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Thread: New Guy. What machine(s) to start with?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
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    Wallkill, NY
    Posts
    556

    Default New Guy. What machine(s) to start with?

    Good morning,

    I poked around a bit for a sticky "getting started" thread but didn't come up with anything. I'm looking for an entry level lathe and probably miller to get my feet wet with a home shop setup.

    The only relatively odd constraint I have is that I need to be able to horse whatever it is up and down 5 flights of stairs to my small Brooklyn Apartment. (That may imply power constraints as well.)

    I was looking at the Sherlines but a buddy of mine, who spent his former life as a tool & die maker, expressed some concern about the physical capacity of their machines. I was also looking at that Bolton combo machine but, while cheap and small, it seems like it might be so cramped that it would be difficult to work with.

    The biggest difficulty is that I'm not terribly sure, past a few ideas kicking around in my head (bench mount cigar cutters and other odd miscellaney), what it is I want to be making.

    After decades in software development I've got to make something tactile and this just seems like the right thing. I've got half a dozen of those numbered workshop books and reading them is borderline porn.

    Thoughts? I'm rapidly approaching an impulsive "oh just BUY something!" point.

    Thanks,

    - Mike

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Oroville, WA
    Posts
    11,071

    Default

    Some things to consider in small and shared areas is noise, smell, and mess. These smaller machines have gear trains that can make a hell of a racket, need a lot of oil to keep running smoothly, smoke comes from the cutter, and any machine is going to fling chips where it is difficult to clean them up. The common solution (except for the smell) is to explore enclosed machines. The motors still make pretty good noise but more of a robotic whine than gear meshing.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Posts
    175

    Wink well

    i would frist take a class on machinest and learn how to machine, from a triad school ect then get a lathe, if you wont a frist lathe get mine lathe 7x10 and learn on that I have one works well and fun also have 13x40. Go to a show like the in Porland or. this week end, and see what they do. it is a lot of fun Brett

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Wallkill, NY
    Posts
    556

    Default

    Well, noise I'm oddly unconcerned with. Mess I can handle. My plan was to build some kind of enclosure (back, sides, bottom and a hinged front and top, each that would latch in place), depending on the size of whatever I ended up with.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    Beaumont, TX
    Posts
    7,423

    Default

    "Small Brooklyn apartment" stands out in your post. That makes it difficult.

    My first thought was a Sherline or Taig machine because they are compact and can be set up with different accessorise to do different operations. I guess you have to consider what kind of work you want to do. How big? What kind of machining operations?

    If you need a bigger machine, I would start with a lathe. Some milling can be done in the lathe if you buy or make some attachments. Although it is possible to make turnings in a mill, it is much more difficult and there are many more restraints that way.

    As an aside, the machines I use the most are probably the 4x6 band saw and the drill press.
    Paul A.

    Make it fit.
    You can't win and there is a penalty for trying!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Atlanta, GA, U.S.A
    Posts
    112

    Default

    The key phrase you said is “I need to be able to horse whatever it is up and down 5 flights of stairs to my small Brooklyn Apartment”. That leaves you with very few options. Add that to the possibility of moving a few times.

    I would say the Sherline would be your best bet for portability (I have a Unimat among other lathes). It would be nice to move up to a larger lathe/mill, however you will be dependent on having willing and hefty friends to help you move every time. You can slide the headstock and tailstock off of most lathes to break down the load to be carried which would help. Also, you can invest in a hand truck that would help in moving things up and down stairs. A 7” Chinese lathe weighs around 80 to 90 pounds which is doable with a friend and a hand truck. A 9” Chinese lathe weighs around 300 pounds. If in doubt, you might want to try carrying that amount of weight up and down your stairs using some concrete blocks tied together.

    Also, keep in mind that the metal swarf from lathes will really scratch up a wood floor and is impossible to get out of a carpet. I would lay down some 1/8” masonite on the floor and keep a broom and dust pan handy.

    Planeman

  7. #7
    RB211 Guest

    Default

    I was never happy with the quality of the mini lathe.
    I enjoy my Taig MUCH more, although it has a much smaller envelope.
    If you are working in an apartment, I would look at the Sherline and taig stuff.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    LaPorte County, Northwest Indiana
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    Default

    I would look at the Grizzly combos. No, you won't make shuttle parts, but for the money and portability, one of the machines in this link would be a hell of a good place to look first.

    http://www.grizzly.com/products/cate...spx?key=465000

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Wallkill, NY
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    556

    Default

    Nice. Ok, sounds like we're zeroing in on Sherline or Taig.

    I'll make whatever accomadations need to be made in the space for cleanup. That I can handle.

    I plan to move someplace a bit more spacious in the next year or two, so as much as it kills me to say it, if I end up buying something and outgrowing it while "getting the machining bug" then buying something "big enough" after I move, then that's just win all around.

    The thing that scared me about the sherline was that when I bought whatsisname's book, all the work examples are dinimutive little steam engine replicas. Sure, pretty impressive, but it doesn't help me get a feel for the size of what I can reasonably chuck and work with in either machine (their lathes or miller.)

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
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    Wallkill, NY
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by garagemark
    I would look at the Grizzly combos. No, you won't make shuttle parts, but for the money and portability, one of the machines in this link would be a hell of a good place to look first.

    http://www.grizzly.com/products/cate...spx?key=465000
    Those look like they fit most of the bill as "get your feet wet" machines (if perhaps a bit cramped.) But even the smallest has a ship weight of 475 pounds, which sadly puts them way outside of my unfortunate parameters.

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