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Thread: Busy Bee Lathe

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    6

    Default Busy Bee Lathe

    I've owned a Taig lathe for some 25 years and have enjoyed making those things you can make on a small lathe, mostly for my hobby of radio controlled model aircraft. I have the same moniker on RCUniverse and have posted some of my love for machining on that site.

    My equipment includes a milling attachment, a taper slide, four jaw chuck and some custom made tools.

    I'm ready to upgrade, mostly because I'm venturing into bigger work that the Taig is struggling to handle.

    Just a random browse led me to Busy Bee's sale item here,

    http://busybeetools.ca/cgi-bin/pictu...&NTITEM=B1979C

    Can't tell by the picture so the nice lady said they'd get back to me about a taper slide,, included or extra. Yes, I really don't know a lot about machining over and above the little bit I've done on my engines and the like.

    I wonder if the good folks on this forum might have any comments or advice for me regarding this machine. I realize that much depends on what I expect to accomplish but anything over a Taig is a step up?

    This machine is actually a bit more than I need. I know of the Sherline but for some reason, it doesn't appeal to me.

  2. #2
    airsmith282 Guest

    Default

    hi there for 200.00 more you can get the metal worker 7x12 lathe at princess auto ,, it would be a much better machine then the 7x8 at busy bee. i was auctually going to get the 7x8 at the begining but then i found the 7x12 and i make muzzle brakes for guns and other custom parts as well for airguns and self defence stuff on it.. any how my buddys told me that the 7x12 was the best bang for the buck for now , and should do me for a bit , but that the 7x8 was way to small and so i went for the 7x12 and i like it alot just for me now i need a bigger bore hole done for back feeding but hopefully that wil be solved very soon.for what your doing id have to say go for the 7x12 you will like it alot more then the 7x8 im not saying its a bad lathe but you might just want that extra 4 inchs. i took off the thread dial on mine and my tail stock can go back a bit more past the bed and still stay centered... i have gained more then the 7x12 now.. I would have to take an exacat mesurment but that gain i got helps till i can bore out the chuck and spindle plate.. ,, in about a year or 2 from now ill have to bite in and get the 48in CC lathe ill need but the 7x12 is the best starter mini lathe for the buck over all..

    hope this helps iam very new my self to the metal munching stuff but iam learning fast .....

    talk again
    kevin

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    52N 122W Western Kanuckistan
    Posts
    40,418

    Default

    hi there for 200.00 more you can get the metal worker 7x12 lathe at princess auto ,, it would be a much better machine then the 7x8 at busy bee.
    I recently had a chance to compare the Princess Auto 4x6 bandsaw with my Busy Bee (Craftex) bandsaw. To be polite about it the Princess Auto machine was a piece of crap.

    The Busy Bee 10 x 18 looks like the best deal in a small manual lathe right now and is on for $999 cdn. Busy Bee's Craftex line is several cuts above the average China import machines.

    I have been thinking about getting one of their 7 x 8 lathes and CNCing it after I get my mill done.
    Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Origin now settable to bottom left! All values positive. Click Here

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Location
    Toledo, Ohio
    Posts
    9,068

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    What are your reasons for upgrading? It seems to me that the move from a Taig to a 7" X anything by any manufacturer would not add much more capability than what you already have. A 1/2" or 3/4" riser will increase the Taig swing to that of the 7" machines.

    I would suggest looking for a 10" or 12" lathe or larger, space permitting. With that size, it is doubtful you will be looking for a larger machine any time soon, as you possibly would with the purchase of a 7" machine.
    Jim H.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    6

    Default

    Thanks to all for the input.

    Jim,

    The Taig uses a 1/10th HP motor. That kind of puts it into the real lightweight class, I think. To look at a Taig and look at ANY other machine and the Taig looks like a kid's toy, really. But I'm not putting it down, it has allowed me to do a great deal. Will try and post pics of some projects later.

    But you may be right, I just don't know. Have zero experience with any other machine, have never even seen any other small bench lathe.

    I may have to attend the Hobby Show in Toronto this year and have a look at what the guys have on display and talk to them. I was there many years ago and marvelled at some replicas, miniatures of big engine lathes. But no commercial machines were on display.

    This was a drop by and have a look, one day affair for me. No chance to visit Busy Bee, at the time.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Location
    Toledo, Ohio
    Posts
    9,068

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    I have no experience with the Taig, and only a little with the Sherline. As far as I know, they are pretty much in the same league, with one difference in the Taig's favor being that it uses common lathe tooling.

    According to the Taig literature, a 1/4 HP motor is the ideal size. Risers are also available to increase the swing. My guess is that for a reasonable investment, you could upgrade the Taig to perform at the level of most of the mini lathes.

    http://www.cartertools.com/catalog.html
    Jim H.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Toronto
    Posts
    6,572

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    Quote Originally Posted by Evan
    Busy Bee's Craftex line is several cuts above the average China import machines.
    .
    i don't know their house brand but the two things i've had from busy bee were of such abysmal quality they were just not usable; a set of collets that was returned, the other useless POS scroll saw given to me.

    I suppose many things on a lathe can be tuned up, some replaced if you're going cnc. However what are you getting for spindle bearings, the mainstay of the lathe's accuracy? Then again i could probably take the cranks bearings out of one of the kid's old bikes to fix that up

    Maybe they've improved and the price is certainly right. However it's buyer beware with the budget tools, especially those that are suppose to be precision.

    Quote Originally Posted by AndyW
    I may have to attend the Hobby Show in Toronto this year and have a look at what the guys have on display and talk to them. I was there many years ago and marvelled at some replicas, miniatures of big engine lathes. But no commercial machines were on display.
    time.
    sounds like one of Bill Huxhold's Hardinge copies, the Toronto Society of Model Engineers (TSME) usually has a display at that show. Bill's Hardinge lathes might just be better than the orginal , wouldn't it be nice if a lathe like that was available?

    Andy, if you want more out this lathe search, google TSME, show up at meetings and network, this is the group of people in Toronto who could point you to some quality small lathes
    Last edited by Mcgyver; 03-19-2007 at 03:48 PM.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    52N 122W Western Kanuckistan
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    40,418

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    I have bought a lot of tooling from Busy Bee over the years including a full set of MT3 collets and R8 collets. I haven't had any complaints yet except for one countersink I ordered that was supposed to be 82 degree and turned out to be 90. I phoned on that and a couple of hours later got a call from someone up the food chain thanking me for bothering to call as it turned out they had several 1000 of these, mislabled.

    You don't have many choices if you wish to step up from the higher quality new Chinese equipment.
    Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Origin now settable to bottom left! All values positive. Click Here

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    6

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    Jim,

    Many thanks for the link. I've just spent three hours drooling over all the neat and marvellous Taig material. Well, I had no idea.

    But I should have realized, home shop machining is an entire hobby unto itself. For me, so far, it was to enhance my primary love of things that fly. I can learn a lot, right here, many, many thanks.

    McGyver,

    Your caveats are appreciated. The Busy Bee unit weighs 100 pounds with a shipping cost of 150 dollars. Ifn I don't like it, that's a total 300 dollars to find out. Lots of neat Taig upgrades for that kind of money. And that's the rub. In my opinion, a man can't have too many hobbies but not many have the time or money to do a tenth of what our creative minds can come up with.

    Wait, the good folks at BB just called back and advised that their lathe has a compound slide allowing taper work on short pieces. OK, that's good to know. Taig's taper cutting device is ingenious but somewhat troublesome to set up. Gets jammed and you have to mess, prod and provoke it. I've had it apart several times and can find nothing amiss but I AM no expert.

    Speaking with BB's rep, I asked what the accuracy of their lathe was. As in, the Taig is advertised to have an accuracy of 5/10,000th. I have a vague notion of what that means but I have nothing to compare it with. So I asked him about accuracy. His answer was not helpful so I have to assume their lathe is nowhere close. What of "accuracy" in a lathe? I presume it has to do with the spindle bearings?

    Yes, the TMSE. I remember now. Here I was, drooling over all the absolutely amazing work, intimidated and kind of shy about being there. No problem, one question led to a barrage of friendly banter with any and all in attendance. I was delirious with friendly vibes when I finally tore myself away to look at the aircraft displays. Out of my league I thought at first, but I was wrong.


    Well, anyway, thanks again to all.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Spokane, Wa
    Posts
    2,266

    Default

    Click around in here.

    http://www.mini-lathe.com/Mini_lathe...ifications.htm

    Also see what he has done with a 9x20.

    And really look at the 10x18 that's showing up.

    But do not ever get rid of that Taig.
    Gene

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