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Cental machinery Lathe/Mill combo?


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  #1  
Old 12-21-2012, 11:55:05 AM
1936JDB 1936JDB is offline
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Default Cental machinery Lathe/Mill combo?

I expessed intrest in a friends lathe/mill combo unit awhile back, and he says the the time has come to sell. It is a Harbor freight, central machinery. I didn't measure the bed, but it appears to be about 30". and I also neglected to check the mill spindle style. However it comes with a bucket of tooling, and cutters. It is by his own admission, a but sloppy. But it was his primary machine for his gunsmith buisness for years. The asking price is $450. Opinions?
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Old 12-21-2012, 02:21:58 PM
Jamesk815 Jamesk815 is offline
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Default Re: Cental machinery Lathe/Mill combo?

Let it sell to someone else , most people are disappointed in them after having one for a while.
You would be better off with a small lathe , and add a milling attachment to it.
I have looked at the combo lathe mill at Harbor-Freight and they are sloppy junk to start with when new. [ just my opinion ]
jamesk815
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Old 12-21-2012, 02:28:48 PM
Ed Sparks Ed Sparks is offline
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Default Re: Cental machinery Lathe/Mill combo?

The chinese machinery is not built to very tight tolerances. It all depends on how precise you want your work to be.
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Old 12-21-2012, 02:31:26 PM
1936JDB 1936JDB is offline
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Default Re: Cental machinery Lathe/Mill combo?

I would call it a hobby machine for me. I doubt I do much high tolerance work. Although a machinist friend thinks that he can tighten it up a bit.
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Old 12-21-2012, 08:37:56 PM
Mike Dennis Mike Dennis is offline
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Default Re: Cental machinery Lathe/Mill combo?

Don't EVER expect to buy any replacement parts when needed!!

MUCH better to buy a used, heavily worn but quality machine, IMHO. A worn out American lathe will outperform a brand new Chinese one.

I paid $250 for an old Bridgeport WITH DRO! Spent a bit more on my Clausing lathe, $1500 IIRC, but it was in great shape. Parts are available even if a bit expensive. Both machines have served me very well and more than paid for themselves!

Do not shy away from 3 phase - a rotary converter is easy to make and not very expensive either. I will be happy to guide you or others through that process.
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Old 12-21-2012, 08:45:52 PM
1936JDB 1936JDB is offline
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Default Re: Cental machinery Lathe/Mill combo?

Well, part of the trouble is, I've been on the lookout for ages and haven't found anything anywhere near local, for anywhere near this price. Except for a little atlas that a "friend" found before me for $400, and wants to sell to me for $750
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Old 12-21-2012, 09:08:07 PM
chrsbrbnk chrsbrbnk is offline
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Default Re: Cental machinery Lathe/Mill combo?

I would try to get something with an R-8 collet system for the mill spindle and a D cam lock lathe spindle. There is a ton of over priced beat to crap us made stuff and since virtually no machines have been made in the us for this decade maybe 2, on the other hand crappy Chinese isn't any better. best bet would be to find a tool and die maker to go with you to check it out ( they have alot more free time on their hands now that everything is manufactured overseas)
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Old 12-21-2012, 09:33:25 PM
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oldtractors oldtractors is offline
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Default Re: Cental machinery Lathe/Mill combo?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Dennis View Post
Don't EVER expect to buy any replacement parts when needed!!

MUCH better to buy a used, heavily worn but quality machine, IMHO. A worn out American lathe will outperform a brand new Chinese one.

I paid $250 for an old Bridgeport WITH DRO! Spent a bit more on my Clausing lathe, $1500 IIRC, but it was in great shape. Parts are available even if a bit expensive. Both machines have served me very well and more than paid for themselves!

Do not shy away from 3 phase - a rotary converter is easy to make and not very expensive either. I will be happy to guide you or others through that process.
That is a bunch of crap. Worn out machines are worn out. It doesn't matter who made it. I assure you that the new HF lathe I purchased serveral years ago is 1000 times the late that my old worn out Atlas lathe was. Parts and support is available.

You are lucky to find a Bridgeport for $250. If you find another, let me know. All I have seen are worn out rustbuckets for $1000+

That said, any of the lathe/mill combos are pretty light duty and cheap. They are also unhandy to use because you have to keep tearing down setups. It is usually much better to get separate mills and lathes.
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Last edited by oldtractors; 12-22-2012 at 10:55:31 AM.
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Old 12-21-2012, 10:22:21 PM
John C Walker John C Walker is offline
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Default Re: Cental machinery Lathe/Mill combo?

A hf lathe/mill combo is a lot like a saw with no teeth. It will go around alright but not do much. On the other hand owning one is a positive way to find out you don't want to own one.
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Old 12-22-2012, 10:47:27 AM
topmach topmach is offline
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Default Re: Cental machinery Lathe/Mill combo?

Save your money. The agrivation factor is too high on the HF machines. I bought my second Bridgeport for $70, put $300 into it, and have a great machine. There are lots of good lathes out there. I personally recomend Monarch, but not their EE series. Never able to push a EE more than .050 cut depth. My older CK, CU and N will take cuts up to .250 deep, with out problems.

The machine is the smalles investment. Machines without tooling are cheap. Start by talking to machinists in the area and see what they have at work that is old. Sometimes they sell them for scrap.

Good Luck, Josh
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Old 12-22-2012, 03:23:28 PM
Richard W. Richard W. is offline
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Default Re: Cental machinery Lathe/Mill combo?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Dennis View Post

MUCH better to buy a used, heavily worn but quality machine, IMHO. A worn out American lathe will outperform a brand new Chinese one.
A worn out machine is just that, and either should be rebuilt by a machine tool rebuilder or scrapped out. Sure you can make heavy cuts with a worn out old machine, but you have to play around to get something to size and straight. Doesn't matter if its a lathe or mill.

On a lathe you will either step out the tool on a machine thats cuts a taper and emery cloth to size or live with tapered bores and shafts.

On a mill you get the same thing only any long part will show a crown in the cut with a straight edge held against it.

It all depends on the precision you require for what you are doing. If you can get by with a worn out machine then fine get one. If you need higher precision then you reduce the frustation factor by getting a new or near new lathe or mill. If you are a novice at metal working then get new or you will just get fustrated because you don't have the knowledge to do the work arounds to make good parts on old iron.

I hear hear the rants about chinese iron and its a matter of what you are willing to pay. If you spend the money you can get some really nice imported lathes and mills. 3 in 1 machines are built for a different market than the better built imported iron. 3 in 1 machines don't do anything well.

I would take a new chinese mill over a worn out Bridgeport mill any day. Same goes for a lathe.

Richard W.

---------- Post added at 12:23 PM ---------- Previous post was at 12:10 PM ----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by 1936JDB View Post
I expessed intrest in a friends lathe/mill combo unit awhile back, and he says the the time has come to sell. It is a Harbor freight, central machinery. I didn't measure the bed, but it appears to be about 30". and I also neglected to check the mill spindle style. However it comes with a bucket of tooling, and cutters. It is by his own admission, a but sloppy. But it was his primary machine for his gunsmith buisness for years. The asking price is $450. Opinions?
That is a hard question to answer, since the answer would be different depending on who was asking the question. If you are one of those once or twice a year user it may be fine for you. I think for most people though it wouldn't be a good idea. Since they don't do anything well. I am surprised that a gun smith stuck with it for so long. Usually they go for a 9" or 10" South bend lathe and a small bench knee mill.

Richard W.
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  #12  
Old 12-22-2012, 10:11:18 PM
beezerbill beezerbill is offline
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Default Re: Cental machinery Lathe/Mill combo?

Hello,

You say it belongs to a friend of yours. Is he enough of a friend to help you run it and work through all of it's idiosyncrasies and nuances that are a result of it's age? Will he give you tips and advice on particular setups with the machine? On where to find tooling? If he used it for gunsmithing then he must be quite familiar with the machine and using it for tricky setups. If you decide it is not the machine for you, will he buy it back or help you re-sell it? If the answer to the above is yes, then it might be an OK machine. If not, then you might want more conventional machines.

I agree that a new name-brand chinese machine can work well but stay away from the less well-known brands. And be aware that some (most?) of them have pretty soft ways and can wear out rapidly if not meticulously lubricated and cleaned. I would not advise a used one unless you know it's history and know that it has been taken care of. And do inspect the ways for wear. Scoring of the soft cast iron is immediately evident and a little work with a straightedge and some gear blue (or even a flashlight) will indicate badly worn ways. You will also have to get used to the stomach-churning cheezy plastic knobs and even plastic change gears some of these machines have.

Mostly, if you are serious about getting a machine, make a decision and get something! I have seen people (true enthusiasts, not just dabblers) vacillate for years on a particular type of machine before actually getting it, and losing good machining time as a result.
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Old 12-22-2012, 10:49:57 PM
Jamesk815 Jamesk815 is offline
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Default Re: Cental machinery Lathe/Mill combo?

1936jdb
Call or go on line to Lost Creek Machine in Ottawa Il.They have a show room full of lathes and mills all price ranges , plus tons of new and used tooling.
They can fix you up.
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Old 12-22-2012, 10:58:26 PM
1936JDB 1936JDB is offline
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Default Re: Cental machinery Lathe/Mill combo?

Thanks everyone. I think I'm going to let it go by, unless he want to throw in a couple k of 223 ammo or something.
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