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Metal Lathe


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  #1  
Old 11-25-2012, 10:14:47 AM
Mike Unwin Mike Unwin is offline
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Default Metal Lathe

Morning All,
Sort of a engine question,but if you did not own a metal lathe,what would you buy ? I would be looking for a used one just for general hobby work,been a lot of years since I stood in front of a lathe.So I will have to start all over again,mostly all the retired guys around here are gone now.So what are the opinions out there ? Probably going to study over the winter and buy in the spring.Thanks Mike
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  #2  
Old 11-25-2012, 10:31:43 AM
Max Cox Max Cox is offline
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Default Re: Metal Lathe

You need to ask yourself what size of stuff are you going to be working on. Try to get something with all the change gears. Being able to cut the old thread sizes is sure handy, esp. 1/2" x 12. Also the bigger lathes frequently have 240v 3-phase motors. 3-phase isn't always available in residential areas.

That's my thoughts. Max
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  #3  
Old 11-25-2012, 10:59:40 AM
73eldo 73eldo is offline
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Default Re: Metal Lathe

Do you have any projects in mind that would dictate a size? The very small ones seem to be in higher demand and less common . By small I am thinking 5 x 20 or smaller. These are the size you could move on and off your bench. Logan, Atlas / Craftsman 10 x 30 ish are fairly common. Those came with and without quick change transmissions. Also were old enough that sometimes you saw them being originally designed to be run off a line shaft. A little later I think they went to a 12 x 36 which is what I have. Once you get over that size you are then looking at stuff like Clausing and South Bend and those are often the ones you often find as 3 phase and they are difficult to move just because of the size and weight.

Finding one that comes with a decent assortment of tooling is a good thing. It does not seem that important at first but when you go out buying that stuff a $10-50 each it adds up quick. Same thing with the power/motors you figure you will get a 3phase one and just get a new motor but they often have somewhat unique motors that are pretty expensive to replace.

For hobby use I dont find the quick change gearbox being critical. Unless I have a special project I set the feed to run fairly slow for a finish cut and feed the rough cuts by hand.
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  #4  
Old 11-25-2012, 11:38:48 AM
dieselguru dieselguru is offline
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Default Re: Metal Lathe

Try to get something with all the change gears. Being able to cut the old thread sizes is sure handy, esp. 1/2" x 12.

That's my thoughts. Max[/QUOTE]

dont mean to hijack anyones post but im also looking at small lathes and im curious will the old craftsman,atlas lathes cut threads ?
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  #5  
Old 11-25-2012, 12:17:23 PM
beezerbill beezerbill is offline
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Default Re: Metal Lathe

Hi,

My first lathe was a 6 inch Atlas that got me through numerous small engine projects (Steuart steam engines and the like) as well as lots of "real" engine repair work like turning bushings and valve guides, making odd studs and fittings, etc. I also made lots of custom pullers for the various press and taper fits I run in to. I even fitted it with a toolpost grinder based on a Dremel tool for dressing up the ends of old British motorcycle transmission shafts for re-bushing. The Atlas was well-tooled when I got it (back in high school about 40 years ago) and I still use it today. My next lathe was a 10 inch South bend; one of the last models actually made in this country. It does everything the Atlas could, but bigger. It could handle the roughly 8 inch flywheels on my Steuart Victoria twin model as well as lots of larger "maintenence" projects such as armature turning, as well as tool making. This lathe has a quick-change box and I have supplimented it with a set of aftermarket gears for metric threading. The only thread I have difficulty is the pesky 19 thread per inch British pipe thread. Lathe number three is a Monarch 10EE but that is a whole different scale of machine, and is mostly for earning money.

Whatever you decide to get, be sure it is in good shape. Look for wear in the ways, and especially check out the compound slide for wear if it has one. If the lathe is all gummed up from sitting, get the seller to free everything up so you can determine the play in any of the gibs. Run all the slides to the end of their travel and feel the play, and compare to the play in the middle of the travel. That will give an indication of wear in the ways. If there is lots of rust, or scoring on the ways or lots of chips jammed in the lead screws, stay away from the lathe unless you wish to undertake it as a restoration project. Getting a lathe that is fully - or mostly - tooled is also a real good idea.

Some people have had pretty good luck with the Asian imports but consider these with caution. Some are better than others; stick to a name brand. If you do go the Asian route, consider only a new one, and then treat it very well. My experience with these (the one Jet drill-mill I got new and other machines I have seen) is that the ways are of soft iron and very easily scored. The one advantage with the Asian route is that you start with a new machine with no wear, and if you use it carefully it will give you good results.

You will have to get over some of the gut-wrenching first impressions of an Asian machine such as the plastic change gears and cheezy stamped-on-tin feducial marks on the dials, and all the other plastic and pot metal parts. If it helps you could think of the Asian machine as a stepping stone to a real machine. Also, the Asian machines often come with really bad cheap motors that buzz like crazy and telegraph that buzz into your workpiece; at a minimum you would want to pull the motor and have the armature balanced, and perhaps if you can (if it is a simple induction motor) reduce the motor voltage so it doesn't run hard into saturation, which also causes buzz.

Let us all know what you decide - keep us posted!
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  #6  
Old 11-25-2012, 12:42:02 PM
Mike Unwin Mike Unwin is offline
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Default Re: Metal Lathe

Thanks I will print all the info,just as I retired this summer my brother in laws Father and my friend past away, I would have asked him to go with me shopping.I see lots for sale and agree a older USA built machine is probably the way to go.As far as size something big enough to swing the type of parts for a hit and miss engine and garden tractor stuff.I have 220 volt outlet in my garage now,for equipment a Lincoln AC/DC welder,4 x 6 metal band saw,upright drill press,and a decent bench grinder along with lot,s of hand tools.Won,t be till the spring but glad for all the input.Cheers and Thanks Mike
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  #7  
Old 11-27-2012, 11:08:34 PM
labentbuilder labentbuilder is offline
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Default Re: Metal Lathe

Mike
I have had a Gizzly lathe for over 15 years. They are made in China, not too keen on that, but it's been a good lathe and does everything I've needed it to do. It has a 12" swing with a gap bed and 36" between centers. Payed $2500 or it. Had purchased an old used South Bend belt dive lathe for the same price and the motor overheated. So I returned it and got the Gizzly which is gear driveand cut's any thread. Denny
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Old 11-28-2012, 02:12:57 AM
Dave Olson Dave Olson is offline
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Default Re: Metal Lathe

I spent a long time looking for a good used lathe that fit my needs and budget. I finally decided on a new Kent 13 X 40. It is 220V single phase which was a major factor. It came well equipped for $4750 plus freight. I have made a few chips and thus far have no complaints. The dealer I got it from claims to have a bunch out in the community including in several schools.
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  #9  
Old 11-28-2012, 07:04:08 AM
dalmatiangirl61 dalmatiangirl61 is offline
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Default Re: Metal Lathe

I bought a well tooled Atlas 12x36 about 25 years ago, cost was $1000 IIRC, still have it today.

I've had, and still have bigger and better machines, but the Atlas is still my favorite
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Old 11-28-2012, 08:33:21 AM
tharper tharper is offline
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Default Re: Metal Lathe

Several 2 years ago I picked-up this 13"X5' Southbend. Its was on the local Craigslist. $1000.00 got me the lathe, chucks, collets, faceplate etc. plus a new single phase 220 motor as part of the deal. After fabricating an adaptor plate and installing a new reversing switch the installation was easy.

Don't overlook the old machines - lot of value for the dollar!

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Old 11-28-2012, 10:02:55 AM
Mike Unwin Mike Unwin is offline
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Default Re: Metal Lathe

Thanks so much everyone for talking the time to help out,my brother in laws Dad had a Standard Modern,and he seemed to like it.I will keep all the info. Cheers Mike
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  #12  
Old 11-28-2012, 11:22:37 AM
Mike Dennis Mike Dennis is offline
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Default Re: Metal Lathe

I have a Clausing 6913. A touch bigger than I really wanted but the price was fair, condition excellent and it does small work just fine. I find a clutch type lathe head and shoulders above one where you start and stop the motor.

3 phase often makes them cheaper to buy and SOME claim makes a machine run smoother. I built a rotary phase converter for it and my Bridgeport; the thing runs like a champ. Not expensive or difficult to do so NEVER let three phase discourage a purchase!!!!
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Old 11-28-2012, 06:16:56 PM
Joe K Joe K is offline
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Default Re: Metal Lathe

Shepard, Lathe & Co. 14x36 7 foot bed. About Circa 1860



Joe K
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  #14  
Old 11-28-2012, 09:41:04 PM
Mike Unwin Mike Unwin is offline
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Default Re: Metal Lathe

I do remember him talking about a convertor he built.
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  #15  
Old 11-28-2012, 10:16:49 PM
Craig M. Strader Sr. Craig M. Strader Sr. is offline
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Default Re: Metal Lathe

Lots of good machines out there to be had. I started out with a Southbend Heavy 10. It's a very good machine, I've made a few model hit and miss engines and countless parts for other projects. Hope the new lathe that I just ordered Monday from Enco serves me just as well. It's a 13"x40", 3hp, 220v single phase unit with a DRO and weighing in at 2000 lbs. Just in time for Christmas!!! Good luck in finding that lathe, maybe it will find you!

Craig
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  #16  
Old 11-29-2012, 09:03:52 AM
Mike Unwin Mike Unwin is offline
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Default Re: Metal Lathe

A friend of mine just bought one one these....http://www.busybeetools.com/products...P-CRAFTEX.html
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  #17  
Old 11-29-2012, 02:26:19 PM
Vic Neff Vic Neff is offline
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Default Re: Metal Lathe

I know nothing, but have an opinion on most everything.
For a hobbiest a great lathe is a Southbend 9" Model A"( Google it.)
For the following reasons;
Availability; may be the most common lathe around.
Ebay is chock full of parts, accessories, and tools.
A good one can be found for under $1000.

Quality; good , simple , American excellence.
Quality material, there are 1000's of these in use
that are over 70 years old, with only cleaning
and lubrication being required in that time.

In my opinion, it's biggest shortcoming is the rather small (.75")
Bore through the spindle.

But don't forget, I know nothing.
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Old 12-21-2012, 11:45:05 AM
Mike Unwin Mike Unwin is offline
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Default Re: Metal Lathe

Well she is home after a lot of searching and driving I brought home my lathe yesterday just ahead of the freezing rain.first one I looked at was a Atlas 10f but the babbit bearing worried me as the oil leaked out fast and the parts were made of strange metal Zamack I think it was called and some said there could be trouble for a new guy.A deal on a large Standard Modern fell apart when after listing he wanted more money. Though it was a long way off I bought a Logan made Ward 700.It was it great shape and ran well,before buying I watch some real good videos on You Tube.I have ordered a manual for it from Ozark Wood Worker and the seller was very helpful.So it has begun a long process to obtain experience and tooling.Thank You all so much for your input. Cheers Mike
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Old 12-21-2012, 11:55:58 AM
John Burns John Burns is offline
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Default Re: Metal Lathe

My feet have spent a many hours standing in front of a South Bend lathe, for the money, they are hard to beat!

John
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Old 12-21-2012, 04:19:57 PM
Mike Unwin Mike Unwin is offline
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Default Re: Metal Lathe

For sure that,s one of the most popular lathes,but the one I was looking at was a bit run down for a new guy,the Logan has roller bearings.To start out I was looking for some thing ready to run and this one seems in great shape.Thanks for looking.Mike
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