View Full Version : Lathe choices

03-26-2015, 11:51 PM
I am considering buy a new small manual lathe, 13"X40". This a 'hobby" situation not a shop use machine. Any thoughts, experiences or recommendations would be appreciated. I am located on East side of Houston Tx. Price up to $ 6000. Use for: I have cut steel, Al. wood and right now I am making a 6 in. OD X 5 in. long plastic piston. My SB is just used up 1920s model.
Single phase.

Mike Amick
03-27-2015, 12:14 AM
Hi Bob ..

I'll head the pack off for a sec and tell you what needs to be known.

Where are you located
What is your budget
What do you want to do with it.

03-27-2015, 12:32 AM
Also new as in NIB or new to you? Do you want single phase or is 3 phase OK as some people want no part of 3 phase, converters or VFDs. Lot's of choices & even more opinions it seems.

03-27-2015, 03:41 AM
There are lots of possibilities but your only "choices" will be whatever is available within the radius you're prepared to travel. Old (North) American iron is always good if it's in decent shape. Don't let the "American only" guys on here talk you into buying some old worn out POS just because it's got the right heritage. You have to decide whether you want a working lathe or a project.

Most British and/or European stuff will be pretty good. Eastern European machines can be good and solid but a bit rough on the edges. Lots of people like Nardini lathes which come from Brazil. Most Taiwanese stuff is pretty good as are the Korean offerings. Japanese stuff is usually very desirable. And, like it or not, some of the Chinese machinery is not all that bad--Jet and Sharp come to mind.

As a final note, you specified single phase but sometimes you can get a better deal on a 3-phase machine because other people are shying away from it. A good 3-phase machine with a VFD is very nice to operate...

03-27-2015, 03:49 AM
13x40 and 14x40's command a rather high price new, but used are often very cheap because they are 2000lbs+ and a pain in the ass to move!

the 1000lb 12x36's are like $2300 new and pretty damn good. 0.1" DOC at good feed rates in mild steel, 0.2" in aluminum. Be warned that doing that involves dodging huge scalding hot chips!

that said, I would recommend paying $3000~4000 and have $2000~3000 left over for tooling! You will need it.

03-27-2015, 07:05 AM
Same as what others have said...if you are wanting used, you certainly have choices, just quickly through C/L, Houston gives a Victor 1640B for $3800, a Turnmaster 1330 for $5700 (Republic Lagun)(it looks similar to some Clausings that usually had a wide speed range), a Webb 17/32 x 60 for $5950 w taper attachment. IF those are valid and local, for some reason there were any number of listings for areas of Pennsylvania.
None are exactly what you mention in size, to me all would have some appeal, YMMV. Only some ads will have power listed re: 1 or 3 phase, the Victor and the Webb are heavy machines; as well there are others showing but could be more of a "project" which you may or may not want, most were older and so would be lower speed...at one point there must have been enough industry in the local area to warrant some pretty big and heavy machines (Lodge and Shipley, Monarch, Axelson), don't know what it is like currently.

03-27-2015, 03:10 PM
A local resource you may or may not be aware of: http://www.homemetalshopclub.org/index.html
Not many HSM with similar local resources.
Curious that half the responders so far are Canadian...
(no apersions meant!!)

03-27-2015, 03:48 PM
I pulled up the Houston Craigslist and searched on "lathe" - a fairly clean 16x52 Colchester is there today at $3800. I have a 15x42 Clausing Colchester 'round top' and it's a great machine. There is also a 16x65 LeBlond with no price shown.

BTW, I run off a phase convertor so a decent sized single phase connection should not be a limitation.

Should be pretty easy to find one in Houston - but they are scarce as hen's teeth in my neck of the woods...