A tool is what the operator makes of it. My first lathe was a seig 7x12 from cummins. I used the hell out of it, and at times, wish I still had it. Some of the projects included: machining down th OD of some 300zx front hubs for new brake kit, putting a .750 round pilot, 1 inch long onto a 4 inch piece of 2"x2" chromoly square stock, and I even machined new threads on the end of some 30" long shocks by bolting the tailstock to some blocks of wood on the workbench 2 feet away from the lathe. Was it a piece of junk?.....yes. But I did amazing things with it and had a good time.
In choosing a machine on a budget, a lot of research is required in order to make sure you make a good choice. I personally would not have chosen the 9x20, but you have.....and you will enjoy it. Hell, half the fun is figuring out how to do stuff people tell you won't work.
Last edited by lbhsbz; 11-23-2010 at 12:24 AM.
I've owned every lathe that has been mentioned, the 9x20, 7x14, 8xXX, old american iron SB9, and I own a TAIG lathe.
I find the little Taig the most enjoyable to use.
I do not like the 9x lathes because they are under-built for their size range and are little chatter boxes. The 8xXX lathes are much more stout for their size, and believe it or not, the HF 8x12 is the same exact lathe that Lathe Master sells, from the same factory with the same finish.
The 8xXX lathe can take the same DOC as my SB 9" lathe without chatter.
The Taig is the most accurate one I own.
You can enjoy your 9x20, you will need to make the 4 bolt plate for the compound.
I can't decide which lathe I dislike more, the mini lathe or the 9x20.
I bought a new Sherline lathe and mill years ago. I had intended to make steam engines as a hobby as I was a computer geek at the time. (I graduated to network nerd and retired from the profession). I got my start in machining back in high school with Bridgeports, LeBlond and Southbend lathes.
I was all excited to start machining again and after about a week, I stopped using the Sherlines. It just wasn't fun. Had I started with Sherlines, I think my opinion would be different.
I am of the opinion that if you have experience with "real" (for lack of a better word) machines as I did, you'll be disappointed with Sherlines. If your starting machining with Sherlines, you'll be happy with them provided the projects you work on are within their work envelope.
I now have a Birmingham 13x40 lathe, a Shop Fox 6x21 mill, a Omniturn CNC gang tool lathe, and a Sherline 4 axis CNC mill (although the only things left that are Sherline are the rotary table and the spindle/motor).
The next machine I will purchase (for business) is a replacement for the Sherline mill. I may get a surface grinder and a TIG welder (no reason to get those for the business).
I have no experience with Micromark, so I can't comment.
My machines aren't perfect, and I would change things with them if I were designing them. I suspect that to be true with any off the shelf machine being put into a shop to make _____.
Some awesome stuff has been made with Sherlines, with equipment that is crap. Some awesome crap has been made with Sherlines, with equipment that is top of the line. The difference between awesome crap and awesome stuff isn't the machine. It's experience, it's skill, it's patience, and it's knowing your machine and how to work around it's flaws.
I hate it when people criticize your decision. If your experiencing buyers remorse before you even get the machine, how much fun are you going to have with it? If you don't get that negative feedback, and have the attitude that the machine you bought was the best machine for your budget/shop/uses/experience, etc. your whole mindset is different. Without the negative feedback, you know the machine isn't the end all/ be all machine and are much more willing to work around the machine's shortcomings (size, quality, etc). With the negative feedback, you'll always have the thought in the back of your mind that you should have bought some other machine, you made a poor choice and/or you got screwed.
Atleast that's the way I felt with my Sherline purchase. I didn't have negative feedback, but I had experience with a whole different class of machine and it wasn't fair to compare them apples to apples. If your machine is for hobby use, it sucks the fun out of what your doing, and it could end up being a boat anchor.
So the machine you ordered is awesome. It's perfect for you. Have fun with it.
He asked for opinions and is getting them. Im not going to pull punches.
You can always send the machine right back.
I too have had many of these machines. 7x12, Old iron (Artisan, SB9A), now 9x20 at work. Even a little Sherline CNC.
The 7x12 was a bit above the 9x20 even thought it did not have a quick change. The build on the 7x was actually better than this 9x we have. Everyone at work that has to use it thinks its a joke. Making consistent cuts on diameter is not fun. The compound is a flimsy, drive belt is a undersized, bed is already showing wear.
No problem expressing any opinion, just express it before he orders the machine. It's pointless after it's ordered.
Originally Posted by macona
Yup, he can return it. He'll only loose $200 in shipping charges for absolutely nothing.