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Old 02-13-2008, 05:40 PM
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Need Some Feed Back On A Lathe.

I'm looking into buying a metal lathe.I have looked at the Jet,Birmingham,and the grizzly, and also the smithy.I will be glad to here all feed back,Maybe someone will know which one is best to buy,I have been around a lot of them but never had one,Need one for the work I do.
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Old 02-13-2008, 07:29 PM
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I got a Smithy (about 3.5 ft bed)with the drill press mounted on it , I don't use it for precision work, but it comes in handy a lot. I think the precison on it is something to be desired.

I got a Jet like in the picture, but I haven't hooked it (hard wired) up yet other than just temporarily using it once to polish a crank. I think it would be pretty precise on the dials, and it just appears to be a well built machine.

My cousin has a Grizzly, and he uses it to make gun barrels, so I would think it is a pretty good machine.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NEW INTERIORS
I'm looking into buying a metal lathe.I have looked at the Jet,Birmingham,and the grizzly, and also the smithy.I will be glad to here all feed back,Maybe someone will know which one is best to buy,I have been around a lot of them but never had one,Need one for the work I do.

Last edited by dgcantrellsr; 02-13-2008 at 07:31 PM. Reason: add comment
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Old 02-13-2008, 07:54 PM
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Thanks alot.
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Old 02-13-2008, 09:05 PM
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DON'T even think of buying that little 9X20 Jet/Grizzly/Enco/HF/several other brands of the same POS!! Of the bunch the Jet is the most expensive at about $1200 and the the Harbor Freight version of the same exact lathe (they are all the same one just a different color) is $699 and includes more attachments. I own the JET version and that damn thing would not be worth it's weight as a boat anchor!! My big lathe is about 40 years and old solid as a rock but I thought I could use a small one for various projects so I bought the Jet thinking they had a decent reputation, total waste of money!

BTW did I say that it is JUNK!!
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Old 02-13-2008, 09:48 PM
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I want a 12x36 or a 13x40.No 9x20!!!
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Old 02-14-2008, 12:47 AM
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You can find older american made lathes on craigslist or in the paper, many times for less money.
I have a 1959 Sheldon 13x40 and it still works pretty good.
I have worked with an older Jet a few times, and I still like the way the Sheldon feels.

I had a small HF benchtop lathe, and a small HF mill for a while when I first opened the shop, those tools were slow, had no sack, were unable to hold any tolerance below +-.010 at all. They were really only good for cutting aluminum, machining steel was an exercise in frustration. There were no adjustments for the feed nuts, and the way adjustments were not very effective at all.

Later, mikey
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Old 02-14-2008, 05:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NEW INTERIORS
I want a 12x36 or a 13x40.No 9x20!!!

I realize you are looking for a bigger lathe but I am so P.O. at that "thing" I bought I just wanted to vent a little frustration. Thinking that because it was a jet it would be decent quality I ordered it sight unseen except for a few pics, should have known better. After shipping, even the "deal" I got on that one cost me over $1200 and after it arrived I saw it was the exact same thing that the local HF had on the floor for $699 with more accessories! Kind of changed my mind about Jet. Mikey, was your's the 9X20? If you could hold +/- .010 with your's you must have gotten a good one and that 4 jaw chuck that comes with it, is that not a "great" piece of work? I had to make a new set of jaws for mine before it was really useful, kind of soft but at least they work. For $1200 I did not expect a real precision tool, but this? And the fact that everyplace else has the exact same machine for about half as much money just adds insult to the deal. I agree that shopping around for an older lathe is the way to go because some of the older machines can be had for less than the price of a new imported one and if it is in decent shape it will last a life time. Most of the big used machines you find are likely to be three phase but that just makes them cheaper and using a cheap phase converter lets you run them on 220 single phase. The cheaper phase converters will only yield 2/3 of the rated power but I ran mine on three phase full power at the shop for years and now that I have it on the converter I don't even notice the difference, a better rotary phase converter will give you full power. Look for a good used older lathe and you will probably save a lot of money and for sure in the long run you will be glad you did.



Don't have anything to do with this thread but here is a little something about older equipment, I was in a small shop in TN. a few years ago with a buddy of mine who was looking to buy some mine equipment. In this guys rebuild shop they had a HUGE horizontal press, the ram was like 16" in diameter, this thing weighed tons and when I watched them run the thing it was bending 2"X3" flat bar like it was spaghetti! The manufacturers name and casting date were cast into the side of the frame, I don't remember the name but it was built in Ohio in 1858! It was originally steam powered but these guys had cobbled an electric motor on it and used it every day, the original steam power drive was scrapped out back of the shop and looked sort of like a tiny steam locomotive standing vertically, it is a shame that something like old piece of history was being abused in the manner it was and I have wondered what has become of it but I am willing to bet they still use it.

Last edited by oldred; 02-14-2008 at 05:41 AM.
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Old 02-14-2008, 06:17 AM
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I would check out Grizzly..Saying that I have used their woodworking equipment and those machines work well so I would not be afraid of the Grizzly metal working tools..You may wish to check out some metalworking sites as there are some places that like metalmeet.com where there are some people who are heavy into machine work..

They do have some showrooms and it may be worth the trip if any of them are near to you..

Sam
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Old 02-14-2008, 06:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oldred
: Mikey, was your's the 9X20? If you could hold +/- .010 with your's you must have gotten a good one and that 4 jaw chuck that comes with it, is that not a "great" piece of work? t.
Not even as good as thet....It was a 7x10 mini lathe. That thing couldn't even make dash knobs.

Later, Mikey
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Old 02-14-2008, 07:05 AM
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I think all China Stuff is the same... Cheap Chinese Communist Conscripted Child Cruelty Conflicting Capitalism Crap.

Add Enco to the list of stuff that would be good for keeping your boat from drifting away.

When Chinese Machine Tool Mongers talk about precision and repeatability, they mean the truck driver in China takes exactly the same road between the foundry and the sea port each and every time.
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Old 02-14-2008, 07:39 AM
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One of the guys in our car club has a 6" x 36' Craftsman tabletop lathe model (# 101.07403) for $450, has a 4jaw and a 3 jawchuck, says it's rusty but in good condition, no missing teeth on the gear change. Is this a decent deal? Dan
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Old 02-14-2008, 08:22 AM
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Thanks a lot guy's,It great to here the feed back from you guy's,I'm new to this lathe stuff, and want to get the best machine for my money.
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Old 02-14-2008, 08:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan
One of the guys in our car club has a 6" x 36' Craftsman tabletop lathe model (# 101.07403) for $450, has a 4jaw and a 3 jawchuck, says it's rusty but in good condition, no missing teeth on the gear change. Is this a decent deal? Dan

The older craftsman lathes were made by Atlas. I know 2 people with that kind of lathe and they love them.
Still, 6" swing isn't alot to work with when you do alot of car stuff.


If that lathe is in really good shape , with enough tooling to start working and building parts, then it is an ok deal, although 350.00 sounds alot better.
BUT!

If the ways are rusty I wouldn't give more than 200.00 for it, and then I'd want to see it work. If the guy thinks it is a bargain at 450.00 he should look around at what stuff is selling for.

Rusty ways will make your parts have weird grooves. Rust will chew up the carriage, cross feed , compound rest and lead screw nuts, making your accuracy diminish and backlash will grow with every use. The action will be rough, and you won't be able to adjust your ways or backlash to keep the chatter out.

Rebuilding a worn out lathe with no parts available is as expensive as buying a new one.

Price having your ways reground...I priced it for a 14x72 Lodge and Shipley lathe I had...IIRC it was over 1000.00

Later, mikey
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Old 02-14-2008, 10:25 AM
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Wot the hail happened to JET - I have one of their Japan made 10" contractor table saws and with the exception of the fence, has been a great tool. (the fence is another "sore" story).

I think if I was in the market for a lathe, I'd look for an older US made - and you might have a chance to get lots of extras thrown in. But with that said, you do have to be careful in that there might be an "underlying reason" why it's for sale.

A shoulda woulda coulda - when GE here was moving a lot of their power gen manufacturing elsewhere, many of the smaller tools were put up for fire sale prices. Smaller is relative - when you look at the 60,84 and 144 inch lathes with 20 to 80 foot plus beds that they did move. The negative on some of the smaller toolroom sizes was that they had some strange 3 phase motor voltages - 277VAC,360VAC, 408VAC and others non standard, so it would be a fair amount of $$ for a new or rewound motor.

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Old 02-14-2008, 10:49 AM
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I've been thinking off and on about getting a metal lathe and mill, and here are two observations that other people have told me before (There are more, but these two wee practically unanimous):

1) Whatever lathe/mill/machine you buy, expect to spend almost the same amount on tooling costs if you're starting from scratch. Stuff like tool posts, vises, setup tools, mills, chucks, indexers, indicators, collets, adapters, etc can really add up quick. Also something to look for - if you're gonna get separate machines - is to find a pair of machines that can share tooling. Fer example, a lathe with a MT3 taper in the spindle will need at a minimum an adapter (at most, it's own set of tooling) in order to use the same tooling that a mill with an R8 spindle taper has.

The Learning Center tab at The Little Machine Shop has some good information on basic tooling. It mainly deals with the smaller 7x10 and mini mills, but the tooling needed will be the same.

2) It is better to get individual machines (if you have the room) than pickup one of the various 3-in-1 machines. Reason being is each separate machine can do it's thing much better than the 3-in-1 which attempts to do all tasks in one machine. If you still go for the 3-in-1, carefully check out the X/Y/Z movement ranges, as well as the distance between table and spindle. Once you get everything setup, you might not have as much room as previously thought. Fer example, that [theoretically] 8" of clearance between table and spindle will be drastically cut short when you factor in necessary tooling such as a vise (let's say 2" high), end-mill holder (another inch), and 4-flute end-mill (1.5"). Now, that 8" has been reduced to 5.5", not including the workpiece itself - you can see how much of an impact this might have on the smaller 3-in-1's.

Keep in mind I am not an expert on these things (hell, I haven't even touched one except for a display model here or there), I'm just some guy who has done a lot of thinking and reading the past couple years. Prolly be a couple more before I can afford 'em.

Here's another link that might prove useful - it's got a lot of information and discussion information: http://www.janellestudio.com/metal/

- Mike
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