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  • Need advise for a new lathe

    Greetings all, I'm a new member here. I've been a metal worker, sculptor, art foundry worker, Welder, Master Electrician, Mechanic and a couple other things I forget at the moment for the last 22 years. I hope to be a help if I can. Please forgive my ignorance of the lingo y'all use, I'm a noob here I'll be up to par soon enough.

    Now my question, I am about to start making Tactical flashlights. If you've seen a Maglite you know what operations I'll be doing. The 9" SouthBend in the shop is not quite as tactile as I would like for turning Ti6Al4V so I am thinking of going in the opposite direction and get a mini lathe. Something like the Sherline 4410. This size lathe would be nice for several reasons, most of all I can use it in the house (It's cold in the shop and I'm getting old ). Precision Is key, the largest part I will be working with on this lathe will be 12" long out of the chuck and 1.5" diameter, I'm thinking 24" bed. I'd like to have a headstock passthrough that could accommodate 1.5" rod/pipe but I don't know if that is possible in a bench-top lathe. I would really like to avoid Chinese made. I love China but... QC isn't really up to snuff yet. Now If anyone knows of a precision built Chinese model with Brick and Mortar suppliers and service in the US, I'm all ears.

    My budget is around 2,000$ but if I can get one for 800$ great.

    CNC upgradeable is a plus

    Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated.

    Sincerely,
    Boden

  • #2
    Get a heater for the shop

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/GT27-CNC-Tur...item35c1b6f5d1

    Comment


    • #3
      You'd be better off rebuilding your Southbend or go chinese than with the sherline if you plan on turning titanium. IMO...then again I've never worked with Ti. but do have several nice titanium flashlights.
      From everything I've read, rigidity/mass of your machine helps when working with Ti.

      Comment


      • #4
        I have a heater but running it just for this operation would cost more than a new lathe that I can use in the attached garage.

        I'd like to have a Dynamic but I want to make these "by hand" as much as possible. I'll be making these per order not in bulk.
        Last edited by Boden; 11-26-2012, 07:17 PM.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Boden View Post
          I love China
          Well, I suppose there had to be one.
          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

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by loose nut View Post
            Well, I suppose there had to be one.
            Nice place, great people, epic food. True, the government reminds me of my mom, don't to this, don't do that, willing to take bribes .

            Like I said, American, German, Polish etc. would be my first choice but on the off chance... I'm open to suggestions.

            Comment


            • #7
              A benchtop lathe with a 1 1/2 inch through hole in the spindle?

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by sasquatch View Post
                A benchtop lathe with a 1 1/2 inch through hole in the spindle?
                Ok, That's apparently out. I want to eliminate as much waste as possible but if I need to add off-cut to the cost per unit I will.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Proxxon might be a good choice in the price/size range you are looking, german made but still affordable.


                  http://thehobbyistmachineshop.com/shop23.html

                  http://toolsandmore.us/proxxon-34004-lathe.aspx

                  http://toolsandmore.us/proxxon-34104...mill-head.aspx

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I can almost see the used American made lathe/ChiCom lathe debate beginning again. If it does I'll watch with interest as parties on either side point out pros and cons.

                    I will say a larger lathe means more rigidity, faster material removal rates and the ability to work on larger things in the future when the flashlight craze has run it's course or that previously un-thought of project suddenly comes up. $2k is a lot of money to put into a machine and tooling that is limited, unless you are absolutely certain you'll never need anything bigger. That said, I suggest getting the best lathe you can afford, in a mid sized machine somewhere between a 9" and 11". Newer ChiCom lathes may have a larger spindle hole for their size than older domestic machines. Personally I like the older domestic stuff if it's in decent shape, mostly because it has a sentimental appeal. I long for the good old days in the U.S.A., I guess. Parts for domestics may be available years later when parts for ChiCom machines are scarce. It would be great to have a shiny factory accurate new machine though. The choice is up to you.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by MasterMaker View Post
                      Proxxon might be a good choice in the price/size range you are looking, german made but still affordable.


                      http://thehobbyistmachineshop.com/shop23.html

                      http://toolsandmore.us/proxxon-34004-lathe.aspx

                      http://toolsandmore.us/proxxon-34104...mill-head.aspx
                      Now we're talking. That's at the top of my list now.

                      Thank you

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Get a nice and NEW 14x30 lathe. They aren't much more than what you are looking to spend and are more than capable of what you plan and then some. I said I only needed a 14x30 and now have the option of doing work in the 18-24" range for one customer..if I had gotten a bigger lathe.
                        Last edited by chorne27983; 11-26-2012, 09:22 PM.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by firbikrhd1 View Post
                          I will say a larger lathe means more rigidity, faster material removal rates and the ability to work on larger things in the future when the flashlight craze has run it's course or that previously un-thought of project suddenly comes up. $2k is a lot of money to put into a machine and tooling that is limited, unless you are absolutely certain you'll never need anything bigger. That said, I suggest getting the best lathe you can afford, in a mid sized machine somewhere between a 9" and 11". Newer ChiCom lathes may have a larger spindle hole for their size than older domestic machines. Personally I like the older domestic stuff if it's in decent shape, mostly because it has a sentimental appeal. I long for the good old days in the U.S.A., I guess. Parts for domestics may be available years later when parts for ChiCom machines are scarce. It would be great to have a shiny factory accurate new machine though. The choice is up to you.
                          Oh, I've got bigger, you'd like my 1956 9" SouthBend. I also agree about parts, that is why I would like to go american or german etc.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            You may have to give up the 1.5 inch spindle hole requirement , as even many mid sized lathes don't have such a large spindle hole. You'll probably have to shop for the spindle hole first, perhaps in a Chinese lathe, and take whatever comes with it . Or, as you seem to be considering, do your machining in a different way so that a smaller lathe can be used.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by chorne27983 View Post
                              Get a nice and NEW 14x30 lathe. They aren't much more than what you are looking to spend and are more than capable of what you plan and then some. I said I only needed a 14x30 and now have the option of doing work in the 18-24" range for one customer..if I had gotten a bigger lathe.
                              I've got access to a 16 x 48" Harrison, I don't need bigger. I need smaller.

                              Comment

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