe? I've found several good buys on Craig's List for my own shop. What about this one: http://pittsburgh.craigslist.org/tls/2936462713.html

This one is above your price range, but you never know http://pittsburgh.craigslist.org/tls/2928504212.html

i haven't looked on craigslist in a couple of days. when i was looking, everything seemed pretty wore out.

i will think about the sherline again too. i didn't know about the riser block, with the riser, i could certainly turn out a few models. build up my stock of measuring tools at any rate until some old woman calls me and says that i can have her husbands 10EE thats sitting in her barn still in the crate covered in cosmoline if i cut her grass. (im waiting patiently for that by the way)

flylo
04-04-2012, 12:02 AM
I'd search ebay,craiglist &even post a few "lathe wanted" ads. Many times you can find a near new smaller lathe for 1/2 price or less. x5p5m-2843637344@sale.craigslist. is a Rivett 918s asking $700 will take $500 or less with tooling.

danlb
04-04-2012, 12:11 AM
You do not have to restrict yourself to the local area. If you think about it, you might spend hundreds of hours using the lathe, so what's an extra hour or two driving to pick it up?

Craigslist and other local sale sites often have small machines at a reasonable price.

While they are not works of art, the 7x12 and 9x20 import lathes are quite usable and will sell for a fraction of your budget. How do I know? I have one of each. :) If I am careful I can do some fairly precise work with both of them.

No matter what you buy you will have to re-adjust everything. My 9x20, for instance, was incorrectly adjusted at the tool post, the belt was the wrong size and the gibs so tight that the compound would not move. The tools were downright dull. When I remember I will check the tailstock alignment. :)

That Grizzly looks just like my Harbor Freight 9x20 ($650used) , except the Grizzly has a different quick change gearbox. I still have to change some gears to select which 9 threads I can choose at a time. It looks like the grizzly has 3x3 gear selector, so still 9 threads at a time.


Dan

LKeithR
04-04-2012, 12:11 AM
I don't know how tightly you have to adhere to your budget but if there's any way you can free up a bit more money I would buy something larger than a Sherline. Something in the 10" range would give you significantly greater capacity. Trust me, no matter how big your lathe is, something will come along that's too big to fit. Bite the bullet and go bigger right now and save yourself a lot of frustration...

huntinguy
04-04-2012, 12:30 AM
http://www.grizzly.com/catalog/2012/Main/532

I don't know who makes them (Emco??), we had one at work, I never used it, it was similar to this but 10 inch. Seems like a good compromise. If I recall it had a gear or something on the spindle for clocking as well.

Dr Stan
04-04-2012, 12:37 AM
I don't know who makes them (Emco??), we had one at work, I never used it, it was similar to this but 10 inch. Seems like a good compromise. If I recall it had a gear or something on the spindle for clocking as well.

It could be made by the same supplier for Enco, but not Emco. Emco is a very well made Austrian machine.

I'll 2nd Dan's comment about expanding your search area. I've gone as far as Baltimore MD to pick up my 9' Cincinnati planner. Flew up, 2 day trip back. I also drove about 400 miles each way to pick up my 14 1/2" South Bend lathe in Toledo, OH. Stayed overnight both times.

RussZHC
04-04-2012, 12:47 AM
http://pittsburgh.craigslist.org/tls/2924855595.html,

you want to pick it up for me ? :D

toag
04-04-2012, 01:10 AM
If money is tight, dont buy a small lathe. you can make small parts on a big lathe, but it doesnt work the other way around. If youre starting out sure you could grab a 9x20 grizzly or HF, but you'll want a 12" or bigger after about a month. So make the jump now. The good thing is the bigger the lathe, the more bang for the buck, at least machine wise, consumables are more though. southbends home shop used are very good machines and usually not beat to **** (the previous owner was probably making what you will) and most lathes over 1000 lbs barely wake up for brass and AL cuts. also look for a 4 jaw... once you have one and get use to dialing it in you'll wonder why people use 3 jaws

toolmaker76
04-04-2012, 01:21 AM
Don't know if you have used it or not:

www.searchtempest.com

You can search Craigslist out to several hundred miles.

I have several lathes, among them a Monarch 10ee that I bought for $200, pile of parts, restoring it as I get time. Also have a Sheldon 10", a South Bend 9", and a Central 9 x 20. The most I spent on was the Sheldon, bought it for $500, and it has been my bread and butter so far.

I think the Central sells for $1200 or so new at Harbor Freight- mine gets used and has made me money, but mostly on plastic stuff. It would be frustrating to try to use it for much steel. Can be done if you're patient, but it is SO much nicer to use something that is built a little sturdier!

I have had good luck with estate auctions, fellow with a home shop passes away, has machines that are old but have been restored and treated with care.

Good luck!

Mcgyver
04-04-2012, 08:38 AM
i haven't looked on craigslist in a couple of days. when i was looking, everything seemed pretty wore out.



criaglist (here kijiji dominates) isn't a still photograph its a movie. check it everyday....else you will never see the good stuff because it goes quickly.

its like the old cliché, you want it low cost, high quality and fast. pick two.

You could get a good lathe that'll handle bigger stuff for a few thousand, but not this afternoon. Patience or a bigger wallet are the answers

GadgetBuilder
04-04-2012, 11:41 AM
If you're willing to travel some, there's a modest size lathe in PA - but it's some distance from you:
http://hartford.craigslist.org/tls/2894680258.html

Can't tell condition from a picture, unfortunately.

If you don't mind Asian, I use a 7x12 to make a lot of small items. It takes some effort to get the 7x12 working to its capability but once you do that it works pretty well. The electronic speed control makes it a gentle teacher when you're learning.

John

RoyClemens
04-04-2012, 12:00 PM
My god 1500 for a lathe. I have 3, yet to pay 1500, including Extra tooling, for one. Bigger is almost always cheaper than smaller. If you can deal with the 3 ph issue cheaper yet. Nice lathes are nicer than junk, but you will learn more on the junk ones. Just keep your eyes open and one will appear.

Roy

Robdiesel.707
04-04-2012, 12:37 PM
I would suggest Craigslist, I picked up a Clausing Model 100 MK3, fully tooled and I say fully tooled to include 3 small tin's of ground tool bit's, steady rest, follower rest, live center,3 & 4 jaw chucks, rocker tool post with all Armstrong tooling and the most sugnificent is the milling attachment. And the list goes on. The guy I bought the outfit from got it from the widow of a Boeing machinist. The electric motor was a single phase unit with the reverse drum switch and the motor was almost dead. I bought the lathe for $500.00 and it has replaced my 12" Craftsman. Also the lathe came with the original cast iron legs, I replaced the motor with a 3/4 hp 3 phase motor and the lathe works great. I also picked up a 1942 Monarch lathe 14.5" X 56" but alot of cleaning yet to do. I live in a remote area of N.California and don't have the access most people have so I have traveled as far as 900 miles round trip to pick up machinery. Out of all my journeys I have learned the best way to find good equipment that has long been stored away for years and forgot about is to put out feelers in the community and to search Craigslist. I didn't have a computer untill 4 years ago and I wouldn't even touch it for a year. But when I did figure it out it has been a blessing to us as a whole and to our business. Good luck your search!

tlfamm
04-04-2012, 01:42 PM
Nifty hobby lathe - the basic model is $1700:
http://www.machinetoolonline.com/PM-1127-VF.html


Table-top lathe, well under budget:
http://www.littlemachineshop.com/4100

justanengineer
04-04-2012, 04:08 PM
Youre in a prime iron picking zone. Be patient, ask questions, but most importantly get out and beat the bushes. searchtempest.com is good, but so is auctionzip.com if you can spare a few hours on a few weekends. If you can find a school auction that is selling a metal shop all the better (usually low use, regular maintenance/maint budget, and smaller crowds to buy). Being spring, people are cleaning out basements and garages, and selling toys...meaning its also the prime time of year to be buying toys.

$1500 should be able to get you a nicely restored, nicely tooled South Bend 9a (if you like small), a Heavy 10 or larger. You can also look into Clausings (love my 6300), Rockwells, Sheldons, etc, but I would stick with good old American iron. In your area there is plenty of good iron left, and do not mistake greasey, filthy etc for worn out. A good scrubbing and a bit of minor adjustment does wonders on a lot of iron, plus you get the aesthetics previously mentioned.

On the subject of "benchtop" vs cabinet/stands - dont limit yourself. Rigidity is the most important aspect of any machine tool, and it comes through an increase in mass....heavier IS better. Beside that, even "benchtop" lathes of any but the smallest sizes are too large for one person to carry. Personally, I find using the pallet jack to move a machine far simpler, faster, and easier on the body than a two man lift of a lighter machine. Comparing space requirements, you will lose cubic inches, not cubic feet by having a good lathe on a solid cabinet over the smallest benchtop machines.

I also would highly recommend taking a night class on machine operations at your local community college/trade school before buying a machine, if for no other reason than to give an idea of how a lathe should operate "properly."

R_Audano
04-04-2012, 04:29 PM
I'll second the "searchtempest" suggestion. Plug in Your zipcode and search a radius of craigslist adds. Here in KS there are usually numerous machines available some with favorable prices. Be patient and check it 2-3 times a day. Also when You decide to start measuring Your work, mis-spell words and look for stuff like Starrit. Fridays and Saturdays are usually most productive.

Not to make it a gloat but I recently picked up a Starrett 199 Master Precision level, Starrett 0-25mm mic, and Starrett 0-75mm depth mic plus a USA metric/standard vernier caliper for $160 down in Arkansas. Paid the dude $40 to box it all up and ship. it was listed as "Starrit Stuff" and all items were in excellent condition.

ak95xj
04-04-2012, 04:36 PM
Put up a wanted ad on craigslist..I check craigslist at least 3X a week and rarely saw lathes, never any mills..A few months ago somebody put up an ad that they were looking for a small lathe,and it seemed to work pretty good Ive been noticing alot of lathes and mills being listed after that ad got put up.You should act fast too, they seem to sell pretty fast, around here they seem to be gone by the end of the week usually.

Alistair Hosie
04-04-2012, 04:39 PM
Wow it seems like very old machines-metal makes or has big bucks asked for.I wouldn't pay a fraction of what some of these craigslisters are asking for old Schrott.Sorry come to the uk to live lathes go for much cheaper here and in better condition too.Or so it would appear to me correct me if I am wrong uk guys or american canadians etc etc.Alistair

flylo
04-04-2012, 04:47 PM
For 1200 I know where you can get a nice size SB lathe,a mill, & ind duty drill press, all converted flat belt but the mill, but all useable & many accessories. PM if interested. It's barley into Michigan not far from the Ohio border.
PS George it's not mine.

gwilson
04-04-2012, 05:01 PM
Low cost,high quality and fast,pick 2? I'll pick high quality and fast!!:) Something wrong with your quote,and I can't remember what!

justanengineer
04-04-2012, 05:17 PM
Wow it seems like very old machines-metal makes or has big bucks asked for.I wouldn't pay a fraction of what some of these craigslisters are asking for old Schrott.Sorry come to the uk to live lathes go for much cheaper here and in better condition too.Or so it would appear to me correct me if I am wrong uk guys or american canadians etc etc.Alistair

Its all hogwash Alistair. Asking prices arent selling prices, and even what many folks on both the US and Brit forums "gloat" about would make some of us cringe to pay. I suspect in reality things may be a bit cheaper as we have a larger manufacturing base and generally lower prices on other items. Comparatively though, folks overseas may be paid a higher wage, so its rather tough to judge. I liken much of Europe to California, except with less sun, plastic bodies, and weirdos (no offense to plastic body having weirdos, those overseas, or anyone else). :p

Alistair Hosie
04-04-2012, 05:34 PM
I get what you're saying ,but the sellers seem constantly to ask for rediculous prices for old machines not even good quality machinery.Then again you can't beat you Yankee guys for haggling prices down to a more realistic level. I am just observing what I suspect many here feel about what you guys are expected to pay for used machinery.I often go to ebay Germany and find astonishingly they pay crazy prices for things we have here much cheaper and then some things go cheaply when we would have paid much more.Powered Hacksaws sell over there for emormous prices sometimes just as an example.have fun Alistair

Rosco-P
04-04-2012, 06:59 PM
I also would highly recommend taking a night class on machine operations at your local community college/trade school before buying a machine, if for no other reason than to give an idea of how a lathe should operate "properly."

+1 on that. From an instructor, hopefully one who's worked in the industry, you also learn what tools and tooling you need and don't need. A rotary table or dividing head may look cool on the shelf, but if you have no need or don't know how to use it, it's just a paperweight. Doesn't matter how great a deal it was at $nco or &usy &ee with free shipping.

scphantm
04-04-2012, 09:07 PM
thanks guys. i will keep searching and see what i can find.

scphantm
04-05-2012, 05:32 PM
What do you guys think of the monarch model a, they were a pretty high quality machine weren't they?

nitsuj
04-05-2012, 08:10 PM
I'm in Butler and keep an eye on Pittsburgh Craigslist. There is usually a few on there. Keep looking, be willing to wait for the right machine and right price and you'll find one.

Clevelander
04-12-2012, 09:09 PM
The nice thing about the Sherline is that it's a pretty accurate tool for the money. The down side is the compratively limited turning sizes. Remeber that when you go with larger diameter stock you'll have to limit the depth of your cut because of the additional torque required as the material gets larger in diameter.

A pretty decent used 9-20 is a nice sized lathe the likely trade off you'll make is in the relative accuracy. Unless you are working with really small items it's pretty easy to work with a lathe that is a little larger than you need.

I solved my dilema the old fashioned way....I got both.:D

Jim2
04-13-2012, 10:03 AM
http://madison.craigslist.org/tls/2947504068.html

I believe this is Leblonde's first generation gearhead lathe. She's a beauty, isn't she?

Jim

Rex
04-13-2012, 10:40 AM
Go to the CL Tools section
Copy and past this into the CL search window.

lathe | milling|bridgeport|lath|lather

Click the Search button.

Bookmark the result to the Toolbar

Click on that button every hour or so.
At least once a day use the same search on the "All For Sale" category, to catch the garage and estate sales, and the general and the "Free Stuff.

Works for me. Bought a Nice SB 9A for $100, a 6x12 bandsaw for $100, and a lot of amost-as-good deals

kevindsingleton
04-13-2012, 12:34 PM
i live in pittsburgh, on the edge of the rust belt. if im looking for 5 ton machine that can make a widget for every man, woman, and child on the eastern seaboard, no problem. i can find that. but a small benchtop that can make cool little doodads for my desk at work, not so much.

For old iron, talk to the guys at Hamilton Tools in Beaver Falls. It may take a while, but they find some interesting old machines. They also sell new Chinese stuff.

Also, Matt, of Matthews Machines, sells new Chinese for very good deals. I bought my 10 inch lathe from him, a few years ago, and I have no complaints.