View Full Version : 7x10 or 12 or 16

12-16-2012, 02:32 PM
Harbor freight has a 7x10 for 427.00. Grizzly 7x12 630.00. Little Machine Shop 7x12 with no gear DC motor drive 995.00. With this range how does one settle on the right one. Thanks.

The HF includes tax,purchased locally.

The Grizzly and LMS include shipping. Which is 195.00 on the LMS.

12-16-2012, 03:31 PM
I have no direct experience with any of the lathes you listed but my advice in situations like this is to always buy the biggest and best machine you can possibly afford. You can do smaller work on a bigger machine but you can't do bigger work on a smaller one...

Grind Hard
12-16-2012, 03:32 PM
Avoid the Harbor Freight one. It'll require more work out of the box to get operational.

12-16-2012, 03:44 PM
The Little Machine Shop 7x12 mini lathe is on sale this week for $799.95 including a tooling package:


It has some nice features, such as continuous speed control without the use of gear changing. The tooling kit that ships with the lathe sells for $165.95 by itself - see http://www.littlemachineshop.com/products/product_view.php?ProductID=3486&category= - included in that kit is a quick-change toolpost.

I have the HF 7x10 mini lathe. The entry price is low, but the features are less. The work area is really very small, especially if you put a drill chuck into the tailstock. I am upgrading mine by adding a quick-change toolpost (I have gotten the Tormach, which I prefer to the A2Z one on the LMS lathehttp://www.littlemachineshop.com/products/product_view.php?ProductID=3112&category=) which added $130 plus shipping. I am also adding a bed extension to convert it into a 7x14 lathe, which is another $150 plus a hefty shipping fee - see http://www.littlemachineshop.com/products/product_view.php?ProductID=1928&category=.

There is other tooling that I have gotten as individual purchases, whereas it comes with the LMS kit.

So my $399 Harbor Freight mini lathe easily expanded into a $750 to $800 mini lathe before I started making my first metal chips.

So you need to look very closely at what you will be getting with each option vs. what you think you need in order to accommodate the type of machining that you intend to perform with your mini lathe.

12-16-2012, 04:23 PM
Micro Mark has a 7x16 with the DC motor for just over 900.00.

Jim Doherty
12-16-2012, 04:38 PM
Don't forget to look at the, ready to work out of the crate, HF 8x12 (14" bed) or the Lathemaster 8x14 (comes with more accessories)


12-16-2012, 09:45 PM
I had a HF 7X10 and upgraded to a MicroMark 7X14. In retrospect, it might have been better to buy the LMS bed extension kit.

Any of these lathes will require some fine-tuning, just follow the hints & tips on the various web sites and you'll do fine. Expect to take one or 2 days to get it right.

12-18-2012, 01:22 PM
So the LMS come to about 1020.00 /The harbor freight 690.00/ Grizzly 750.00 all equally equipped and delivered. Is the DC drive system worth the extra 300.00?

12-18-2012, 02:22 PM
10" is too short. The HF 7x10 + the bed extension would be the cheapest route to a usable lathe.
For similar money the 8x14 is much more machine, but not as well supported.
But don't be tempted to move up to the 9x20.

Personally, I've always bought minilathes locally at great discount. I have bought at least 3 for $100, 2 of them like new. Another for $150 with lots of accessories (2 sets), and my current mini cost $400, but came with every accessory available and lots of custom upgrades. They are out there.

12-18-2012, 03:01 PM
Yea, Consider buying 2nd hand, Lots of people buy minilathes and get 'bored' of them, or move up and they don't have much resale value.

Also, consider a belt change model. The extra torque is worth its weight in gold. (DC varispeed ones lose power at lower RPM, Belt change models = equal power at all RPM = more torque at low RPM)

12-18-2012, 08:55 PM
Well I'll see if I have any luck on a online action and then a longer bed. Thanks

12-18-2012, 09:09 PM
10" is too short. The HF 7x10 + the bed extension would be the cheapest route to a usable lathe.

If you measure the distance between centers, the 7x10 is actually a 7x8 (I have one). So the 7x12 has nearly 4" more workspace.
By the time you put the tailstock and a drill chuck, you've got very little space to work.

If there's any way to swing it (sorry :) ), I'd go for the 7x12.

12-19-2012, 01:34 AM
All three of the models listed in the original post have variable speed DC motors. The LMS model is brushless (akin to being controlled by a VFD) so it has more consistent torque at all speeds.

I second the suggestion to go with the 7x12 or larger. The 7x10 works well, but there is not a lot of room for extra tooling. The 7x12 has about 4 inches more room than a 7x10.

I've used 3 machines of the 7xsomething size. All worked without requiring anything more than cleaning the rust preventative and adjusting the gibs. That is something that you do periodically anyway.


12-19-2012, 01:45 AM
If there's any way to swing it (sorry :) ), I'd go for the 7x12.

Ba Da Bump Bump! :D

12-19-2012, 01:44 PM
HI LIguy

I will add another voice to the chorus of “Go for the longer bed” song.
To get a tactile feel for what we are talking about, chuck up a 3/8 drill bit in whatever drilling tool you have and measure from the back of the chuck to the tip of the bit. Now you can visualise, when you subtract that distance from your work envelope you don’t have much left. Drilling on the lathe is something you will find you will do a lot of and you will want as much length as you can get. Screw machine bits will help recover some of that lost distance but, they tend to be more expensive than jobber length bits and not as readily available.
If I had to replace my 12” lathe I would chose the LMS ‘High torque’ solely for the increased power as well as the fact their business is focused on the hobby machinist and the 7 inch lathe in particular...

Regards …bert

12-21-2012, 03:00 AM
I'm getting the Microlux 7x16. Thanks for all the input.