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I'm looking to buy a "real" lathe. Sorry, its long.

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  • I'm looking to buy a "real" lathe. Sorry, its long.

    Some time this summer, I hope to move to larger digs and will be looking to buy a lathe of at least 13" swing. At the moment I have a nice SB 10K I plan to part out as soon as I have the heart to do it, and an 11" Logan I'll be keeping since it has 5C and DRO and does very good work. I'm not a real machinist, just another hobbyist hack, but one feature I definitely want is a modern cam-lock chuck spindle, not the threaded type I have now, and not some obsolete alternative. I have to admit that I have flirted with some of the 14x Chicom lathes, but, w/o getting into another Chi-com vs worn out US/European lathe debate, I generally nix the Chi-coms because of 1) my past experience with their poor quality and 2) they appear to be little more than bench top lathes set upon sheet metal cabinets. I've read specs on their 14x lathes that weigh ~ 1,500 lbs while a 10EE will come in at two US tons. So, I'm basically considering used US/UK/European machines. My SB and Logan are often referred to as "toys" by the guys that have "real" lathes. (I know the US military bought a few gazillion of those "toys" during WW2). So, where do the toys end and the real lathes begin? The only heavy lathes I have had experience with (in school) were Colchester/Clausings, Leblonds, and Republic Laguns. I like them all, but favored the Clausings. The Clausings I've seen on eBay look to be light weight machines in contrast to the ones I ran in school. I like the 10/12 EEs but think their electronic drive system is overly complex and gawdaful expensive to repair. I've seen other Monarchs, "CK" as I recall, that might fit the bill but can't seem to find out much about them. I want to pay less than 5K$$. Suggestions?

  • #2
    Where are you (Country, State)?
    Can you transport 5000# machinery yourself, unload & place it?
    Are you comfortable evaluating a machine by yourself?

    If you are USA:
    Since it's American or at least "Industrial" size, check the "For Sale" on PM.


    • #3
      JT, I suggest you look at some of the Polish lathes and European lathes while your looking at the American old stock. Are you thinking new or will you be looking at new and old stuff?

      I don't consider your SB or Logan to be toy lathes as some do and while they have limits everything has limits.

      Taiwan makes good lathes and China does too if you look for the industrial grade lathes made in China. As you know you get what you pay for so industrial grade will cost more.
      It's only ink and paper


      • #4
        Monarch 12" CK was made with top speed from approx 550-1200 depending on what was ordered. D1-6 spindle standard, 30" centers, weighs approx 3500 LBS., 54" centers offered and not sure about 78" centers, spindle hole approx 1-3/8". All helical geared headstock.
        Lets face reality, these lathes, at least the ones I've seen, are approaching 70 years old, and it's a good possibilty they've been rode hard and put away wet. Are they worth the effort to restore/recondition- that's for you to decide. The one I reconditioned in "Reconditioning a Lathe- Revisited" HSM Sept '04, is a pleasure to use.
        Take a look at the Monarch forum on Practical Machinist BBS, on occassion the "other" Monarchs are discussed.


        • #5
          Knowing what you want is half the battle.


          • #6
            If you want "European" but built for the USA, look at Polomco (Polish, now owned by Toolmex/Bison)TUM series. A 14x40 would be a TUM-35. I have one, and it's a very well built and heavy machine (3000lb plus). All parts are still available.

            I nearly bought an Grazziano (Italian) SAG-14... beautiful machine.

            Another great lathe - Emco (Austrian) V13. I have a V10P - the V13 is on my wish list. Ligher than a TUM-35, but a fantastic machine.

            And... Korean - Wacheon - a Mori Seki (licenced) machine. Great machines.

            There are many more...
            Last edited by lakeside53; 02-05-2010, 08:33 PM.


            • #7
              You can do mighty fine work on a small South Bend or Logan!
              To refer to them as "toys" and the larger and more expensive lathes as "real" is arrogant and snobbish.
              Machines are built to a specific price point and end use.

              I see no reason why you felt the need to start your thread with that title or include the "toy" comments.
              Simply asking for help choosing a larger more robust machine with a higher end design would be a bit more tactful IMO.



              • #8
                I didn't read it that way at all... The "toys" and "real" are in quotes for a reason, and the reference was to a third party comments (the snobs, I guess)...

                I own a 10 inch machine, it's joy to use and it can do fine work, but heck, it really is a "toy" in comparison to my larger machine, but I love it.
                Last edited by lakeside53; 02-05-2010, 08:35 PM.


                • #9
                  Well, if you can handle something like a 15"+x60"+ lathe, you can get some INDUSTRAL iron cheap (<$1000), as HSM often won't touch anything that big.
                  If your looking for a 12~14" lathe, your not gonna find much american iron AFAIK. And what you do find will be really overpriced because of high demand for the 'largest' lathe that can fit in a sane home shop.
                  Theres lots of 10/11" lathes yea, but.. you allready have one (Keep it!)

                  Course, the problem with giant lathes, is giant chucks, Hard to swap a 200lb chuck by yourself without a crane. moving my 80lb 8" D1-4 chuck is hard enough, being round does not help.. don't put hands under it either when removing.. *looks at previously purple finger*
                  But at least with camlock, its a little easyer install yes. But you'll likey find it easyer to do smaller jobs/switch setups on your smaller lathe then the big lathe, just due to the chuck weight.

                  I run a chinese 12x36 and love it. 1000lbs is rigid enough to take 0.1" DOC at high feeds/sfm in mild steel, and 0.25" DOC (thats 0.5" reduction in diamiter in a pass!) in aluminum, with neutral rake carbide inserts. Just starts to bog the motor down at higher feed rates... High enough that the biggest problem you have is avoiding a shower of scalding hot aluminum/black steel chips while being ready to flip the feed lever as it flys towards the chuck at top speed. rarely have chatter problems thats not due to poorly supported work
                  the only thing additional weight would really help with IMO would be turning offset/unbalanced work at higher RPM's. And you can allways strap counterweights onto your work/faceplate to help compensate for that, or just run lower RPM's.
                  Weight is good, but I don't think you need 2 tons of lathe in a home shop, unless its a 2+ ton 15+x60+ you got for $<1000
                  Play Brutal Nature, Black Moons free to play highly realistic voxel sandbox game.


                  • #10
                    I have a Victor Mod "B" toolroom lathe 14x40 made in Tiwan that is decent and got it off the PM site for $2800. Check them out also.


                    • #11

                      Look for an ATW Pacemaker. You won't be sorry - so long as you've got the room/etc to handle a very serious lathe.

                      (It's kind of like talking to a bot, isn't it? OP: "What should I buy?" Me: "Buy a Pacemaker" or OP: "How should I attempt this?" Me: "Buy a Pacemaker", etc )

                      (I just realized I don't have any really good pictures of my lathes. This one is a shot of my "project lathe" while it was still on the flatbed)
                      Last edited by Fasttrack; 02-05-2010, 09:06 PM.


                      • #12
                        Thanks guy, you've given me some options I hadn't considered. The reason I want greater than 11" swing is that on a recent project that required turning a 7" dia plate required a bit of creativity. I thought it would be a cakewalk - it wasn't. Regarding the weight issue, I definitely want heavy. After dealing with the Lagun, which is, I believe, ~3k lbs., I've learned a lot. I've been checking Craig's list from time to time and might well buy from it, although Victor Lathes is on my way to work so its also a consideration. We used Mori-Seiki CNC at school and they were fine machines. Didn't know about Korean licensed manuals, but that's interesting. We're looking to buy a house with a 3 or 4 car garage this summer, provided the banks will loosen up a bit. It that happens, space won't be an issue. Housed in So Calif are still pricey and banks are still stingy. Again, thanks for the input. BTW, I will be keeping the Logan, its been great.


                        • #13
                          Can't let Fasttrack have all the fun. Here's a 16(18-1/2" swing) X 78 Series 60 Monarch, 9200 LBS, 15 HP.



                          • #14
                            WOW, when did you get that one Harry. I don't remember seeing that lathe at your shop.
                            It's only ink and paper


                            • #15
                              ooooooh.... I like it.