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Central Machinery model 46915 13 x 40 Lathe

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  • #16
    Thanks to all for the replies. I'm a retired machinist and just looking for a toy to occupy my time. What I really need is an owners manual so I can at least see how the machine is put together. Sorry I don't have pictures. It is ten years old, but was only used for a few hours in a hws. It became a little more complicated than the owner had bargained for, so it has been sitting idle for nearly a decade. It is an enclosed, oil bath, geared head machine. I remember reading some time ago, that they sold two different 13 x 40 lathes, and one of them was crap, with plastic gears in the headstock. That's why I would like to see a manual with a parts diagram. I don't need the accuracy of a Hardinge, but obviously, I don't want something with plastic gears in it.
    Looks like I'll be packing some tools and taking the wife for a nice little joy ride.
    “I know lots of people who are educated far beyond their intelligence”

    Lewis Grizzard

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    • #17
      I could be wrong but I don't think the 13x40, or even the 12x36, ever had the plastic gears but they were used on the smaller lathes. The plastic gears that have become so well know, and so bemoaned, were used as sacrificial parts of the drive train designed to fail first to protect the lead screw not to make it cheaper as is the common line of thought. Either way, cheaper to make or for it's real purpose as a sacrificial part, it was a poor set-up and was often a broken part as the lead screw tended to bind from chips and other debris. Still I don't think you will see that on any of the 13x40 machines from any of the sellers.

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      • #18
        Thanks radkins, that's good to know.
        “I know lots of people who are educated far beyond their intelligence”

        Lewis Grizzard

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        • #19
          I'll add my vote to those that say the HF machines are at least OK for hobby type HSM work. I bought my 9x20 in 2004 or so and I think I paid the $599 mentioned, less a 10% discount. I did not use it often until a couple years ago, but I have done quite a lot of work on it and I am still more comfortable with it than the bigger and more capable Clausing 12" lathes at my school shop. The 9x20 was the largest size that I could move by myself, by taking it somewhat apart and putting it back together. It's about 200 pounds total. Same was true for my mill/drill machine, which I got for maybe $399 at the same time. I have a lot of HF tools, and some of them are definitely crap, but in general they are serviceable and can be repaired, upgraded, and modified to work well. It may be that I enjoy the challenge of fixing and improving things, while others may just want the best quality they can afford and won't settle for anything less than top-notch. I'd rather get lots of tools at rock-bottom prices, and then upgrade as needed and as I learn what I really need.

          Good luck on your purchase. BTW, I have a grinder and drill press that I got from HF in the early 1980s and they were made in Taiwan.
          http://pauleschoen.com/pix/PM08_P76_P54.png
          Paul , P S Technology, Inc. and MrTibbs
          USA Maryland 21030

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          • #20
            Dave;

            I have a 13 x 40 JET lathe I purchased new in 1999. It has made me a pile of money and has served me well and I expect it to continue. My JET lathe does not have any non-metallic gears. After 15 years my JET lathe is still like new condition. It has very little backlash, turns straight and turns concentric, all the things a lathe needs to do.

            All I have done to my lathe is replace the drive belts and keep it lubed.

            Just remember, when turning to precise dimensions the finish cut needs to be .003 to .005. My roughing cuts are usually .06 to .100 off the diameter. For an experienced machinist these lathes will serve you well.

            Use the metric threading gear for turning real light precise feed rates.



            Jim
            So much to learn, so little time

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            • #21
              Originally posted by PStechPaul View Post
              I'll add my vote to those that say the HF machines are at least OK for hobby type HSM work. I bought my 9x20 in 2004 or so and I think I paid the $599 mentioned, less a 10% discount.
              That's about the same time I bought my first 9x20 and is where I learned a very valuable lesson about Chinese lathes and mills! I had been looking at these for several weeks, the Jet was at the Northern tool store in Knoxville Tn for $1299 but one of the salesman told me he thought it was supposed to be $1199 and if I wanted it I could have it for that. Just about 7 or 8 miles away was HF and they too had what looked like a similar 9x20 that was an odd looking purplish color but was on sale for $599 and I had a discount coupon, everyone I talked to gave me that BS line about everything in HF just being the leftover garbage no one else could sell and I fell for it! So I went back to Northern and paid more than twice what I would have spent at HF and took my new lathe home, after I started using it I was not all that impressed because although everyone had told me that the Jet would be "top-of-the-line" for these machines it seemed kind of cheaply built/designed to me. Still I was happy with it UNTIL a guy came by some time later and told me he had gotten a small lathe that looked just like mine from his FIL but he had no use for it, I traded him about $100 worth of parts I had in the shop and acquired an almost new HF version of my Jet lathe. That's when I realized I had really screwed up buying the Jet vs the HF version, I quickly realized they were the EXACT same thing except for the price and the color! Then when I got in touch with LMS looking for a replacement belt and gear they told me in no uncertain terms the line about the inspector at the factory picking out junk to sell at HF was pure BS and they are indeed exactly the same machines from the same factories! Since then I have discussed this with many owners of these machines and I have personally been able to compare first-hand my HF 14x40 to an identical Enco 14x40 and they too are EXACTLY the same machine!


              HF has a great many small tools (or tool shaped pieces of scrap metal as the case may be) made for their store brand(s), other tools however are just rebranded tools sold by others and these are bought in lots from the same factories as everyone else selling the same models. They even sell a really good quality air compressor (the black U.S. general not the junky Central Pneumatic) that is USA built! It is a rebadged Belaire made right here in the USA, the motors on some of the larger ones are Baldors and they have square D electrics and are built in SC. Almost everything is USA built including the tank but some have a very well built Italian made pump so not everything HF sells is junk! There is that rather well known picture of the small milling machines sitting in the shipping area of the factory in China, about 15 or 20 machines arranged in rows waiting to be crated and shipped but they are painted in several different color schemes for the different brands!

              This is a quote taken from the LMS site on the comparison page where they have a chart comparing their mini-lathes with the Micro-Mark, Grizzly, Harbor Freight etc.


              "All the mini lathes listed on this page are made in the same factory in China. Except where they have different features, the parts are interchangeable. In our experience there is not a noticeable quality difference between the brands"


              It takes quite a bit of honesty to point out that a product they sell is the same quality as the HF version they clearly list in that chart!


              Taiwanese machines sold by some companies at higher cost seem to be much better built than the Mainland machines, these usually sell for a premium and the seller usually makes the fact they are from Taiwan a selling point in their ads.
              Last edited by radkins; 03-22-2015, 09:42 AM.

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              • #22
                If the JET sold for $1199 how could HF sell the same lathe, different colour, for $599. The Chinese using their near slave labour couldn't sell it to HF for that price. The paint that JET uses must be really expensive.
                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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                • #23
                  Originally posted by loose nut View Post
                  If the JET sold for $1199 how could HF sell the same lathe, different colour, for $599. The Chinese using their near slave labour couldn't sell it to HF for that price. The paint that JET uses must be really expensive.
                  I have often wondered the same thing but I can assure you they were indeed the EXACT same machine with neither being any better or worse than the other in any way! LMS agrees with this as does several others, this was the early version of the JET that was identical to the other 9x20s being sold but the newer version looks somewhat different with different sheet metal around the headstock and a somewhat different set of controls. I have not personally run one of the newer Jet 9x20s but those I have talked to that have tell me what I suspected already, these changes are cosmetic only and are to make these machines look different than the others because underneath that sheet metal cover you will find the same parts plastic and all! In fact that link I posted to the site with the short article on buying a lathe http://www.rimworld.com/tripoligerla...2014-04-03.pdf (they may or may not be experts but sure seem knowledgeable enough, scroll down to page 12) say the same thing about the newer Jet 9x20s. They also mention the 14x40 HF lathe being supplied with and linking to the YCL1440 manuals and there was a heck of a lot more price difference between those two than the $600 or so of the little 9x20s. Of course Jet also maintains a parts and service network for what they sell while HF offers little more than a shoddy parts system that will not even suppy parts for discontinued items, a ton of money is saved there vs the service from Jet so that can explain a lot of the difference.

                  Also there is a huge price difference between the American built Belaire air compressor with the U.S. General name on it vs the version sold as a genuine Belaire, how do they do it? Who knows but I would suppose volume buying and low profit margins, machines like full size lathes and mills are not fast sellers so the low buck quick profit marketing blueprint that HF obviously works with did not work with items like that so they did not sell them for very long.

                  The bottom line is that for the short time HF sold these machines they had some killer deals on them, perhaps they had already decided to discontinue them and just clearanced them out? Maybe they bought a stock of machinery that had been canceled by another buyer for some reason? Whatever the reasons they were only around for a relatively short time and some of us are delighted with the bargains we got but that's all history now, the reason it still matters however is that due to the HF reputation even used HF machines usually sell for the low bucks so bargains are still to be found in the used market if folks just ignore the urban legends and just plain BS about the differences of these machines vs identical models with a different paint job!
                  Last edited by radkins; 03-22-2015, 10:49 AM.

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                  • #24
                    I've had a HF 12x36 for 20+ years.

                    The Bad:
                    * It came with a plastic transposing gear that eventually gave it up. But... A phone call to HF and a new iron gear came in the mail for $12.00...no kidding. I cant make it for that.
                    * The external gearing makes a little gear noise, nothing loud or knocking, just gears with a slight rum-rum sound that implies the center holes may be a mil off center from the DP.
                    * The fasteners...soft mild steel crap. Replace them on the turret first. They will mushroom on you.
                    * The handwheel key (small dowel) on the tailstock had to be redone after about 5 years due to not enough engagement.
                    * The plastic on the Emergency Stop button is crumbly.
                    * Be careful when cleaning the painted on degree markers on the compound. They can be smudged.
                    * Clean out the gear boxes BEFORE turning it on... Mine had a teaspoon full of sand in the headstock gearbox.

                    The Good
                    * It was VERY well adjusted when I uncrated it. It cuts clean, straight, and screws have almost no backlash.
                    * It was preserved well with cosmoline and wax paper. It took about 6 hours to get it all off. Almost overkill.
                    * It was crated well and with forethought.
                    * Reliable mechanically if you understand basic limitations of typical machine tools.
                    * The best $1999 I've ever spent on a machine tool. No. It isn't a Monarch or a Hardinge, but I do most of my tool building with this machine.

                    Recommendation: Go to the Grizzly site and view the manual that matches your lathe, then decide for yourself.

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                    • #25
                      I agree with everything you said except going to Grizzly to look at the manuals, while most of the basic parts are the same Grizzly does have most of these machines built to their specs (they do a huge enough sales volume to be able to do this) and some of the parts are different enough to just make them different from most others. Most of these differences appear to be merely cosmetic but it makes it difficult to impossible to determine if parts from a particular model will or will not fit a machine from a different seller. Much better to use Enco or one of the other sellers who have machines that are exact copies, these are easy to find by simply comparing them model for model. For instance my HF 14x40 is IDENTICAL to my buddy's Enco right down to the control levers, buttons and knobs while the similar Grizzly version appears to have a much different headstock arrangement with somewhat different looking control levers and knobs. These are much more than just appearance since even the locations are different but looking past all that I can clearly see the same basic lathe residing under some different sheetmetal housing the controls on the Grizzly but who knows what else they may or may not have changed?

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                      • #26
                        The last shop that I worked in before retiring had all Asian machines with the exception of a couple of Bridgeport mills. My corner of the shop had two knee mills, a Bridgeport, and an Enco. It also had an Acra 16 x 60 lathe. Materials were mostly 316 stainless and/or UHMW. I had no problem with the machines holding .0005 tolerance on a daily basis. In fact, Since the Bridgeport was an older machine than the Enco, Imho, the Enco was the superior of the two.
                        “I know lots of people who are educated far beyond their intelligence”

                        Lewis Grizzard

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                        • #27
                          Many older Taiwan made machines were very good & I've heard Bridgeport is now made in Taiwan in the same factory as Acra? & one other. I have an Enterprise lathe made in India & an Enco (pre MSC) Mill made by Seiki. I think the quality fell when china got in the game & is getting better. I don't have Grizzly tools but PapaGriz is a world class shooter & started Bullets.com which is the same call center for both & I can vouch for outstanding service which I can't for HF. With HF test it when you get home because your on your own which isn't the end of the world if the price is right. With all machines new, old American or not I try to track down the history, maker, parts manual as support will cease on all. It's like Bridgeport, there are better mills but they made enough I'll never worry about finding parts.

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                          • #28
                            In this hobby the trick is to make most needed parts! Electrics are almost always just off the shelf items so those parts are always available, I'm sure there are some parts for these machines that it wouldn't be practical to make but by the time ways and the gear box is worn out the thing will have paid for itself many times over for the initial investment. Come to think of it although mine was bought with hobby work and repair for my own farm machinery in mind it has already paid for itself and then some from the part time work I have been doing for the farmers, loggers and mining machinery. The darn thing could fall apart into a heap of scrap metal like some people warned me it would do because of where it came from and it wouldn't owe me a thing! I have run the dickens out of this thing for about 6 years now with only two broken parts and both of those were no fault of the machine. The main F/R control lever got broken off when I accidentally backed my truck into it but I welded that, then there was the Jib wedge that I broke due to inattention on my part while reassembling the cross slide after repainting but that doesn't count either. I have nothing but praise for this lathe, it has done everything I have asked of it without so much as a whimper and all it cost me sales tax and all was just a tad over $2700 after the 20% off coupon (the new Enco of the same model is over $5939 plus freight in the sales flyer right now). This thing has every indication that it will probably last a lot longer, most likely longer than I will need it so I have good reason to be pleased with the darn thing!
                            Last edited by radkins; 03-22-2015, 06:09 PM.

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                            • #29
                              Horizontal/vertical bandsaws may be a different story.
                              I had one that was somewhere around 5x6 from HF that burned up the motor and the drive gear assembly was
                              nowhere near the quality of the Jet, that I replaced it with. The motor is also far superior.
                              I hated the HF and really like my Jet.
                              I've also noticed better quality from Taiwanese products, than mainland China products.

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                              • #30
                                Those saws are a gamble with the odds against you! For a while there was a really good Chinese saw available, the Clarke sold by Northern Tool, Tractor Supply and a few other places was darn good and mine is 16 years old with the motor burning out just last year. I had a brand new GE 1 1/2 HP three phase motor so I installed that and connected it to the RPC setup along with my lathe, mill and 10" pedestal grinder. Like the lathe this saw has been used mercilessly but I have had zero trouble with it until the motor failed. I have been told these saws are no longer available but then I have not looked for them so maybe they are but for sure the HF version has a bad reputation, but then it is not an identical copy of the Jet either.

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