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  • Canada Lathe Options

    Hey Fellas, looking pick up my first machine. I want to buy a new import machine, simply for the fact of learning on a new machine with some support. Later down the road I’ll consider buying a vintage engine lathe, after I learn the functionality on an import.

    if you could suggest one, what would you pick. I’ve narrowed it down to the Modern Tool 11x26, or the Craftex 12x36.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated, I’m located in Calgary AB.

  • #2
    Hi, Welcome Aboard!

    I found the link to what I think is the Modern 11x26 model you're considering. And for those from outside Canada here's the Craftex 12x36.

    What are they asking for price on the Modern? I see that the Craftex is $5700.

    Now which you select needs to ask the question of "what are you going to make with it?". The Modern is at the big end of the smaller lathes and the Craftex at the lower end of the big lathes. But if you're looking to focus on small engines and jigs to make them the 11x26 might be fine. Although the Craftex wouldn't hurt and you'd almost never find it too small. On the other hand if you are looking to maintain farm equipment then the Craftex might turn out to be too small on a fairly regular basis. So answer us that key question on size of projects and we can steer you the right way. Also if you're looking to compare apples to apples then the equivalent Craftex to the Modern would be the CX701 12x28.

    That being said between the two the Craftex is easily twice the machine as the Modern. And not only for size but for features. The Modern has a lead screw which will have to serve both for threading and feeding for longer cuts. And from the speed range from 150 to 2400 and what looks like a closed casing on the headstock I'm going to guess that all the drive is off the end of the head stock under the end cover. On the other hand the Craftex has a fully geared head with the all important back gear to allow for a much lower low speed for times it is needed.

    Weight also enters into the equation. The Modern is only 140 kg. That's pretty light. In contrast the rather nice CX701 is 250 lbs of stabilizing weight and vibration/chatter absorbing and damping. If working with steel you'd find that the Modern will frequently set up a chatter that can be anything from a low shudder up to an ear piercing squeal due to the forces in the cut not being controlled well simply by the weight of the machine. Like never mind the 12x36. Looking them over even the Cx701 is twice the machine for the extra weight and the use of separate threading and feed rods.

    The CX701 comes with a pretty good recommendation too. A member here Brian Rupnow has used his 701 to make a wide array of gas and steam engines even just over my few years here on the site. And they are pretty fair size engines too.

    So instead of the Modern lathe I think I'd at least suggest altering your short list to be between the 701 and the 12x36 CX707 and ditch the Modern.

    After that it comes down to that all important question of what you want to do with a lathe. Answer that and we can point you a little better.

    And don't think for a moment that you NEED to find some old world piece of cast iron artwork. Yes, there are some really great machines from some years back. But the CX701 and the CX707 are machines which you would only outgrow from a shift in size of work at some future point. Or a life change that forces you to downsize. But care for them and buy the right size the first time and you'll have a life long and perfectly capable shop companion. Don't buy into the dogma that only the old name brand iron is the only machine worth having. It ain't so. Clean up and tune up either of these Craftex lathes and mount it on a good sturdy solid bench or rigid beam to aid with stiffening the bed and either will surprise you at how capable they can be and how well they can turn metal into chips.

    Chilliwack BC, Canada

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    • #3
      Thanks for the response! Im definitely going to look more into the 701 now. Moderns quote for the 11x26 is 3300. The lathe will be used for to modify small engine and car shafts. Max work size I’ll be working with is 2” OD steel x 18” Length (Chromoly). However I would eventually like to get into stainless machining.

      I definitely need a machine I can grow into over the next few years.

      Comment


      • #4
        If the 12 x 36 Craftex is on your radar check out the KBC version for comparison of features. Also King Canada - at one time the latter's offerings were made in Taiwan but I'm not sure that it is correct now. In addition Grizzly will sell into Canada.

        The other big advantage (IMO) is the D1-4 camlock spindle on these lathes.

        ​​​​​​​Geoff

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        • #5
          I do not know if Grizzly exports to Canada but I purchased a 9x19 which is way too small for you. They have larger lathes more suited to your needs.

          Yes I had a old SB Heavy 10 in which I dumped loads of money into and sold at a great loss when I needed to upgrade years ago. People tell you to do the rebuilding, but then when it comes time to sell.... Nope to much money!
          Retired - Journeyman Refrigeration Pipefitter - Master Electrician - Fine Line Automation CNC 4x4 Router

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          • #6
            I own a cx701 from Busy bee Tools, and I love it. It is the second lathe I have bought from them, and I am very happy with the way it works and it's capability.---Brian Rupnow
            Brian Rupnow
            Design engineer
            Barrie, Ontario, Canada

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            • #7
              Brian, are there any significant short falls with the cx701 in your experience? If you were to buy again would you remain with the Craftex brand or would you go with something else?

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              • #8
                I would definitely go with craftex lathes or mills again. I am very happy with mine. The only major drawback is that the only place they make repairs to these machines in north Toronto. That's not a big deal for me---I own a half ton truck and I'm only about 70 miles from their head office where these lathes are sold and serviced.----If you live in Joe's Armpit Saskatchewan and your Craftex anything breaks down, you have to ship it to Toronto for repairs.
                Brian Rupnow
                Design engineer
                Barrie, Ontario, Canada

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                • #9
                  Thanks Brian, your re assurance have really helped me in making this decision. What is largest size of stock you've comfortably chucked up and turned on your 701? Also would you suggest running carbide tooling? I keep hearing that these machines are not suitable for carbide tooling and just want to know the straight facts.

                  Cheers,

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    One thing that might have a bearing on a choice between the CX701 and the CX707 is the 701 comes with a 120V motor and the 707 comes with a 240V motor.
                    Location: Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I keep hearing that these machines are not suitable for carbide tooling and just want to know the straight facts.
                      There has been a lot of discussion on this over time. I think the executive summary is that carbide is most efficient at higher speeds, in production situations, and if you are a hobbyist it doesn't matter so much that you can't milk maximum efficiency out of it. No reason you can't use carbide tools with pretty much any machine. However, I'd suggest that learning to grind old style high speed steel tool bits will give you an understanding of cutting tool geometry that you won't get if you just buy inserts. (Maybe start with inserts if you have them to get immediately satisfactory results, but some day, get out your HSS and grinder and go for it.)
                      "A machinist's (WHAP!) best friend (WHAP! WHAP!) is his hammer. (WHAP!)" - Fred Tanner, foreman, Lunenburg Foundry and Engineering machine shop, circa 1979

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                      • #12
                        Thanks for that consideration, my garage is setup for 240 v 50 amp for my welder. However I kind of want to get this lathe into the basement. Which leaves me with more questions regarding ventilation requirements as I don't want the entire house smelling of cutting oil.

                        I've bought vehicles without doing as much research as I am with this machine!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Bds60 View Post
                          Thanks for the response! Im definitely going to look more into the 701 now. Moderns quote for the 11x26 is 3300. The lathe will be used for to modify small engine and car shafts. Max work size I’ll be working with is 2” OD steel x 18” Length (Chromoly). However I would eventually like to get into stainless machining.

                          I definitely need a machine I can grow into over the next few years.
                          If you're looking at working on car size pieces I'm thinking that you would be wiser to dive in a little on the deep side and go with the 12x36.

                          The Modern is simply too small and light. It would dance sing for work of that size unless painfully light cuts are used to worry the work to size. And you'd quickly come to hate it with a passion.

                          Brian, back me up on this but I'm thinking the 701 would still be a trifle small and light for automotive items and working with stock of that size. Especially if this is the size range that bds will be working with even semi regularly?

                          Bds keep in mind too that the spec for length is between centers. Add a chuck on the spindle, drill chuck on arbor and a 1/2" drill in the tail stock and suddenly the 28" length is down to more like 20" or even less of room. And if you think you'll run into the need for 2x18 on even an occasional once a year sort of basis a little more room would not be amiss. And I suspect you'll run into longer items occasionally too. It might be only to do some little thing on the end. But you still need to mount it up and work with it. And if it won't go through the hole in the head stock then that means you need the bed length.

                          All in all I think you might want to do the "buy once, cry once, smile later" deal and go with the 12x36.
                          Chilliwack BC, Canada

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            The 2" dia part would not be an issue for an 11" machine (we would hope), but the 18" might depend on what needs to be done. Getting out to work on the end of it could run into issues of the carriage travel vs the headstock and tailstock, which obviously can interfere when turning between centers Most machines can get the carriage/tool into position for the ends of a piece between centers, but some forms of toolpost can affect that as well as carriage clearance.

                            In general terms of just getting an 18" part into the machine, I'd think that 28" between centers would pose no issues for an 18" part even with the largest usable centers.

                            That said, the limits of the machine are "hard limits", so you want to go as big as the budget and space allow. A 14" would not be considered out of place for automotive parts work, might even be small. And bed length... no limit on that.

                            Also, the hole through the spindle is a possible consideration for parts that may be longer than what fits between centers. No size is "too big" there when it comes to larger parts as found on vehicles.

                            If you are certain that this is for one operation, or size of part, OK.

                            Originally posted by Bds60 View Post
                            ....... However I kind of want to get this lathe into the basement. Which leaves me with more questions regarding ventilation requirements as I don't want the entire house smelling of cutting oil.

                            ........
                            My shop is in the basement, and it has never been an issue. It smells like a shop IN the basement, but not elsewhere.

                            Now, if you have forced air heating, and the basement is included, then you might have any and all smells quickly circulated all over the house. We have radiators, so there is nothing forcing the air to circulate to all corners of the building.

                            I don't know what might happen with forced air. You might be able to set the circulation to minimize the issue, but it seems as if whatever odor is on one place will quickly be everywhere. Shutting off circulation in the basement, and using a separate heater might work.

                            Get some incense sticks and experiment before making a final decision.
                            Last edited by J Tiers; 05-04-2021, 12:49 PM.
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                            Keep eye on ball.
                            Hashim Khan


                            It's just a box of rain, I don't know who put it there.

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                            • #15
                              Picking different products can also greatly help. For example the popular sulferated cutting oils that make smelly smoke can be replaced by synthetic cutting lubricants that don't produce any odors. Heck, there's even a cutting fluid called Anchorlube that smells "spring fresh" or something when used. And there are others. The water mixed synthetic lube that I use almost all of my basic turning, milling and drilling makes only a very slight odor that is only noticeable with in a couple of feet of the work and dissipates in only a few seconds anyway.

                              Solvent use will be an issue though. Either limit any but the smallest solvent use to the garage or set up a fume hood style shroud in a corner with a small opening to let your hands work and an exhaust fan to push the fumes out. It means using up a little of your heated air. But it's better than solvent smells through the house. And if you limit the size of the opening you only need about the same air movement as a range hood or bathroom fan.

                              I hope you have a basement access door. Or a walk in basement. Getting a CX701 down a set of stairs in one piece is doable with the right setup of rails and winch but you would not get a 12x36 in there without a good size door and flat entry. At least not easily and not without taking it apart and moving it in pieces.

                              And looking to the future? The lathe makes round things. But man does not live by round things alone. He also requires flat things. So sooner or later you're going to want to add a milling machine to the shop. Will you have room for that in the basement?
                              Chilliwack BC, Canada

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