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Thread: need larger lathe

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Posts
    7

    Post need larger lathe

    another new guy in need of advice on getting a larger lathe. currently own hf7x10 but it is proving to be to small would like to someday be able to do my own barrel work.out here in Utah have not been able to find much of a selection of used machines should i look at imports ?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    Northern New England
    Posts
    2,705

    Post

    Can you find a good, clean west coast machine and ship it in? If you can, you'll never lose a minute of sleep wondering if something will jam, whether or not hardware is in tapped holes or was hammered in, wondering whether or not to up the fire insurance on the home , swapping chucks back and forth until you find one with acceptable runout, just added more support to some Chinese military program, etc.

    If you can't find one, I'd stick with something like a Grizzly 13" - 14" range machine if you can swing the price and the space.

    Regardless of which way you go, it is very much worth a trip (several days if necessary) to see the machine, new or used, that you're gonna buy. Den

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
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    7

    Post

    I have been looking for two months and would prefer a working american lathe but need to make a desion. room not a problem rating all the different imports is the real problem i do not know anyone currently using one
    Thanks for your reply

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    Northern New England
    Posts
    2,705

    Post

    There are horror stories but there are also many happy Grizzly and Jet owners on this forum, more on the PM (practical machinist) forum. You might want to also look thru the Yahoo "groups". There is a 12x group and I don't know about 13+ inches.

    Personally, I have a Jet mill/drill and it is ok within its limits. Yes, there is some cleanup as the table lead screw was partially painted and a small chunk of sand fell out of the head cavity one day. Jet support has been very good and quick to respond on 2 occasions when I needed warranty parts.

    There is one extreme Jet lathe horror story on-line but remember that this is the internet and you've gotta take what you read with a grain of salt.

    Oh yeah, one other fine machine ... the Emco Maximat Super 11 is a very nice, Austrian made machine. It is 12" x 26" and quite precise. It is light weight for its class (600lb range) but top notch. D1-4 spindle with large bore (but double check on that barrel requirement). Only problem is that it's around $9400 with no tooling. You can do better if you talk to Emco in Ohio. This is an HSM dream machine.

    [This message has been edited by nheng (edited 11-12-2005).]

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    N W La.
    Posts
    1,803

    Post

    The yahoo group mentioned.....

    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/12x36importlathes/

    is an excellent source for the pros and cons on these lathes,--- a smallish group (400+) and sometimes not much activity, but a lot of info if you go thru the files.

    Last spring, I was faced with a similiar situation as yours, living in La. with little to no access to american iron. I started a pretty extensive research of these lathes, and ended up being satisfied enough to choose the Birmingham 12x36. I am retired and a hobbiest, and that was a factor in my decision, as I felt my demands on the lathe would be well met --- it more than does that, and I am WELL pleased with it.

    The lathe will take a gun barrel very well, and I think most folks will mount anything precision, like a barrel, with a 4 jaw.

    These (import) lathes may not hold up so well under an active commercial shop setting, but myself and MANY other owners are well pleased, as you'll see reading thru the files in the yahoo group--- You'll also see the gripes....

    I was really glad I had spent the many days sitting at the computer, googling up information for my choice, and when I finally decided, I had few doubts, and good confidence, that I had made a good move.

    Bill
    If everything seems to be going well, you have obviously overlooked something........

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Posts
    264

    Post

    <font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">room not a problem </font>
    I've never heard anyone say that before

    I'd like to get a bigger lathe as well. Just have a Craftsman 109 for now, but might be upgrading to a craftsman 101 (12 x 36 IIRC)come the new year, if all goes well (and an old BP mill too hopefully). I'm dead set on finding some old iron.

    Chad

  7. #7

    Post

    Sorry, this is going to be long.

    If you can find a used "old iron" at a good price and it seems in decent shape, then get it. If not, then look at the imports. It comes down to two choices, buy old and hope the idot before you did not screw up too much. Or buy an import and hope they did a decent job building the machine.

    The difference? With the import, you can start running day one and upgrade things as you want. The "old iron", you take things a part to find out why that part is not working properly and find the guy before left out parts, installed it backwards or stripped out the threaded bolt holes. Old iron can have a lot of problems. I think this is what Ken was saying the other day.

    In my opinion it is a wash. Find the machine with the most tooling for a good price, buy it and don't look back. My mill with all its problem cost less than the shipping for the import. So I make parts, retap bolt holes and learn a lot about the mill in the process. I take a lot of pride in the parts I make or rebuild.

    In the end, I hope to have better machines than if I had bought imports. However, I could have been building other things rather wasting time make parts to repair the machines themselves if I had purchased an import.
    my $.02, jon

    [This message has been edited by JPR (edited 11-13-2005).]
    John

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Brisbane, CA
    Posts
    442

    Post

    Forrest's advices is dead-on here, and I'll add a little to it, I have the step-pulley VFD set up on both of my mills, one manual, one CNC. In addition to giving you continuous speed control a VFD also gives you automatic braking and controlled reversing. I have a Forward/Reverse switch setup on my VFD and when you throw it the other way the VFD smoothly halts then reverses the motor, very nice for tapping. Also with the automatic braking the only time I touch the brake is when I'm holding the spindle to tighten the drawbar.

    I bought Teco VFD's from www.dealerselectric.com , I have 3 and they have worked well for me. The manuals stink but they have an 800 number with a helpful tech guy available. With the Teco's for about $30 more you can get an optional braking resistor that allows the spindle to start or stop in about 1 second, this is highly recommended. Without the resistor the start stop time is around 3 seconds.

    If you're tight on $ the static converter will work ok, I ran my machine that way for about 10 years before I went the VFD route. With the static converter I believe you actually get 2/3's of normal HP. My machine has a 2HP motor and I never felt short on power with the static converter, but I wish I had found out about VFD's sooner, they really add alot to the machine.

    Good luck-

    Paul T.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Posts
    7

    Post

    Thanks for all the feed back my son came by and made me go coyote hunting so i'm just getting around to reading replies. looks like I should check out the yahoo site.
    Thanks again
    Steve

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