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Thread: Decent Lathe?

  1. #1

    Default Decent Lathe?

    Hi all, I am looking to buy a decent lathe for my home shop. My budget is around $4500. I have looked online at Jet, Grizzly, Shop Fox & a few others. I am looking at 13" x 40" , 220 single ph. Anyone have any input or suggestions on the best buy out there?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    WI/IL border


    If your mind is set on a new lathe (vs. used american ones), you may consider G4003G from Grizzly. It's 12" x 36", however. I've seen quite a few good feedbacks about this gunsmith model. No personal experience with it though.
    Last edited by MichaelP; 04-22-2010 at 09:56 AM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Central Kentucky


    I will probably get some disagreement here but I have a Harbor Freight 14x40 that is the SAME EXACT lathe that Enco sells for nearly $5000, I paid just barely over $2700 for mine with the 20% off coupon (regular without coupon $3199). This thing also appears to be the same machine as the Birmingham YCL14x40 and a couple of other brands of the same machine, I have no doubt they came from the same factory and since you are looking at ChiCom why spend more? Some will argue that HF just sells the rejects that places like Enco turns down but that is apparently total nonsense, there is no difference in the HF 14x40 and my buddy's Enco 14x40 except the color and the price! I followed the Yahoo group on these HF machines for a while before deciding on mine and those guys convinced me that the HF machines were as good as the other brands, I am happy that they did because it saved me a lot of money. Don't confuse the HF large machines with the worthless junk they have in their "tool" stores as these are totally different animals and I know from first-hand experience they are every bit as good as the Enco offering. I have been running mine everyday now for well over a year and I couldn't be happier with it, it has the usual ChiCom shortcomings but you will get that regardless of the brand if it is Chinese. Before spending nearly twice the money check out the Yahoo groups and talk with a few guys who own these things, you are going to find that by far most of the people who bash them have never even used one!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    N W La.


    The 12x36 and 13x40 sized lathes seem to have become the choice for HSM'ers (and even many job shops). I have personal experience with a Birmingham 13x36 and countless hours reading posts on these lathes and have come to a few conclusions...

    With your nice sized budget, just sort through all the specs of all the brands out there and settle on the choices you want in the lathe and if a couple are really similar, then flip a coin to choose

    Seriously, these lathes all seem to be so closely matched in the construction that I feel any one of them will give a home shop guy a heck of a nice lathe. As Radkins pointed out, even the lowly thought of HF has gotten some very nice write ups from owners.
    If everything seems to be going well, you have obviously overlooked something........

  5. #5
    Dr Stan Guest


    I had two 14X40 Jet lathes (brand new) in a teaching lab. They required more maintenance than my 50+ year old Logans. Consequently I will not touch a Chinese machine tool with a 10 ft pole.

    I recommend looking for an industrial machine out of a model shop, or similar circumstances. Some non-US brands to look for are Lion (Bulgaria) Romi (Brazil), Webb (South Korea), Denford (England), and Emco-Maier (Austria). Don't confuse the Emco with Enco.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2010

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2009


    Quote Originally Posted by radkins
    I will probably get some disagreement here but I have a Harbor Freight
    14x40 that is the SAME EXACT lathe that Enco sells for nearly $5000, I
    paid just barely over $2700 for mine with the 20% off coupon (regular
    without coupon $3199).
    HF displays two 14 x 40 machines presently. Both are described as
    3 ph (although I wonder about the accuracy of the description.)

    ITEM 66665-2VGA - $3999.99

    240 volts, 60 Hz, 60 amps; three phase;

    ITEM 44995-0VGA - $4499.99

    Motor: 3 HP, 3-phase, 220 volts

    FWIW, neither looks like a clone of a Jet GH-14x40W.


  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2004


    Don't now where you live but this looks good.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Canada, Bc


    If this is your first lathe id recommend saving a lot of money and going with a 12x36 insted. its not much smaller then a 14x40 but general about half the price and still has pertty much all the same features, and way more then enough power/rigidity/accuracy. Anything smaller then a 12x36 however tends to lack major features, so if you have the cash, id high recommend the 12x36 as a first lathe, And likey the ONLY lathe you will need. Very few people upgrade from a 12x36 to a 14x40.

    If you allready have a 10x20 or bigger lathe that you use a lot and really know you want/need the 14x40 then go for it.
    Though one thing to consider would be that used lathes of aprox that size and larger, do sometimes come up for sale rather cheap because they don't fit in most HSM garages. Might be worth checking out that market for a few months, you could get an even bigger lathe for cheaper (if your shop is big enough!)

    You basicly HAVE to know how to used a lathe however to be able to judge if a used lathe is usable or not. Theres just too many things to mention to look at and measure. So id discourage a first time lathe buyer from buying used.

    Note: Tooling/Acessorys/upgrades for the lathe can easily cost another $1000 or more, depending on what you buy. So consider that into your budget as well.

  10. #10



    Matt at has a good reputation online. Nice variety of equipment.

    I have a PM1340T coming shortly from him.

    FWIW: Its 3 phase, which gives a better finish, and I'll be using a $300 Hitachi VFD to convert my single phase to 3.


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