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Old 07-25-2011, 04:42 PM
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Hey Randy,
Originally Posted by NEW INTERIORS
And If your going to be using this machine a lot at home... I wouldn't buy anything smaller then A 12x36.... You will soon realize after you have that little one that you just wasted your money.... The swing and the size shaft you can chuck up... Will mean a lot later..... A lathe is like a shop..... It is never big enough..
Lol!, Got it. So you, blwn31 and oldred are in agreement that the wise investment would be to buy a lathe that is larger than the 9x20 right off the bat. The price difference, of course, may be a factor for many who are just starting out as hobbyists.

Hey oldred,
Originally Posted by oldred
There are several models of 12x36 lathes and both HF and Enco have carried identical models at times, HF does not even sell a 12x36 anymore. As far as HF, Enco and some others having identical models this is a well known fact and going to the Yahoo group for these lathes will shed a lot of light on why they are the same, yours very well could have been very different than the one you saw at HF but even other Enco models can be different. HF shop machinery is not the same as the junk they sell in the stores and is imported from the same factories as the Enco, Birmingham, etc and they are the same as long as they are the same basic models. An example is the 14x40 I mentioned,

Except for the color this is the same machine,

as this one

The prices are much the same anymore and the Enco in the link is priced with a lot of accessories and a DRO otherwise it is the same machine as the HF and the YCL1440. That is also the HF model that had the Birmingham manual with it for a while. These are good machines and well built for a Chinese import but they are not the quality of old American or European iron if a good domestic lathe can be found. However just as in the case of that popular 9x20 these particular models are the same whether from HF or Enco but with HF's pricing being nearly the same as Enco it would make little sense to buy from HF with their lack of after-sale support. The Birmingham certainly has a much prettier paint job and they have absolutely excellent customer support while the Enco and HF machines are plain looking and the HF outfit has next to no customer support otherwise they are the same basic machine.
Thank you so much for taking the time to show the similarities. A rookie like me would have immediately fallen for the "expensive must be better" mentality.

Originally Posted by cleanspeed1
If there was an older machine available used, what would you guys recommend? Is there a manufacturer that stands out?
Yes, these things would be good to know. If there are older machines with good reliability and the replacement parts are affordable and easily accessible, I wouldn't mind looking into one of those at all.

Hey Keith,
Originally Posted by blwn31
My first lathe is/was an 1934 Southbend 9x18 flat belt machine, I found out it was way to small even for my hobby Hot Rod stuff. I was able to buy a Clausing 12x36 variable speed with an 8 inch 3 jaw and a 12 in 4 jaw, it also had an Aloris AXA tool post holder setup for $1500. I know it's a lot of money, but if I had to pay someone to make all the parts and pieces I've made, I would have shelled out a lot more money. My lathe is a good quality lathe with flame hardened ways and tapered bearings in the headstock. Flame hardened ways a just that, hardened. Not all machines are. This give the machine a better chance of staying accurate (less wear) as it is less prone to wear if kept lubed. I would not recommend anything smaller. Once you start to use it, it's never large enough. I am finding I could use a larger lathe, but that's not happening. I am not sorry for spending that money. Just watch Craigslist. When you are inspecting a lathe, look at the ways, especially near the headstock (as this is where most work is done) to see if the machine has been abused/worn out. You can see if the ways are really worn as they will get a pretty good ridge on the V side of the machine. This will make parts that are longer, have a slight taper in that area as compared to the other end near the tailstock. I will say this, if tool room accuracy is not required an older American made or even Taiwanese machine that has been used a lot will serve you well.

I have been keeping a casual eye for anything that turns up on the local Craigslist. Most of the machines I see lately are from shops that are going out of business and they are very large and expensive. I think $1500 is doable for my budget, but $5000+ requires serious justification at this point in life for me. Of course, if I start making money with it, I'd dish out the moola in a heart beat.

Hey Russ,
Originally Posted by S10xGN
I've got a pre-war Atlas 10x42 that I got from my dad when he sold his hardware store back in the 80's. Great machine! You can occasionally find these on E-Bay in pretty good shape.

Atlas Search

Sweet! I look into those as well. Are replacement parts easy to find for it?

Hey cal1320,
Originally Posted by cal1320
I'll throw in my $.02 on the 3 in 1 option. Oldred is right about 3 in 1's being a compromise. But of the Mill/Drill/Lathe functions, the lathe is the best function of them. The bed is decent length and there is enough area to turn larger items. There are larger chucks available also. As far as accuracy, they can be very good when they're set up properly. Factory dials are usually in metric, and useless. I've mounted digital calipers to the table with very good results. The mill is useful, but you are very limited in height adjustment and table size/travel. I've used my MDL many many times and for a lot of us, there isn't enough room or demand to have separate machines.
Good to know. Some members may have no choice but to buy a 3-in-1.

Originally Posted by cal1320
Check this site out for machine tool info.
So glad you mentioned this forum. Tons of info. Suddenly there is too much to read!

Thank you guys for the very helpful tips and pointers. If you guys have anything else to add, please do so as I am sure cleanspeed1, myself and others will find it very helpful.
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