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Richiehd 02-28-2013 06:08 AM

Help with Lathe
I am looking for a metal lathe to put in my garage at home. I think I want used, but not sure what brand etc. to look for. Im looking to be able to make and modify small pieces. The biggest I might need would be to hold a 4 inch piston. Any ideas out there? Some of you guys must have a lathe in your garage. Where should I look other than Ebay?

35terraplane 02-28-2013 07:01 AM

You can sometimes find them on Craigs list, but If it were me go to a used machine dealer. you might pay a tad more but you will get a checked out machine, I would also get a machneist lathe.


Mr. P-Body 02-28-2013 07:21 AM

"Jet" is a very popular "home size" unit.

I've seen some old Craftsman (yes, from Sears) units floating around, too. I agree, check with a "used machine" supply house. Another option is to look in the Dayton, Ohio area, as that's been termed a "Mecca for used machinery".

Get at least an 8" chuck. If you can find one that's NOT "3-phase", it will be easier to install at home. "Phase converters" are available, but a bit pricy...

Jim 02-28-2013 07:32 AM

Logan, Southbend, Atlas (Craftsman), LeBlond, Sheldon, Jet are all great brands of toolroom lathes. Avoid turret lathes and special purpose lathes.

I would rather have an older bench lathe than the newer hobby China junk. Better bearings and lasting tollerances.

S10xGN 02-28-2013 08:23 AM

I've got a pre-war Atlas 12x36 with a 6" 3-jaw chuck that does just about anything I need. My only "complaint" would be the inner diameter of the headstock is too small to allow anything long to pass through it. I also upgraded the 1/4 HP motor to a 3/4 HP. I've seen these on E-Bay for around $1k in good shape...


OneMoreTime 02-28-2013 08:36 AM

Grizzly machine makes some decent tooling..It is import but works fine. Check on pricing of new equipment to get some ideas of what those go for. Sometimes a big lathe is cheaper to buy as the smaller "hobby size" are in great demand when looking at used.
I would like to have one big enough to turn a crank in myself. Always can do smaller things..


69lm69gp 02-28-2013 11:17 AM

mrpete222 (aka Tubalcain) on youtube has some videos on what to look for when buying a lathe as well as how to run them. I suggest you start there.

I have a 1936 9" South Bend myself. South Bends are very common and Practical Machinist as a fourm section for them with a lot of usefull information on fixing them and maintaining them. The PM fourm also has sections for other makes as well depending on what you find.

Tubalcain Youtube link

1971BB427 02-28-2013 04:08 PM

South Bend is a favorite of mine, and Grizzly bought South Bend a few years back so they could gain access to their technology for the Grizzly brand lathes. For a new lathe the Grizzly is a very nice lathe too.
Be sure whatever you get has at least a 3/4" bore, but a 1" is even better! The advantage of a used lathe is you can usually get a lot of extra tooling with it for the same price. One of the disadvantages of buying from a used tool peddler is they will pull all the extra tooling and then sell it back to you as extras. I'd rather buy from a private party and take someone along who's got a good background or knowledge in lathes to make sure you get a good one. Then you can get it before a middle man pulls the extra tooling out.

spinn 02-28-2013 04:24 PM

Harbor freight sold very reasonable units.

Richiehd 02-28-2013 04:25 PM

As usual, lots of great help on this site, thanks guys!

1971BB427 02-28-2013 04:38 PM


Originally Posted by spinn (Post 1651782)
Harbor freight sold very reasonable units.

Reasonable, but sloppy. I have one that's a benchtop unit, and it isn't any good for any precise work. Cheap Chinese junk, but I bought it for roughing out small parts and still had to tighten it up, even for rough work.

spinn 02-28-2013 04:57 PM

1 Attachment(s)
I got mine for 300. Never had any problems, and it works like any other. China is kicking butt.

Does it hold an alignment like a real lathe. No , but job to job is fine.

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