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  • Input on lathe purchase?

    I was wondering if anyone could give me their opinion of the Craftex 12x36 gear head machine lathe, The nearest dealer is 7 hours away from me as the local branch shut down last year. From what I have gleaned so far is it is "likely" the same machine as the 12x36 Grizzly? Just different paint and placards. As it sits I know enough about machining and general operation to get myself into trouble. My greatest accomplishment to date was teaching myself how to single point thread on a frends B-I-E machine. I mostly want to do small progects and figure the larger machine will just increase the rigidity of cut on small work pieces, as well as leave the option of barrell chambering and light gunsmithing jobs open to me as well. Any thoughts or opinions would be appreciated. My budjet ( wife ) says I am looking in the $3500.00 range as a guideline.

  • #2
    Here are the specifications for that lathe:

    http://www.busybeetools.com/products...GEAR-HEAD.html

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    • #3
      honestly if you have never seen it in person, your not mising much

      i am not big on busybee lathes, had one, hated it

      i am much happier with an older standard modern lathe
      https://www.flickr.com/photos/csprecision

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      • #4
        Originally posted by legendboy View Post
        honestly if you have never seen it in person, your not mising much

        i am not big on busybee lathes, had one, hated it

        i am much happier with an older standard modern lathe
        Ok, Any sugestions where in Canada to look for a decent machine in the $3500.00 range? If you do not mind my asking what were the down sides?

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        • #5
          While "old American iron" is a worthy goal to own - the reality is that they are more and more scarce, and too many times when are found are badly in need of repairs, not something you would likely want to tackle not being very familiar with operating a lathe and especially not knowing how to work on one. Then there can be the problem of getting a used lathe and then having to search out the tooling to use with it.

          The Craftex lathe does indeed seem very similar to the Grizz - and others - and these lathes seem to be getting favorable reviews from the home shop group. It will come with all the necessary tooling to just about plug it in and start making chips, that can be a big plus.

          When I started out I chose a new Birmingham, which has a similar lathe to this Craftex, and thoroughly enjoyed it. As I became more familiar with the operation and use of lathes, I felt comfortable about trying to restore a South Bend, which I now use - at a later time you might could do something similar...
          If everything seems to be going well, you have obviously overlooked something........

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          • #6
            I'm not a fan of the Chinese machine tools, especially the lines sold by Griz, Busy Bee, etc. Since you are effectively in a "old iron desert" I suggest you expand your search area to include Winnipeg since it has a larger manufacturing base. Kijiji may be of help.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Bill Pace View Post
              While "old American iron" is a worthy goal to own - the reality is that they are more and more scarce, and too many times when are found are badly in need of repairs, not something you would likely want to tackle not being very familiar with operating a lathe and especially not knowing how to work on one. Then there can be the problem of getting a used lathe and then having to search out the tooling to use with it.

              The Craftex lathe does indeed seem very similar to the Grizz - and others - and these lathes seem to be getting favorable reviews from the home shop group. It will come with all the necessary tooling to just about plug it in and start making chips, that can be a big plus.

              When I started out I chose a new Birmingham, which has a similar lathe to this Craftex, and thoroughly enjoyed it. As I became more familiar with the operation and use of lathes, I felt comfortable about trying to restore a South Bend, which I now use - at a later time you might could do something similar...
              That is very good advice Bill which I thoroughly endorse.

              Start off with a new lathe - which by default will be "Chinese" - to get experience on - and then another to meet your needs when you are ready - andf if you need to - which if new will be Chinese as well.

              I've got a lathe that is the same as the "Craftex" 10" x 30" and while it lacks a power feed and a quick-change gear-box (I can do without them) it does everything I need of it in the type of smallish work that I do.

              I may move up to a good (Chinese) 12" lathe with everything on it in the next year or so but there is no rush.

              Here it is tearing into parting off a 2" cold-rolled steel bar - which is not a bad effort for a small lathe.

              http://i200.photobucket.com/albums/a.../Part_off4.jpg

              It is very accurate in all repects.
              Last edited by oldtiffie; 07-29-2012, 02:34 AM.

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              • #8
                Buy the Chinese lathe and enjoy it.

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                • #9
                  I got a Smithy 13x40 IMX last year because I didn’t want to cheap out, don’t have very much room, and a frend has a 13x24 MAX so I knew what quality would be. I like it other than the pain of switching to mill . . . seems like I’m always indicating something onto the bed that I had just taken off.

                  Well another frend just got this:
                  http://www.grizzly.com/products/Guns...h-Stand/G4003G

                  $3690 shipped to Alaska on the barge then trucked right to his front door and I wish I could get me a do-over! The quality of the thing is dang good, it’s no freshly gone through Atlas but is sure isn’t bad at all. 17x36, 2hp, lots of extra stuff I had to buy for mine, heck the thing even has a light. Only thing mine has this doesn’t is variable speed motor but this has spindle on/off on the carrage that I wish mine had. Two grand less than mine, I could get a not bad mill for that but I had to spend another $7-800 on tooling this came with. So if I was in the market again the G4003G is what I’d get.

                  I’d say don’t go used unless you know what you are looking at and what your doing. I have an old Atlas in my shed that was once a great machine once, now she’s in need of a lot of love. Most new to this stuff think you can just clean the old iron up, toss in some bearings, fix a couple little things and be all set. Iron don‘t go bad right, it’s IRON . . . Trouble is stuff like the ways getting worn down near the chuck where most work happens and that stuff isn’t easy to fix and will drive you nuts trying to make good parts. Although these things can be worked around it’s just not a good idea IMO to be learning to run a lathe and learning how to run a worn out lathe at the same time.
                  Last edited by C_lazy_F_Guns; 07-29-2012, 04:59 AM. Reason: fix link
                  Anybody that thinks they know it all doesn’t even know enough to understand they know nothing!
                  Andy

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                  • #10
                    Bear in mind that Grizzly will now ship to Canada. Not sure though of the economics.

                    I would endorse the cam-lock spindle - in this case, D1-4. I have it on my std Modern.

                    Geoff

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by ammcoman2 View Post
                      Bear in mind that Grizzly will now ship to Canada. Not sure though of the economics.

                      I would endorse the cam-lock spindle - in this case, D1-4. I have it on my std Modern.

                      Geoff
                      I will have to contact them on Monday and see what would be involved,Last I herad is there was no shipping north of the border? I can likely arrange shipping with one of the long haul co's that we deal with at work . It does appear to have several nice features , and so long as the dollar stays fairly high it might not even break the expenditure limit imposed by the formidable other!!!

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                      • #12
                        2nd Hand in Canada

                        Originally posted by blaser.306 View Post
                        Ok, Any sugestions where in Canada to look for a decent machine in the $3500.00 range? If you do not mind my asking what were the down sides?
                        Wondering where you are? I can post some 2nd hand machinery sites for the GTA & Ottawa region. I have purchased used items from a couple of them but my purchases were not complete machine tools. My limited experience suggests that finding a complete lathe is a matter of patience - and lots of it.

                        On another note, I have dealt with Grizzly & they do ship north of the 49th: again, accessories, not machinery.

                        I have a BB B2227L and find it does what I want. Yes, aspirations to go better. I would say "bigger" as well but there is a serious question of space - ie, an acute lack.

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                        • #13
                          What advantage is there to buying from Grizzly over BB. There isn't much of a cost saving, if any, especially when shipping costs are added and quality wise they are probably the same, they may actually be the same exact machines since the owners are brothers, they may co-operate on buying equipment???

                          Chinese equipment like it or not may be your only choice and for a home/hobby shop is more than adequate. Mostly.
                          The shortest distance between two points is a circle of infinite diameter.

                          Bluewater Model Engineering Society at https://sites.google.com/site/bluewatermes/

                          Southwestern Ontario. Canada

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                          • #14
                            i have the craftex ? 14-39'' >1.5'' bore , it is belt drive and has back gear . i love it . had it for many years now . i think its the best one they sell for the best price . alot of them will not go slow . mine goes to 40rpm . which if you do threading you may want . the gear head ones i hear are loud , and some have a low speed of 90rpm .

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                            • #15
                              the spec link shows 65 RPM, which is livable..... much better than 150 or 190 rpm, which is the spec for others.

                              Chinese iron seems to be cheap..... so they DO use a lot in the bed, always a good thing. Quality can be spotty, but probably is never worse than worn old iron, so.... if you could fix old iron, you could also tune up the "chinese special".

                              The biggest problem with new chinese stuff is the cost difference from it to old iron... A similar piece of used equipment that went for 3600 would have to be one GOOD piece..... On the other hand, maybe you get a useful warranty with the chinese pieces
                              1601

                              Keep eye on ball.
                              Hashim Khan

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