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  • #46
    Don't you just love it when someone asks for advice and then fights when he doesn't get the desired answers. Kind of like fighting with your wife.
    My best advice for OREDIGGER! is to get the Sherline lathe and all the accessories and go into the paintball gun business. Remember us when you are rich and famous.
    Jim H.


    • #47
      It's not that I'm fighting your advice, it is just that it quite frankly seems like none of you will be happy until I purchase either a southbend, atlas, or a lathe that can hold stock many times the size of anything I need to work on. I found the central machinery 9" x 20", with a 3/4 hp motor, because advice told me I would need something that size. Then evan points out two lathes on ebay, one a southbend which I really wouldn't mind getting at all if I could find one around here, but the other was a similar size to the central machinery one but only had a 1/3 hp motor. 1/3 < 3/4 hp, and the DC motor sherline uses puts out torque comparable to an AC 1/2 hp motor. I'm just not getting anywhere with this advice, except up in cost and real high up in weight of machine. If a 230 lb lathe can't drill a 1" hole in aluminum stock, then there are some engineers out there who need to go back to school.


      • #48

        This is my last advice. Weight equals rigidity and that is like gold when machining. Also, modern motors "rated" at 3/4 HP can't hold a candle to an older lesser rated motor with real iron in the laminations. I have a compressor that I built with "only" a 1/2 hp motor. It will run 100% duty cycle without even getting warm to the touch and performs like a modern 1 1/2 hp motor. The motor on my SB is similar and sometimes runs for the best part of hours for certain types of long cuts I take with extremely fine feeds. It doesn't warm up either.

        You will note that the seller of the South Bend offers good quotes on shipping and will crate. That lathe looks in reasonable condition, has a power crossfeed and a quick change gearbox AND will definitely do what you need it to do. Also the price will very likely be within your stated range. It also come with tooling worth at least a couple of hundred dollars. It is far superior to the Harbor Freight lathe.

        Take it or leave it, thats my advice.

        BTW, you apparently missed the spec on the first one. 24" between centers.

        One more thing, try and find a drill press rated for 1" drills that weighs only 229 lbs.

        [This message has been edited by Evan (edited 04-27-2004).]
        Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here


        • #49
          Thanks Evan, you really cleared stuff up for me. I'm sorry if I offended you with any of my posts but I'm getting frustrated and confused over all this info. I really just want a machine that can do what I need it too, without being so big and pricey that it is difficult to move for even a few big guys. I know you said that the above was your last post, but I have one last question. Can the southbend make a decent variety of threads using a threading attachment, not a tap, but a bit used to make threads. Thanks, sorry this thread had to go on so long, thanks for your patience and advice.
          Evan, don't mean this to sound rude, but my dad's craftsman drill press can handle that size drill bit and it doesn't weigh that much.

          [This message has been edited by OREDIGGER! (edited 04-27-2004).]


          • #50
            The South Bend model A as in the E-Bay item above can do 48 different threading feeds with the quick change gearbox, and that is with only the stock set of change gears. With optional gears which are readily available it can do many more including metric.

            See here:

            Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here


            • #51

              If you look here:


              You will see that this drill press with 5/8" shank capacity weighs 359lbs. This press might be able to handle 1" bits. Maybe.

              My Swedish Strand drill press with a real 2 hp motor can handle up to about 1 3/4" MT3 bits, maybe 2" bits. It weighs around 500 lbs.

              [This message has been edited by Evan (edited 04-28-2004).]
              Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here


              • #52
                If old iron isn’t available, I think the 9 x 20â€‌ will likely work just fine for you. They go on sale regularly, and have the advantage of free shipping if one needs it shipped. It doesn’t have many accessories, but it does have a quick-change gearbox. As far as lathes go, this is small. I don’t know of any lathe that will cut ANY thread between their ranges, just most standard ones. This is all anyone normally needs. If you must match a particular thread, download the manual and make sure it will cut them.

                Newbie’s often come to this site to establish what they need. As they have little or no experience in machining, they generally don’t really know what is required to perform the typical routine tasks that most of us here deal with on a daily basis. The advantages that are gained with larger machines are too numerous to list, but they include: Rigidity (vital to work with precision, cutting metal requires weight), Features (like power cross feed, quick change boxes, and much more), Accessories (required to do anything more then basic work, machines that come with them saves you big bucks), Power (sure makes life easier, and the job go faster), Capacity: (as the operators skills increase, so do their demands), And so on.

                Some folks are unaware of which machine will pay off for them in the long run. We hate to see someone trying to get in to this great field, and go away frustrated because they laid out their hard earned cash on something inadequate. Just one opinion.
                Location: North Central Texas


                • #53

                  You asked about the threading capability of the South Bend. It is apparent you need a little more education about the use of a lathe. The quickest way to get the information in an understandable format would be to read South Bend's "How To Run A Lathe" or the Atlas manual of a similar name. I have the South Bend version, have heard that the Atlas is very similar. They will explain threading and all the other operations you will want to do with a lathe. Check your public library, school library, friends, acquaintances, or purchase a copy.

                  If you decide you have to have a new lathe, look at the 11x24 from Grizzly, it would be ideal if it were of good quality, fit and function. If you want to learn machine repair the Chinese lathes are suitable fodder to start on. The same can be said for much of the old American machines but the final product after repair is much better than a Chinese lathe that weighs less than half the weight of a real lathe.

                  Also consider that a 9x24 lathe will not allow you to work on an 9x24 workpiece. The largest dimeter over the carriage or cross slide will be 2-3.5 inches less. If you use a chuck instead of centers, you will lose length from the 24 dimension. A comfortable(not absolute) maximum size workpiece in a 9x24 South Bend, Logan, Atlas, etc. would be about 3x18. For a 1.5x12 aluminum workpiece the lathe should be at least a 5x22 and weigh about 500 lbs. JMHO

                  [This message has been edited by ulav8r (edited 04-28-2004).]
                  North Central Arkansas


                  • #54

                    You obviously need a little education about the use of a lathe. You asked about the ability of a South Bend to cut various threads. Borrow or buy a copy of South Bend's "How To Run A Lathe" or the Atlas manual of a similar name. They will explain the threading process and tools required. They might be found in a library, through friends or acquaintenaces, maybe at a machine shop if you show up with donuts.

                    About the size of lathe you need, a 9 x24 will not let you turn a 9" diameter 24" long. The max diameter of the compound slide will be 2-3 inches less, depending on the brand of machine. If you use a chuck instead of centers you will lose 2-3" in length. For a South Bend, Logan, Atlas, etc of 9x24 size a comfortable (not absolute) maximum workpiece would be about 3x20. For a 1 1/4x14 aluminum workpiece a minimum lathe spec should be about a 4x18 at a weight of 450-500 pounds. The 6x18 Atlas/Craftsman is a light weight version that would be adequate.

                    If you must buy a new lathe, consider the Grizzly 11x24 as a minimum. The Chinese lathes in this size range from any manufacturer will probably require as much repair and adjustment as a moderately good old American lathe. If you like to work on your machinery and make modifications to it the chinese lathes can be okay. I looked for a lathe I could afford for years, finally bought 2 10x24 Rockwells at an auction for about $600. One was missing the tailstock, neither had a taper attachment. (The tail stock was moved to the other lathe, then I traded the lathe less tailstock for a snowmobile engine that was worth about 200 more than my cost for the lathe.) About 3 years later (3 yrs back) I got a South Bend Heavy 10 with taper attachment and 5C collets for $199 at a closed bid auction(I may have been the only bidder but figured I could double my money just by selling the taper attachment if the rest of the lathe turned out to be junk) from my employer. NO, NO PART OF THIS HEAVY TEN IS FOR SALE AT THIS TIME. MAYBE IN 20 YEARS. MAYBE!

                    Please learn a little more before purchasing anything, it will help you make a decision you are less likely to regret. I had enought experience and training to know the Rockwells were the minimum lathe I could be happy with, though I am still looking for a very good buy on a 16x48 or larger so I can turn beer can mortar barrels.

                    Edit addition<> Sorry for double post. My replies usually show up right away. My thought were not exactly duplicated, but I am going to leave them as originally sent except for one small spelling error in the first. I will not look for any large errors.

                    [This message has been edited by ulav8r (edited 04-28-2004).]
                    North Central Arkansas


                    • #55
                      I think Ore digger got more knowlege and information than he deserved. I think he might have been a Sherline marketeer. It's just a guess from a suspicious sort of person (Me!)

                      If I could have bought that SB9 for $650 I would have been happy for months and months just on the thought alone!

                      [This message has been edited by SJorgensen (edited 04-29-2004).]


                      • #56
                        ^^^^haha, no, i'm not a representative for sherline lathes, the reason my username is OREDIGGER is because i'm a student at the Colorado School of MINES. I appreciate the info, as I said before I have to get a job so I can make the money to buy a lathe, so I have plenty of time to learn more about what I need. If I cannot find a good lathe like those you are suggesting, near or within my price range-new or used (I would actually enjoy fixing up an old lathe, so long as it didn't cost me a fortune), I will probably purchase a sherline or another lathe in that price range. This will probably be a good size lathe to learn on, and it would be capable of doing most of the parts I need (which are <1" dia, 3.5" max length) I can always drill the large holes using my schools machine shop. That being said, if you guys happen to see any adds anywhere, like ebay, for a good southbend 9" in colorado, let me know!


                        • #57
                          You will learn why the Sherline line is overpriced and is not capable of the size and accuracy of the old metal lathes. You have to have some space and be able to move items that are sometimes over 1000lbs. but you will have a tool that can do the work you want to do.


                          • #58
                            I understand what your saying, that's why I'll keep an eye out for a SB or atlas (any others?) on sale here in Colo. Spgs., but if I can't I'll get a small lathe and use the lathes at school for the big peices. Have you looked at the sherline website? If you click on the link for why our lathes are great value and then the projects link on that page, you'll see some cool things people have done with their sherlines. There is a 14 cylinder radial engine model someone made that is the size of a dime. Not saying you can't do that on a larger lathe, just saying it's impressive precision work. Edit: Just thought that I probably shouldn't have said that^, it actually does make me sound like a sherline dealer.

                            [This message has been edited by OREDIGGER! (edited 04-29-2004).]


                            • #59
                              Digger: I promised myself that I'd not enter this thread to summarize:

                              1. You asked a good question and got excellent advice from a bunch of experienced people. Unfortunately, they did not say what you wished to hear.

                              2. You have apparently decided on a small, expensive lathe that SHOULD ,in your opinion, capable of doing the one job you now must/wish/need to do. But, you are intending overloading the machine before you even buy it.

                              We tell you, from experience that none of us have equipment big enough to do the biggest job we want to do- hell, The ship yards need bigger machines. When a man buys for the biggest job he will ever do (at that time, in his mind) he best buy twice as large (or at LEAST a step higher). Wonderful work can be done on small machines- but it is small wonderful work.

                              May I suggest, since you have access to a machine shop at school, that you learn as you work and figure the time you "waste" going to/from the school shop is less monetary value than the cost of a very small lathe.

                              I don't think anyone is saying the equipment you are considering is a mistake, we seem to be saying you have already exceeded the capacity of your contemplated equipment and we all know the capabilities needed go up not down as time passes.

                              I have a 10" Atlas and access to some well equipped shops that "owe me favors". I use the shops equipment for most things of any complexity. My Atlas is kind of flexible (not rigid), a pain to use if you have ever used a god solid machine. The South bends are MUCH better but still not the ultimate by a long shot (pardon me Evan please ). When the guys suggest Atlas and South Bend they are just being reasonable- they are NOT advising you to go first class. They are saying they smaller stuff is a BIG compromise (sooner or later). They are advising as small as they think you need.

                              I had ALMOST as soon lose my pocket knife as my home lathe, but I am sure happy that I don't have a 6 inch atlas- which is a fine machine too.

                              You are gonna cuss yourself if you go the route you are telling us you gonna go- you may never admit the error to anyone else, but you will wish you had delayed purchase until you KNOW from experience what you really need. Maybe I am mistaken, maybe the small stuff will be all you ever need- but odds are in my favor that you will soon be unhappy with a smaller machine.


                              • #60
                                School of Mines or Mimes?
                                You know, if I listened to people myself when starting out, I would of went straight for a South bend instead of buying my 7x14 only to buy the Southbend later...
                                With that said though, 2 lathes are better than one.