I'm in the market for a lathe right now. This is for home use. It is a solution looking for a problem at this point (I love tools and will always find some way to use them). I do auto restorations and expect to cut everything from plastic to stainless. I spent enough on knobs, trim, and pulleys for the last car I did to pay for a lathe.
I'm very cramped for space so my choices for a lathe are limited. A 12x36 just won't fit without getting rid of other very useful tools. Also, I would consider a used American or European tool. The catch is that I won't buy a used lathe sight unseen, and I live in the middle of nowhere (Northern New Mexico). I'm probably looking at at least a 400-500 mile drive to even look at something. Because of this, I'm looking at a new imported lathe.
I've read a number of online reviews for small lathes, and the Grizzly G0516 (10x21) and G4002 (12x24) seem to be liked much better than the other small machines. I know that other companies also import these same machines under different brands and model numbers.
Does anyone here have experience with either of these machines?
What did you think of the machine?
What were its limitations?
How precise was it?
Did you ever try to cut stainless?
What problems did the machine have?
Was the mill on the G5016 worth anything?
Would you suggest looking at any other brands/models?
Any other advice?
Given my space constraints, I'm willing to have the occasional large part made for me at a local machine shop. I'm also willing to convert the G0516 to DC so that I can cut threads at slow speed.
I'll also have to make a mobile base for the lathe so that I can get it out of the way when necessary. The 500lb G5016 should be no problem. The G4002 weighs 1000lbs. Any advice for building a mobile base able to take this much weight?
Thanks for the help.