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Thread: Need advise on lathe for $2000 or less

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
    Posts
    147

    Default Need advise on lathe for $2000 or less

    I've been looking for a old American lathe on local Craiglist (San Francisco, Bay Area) for more than a year. I am a knife maker but having a lathe will come in very handy and will open new possibilities for me.
    Unfortunately most of the lathes I found locally were ether in good shape but too expensive or too worn.

    Now I am leaning toward getting a new smaller 11x27 Chinese lathe from Precision Matthews
    http://www.machinetoolonline.com/PM-1127-VF.html
    Precision Matthews seems to have good reputation on machining forums.
    This lathe PM-1127-VF has variable frequency drive, low speed - 50 RPM, Spindle Bore 1-1/16", hardened ways.

    Before I commit to buying I appreciate if anyone can comment on this lathe or advise on other lathes under $2K.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Buffalo NY
    Posts
    2,172

    Default

    I have seen the Mathews lathe page before and I liked the looks of it.
    I looked up the DIN spindle mount and it is a A series bolt on chuck.
    The Grizzly 11x26 has a screw on chuck, not as nice.
    The Mathews lathe also seems to have more knobs on the QC box and a VFD.
    Seems like a good lathe compared to the Grizz at least.

    --Doozer

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
    Posts
    147

    Default

    I've just talked to Matt this morning. He was helpful and was not trying to convince me to get more expensive lathe like other dealers.
    I'll wait a little bit for feed back on this lathe and if no one comes up with anything negative about this lathe I'll get it.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    4

    Default

    The basic parts seem to be there. However, in this price range I'd concentrate on getting the basic mechanicals "right" rather than the presence or absence of a VFD. The electrical system can be (and often is) pretty easily replaced, but an inconvenient arrangement for threading is, absent major reengineering on your part, "for life". On that account, I'd note that this gearbox only generates three basic ratios. While this will allow some variance in the feed rate, most plausible changes for screw pitches are going to require gear changes.

    I'd suggest a few things to get the most out of your purchase.

    1. Step up to a 12x36, or buy used. The G4002/3, Horrible Freight, Enco, machines etc. shouldn't cost much more than this model, and they weigh a good deal more.
    2. Avoid models with Chinese oil-bath gearboxes in the under-14" category unless you fully understand how your model works before purchasing. They seem to have made some strange design choices.
    3. Buy a machine with a 3-phase motor if at all possible. You can add a VFD fairly easily.

    More on the oil-bath gearboxes: http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net/showthread.php?t=37960

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    New Hampshire
    Posts
    222

    Default

    Good price....nice little machine.......

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Canada, Bc
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    7,645

    Default

    the oil filled gearbox isent that bad.. and its that, or an exposed gearbox you gotta grease. Still, it could be easyer to use.. one day i'll work on that quick tumble 1:2 2:1 mod.

    But yea. for another $1000 you could get a 12x36 and those are truely awsome beasts. they are basicly the smallest lathe you can buy with all the really advanced features like a (nearly) full quick change gearbox, 1.5" spindle bore, *WIDE* threading range, Independant feed and lead screws (Insures you don't wear out your leadscrew that you need for accurate threading by daily feed operations)

    Not saying get the 12x36 or nothing.. but id seriously consider spending the extra and you'll have basicly no thoughts of upgradeing for a long, long time.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Chilliwack, B.C.
    Posts
    9,542

    Default

    I've looked at that one before. Having not seen it in the flesh, I can't say with certainty but it looks decent. I would want to check out the accuracy of the leadscrews to make sure they aren't 'drunken', and that movements correspond to the dial markings.

    I would lean towards that machine myself, as a replacement for my 8.5x18, but I'm not discounting the advice of anyone to go larger if you can afford it. Depends on your application- I'd be happy with that one myself just on spec- if it meets those specs.

    As with a lot of machine tools these days, be prepared for a fair sized overhaul right out of the box. Cleaning, re-assembly as required to get rid of sand and gunk, sharp edges from lack of de-burring parts, etc. Hope that the headstock is aligned well enough right out of the box- it should be ok, but if not you have to be prepared to make adjustments.

    When I got my lathe (and it's a pretty decent one for what it is) I had to re-build the crosslide leadscrew and nut almost right away. The rest of it seemed to be in pretty good shape off the bat. In all, that was a small price to pay to have a decent lathe at an affordable price.

    Maybe that PM lathe has actually gone through a quality testing before being offered for sale, and if so I think you will end up with a decent lathe, for that size and at that price. My gut feeling is that you'd go less wrong with that one than others in the same class.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Pleasanton, CA
    Posts
    441

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    I have some concerns about that machine.
    First, to get 50-1800 rpm, without a gear change, I would be afraid that it will have little torque at the low speed.
    Second, the lowest saddle feed is .0025", too fast for me.
    Third, the spindle is a DIN 55021, good chucks might be a problem, see thread:
    http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net/sho...d.php?p=478350
    Fourth, to emergency kill, it looks like you go above the headstock, means you are in the line of fire of loose part, or chips that get caught up in the chuck.

    If it was my decision, with a $2000 absolute max, I'd go with the HF 65044 (12x36 $1999 without the stand). Then I'd build my own stand. It's about twice the weight, proven design, should have a D1-4 mount for the chuck, a lever on the right for stop/direction, spindle bore of ~1 1/2", 6" 3 jaw, 8" four jaw, easy/cheap to add a 5C collet attachment.

    Obviously I'm biased.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    N W La.
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    1,810

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    I'm with some of the others in recommending to go up the very few more dollars and get into the 12x36 sizes, and as mentioned, the HF version is even the same money. Enco often puts their version on for about 2200 with free frt.

    This group of lathes has grown tremendously in popularity in the last 2-3 years, with very good reviews pretty much across the board.

    That little 11x27 lathe does indeed look like an improvement over some of the prior ones in that size range, but the 12x36 still has more and better. As someone said, when you move into that size, its the beginnings of moving into the heavier, more featured, better fit & finish, etc, etc
    If everything seems to be going well, you have obviously overlooked something........

  10. #10
    tattoomike68 Guest

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by mechanicalmagic
    Second, the lowest saddle feed is .0025", too fast for me.
    .

    You have got to be kidding, thats tool burning slow. Any feed under .005" is worthless.

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