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SO...if you had a lathe budget of 1500..

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  • SO...if you had a lathe budget of 1500..

    Hello all.

    i am in the beginning stages of putting together a home machine shop (imagine that on this board, hu, amazing). My obvious first machine tool is a lathe. i have been looking around for nearly a year now and havn't found anything that peeked my interest so decided to ask here.

    First piece of information you need, what do i plan on doing with it. well the primary thing i want to get into is model engine building. im pretty mechanically inclined and have been simply fascinated with some of the tiny creations that true craftsmen have put together and wish to join their ranks. so for the lathe i would buy, i would see lots of aluminum, brass (when i can afford it) and copper (when i find it) in its future. with the distinct possibility of an occasional chunk of cast iron just to keep things interesting.

    Second issue, old iron. i love old iron as much as the next guy. there is just something about the beautiful lines of an old monarch or leblond that no one can deny. but i have a problem. i live in pittsburgh, on the edge of the rust belt. if im looking for 5 ton machine that can make a widget for every man, woman, and child on the eastern seaboard, no problem. i can find that. but a small benchtop that can make cool little doodads for my desk at work, not so much. everything that i have been finding, the current owners are either VERY proud of them or the machine itself would do better turned into a coffee table than making chips. and we won't mention the problem that its really hard to rebuild a lathe without a lathe.

    third, capability. it will be a while before i can justify a mill so i plan to work old school and use the lathe for milling as well. This means that i will be getting a milling table for my lathe (please don't suggest a 3 in 1, ive used a few, they suck). Accessories have to be easy to come by.

    so, after a while of searching, im thinking of the Grizzly G9972Z 11" x 26". i realize that i will most likely have to tear it down and polish the gears and also most likely have to replace the motor and most of the electronics over time, but it has the size that im looking for and seems to fall into that category of "good enough" on quality and cabability. its inside my budget with some to spare for tooling. what do you guys think?
    Last edited by scphantm; 04-03-2012, 11:14 PM.
    Why buy one for $300 when i can BUILD one for $25 in materials, (and $1000 in tools)

  • #2
    For small work sherline and then you have money for tooling. http://sherline.com/

    Roughly tooling is at least the same cost as the machine. Think boat a hole in the water in which you pour money.

    Bob

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    • #3
      oh trust me, as the proud owner of a 50 foot custom hull Mainship, i know ALL about those floating black holes.

      i thought about the sherline's, read up on them and such, but i look at the engine plans that i want to build and they are all spinning 4, 5, even 6 inch flywheels. i can't turn that on a sherline. i just figured if i got a sherline i would use it about an hour before i began wishing i had a bigger machine.
      Why buy one for $300 when i can BUILD one for $25 in materials, (and $1000 in tools)

      Comment


      • #4
        Ditto what Bob said about tooling.

        Where have you searched for a lathe? I've found several good buys on Craig's List for my own shop. What about this one: http://pittsburgh.craigslist.org/tls/2936462713.html

        This one is above your price range, but you never know http://pittsburgh.craigslist.org/tls/2928504212.html

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        • #5
          Like I said small work, but with the raiser blocks you can turn 6". http://sherline.com/1291pg.htm

          The hole through the headstock is about 7/16". I have the long bed lathe and the 2000 mill. The rotary table I have comes with stepper and control. http://sherline.com/3700pg.htm They are great for small work. Big stuff is done on my large lathes and mills.

          Bob

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Dr Stan
            Ditto what Bob said about tooling.

            Where have you searched for a lathe? I've found several good buys on Craig's List for my own shop. What about this one: http://pittsburgh.craigslist.org/tls/2936462713.html

            This one is above your price range, but you never know http://pittsburgh.craigslist.org/tls/2928504212.html
            i haven't looked on craigslist in a couple of days. when i was looking, everything seemed pretty wore out.

            i will think about the sherline again too. i didn't know about the riser block, with the riser, i could certainly turn out a few models. build up my stock of measuring tools at any rate until some old woman calls me and says that i can have her husbands 10EE thats sitting in her barn still in the crate covered in cosmoline if i cut her grass. (im waiting patiently for that by the way)
            Why buy one for $300 when i can BUILD one for $25 in materials, (and $1000 in tools)

            Comment


            • #7
              I'd search ebay,craiglist &even post a few "lathe wanted" ads. Many times you can find a near new smaller lathe for 1/2 price or less. [email protected]gslist. is a Rivett 918s asking $700 will take $500 or less with tooling.

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              • #8
                I don't know how tightly you have to adhere to your budget but if there's any way you can free up a bit more money I would buy something larger than a Sherline. Something in the 10" range would give you significantly greater capacity. Trust me, no matter how big your lathe is, something will come along that's too big to fit. Bite the bullet and go bigger right now and save yourself a lot of frustration...
                Keith
                __________________________
                Just one project too many--that's what finally got him...

                Comment


                • #9
                  You do not have to restrict yourself to the local area. If you think about it, you might spend hundreds of hours using the lathe, so what's an extra hour or two driving to pick it up?

                  Craigslist and other local sale sites often have small machines at a reasonable price.

                  While they are not works of art, the 7x12 and 9x20 import lathes are quite usable and will sell for a fraction of your budget. How do I know? I have one of each. If I am careful I can do some fairly precise work with both of them.

                  No matter what you buy you will have to re-adjust everything. My 9x20, for instance, was incorrectly adjusted at the tool post, the belt was the wrong size and the gibs so tight that the compound would not move. The tools were downright dull. When I remember I will check the tailstock alignment.

                  That Grizzly looks just like my Harbor Freight 9x20 ($650used) , except the Grizzly has a different quick change gearbox. I still have to change some gears to select which 9 threads I can choose at a time. It looks like the grizzly has 3x3 gear selector, so still 9 threads at a time.


                  Dan
                  At the end of the project, there is a profound difference between spare parts and extra parts.

                  Location: SF East Bay.

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                  • #10
                    http://www.grizzly.com/catalog/2012/Main/532

                    I don't know who makes them (Emco??), we had one at work, I never used it, it was similar to this but 10 inch. Seems like a good compromise. If I recall it had a gear or something on the spindle for clocking as well.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by huntinguy
                      I don't know who makes them (Emco??), we had one at work, I never used it, it was similar to this but 10 inch. Seems like a good compromise. If I recall it had a gear or something on the spindle for clocking as well.
                      It could be made by the same supplier for Enco, but not Emco. Emco is a very well made Austrian machine.

                      I'll 2nd Dan's comment about expanding your search area. I've gone as far as Baltimore MD to pick up my 9' Cincinnati planner. Flew up, 2 day trip back. I also drove about 400 miles each way to pick up my 14 1/2" South Bend lathe in Toledo, OH. Stayed overnight both times.

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                      • #12
                        http://pittsburgh.craigslist.org/tls/2924855595.html,

                        you want to pick it up for me ?
                        Last edited by RussZHC; 04-04-2012, 12:50 AM.

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                        • #13
                          If money is tight, dont buy a small lathe. you can make small parts on a big lathe, but it doesnt work the other way around. If youre starting out sure you could grab a 9x20 grizzly or HF, but you'll want a 12" or bigger after about a month. So make the jump now. The good thing is the bigger the lathe, the more bang for the buck, at least machine wise, consumables are more though. southbends home shop used are very good machines and usually not beat to **** (the previous owner was probably making what you will) and most lathes over 1000 lbs barely wake up for brass and AL cuts. also look for a 4 jaw... once you have one and get use to dialing it in you'll wonder why people use 3 jaws
                          Last edited by toag; 04-04-2012, 01:12 AM.

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                          • #14
                            Don't know if you have used it or not:

                            www.searchtempest.com

                            You can search Craigslist out to several hundred miles.

                            I have several lathes, among them a Monarch 10ee that I bought for $200, pile of parts, restoring it as I get time. Also have a Sheldon 10", a South Bend 9", and a Central 9 x 20. The most I spent on was the Sheldon, bought it for $500, and it has been my bread and butter so far.

                            I think the Central sells for $1200 or so new at Harbor Freight- mine gets used and has made me money, but mostly on plastic stuff. It would be frustrating to try to use it for much steel. Can be done if you're patient, but it is SO much nicer to use something that is built a little sturdier!

                            I have had good luck with estate auctions, fellow with a home shop passes away, has machines that are old but have been restored and treated with care.

                            Good luck!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by scphantm
                              i haven't looked on craigslist in a couple of days. when i was looking, everything seemed pretty wore out.

                              criaglist (here kijiji dominates) isn't a still photograph its a movie. check it everyday....else you will never see the good stuff because it goes quickly.

                              its like the old cliché, you want it low cost, high quality and fast. pick two.

                              You could get a good lathe that'll handle bigger stuff for a few thousand, but not this afternoon. Patience or a bigger wallet are the answers
                              .

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