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Old 02-28-2013, 06:08 AM
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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?
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Old 02-28-2013, 07:01 AM
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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.

Bob
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Old 02-28-2013, 07:21 AM
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"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
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Old 02-28-2013, 07:32 AM
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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.
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Old 02-28-2013, 08:23 AM
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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...

Russ
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Old 02-28-2013, 08:36 AM
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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..


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Old 02-28-2013, 11:17 AM
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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
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Old 02-28-2013, 04:08 PM
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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.
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Old 02-28-2013, 04:24 PM
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Harbor freight sold very reasonable units.
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Old 02-28-2013, 04:25 PM
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As usual, lots of great help on this site, thanks guys!
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Old 02-28-2013, 04:38 PM
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Originally Posted by spinn View Post
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.
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Old 02-28-2013, 04:57 PM
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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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