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Which lathes have the following characteristics?

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  • Which lathes have the following characteristics?

    EDIT - thank you all for the responses. Keep it coming, it's educational.

    Wife thinks I'm crazy for keeping the Atlas. WHAT A WOMAN! Anyway, it's doing everything I'm asking, but as they say... failing to plan is planning to fail.

    While I will never find (and afford) a lathe with all the 'wants and needs' below, the lathe I eventually select should represent an optimal compromise.

    These are my needs. Missing any of these would give me pause:
    1. Imperial dials and leadscrew
    2. Imperial QCGB, Metric threads a plus.
    3. Can be of any origin but must not be a kit.
    4. New or restored. It doesn't need to be restored to perfection but must do the job it was intended to do. I want to make chips not fix worn and abused machinery.
    5. Low spindle RPMs delivered in such a way as to retain torque (e.g. back gears). This 'need' is the problem child, it seems. My Atlas + VFD + back gear is DREAMY. No, really.
    6. Rigidity. I already have a NoodleLathe (tm)
    7. Must fit down my basement steps. I can hire Young Strong Men if necessary, but a 3 ton piece of equipment isn't going to happen. If I have to take it apart, someone like me has to be able to put it together. I'm methodical and patient but inexperienced...
    8. Manual operation. CNC... not so much. I program for a living and don't want it in the shop.
    9. Between 10" and 12" swing (diameter, American style)

    1. Separate lead and feed screws.
    2. Powered cross-slide
    3. 3-phase, maybe up to 2 HP and work off a common VFD.

    Price? I don't know. But good toys cost good money. I'm not looking for something cheap, I'm looking for the best feature-bang for the buck.

    So, I ask my extended brain AKA the HSM, what lathes meet these attributes? What feature should I be looking for but didn't mention?
    Last edited by Tony Ennis; 01-20-2013, 11:14 AM. Reason: broke list into needs and wants, back gear clarification

  • #2
    How bout any of the "1440" lathes? Im always looking for a nice one. JR
    My old yahoo group. Bridgeport Mill Group


    • #3
      I would look at the import 1340 this:

      I had one that I acquired that I absolutely hated simply because it was old and beat to hell, but it had all the features you speak of, aside from a back gear. I don't think you'll need a back gear with 3HP and a VFD....I haven't had one in a while and I don't miss it. The 1340 is about 1500lbs, so you'll have to get a bit creative to get it in the basement. It's going to be an order of magnitude more rigid than your atlas. One thing I liked about my 1340 is that the leadscrew didn't have to be reversed between turning and facing operations. It will feed towards the chuck or towards the workpiece centerline while spinning the same direction. My Cadillac, and the Mori that we have at work has the crossfeed geared the other way so you always have to stop the lathe and reverse the screw for facing. It's annoying.


      • #4
        Enco 13 X 40 or Grizzly 13-1/2 X 40 have all of those features except three phase. Having one myself and having become intimately familiar with the electrical controls and relays in my Enco 13 X 40 since 1994 when I bought it new, I can tell you that converting it to three phase would be a chore. Mine is two hp and runs beautifully on single phase, 240V 60 Cycle, 20 amp line.

        EDIT: IIRC, the 13 X 40's sold by Enco and Grizly are in the 1.700 pound range. Most any lathe of that size will be close to a ton with others considerably more.
        Last edited by GNM109; 01-18-2013, 12:47 PM.


        • #5
          Unfortunately this topic is a bit like "how long is a piece of string" But here's my input after going though this a decade ago.

          An Emco V13 (three-four stong guys), or V11 (smaller - 2 guys ) fits that bill nicely. $5-7K for the V13, $3500-5K for the V11 in perfect condition.

          A V10 (2 guys) is also very nice... prices been going up though - $2-3K lately.

          Today I have a monster (relatively speaking) 14x40 - about 3500lb, and a 325lb Emco Compact 10 (undergoing cnc conversion)

          If you don't care all that much about hertitage, hit the Grizzley catalog and choose your price point.

          For your list : You should also add - speeds... many older lathes simply ignore the high end. Look for 2200-2500 rpm.
          Last edited by lakeside53; 01-18-2013, 12:30 PM.


          • #6
            Hmmm, #1, #2, #3 yep possible/easy, # 3 perhaps though if some threads are to be believed less likely if new (and of course one could debate "used" is a kit in a different way), #7 agreed, #8 and #9 are at conflict with one another at least to some degree, in looking I "get" # 10 (but some of what you describe fits some makers pretty close that do not have this "feature"), #11 happen to agree (smoking deals on CNC esp with your background can be had).
            As little as possible
            given but also relative.

            #4, #6, #8, #9 cause pause...quick trip through EBay and there is a "nice" size Clausing for too much money IMO that is double or a bit more than your 2HP me if you have time and are willing 3 tons in small pieces can be as easy as 600lbs in say 3rds or 1/ are coming IMO close to describing a Heavy 10 of the old variety but those are harder to find (depending on location, as you know, and with that how far afield you are willing to go/ship). Harrison 300 series or so are close to what you describe as well but a bit past the HP figure and don't know if "as little as possible" is realistic ether.

            You are describing, from what I have read/heard, a smaller lathe from a manufacturer who had a full line of lathes and let some of the "professional" features trickle down...I am talking older/defunct makers.

            Where I am it is unlikely I would ever find it but that little voice still keeps saying Clausing since, to me they can be had with many of the features you mention, to me, though you do not mention it, the wide range of speeds in particular compared to what I have now would be important.

            Edit: not that it matters but given my "restrictions" some of my "dream" lathes are very, very unlikely to happen but this is more realistic so under consideration and it gains me a bit of size, more rpm, power feeds in both directions and it is new with the downside, I assume, no back gear...forgot, also large enough spindle bore to use 5C
            Last edited by RussZHC; 01-21-2013, 12:27 AM.


            • #7
              If you need to get that lathe into your basement down your basement steps then you already have the appropriate lathe unless you are prepared to do some extensive rigging.
              "Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel"


              • #8
                Your link shows the same as what I have. Just email me if you've got any questions. I've got a fair amount of info on it. And BB have been incorrectly listing that lathe as having a 12" swing for over a year. It's 11".



                • #9
                  A Standard Modern would fit most of your requirements, and they still turn up. The 11" model weighs in at about 1100 lbs. Even the 10" Utilathe, which actually swings a bit ovr 11" is a fairly hefty 700+lbs, and I KNOW that three husky young men can get it down a flight of stairs. The most recent one that I heard of sold at Government auction here in Ottawa for $976.00 cdn, with some tooling, (just before Christmas.)
                  Duffy, Gatineau, Quebec


                  • #10
                    Since you did not spec swing unless I missed it IMO the ideal answer is of course a Hardinge HLV-H or HLV-EM. Or one of the clones. But then they are pricey.

                    Another of Matt's offering's Quick trip to Pittsburg to pick it up saves the delivery charge, plus you could stop at the USAF museum at Wright-Patterson. Two trips at once True it's 110V single phase but it is variable speed and is offered with a large bore spindle. But I think I'd ditch the stand (or any stand that came with a lathe made out of thin gauge sheet metal) and mount the lathe on a good solid bench. Any thing with 3 phase new I think is going to at the high end of your weight limitation
                    Forty plus years and I still have ten toes, ten fingers and both eyes. I must be doing something right.


                    • #11
                      Swing added. RPMs? Dunno, I have a Babbitt headstock now so high RPMs aren't a consideration.

                      3 Phase is a nice-to-have, not a need-to-have.

                      Also add a "slow RPMs" need. The issue with some modern Chicoms is that their slowest speeds are in the 70 RPM range.


                      • #12
                        A Sheldon 13 x ?? gearhead or a Hendey 14 x ?? gear head lathe. All the features you want. Reality says you need to look beyond your local area, maybe 500 miles (a days drive) would be reasonable. U-ship is an option to bring it home if you don't have, can't borrow or rent a trailer.


                        • #13
                          An apron mounted spindle clutch is a nice addition. Some of the links I've looked at have them, especially the gear head machines. The 70 RPM low end range is a bit high, but on a 3 phase machine that can easily be remedied with a VFD. Another issue is the weight problem, and in your situation I understand your reservations, I once put a 2600 LB lathe in a below grade basement, but the heavier the machine, the less machining problems you have, especially in cutting off and chatter problems.


                          • #14
                            Clausing or Rockwell in good shape. Rockwell will be a bit smaller in swing, but possibly more "industrial" in general.

                            Back gears are rare on any "chasian" lathe.

                            Keep eye on ball.
                            Hashim Khan


                            • #15
                              Most any of today's lathe offerings in the size/outfitting class you indicate will fulfil your criteria. Item 9, moving the lathe down your basement stairs is more a matter of your ingenuity and perserverance than any factor of 12" lathe construction. Take is apart ahd move it peice by piece if you have to.

                              I once moved a WW II era #5 Gisholt through the basement window of a lovely Arts and Crafts bungelow in Seattle and at least three turret mills in or out of residences via the stairs. Planks and rope, planning, chain hoists and sweat. Never even marred the paint or tracked the rug.

                              Low speed torque is a product of mechanical reduction. You can't get 2 HP at low motor RPM from a motor rated at 2HP at 1750 RPM. HP is roughly proportional to motor RPM at the same motor amps.

                              If you select a machine with a VFD or some other solid state drive in the absense of a multi-step mechanical transmission you will wish later you had held out for at least three overlapping ranges.

                              Other than that there is a bewildering selection. I suggest you drool over Grizzly's offerings as a place to start if only because Grissly has a large selection and their on-line catalog and PDF data is comprehensive and well illustrated. It will help you gel realistic requirements and relate them to likely candidate machines. Expect to spend two or three months getting smart on the relative merits of the various lathes on the market - maybe even temporarily obsessive. Don't pay too much attention to the "American Arn" crowd or the economic Jingoists. Avoid cheap crap but pay close attention to estate sales and similar opportunities. You never know.
                              Last edited by Forrest Addy; 01-20-2013, 01:43 AM.