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View Full Version : New guy needs advice on buying first lathe.



Pinresto
02-19-2015, 05:29 PM
Hello All,
I'm a new member but I've been lurking and learning for a while now. I got the hobby machining bug about a year ago while working at my other hobby. Pinball machine restoration is a love of mine and I've gotten extremely good at it over the last several years. One day I needed a basic, easily machined part and decided it was time to learn. I certainly don't get any cost savings by owning and learning everything I need to make a $1 part, but it sure is fun. I own a LMS X2 mill and I'm looking for a lathe to complement it now. At first I was going to buy a Grizzly 7x14 but now I'm second guessing that. Now I'm thinking a atlas 618, 10f or a SB 9C.
First off I love the old tools. I love them but their old. Normally it's not an issue but with a lathe its different. I read and watched all the guides on buying a lathe and what to look for but if I miss something it could get expensive. I need something I can move easily with two people. 250ish lbs or less. I'd like to post the 4 lathes I'm looking at and hear what other had to say based on the ads. One ad has a video with it. In the video they make 3 cuts but only cut from left to right. Isn't most cutting done from right to left? Is that a red flag? I'd love to hear what you have to say.

As you can see my budget is about $800
Atlas 3950 Lathe $700
http://pittsburgh.craigslist.org/tls/4888140417.html

LATHE METAL, ATLAS QUICK CHANGE $850
http://baltimore.craigslist.org/tls/4881530368.html

Atlas Craftsman 618 6 inch lathe $650
http://reading.craigslist.org/tls/4854708724.html
(Video for atlas)
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0ByaUPNP1GBtbY2YzUUh1S3FzUms/view?pli=1

South Bend Model C lathe with tooling $800
http://washingtondc.craigslist.org/doc/tls/4862815896.html

Any of these I should stay away from?

George Bulliss
02-19-2015, 07:12 PM
Bump to the top after being stuck in the moderation filter.

Weston Bye
02-19-2015, 07:22 PM
As much as I enjoyed learning on my Atlas 618, I found that I was happier with a Sherline, once I built an electronic threading accessory. I am planning on getting a Seig Mini Lathe from Little Machine Shop in a few months and putting the Atlas on the market. I will still keep my Sherline, though.

Pinresto
02-19-2015, 07:32 PM
Why would you rather have the seig that the atlas?

Weston Bye
02-19-2015, 07:41 PM
Although the Atlas has more capacity between centers, I seldom use the capacity. The Atlas has always been a little "flexible", deflecting under cutting pressure to the point that I have never been successful using carbide tooling.

I am expecting better performance from the Seig, and have vague ideas about a CNC conversion project - stay tuned.

rickyb
02-19-2015, 08:02 PM
Hello All,
I'm a new member but I've been lurking and learning for a while now. I got the hobby machining bug about a year ago while working at my other hobby. Pinball machine restoration is a love of mine and I've gotten extremely good at it over the last several years. One day I needed a basic, easily machined part and decided it was time to learn. I certainly don't get any cost savings by owning and learning everything I need to make a $1 part, but it sure is fun. I own a LMS X2 mill and I'm looking for a lathe to complement it now. At first I was going to buy a Grizzly 7x14 but now I'm second guessing that. Now I'm thinking a atlas 618, 10f or a SB 9C.
First off I love the old tools. I love them but their old. Normally it's not an issue but with a lathe its different. I read and watched all the guides on buying a lathe and what to look for but if I miss something it could get expensive. I need something I can move easily with two people. 250ish lbs or less. I'd like to post the 4 lathes I'm looking at and hear what other had to say based on the ads. One ad has a video with it. In the video they make 3 cuts but only cut from left to right. Isn't most cutting done from right to left? Is that a red flag? I'd love to hear what you have to say.

As you can see my budget is about $800
Atlas 3950 Lathe $700
http://pittsburgh.craigslist.org/tls/4888140417.html

LATHE METAL, ATLAS QUICK CHANGE $850
http://baltimore.craigslist.org/tls/4881530368.html

Atlas Craftsman 618 6 inch lathe $650
http://reading.craigslist.org/tls/4854708724.html
(Video for atlas)
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0ByaUPNP1GBtbY2YzUUh1S3FzUms/view?pli=1

South Bend Model C lathe with tooling $800
http://washingtondc.craigslist.org/doc/tls/4862815896.html

Any of these I should stay away from?
My advice is go big. Anything a 6" lathe can do, a 10" can do better. A lot more tooling fits larger lathes also. Go 9-12" with a quick change box(for easy thread pitch changes). You don't know this yet but the accessories can cost more than the lathe so things like steady and follower rests, extra tooling, milling attachment, 4 jaw chuck and collets can cost $75-$200 each. All of these can easily equal the cost of the lathe itself. If you can get those with the lathe, it makes your decision easier.
If the ways are worn, pass on the lathe. An example is where the saddle has worn deep grooves in the ways. Any old lathe will have wear. It is a matter of how much and how useable it is in that condition.

In summary go for a large lightly used lathe with the most attachments.
Also the 618 is a bottom of the barrel lathe, pass on that for sure no matter how new.

chipmaker4130
02-19-2015, 08:09 PM
Hi. My first lathe was a 12 X 36 Atlas with quick-change gearing. I had a lot of fun with it, but you do have to be very patient. I could never get more than a .020" depth of cut without chatter. Also, the carriage feed runs off the lead screw threads and the half-nuts are really soft, fast-wearing parts. My next and current lathe is a 13" Sheldon, bigger than you want, I know, but man when I need to I can cut .2" deep in good steel with no problem. Like a lot of hobby guys I often have to use whatever material I can get, so cutting large stock down to smaller is something I do often. From my end, I'd say go with the stiffest bed you can find in your size/price range. Of the lathes you listed, that would be the SB, although it is an old one and it doesn't have the QC gearbox. The quick change gearing is a huge time and frustration saver.

How often do you plan on moving the lathe? If frequently, that's a problem in itself as far as keeping it straight is concerned. If infrequently, get a bigger, heavier machine and smile every time you use it!

As for the reverse-cutting on the video, yeah, I'd make sure the reversing toggle works.

lost_cause
02-19-2015, 08:20 PM
i can't give as good advice as some here about different makes and models because i don't have any time with them all, but i can comment in general on features and accessories. if i wanted one hobby lathe to do whatever i wanted the very first thing on my list would be a quick change gear box. the second thing would be to get as many accessories as possible with the lathe because it will be cheaper to buy them bundled with the lathe than to get them afterwards. shoot for both 3 & 4 jaw chucks at the start. a collet system is good too. steady & follow rests may be handy depending on what you want to do. if not know that it will probably cost you $100-$150 each to buy them later.

my first lathe was a south bend 9" model 'b' lathe that came with only a 3 jaw chuck. it eventually became a nusiance to have to change gears all the time for feeds and threads. even when i got past that, the lack of a 4-jaw, steady, and follow rests also limited my projects. sure, with a south bend 9, the sky is the limit because you can buy any accessories you want - at a price. i ended up buying another lathe eventually because it would have cost me nearly as much to change my 9b into a 9a and add the accessories i didn't have.

sasquatch
02-19-2015, 08:48 PM
Well, Lol, here we go again about the good and the bad, All i'm going to tell you is that milling attachment shown for the Atlas lathe will sell for about $200-250.00 bucks, if you have a mill you won't need that.

flylo
02-19-2015, 08:49 PM
Condition, condition, tooling, if all equal I'd go the QCGB & a 618 Atlas is not a bottom of the barrel lathe. Rickyb have you ever owned & used a 618 Atlas & if so which model or is this something you read?:rolleyes:

sasquatch
02-19-2015, 08:55 PM
X2 Flylo, I didn't comment to that effect, as it just stirs up a hornets nest about hey, they can't cut an 1/8th off at a time in one pass. A 618 in decent condition is great small lathe, and anyone that says the opposite has not seen the fabulous work others have done with them. Not everyone is turning 50lb shafts.

firbikrhd1
02-19-2015, 09:24 PM
Of those listed the Atlas 10F would be my choice. Quick Change Gearbox and larger capacity does it for me, condition being equal. My Dad has a 10F which I have used several times. It has always done the job when used within it's capacities. Some people speak poorly of the Atlas lathes, but for the average home user they work fine.

mattthemuppet
02-19-2015, 09:24 PM
for a turnkey lathe, I think you could do a lot worse than that Mk2 Atlas - lots of tooling, big enough to do what you're interested in - would complement the small benchtop mill you have. I think the others are all pretty decent choices and have their pluses and minuses.

flylo
02-19-2015, 10:01 PM
The 3950 is probably the better deal with all the tooling but still a 6". I owned one & just didn't like it as well as the older 618 IMHO.

Gary Paine
02-20-2015, 12:08 AM
a 618 Atlas is not a bottom of the barrel lathe.

+1. Excellent for small parts. If I took a .2 inch cut on diameter, there'd be no part left.

PStechPaul
02-20-2015, 01:39 AM
You must be close to me if you are looking at lathes in Catonsville, Pittsburgh, and Washington DC. The Atlas 10F with QCGB in Catonsville seems to be the biggest, with a 10" swing similar to my 9x20, but this has 36" between centers. If you decide to look at that lathe, I could meet you and help you check it out, but I can't help you carry it because I have a bad back and sore knee. I'm far from expert but I have some experience with my HF 9x20 and the 12" Clausing at school. I am attending classes at Catonsville CC in machining, on Thursday evenings 5-9 PM.

Best of luck with your purchase. Also consider attending the Cabin Fever Expo in York, PA April 10-12. You might be able to pick up some tooling for cheap, and they have auctions for odd lots of tools, including lathes and mills. If you are interested in model engines, that's the place to go!

Pinresto
02-20-2015, 06:22 AM
Thanks everyone for your input. I see there is no consensus on the links I posted. The 618 I linked to has me concerned. The same people have a SB 9C. It sounds like two young guys flipping lathes. Both of their lathes are freshly panted and clean. He tried to make it sound like they just bought a bigger lathe bit I got the impression they were flipping.
The 3950 has no belt. I'm not going to buy something I can't run. Not for my first lathe. Maybe I can use the old panty hose as a belt trick to see it run.
I like the SB 10F but I've asked what tooling it comes with but I don't have an answer yet. I need some tooling. I can't start with nothing. It will be a bit before I can ho buy more toys.
I'm leaning toward the SB 9C. It comes with lots of tooling, is near my house and I've already got him down on his price some. But again, it looks well used. I'll need to go see it in person. I'll keep the thread going with updates and any new finds.

lost_cause
02-20-2015, 07:32 AM
actually, i think there was a pretty clear consensus in most of the replies: condition, qcgb, accessories. it's hard for people to jump out and tell you to go buy a certain one out of that group for a couple of reasons: we can't see them or test them out, and in my opinino there is really no clear cut winner.

i've never been in the presence of an atlas lathe, so i can't comment personally, but the internet is full of comments about people complaining about the flat ways, lack of rigidity, and casting metal on some atlas lathes. there are also plenty of people who can do well with these lathes, so i believe it to be a matter of learning the limitations of your equipment and then you will be fine.

here's the other problem(s):

1. condition is the trump suit. we're assuming they are all equal because we don't know different.

2. the south bend would (in my opinion) be the first choice of this bunch if it weren't a model c. no power cross feed and no qcgb really hurt in the versatility. don't get me wrong - there are tons of these out there and i'm sure used by very capable hands, but if it were my only lathe i would not want one without a gearbox and both feeds. however, you say it is well equipped. if this means both 3 & 4 jaws, steady & follow rests and others, then the value is there because you can likely sell it off later for as much or more than you paid for it. without knowing the specifics of the extra tooling it's hard to say. a collet system or milling attachment would also add a big value bonus. a sb9c cab be converted to a model 'a', but the cost is steep: $250 for an apron with power feed & $250 for a gearbox - give or take. you also need a new screw to go with the gearbox. best bet would be to hope to find a minimally tooled and rusted model a cheap and salvage the parts.

3. the 3950 has the great tooling but no gearbox. you are also smaller and therefore less rigid, but again, learn your limitations.

4. the 10f has the gearbox but unknown tooling. it is also going to be a bit less rigid.

i just don't see a clear cut winner here. if it were me and i thought that what i spent my money on was likely going to have to last me for a long duration and i wouldn't be able to spend any more to go with it in the reasonable future my choice would be none of the above. if i were to consider it a learning tool and know that i might have to spend more in the future (either replace or upgrade) to get where i wanted to be, i'd probably choose the south bend - assuming it is tooled well as you said. this choice is partly because the sb9 is the devil that i know. i could live with change gears if i had two chucks, steady, follow, and collets - or at least most of those.

vpt
02-20-2015, 07:32 AM
Get the 10" with the quick change! That is a steal of a deal right there!

Pinresto
02-20-2015, 08:15 AM
Lost_cause----Your talking a lot of sense. None of the above is a possibility. I'm still looking hard. I'm going to look at the SB 9C and the Atlas 10f today. From what I'm reading online the atlas seems to be 20-30lbs heavier than the SB. As I said before I'm concerned with weight. I have an 8000lb limit on my move this summer and I have no idea what I weigh now. We're not taking any furniture so I think we will be ok. I just need to keep the weight down. I don't think I'll struggle to much with the rigidity issue. I've never used a lathe before so I won't know what I'm missing. I'm also quite patient. I often work slow and meticulous. The flat ways don't bother me for now. I'm sure many people have done plenty of fine work with them. It's got to be better than a 7x china lathe. I'll be in Panama for 3-5 years. I'll probably try to sell the lathe before moving back to the states. I'll get more money for it there. I'll also be ready to buy something larger when I come back. I'll be moving into my house,I'll have the space and I'll be permanent.

Pinresto
02-20-2015, 08:19 AM
I found directions on how to breakdown a SB for moving. Its a cinch. Makes moving it around much easier. Does the Atlas 10F breakdown the same way?

Prokop
02-20-2015, 09:00 AM
I couldnt see if anybody mentioned threading yet. You want a lathe that will do inch and metric threads somewhat easy.

I have an old Logan 210, great lathe to start with but if I was getting a lathe now, I would go for grizzly or such and threading is one of the reasons.

From your CL listings, you could be close enough to Muncy, PA to go and see what they have to offer:

http://www.grizzly.com/showrooms/pa

Pinresto
02-20-2015, 09:22 AM
I couldnt see if anybody mentioned threading yet. You want a lathe that will do inch and metric threads somewhat easy.

I have an old Logan 210, great lathe to start with but if I was getting a lathe now, I would go for grizzly or such and threading is one of the reasons.

From your CL listings, you could be close enough to Muncy, PA to go and see what they have to offer:

http://www.grizzly.com/showrooms/pa

When I started looking for a lathe my plan was to go to grizzly and buy a 7x14. I still may. I started thinking "if I can get a bigger american made lathe for the same money...."
I really want their 9x20 or 8x19 but they are out of my price range. Both are $1000. I will be doing some metric threading from time to time. I can probably get away with a tap and die set but I'd like to have the ability. Does the SB and Atlas do metric threading?

Rosco-P
02-20-2015, 09:28 AM
If you buy a lathe like the SB 9c, it better have all the threading gears or you'll be paying more than the machines worth to assemble them. Slow down, consider other machines, Sheldon, Logan, Cinci, Hendey, etc.

Pinresto
02-20-2015, 09:54 AM
If you buy a lathe like the SB 9c, it better have all the threading gears or you'll be paying more than the machines worth to assemble them. Slow down, consider other machines, Sheldon, Logan, Cinci, Hendey, etc.

I'm considering them all. At the moment I see none of them available to me in my area and price range. My area is quite large. I don't mind driving 3-4 hours one way for the right deal. I'll take the family and make a weekend trip out of it.
I won't buy anything unless it has all the basic acessories it came with new. That's the bare minimum I would settle for.

Pinresto
02-20-2015, 09:57 AM
I could also go get this. It's listed with a make offer option. I'm not familiar with shop fox. I know its a china lathe. It's the right size and price. I'd just really really hate to drive all the way up there and find its a dud.

Opinions on this one?
http://pages.ebay.com/link/?nav=item.view&alt=web&id=251827770821

Prokop
02-20-2015, 10:01 AM
When I started looking for a lathe my plan was to go to grizzly and buy a 7x14. I still may. I started thinking "if I can get a bigger american made lathe for the same money...."
I really want their 9x20 or 8x19 but they are out of my price range. Both are $1000. I will be doing some metric threading from time to time. I can probably get away with a tap and die set but I'd like to have the ability. Does the SB and Atlas do metric threading?

I am no expert on SB or Atlas, I know Logan needs gears that I did not get with it, I bought some and Rosco is right, it gets expensive. Metric threading on Logan is possible with some very special gears - I gave up on those - and I buy dies and taps as needed from Enco or local HW store. With die holder I can make the thread to run true on the Logan and thats that.

If I only needed metric or any threading the 7x14 would compliment the Logan nicely, but I have an action I want to set barrel for... bigger lathe will be necessary.

Rosco-P
02-20-2015, 10:10 AM
Aftermarket Metric conversion kits are available for Sheldon, maybe for Logan as well. I would not buy a SB 9c.

firbikrhd1
02-20-2015, 10:32 AM
I couldnt see if anybody mentioned threading yet. You want a lathe that will do inch and metric threads somewhat easy.

I have an old Logan 210, great lathe to start with but if I was getting a lathe now, I would go for grizzly or such and threading is one of the reasons.

From your CL listings, you could be close enough to Muncy, PA to go and see what they have to offer:

http://www.grizzly.com/showrooms/pa

The Atlas lathes have the ability to cut metric threads with existing change gears by pairing 52/44 tooth gears. Are they perfect? No, but their accuracy is much closer than the average person will ever need at 1 part in 3000. The Atlas manual uses this combination in it's charts to give appropriate gears for numerous common metric threads.

Your Logan can also cut gears using this method and Logan sells has metric change gears as well, both 127/100 and 47/37 ratios, the latter being a very close approximation and having the advantage of fitting under the gear cover.

Pinresto
02-20-2015, 10:41 AM
Aftermarket Metric conversion kits are available for Sheldon, maybe for Logan as well. I would not buy a SB 9c.

It's not my first choice either. I'd like change gears and power cross feed. My problem is the money. My budget is limited. Mostly because the list of tools I want to buy before I move in June is extensive. Tools in Panama are extremely expensive. I need to find the best deal I can get for $800. That's what I can spend on a lathe at the moment. From the looks of things I can get something like a SB 9C with extra tooling or I can get a 9A without the tooling. At least that's what I've seen so far. I'm still looking though.

Rosco-P
02-20-2015, 10:54 AM
It's not my first choice either. I'd like change gears and power cross feed. My problem is the money. My budget is limited. Mostly because the list of tools I want to buy before I move in June is extensive. Tools in Panama are extremely expensive. I need to find the best deal I can get for $800. That's what I can spend on a lathe at the moment. From the looks of things I can get something like a SB 9C with extra tooling or I can get a 9A without the tooling. At least that's what I've seen so far. I'm still looking though.

Are you in the rust belt or live in the "tool" desert? Either way, wait, wait, wait and keep looking. You still have three months. Tooling is size, but not machine specific. I'm not referring to chucks or steadies. Have you scoured all the machinery dealers in your area?

Prokop
02-20-2015, 11:17 AM
The Atlas lathes have the ability to cut metric threads with existing change gears by pairing 52/44 tooth gears. Are they perfect? No, but their accuracy is much closer than the average person will ever need at 1 part in 3000. The Atlas manual uses this combination in it's charts to give appropriate gears for numerous common metric threads.

Your Logan can also cut gears using this method and Logan sells has metric change gears as well, both 127/100 and 47/37 ratios, the latter being a very close approximation and having the advantage of fitting under the gear cover.

Yes, I did my research and I know this, but decided not to bother. Logan is probably the most expensive supplier in the western hemisphere, it will be cold day in hell when I buy anything from them again.

bob308
02-20-2015, 11:21 AM
my thoughts are pass on them. save your money and buy a bigger lathe. all those lathes are priced way too high. the first is small though well tooled. the next no tooling. the 618 is ok but no tooling to speak of and for that lathe it is hard or expensive to get. even though I like south bends. a c model with nothing is not worth $800.

martik
02-20-2015, 02:23 PM
I agree, very high for a tool rich location like yours, I saw a short bed 9A at Plaza for $750: http://www.plazamachinery.com/files/Metal-02-15-2015.pdf

I'd keep looking for something with a QCGB under 800, should be no problem where you are.

mattthemuppet
02-20-2015, 02:40 PM
hmm, if you're going to be in Panama for 2-3 years then it would make sense to get a 9in lathe at least, so you don't run the risk of outgrowing it while you're there. The flipside is that you'd want to find one that doesn't need much work, or you'll spend those 2-3 years fixing it up and then have to sell it.

If you have a weight limit, be careful. It's amazing how much stuff weighs. When we moved across country recently we tared at 8600lbs with little furniture (beds, couple of chests of drawers, a dining table and chairs) and, but the standards of machining forums, very few tools (very small bench lathe, floor standing drill press, bench press and stuff). And we got rid of a huge amount of stuff.

Rosco-P
02-20-2015, 04:42 PM
Your in Pa? Central? Western, Eastern? Zip code?

Might give this one a look: http://reading.craigslist.org/tls/4899350699.html Tell him your story, he accepts cash.

rickyb
02-20-2015, 08:33 PM
[QUOTE=flylo;968436]Condition, condition, tooling, if all equal I'd go the QCGB & a 618 Atlas is not a bottom of the barrel lathe. Rickyb have you ever owned & used a 618 Atlas & if so which model or is this something you read?:rolleyes:[/QUOTE

From your response, we cannot be talking about the same model 618. I owned a 6" craftsman made by Dunlap that I thought was a model 618. It was a low quality lathe.

I just went back to the one in this thread and it is an atlas / craftsman 101. Completely different lathe, my mistake.

I have this model 101 in as close to new as you can get and never use it. It is a nice lathe but not near the quality or capability of my 10"Logan.

Sorry for the error and confusion I may have caused.
Rick

Pinresto
02-20-2015, 11:34 PM
Your in Pa? Central? Western, Eastern? Zip code?

Might give this one a look: http://reading.craigslist.org/tls/4899350699.html Tell him your story, he accepts cash.

He wants $1400. I tried.

In in northern Va. 20166

sawlog
02-21-2015, 07:55 AM
Don't limit yourself to old iron. I would look at an import machine that is turnkey. If you want to have a project then you buy a used old iron, these machines are good but you will have to some repair on these machines. Since you know you have 2 moves in several years that needs to be a big part of your planning.

I have a Chinese lathe and it was from one of the better importers, so I have little problem with it. Spend enough money now to by a reliable machine that you can move easily and you will be better satisfied. If you can get lucky and kind locate old American iron that is turnkey the that is better.

When you get back in the states and settle down permanently, then you can get the bigger lathe that just needs massaging, because you have a working smaller lathe you can make parts to help get it up. Here in NC most hobby sized old American iron is non existent or so expensive that the larger lathes are a much better deal, so that is where I come from. I want a larger lathe that has some more features but I have yet to see one that will fit in my work space at a reasonable price. One day I might get lucky.

jep24601
02-21-2015, 09:36 AM
Why would you not just buy the lathe in Panama? A cursory glance suggests that there are a few available. The following is just an example. You could buy and sell the lathe in Panama and not mess with shipping.

http://www.olx.com.pa/q/torno/c-594

The Balboa in on par with the US dollar.

Pinresto
02-21-2015, 10:34 AM
Why would you not just buy the lathe in Panama? A cursory glance suggests that there are a few available. The following is just an example. You could buy and sell the lathe in Panama and not mess with shipping.

http://www.olx.com.pa/q/torno/c-594

The Balboa in on par with the US dollar.

Several reasons really. First is cost. Tools cost more there. I just spent the last month in panama and I did a lot of looking. Most tools and electronics are about 1/3 more. I looked used and new. The used stuff I looked at was all big stuff. 95% of the machine equipment there is from the canal or other large project. Finding small shop/hobby size equipment is more difficult.
Then I have the language barrier. I'm learning water and shoe and " what direction is the hospital" in spanish. I couldn't speak about a lathe. My wife could but I can't.
I also want to have one when I get there. I don't want to go and hope I find what I want for the right price. I'll take it with me. I don't want to be there for 6 months before I have a lathe up and running.
Lastly, I'm not sure if the metric will be a problem or not. They use the metric system there. Does that mean most of the stuff there will be set up different? Metric lead screws, etc?
I'm not paying for shipping so what do I care as long as I don't go over 8000lbs.

Rosco-P
02-21-2015, 11:27 AM
I'm not paying for shipping so what do I care as long as I don't go over 8000lbs.

Would it break the bank to bring a heavier, more capable machine and go over the 8000lb limit. Larger used lathes are often cheaper than their smaller counterparts. Might see a screaming deal on a 14" lathe, might have better resale down there as well.

jep24601
02-21-2015, 11:48 AM
St. Louis is probably too far for you but here are 3 recent examples of lathes of the type you might consider currently recently posted on Craigslist (and all with QC gearboxes):

South Bend $675
http://images.craigslist.org/01515_5TMSZKZ6vy1_600x450.jpg

Atlas $800
http://images.craigslist.org/00X0X_lAK4QX7pvr_600x450.jpg

Craftsman $425
http://images.craigslist.org/00O0O_gkJl98lJ86l_600x450.jpg

bob308
02-21-2015, 12:15 PM
I don't know what you want to do while there in the machine line. but looking at the choices of the 4 I would go with the 618 if I could get it for 500. use some of the rest of the money to get a steady rest and a four jaw chuck. a drill chuck that will take up to a 1/2drill shank would be nice also. it looks like it has most of the change gears if not I would look on ebay to get the rest. you can chase metric threads with a change gear lathe. if things are hard to get there you could probably make some money on it when you are coming home.

RPM22
02-21-2015, 02:07 PM
While you are planning your move, why not think about buying a slightly more expensive lathe ($1000?) and plan on selling it in Panama when you return to the US? From the information you have, you should easily make up whatever you spend now, with a little profit, then have more to spend on a better lathe when you return?
Richard in Los Angeles

Gary Paine
02-21-2015, 02:30 PM
Pinball machine restoration is a love of mine ..
As you can see my budget is about $800


If you are making knobs and small parts for pinball machines, the 618 may do the job. I've shared this before, but it will give you the perspective of the difference between the small Atlas and it's Atlas Craftsman 12 inch big brother.
IMGhttp://i1117.photobucket.com/albums/k595/gppaine/4338_zps5f54a038.jpg (http://s1117.photobucket.com/user/gppaine/media/4338_zps5f54a038.jpg.html)

The small Atlas you posted of has a pretty old motor mounted. If I bought it, I'd hook up a 1/2 hp DC motor and make up a KB based control box (maybe 125 total). You're looking at number 1 Morse taper tailstock tooling, No 2 in the headstock. Lots of tooling not shown and presumably not included.

The 10 inch Atlas is, in my opinion, the most robust of the lineup. The wear of the flat ways near the headstock needs inspected on any of them. If it is worn, you will be able to lift the front of the carriage up and feel the slop. For you to be happy with a worn bed, you will either have to have the bed reground or rework it yourself until the wear is uniform the entire length of the bed. When there, the laminated adjusting shim can loose a leaf or two and the carriage will be firm.

Just some thoughts.

Pinresto
03-02-2015, 06:42 AM
I'm back and I bought a lathe. I had to go out of town for a bit and there was no internet where I went. I bought a lathe right before I left. I know many of you will cringe but I bought a SB 9c. It's the one in the ad on my original post. I did not pay what he was asking. Not even close. I went to look at it just to get my feet wet. Turns out he sold the house and it was the only thing left in the house. It had to go. He had $1000 tied up in it. That why he was asking $800. I looked it over and turned it down.
The good, it has practically no wear I could find. Every gear tooth was squared off and looked new. The bed had a few dings by the head stock but no wear I could detect using methods I found online. The machine was tight. It just sat alot. This guy had it for 10 years and never used it. It came with $350 in new tooling plus some old tooling. He bought a large $350 order of QCTP ,collets, cutting tools, etc and never even opened the box it was shipped in. Then it had a face plate, two 3 jaw chucks, 4 jaw chuck, steady rest and more. I'll post a pic.
The bad, it was filthy. He had sprayed a very gummy corrosion stoper all over it once a year for 10 years. It needed to be broken down, cleaned and painted. That's no problem since my favorite past time is restoration of old machinery. I've always loved it.
So the story goes,
I went to look at it and he came down to $700. I left, went home and sent him links to other sales of his machine for much less. He was hung up on the $350 in new parts I was getting though. I turned it down. He called the next day and said the machine needed to be gone by the end of the day. The new owners were taking possession of the house. I told him I'd come get it for $400. He agreed.

Pinresto
03-02-2015, 07:14 AM
Apparently I can't post pics yet. Maybe I haven't been here long enough. Pics coming soon.
I appreciate all the input from everyone. The information made my purchase much easier and more informed.
Just to answer some of the questions asked before,
No a larger lathe is not possible. It would break the bank to go over my allowed weight. Plus I won't have enough room for a large lathe when I get there.
Yes, I will likely sell the lathe in panama before I leave. I will make a profit. When I get back I'll have room for something larger.

vpt
03-02-2015, 08:18 AM
St. Louis is probably too far for you but here are 3 recent examples of lathes of the type you might consider currently recently posted on Craigslist (and all with QC gearboxes):

South Bend $675
http://images.craigslist.org/01515_5TMSZKZ6vy1_600x450.jpg

Atlas $800
http://images.craigslist.org/00X0X_lAK4QX7pvr_600x450.jpg

Craftsman $425
http://images.craigslist.org/00O0O_gkJl98lJ86l_600x450.jpg




OOOooOoOo a 10" WITH milling attachment! Winner winner right there!

Rosco-P
03-02-2015, 08:56 AM
St. Louis is probably too far for you but here are 3 recent examples of lathes of the type you might consider currently recently posted on Craigslist (and all with QC gearboxes):
Craftsman $425
http://images.craigslist.org/00O0O_gkJl98lJ86l_600x450.jpg

I'd put that Pepsi machine in my shop before I'd make room for any lathe marked Crapsman.

RichR
03-02-2015, 12:13 PM
Apparently I can't post pics yet. Maybe I haven't been here long enough.

Go to tinypic.com, select a picture to upload, click on the drop down to set the size to 800 x 600, click upload. Copy the URL link and post that.

John Buffum
03-04-2015, 09:15 PM
Apparently I can't post pics yet. Maybe I haven't been here long enough. Pics coming soon.
I appreciate all the input from everyone. The information made my purchase much easier and more informed.
Just to answer some of the questions asked before,
No a larger lathe is not possible. It would break the bank to go over my allowed weight. Plus I won't have enough room for a large lathe when I get there.
Yes, I will likely sell the lathe in panama before I leave. I will make a profit. When I get back I'll have room for something larger.

I forget the poster, but the suggestion of the 10" lathe with a quick change gearbox is a good one. You can make small parts with a big machine, but not big parts with a small one.

Another factor is just how much are you willing to create to make it work? I have a F.E. Reed 12" x 6 feet from 1885. I MAY end up making it CNC. All it takes is money! (big grin) 1-1/4 x 10 spindle, greased, not oiled. Flat belt drums. Back gear. No connection between cross slide and lead screw. No, I don't recommend this for you, it's just an illustration of what be possible.

If you're not making hydraulics for container ships or cruise ships, 10" will probably suit most of your needs. Keep in mind chuck weights go up exponentially with diameter. A number of accessories, like taper attachments, are peculiar to the 10" size, and not the 9". The thru hole for a 10" can be 1" or more. A lot of options, there.

Everybody and his dog made 10" lathes, in all eras, so your choices are endless in that size.

Suggestion: Draft a requirements document. What do you want this hog to DO? What level of accuracy? How big a hogging cut with carbide? What features must it have, e.g. K-cups (grin) or loose coffee in a paper filter? That will help you narrow the field. How badly used can you tolerate? Quantify that. VERY IMPORTANT! What "footprint"? My shop is footprint challenged. When something comes in, something else must go out.

Hope all that helps.