From this and other forums I have come to some conclusions, I do not want a 3 in 1, and I do not want Chinese made. That ofcourse leaves me with good old made in the US of A!!! I need your help in what brand I should look for. SBL, Logan, Clausing, Sheldon, etc. I find several Heavy 10s. Some nice Logans. What is your feelings? Thank you, Jay
I am still of the belief "The Right Machine will Find You"
I was at aution last week and saw 2ea nice Clausing 10" go for $200 each. They were lacking Tail Stock and Steady Rest but for $200 you can't be too choosy
Keep looking and counting your pennys
I have a Nardini that was made in Brazil. I am pleased with it. I have the 12X30 and sometimes wish it was a 14X40. I would think that either of these would be a good prospect.
What is your budget? What is your skill level? The lathes you mentioned are OK hobby lathes that can sometimes be found for reasonable prices. Chances are the one you find will be worn or need work so that is where the skill factor comes in, do you know how to inspect a lathe? I personally would take a Taiwan or better quality Chinese lathe over any of the lathes you mentioned, but I don't want to spend time scrounging parts and rebuilding tools, I want to use them for their intended purpose. I personally have a 13 x40 Taiwan made Enco Turn Pro lathe that has performed flawless since new in 1996.
I don't know what your budget is or what you plan to do with the lathe, but I think you might like what you'll get for your money with a Taiwan-made lathe from the 1980s.
I've got a ('78-ish I think) Jet 1024 that doesn't have the problems that seem to plague the later model Chinese machines. I wouldn't trade it for all three of the professionally rebuilt LeBlond Regals at the school. I'll often use them for roughing out a part, then take it home to finish on the Jet.
Last edited by winchman; 08-16-2009 at 02:23 PM.
A good Taiwan lathe will do just fine. My 1986 Grizzly is still like new. The newer lathes have hardened beds,which you can't always find on older machines. Some SB's,yes.
I certainly would not choose a lathe missing its tailstock,unless you want to build one. Even if you COULD find a tailstock,it would NOT perfectly align with your lathe. It is also very difficult to find steady rests and follower rests,or spare parts for many older lathes.
If you were exceedingly lucky,and found an old lathe in fine condition,WITH the accessories,that would be nice. Barring that,Taiwan lathes have done well for me since 1974. I also have a 1964 Hardinge HLVH,one of the finest lathes ever built,but my large lathe is 16" X 40",a Grizzly made in Taiwan (1986),and it is very accurate.
I am not fond of the Chinese stuff,either,but Taiwan is heading for the status that Japan now has,and their stuff will get more and more expensive.
Is the China stuff really all that bad? I gave up and bought a Chinese 14x40 after spending months looking at old worn out American iron and I have no regrets at all. Everything I looked at was either a "project" lathe that was going to take a great deal of effort and money to get up to par or if they were in good shape they were REALLY pricey! Everyone told me to shop around that good deals are out there and maybe they are but believe me it is not what it was only a couple of years ago and there are a lot of people looking these days, the few truly good lathes disappear fast. I did a lot of searching and was told by a lot of different people that from the 12x36 stuff on up the Chinese quality is a lot better and this has certainly been the case for me, my 14x40 has run everyday since January of this year with zero problems and good accuracy, probably better than a well worn "old iron" machine. I am in no way trying to say that the China stuff is as good as domestic machines, they are not even in the same league, but a new ready to run Chinese machine can be a lot less hassle and a heck of a lot less money than a rebuilt "old iron" machine.
My 13 X 40 Enco Gapped, Geared lathe is still doing nicely after 15 years. It came new with all of the tooling. Enco and Grizzly still selling a model that's almost identical.
As mentioned above, Taiwanese machinery is getting more and more expensive all the time. It's getting to the point where the Japanese items are now.
I wanted an older USA lathe back then (and still do) but I've never run across one yet that was not in need of a complete rebuild. I looked at a nice Monarch 10EE recently in the same warehouse where I got my Webb Mill but it was $4,000. I'd sure love to have a Monarch but it's not in the cards, I guess.
I bought a Monarch EE,but decided it was too much hassle to gut the old variable speed mechanism and make up a new one,which includes refitting the gearbox on the old motor. It isn't any larger in capacity than my Hardinge HLVH,though a nice one in running condition would be a great lathe. my HLVH drives like a sports car,and everything is perfectly heavy duty enough for its capacity.
The Monarch is extremely overbuilt,but still has a very small spindle. Many ham handed machinists abuse them,thinking that they are heavier duty than they really are.
The weird thing about the cheapo-end Chinese stuff (and not just machine tools) is that someone seems to have neglected the idea that the machine has to perform some function. The products too often seem to be something that someone who didn't understand the machine or how it was supposed to work was given a non-Chinese original to copy, and copy it he did, but not very well.
This is clear when comparing a cheapo Chinese lathe to, for example, a well-designed western cheapo lathe, such as an Atlas. The Atlas has an appropriate range of speeds available through the drive system, the tool holder is held at the correct height for cutting metal, the carriage drive works in both directions ... all things most of us would consider fairly important in lathe operation. Some of the Chinese machines can't do those things, even when new and in perfect condition.
So there's the dilemma - should one recommend an old Atlas or an entry-level Chinese lathe to a nascent hobby machinest? The Atlas may have some wear problems, and some of the parts, particularly some of the zamak parts hidden inside the apron, will probably be broken, and these problems may be very difficult for a beginner to recognize. On the other hand, the Chinese lathe as supplied by the factory may be impossible to use, and the necessary modifications and fixes will also present some tough wading for a beginner.
I have no experience with the larger modern Chinese lathes. Several regular posters here have claimed that the problems of basic non-functionality aren't too bad in the larger (12" plus) sizes. On the down side, the larger Chinese lathes are much more expensive than one would like to see for an entry-level machine. South Bend, Logan, Sheldon, Rockwell, Clausing, Atlas/Craftsman, etc. are properly-designed machines which will work as they should "out of the box." However they are old, so wear and damage can be factors. The Atlas or Craftman lathes are not as sturdy as the others and are more likely to have broken parts. The others wear like, well, "like iron," not too surprisingly, and can be excellent buys.
Another factor I would mention to a beginner is that in this class Atlas (and Craftsman) and South Bend are very common and well-known, and because of familiarity are in high demand - that is, somewhat overpriced.