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Looking for a small lathe.....suggestions, got one?

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Looking for a small lathe.....suggestions, got one?

Postby salmon » Sat Mar 10, 2012 4:24 pm

I am at the point I need to look onto buying a small metal lathe. I know Sherline is a good choice. What other ones do you recommend and/or do you have one to sell?
If you can cut, drill, saw, hit things and swear a lot, you're well on the way to building a working model sub.
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Re: Looking for a small lathe.....suggestions, got one?

Postby JWLaRue » Sat Mar 10, 2012 4:52 pm

Depends on what you would be using the lathe for. I looked seriously at the Sherline but ended up buying the MicroMark lathe due to its larger size and sturdier construction.

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Re: Looking for a small lathe.....suggestions, got one?

Postby raalst » Sat Mar 10, 2012 5:18 pm

I find it is not so much the lathe that defines what you can make, but more the skill and education you manage to get.
I have recently joined a course in metalworking, and there is a lot to learn....

the lathe DOES define the maximal size of your work though.
so think about how big your endcaps need to be.

making swarf is a hobby in itself. there are a few groups on yahoo and most brands have some
enthusiast dedicating a website to it, and improvements you can make for them.

you might want to check out a large scale model railway club (if you can find one nearby).
There might be people there you can learn the skill from.

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Re: Looking for a small lathe.....suggestions, got one?

Postby Sub culture » Sat Mar 10, 2012 5:41 pm

If you can pick a good secondhand machine, that is by far the best way to go IMO.

Not only do you save on the cost of a new machine, but a secondhand purchase will usually come with heap of accesories and tools that a new won't. Do not underestimate the cost those accesories can add to the price of a machine.

Generally I find the best way to get hold of good secondhand machines is via model engineering clubs. Members sometimes upgrade, or people pass away and their workshop equipment is auctioned off or sold onto interested members.

If sourcing a used machine is a problem, then have a look at the Chinese lathes. The range of machines produced by SIEG offer exceptional value for money, and are more than accurate enough for anything you want to make for a model submarine. They tend to come with with lots of features as standard, and the accessories are quite inexpensive.

http://www.siegind.com/products.php?sid=1

the C1 or C2/3 is quite sufficient for model submarine construction.

Here in the UK we have companies like Warco and Axminster importing these machines. In the U.S, outfits like Harbor freight import the SIEG machines, there may be others.

With a machine like this, you may want to take it apart on purchase and thoroughly clean it and re-lubricate all the parts. Straight from the factory these machines have been known to contain bits of swarf etc. So it's worth giving it a thorough clean and inspection before use.
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Re: Looking for a small lathe.....suggestions, got one?

Postby Bigdave » Sat Mar 10, 2012 5:50 pm

Buy the Sherline. :mrgreen:
I have a larger 9" lathe and a Sherline.
I use the 9"for the bigger stuff but 9 out of 10 times I will use my Sherline.
I had a Taig at first but did not like it. BD.
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Re: Looking for a small lathe.....suggestions, got one?

Postby Rogue Sub » Sun Mar 11, 2012 10:31 am

I currently have the taig lathe and it has work good but lacks in accuracy for me. I find that the bed guide to be annoying to adjust and getting the centers be lined up for drilling and such annoying at best. The bed could be longer and although you can get a lift kit to turn larger work it is still a bit limited. Also the feed is a rack and pinion style and I would prefer a lead screw type. There is an auto feed mechanism you can get for them now but I have not seen it in action so I cannot comment.

On the plus its much lighter then most. I can pull it out easily when I need it and stow it. Its great for small projects and will run efficiently. I chose it because I had limited space for big machines and did not feel like dead lifting 100lbs every time.

As my shop has grown I have started to wish I had a sheerline. Especially since you can get a kit to convert them to CNC.
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Re: Looking for a small lathe.....suggestions, got one?

Postby Rogue Sub » Sun Mar 11, 2012 10:39 am

Hmm maybe Ill sell my lathe..
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Re: Looking for a small lathe.....suggestions, got one?

Postby Bigdave » Sun Mar 11, 2012 11:33 am

I hated the rack with a passion! :cry:
The lever tail stock su--s too!
There are so many cool aftermarket items you can get for the Sherline asswell. 8) BD.
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Re: Looking for a small lathe.....suggestions, got one?

Postby Rogue Sub » Sun Mar 11, 2012 11:36 am

I agree with everything you said dave. I have nearly all the extra bits you can buy for the thing aswell. It is probably time to upgrade given the level of quality I am now trying to produce. Still a good hobbist lathe though. You can cut your teeth on it with out hitting the wallet to hard or losing all your desk space.
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Re: Looking for a small lathe.....suggestions, got one?

Postby Bigdave » Sun Mar 11, 2012 12:08 pm

The build quality of the machine was very nice for the money.
The design was, well. :roll: :lol:
If you are on a budget it's a great starter machine.
Just don't try a friends Sherline first. :D BD.
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Re: Looking for a small lathe.....suggestions, got one?

Postby Rogue Sub » Sun Mar 11, 2012 12:27 pm

what do you expect its twice the cost!
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Re: Looking for a small lathe.....suggestions, got one?

Postby Bigdave » Sun Mar 11, 2012 12:43 pm

I got mine used on ebay for a good price. :mrgreen:
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Re: Looking for a small lathe.....suggestions, got one?

Postby Rogue Sub » Sun Mar 11, 2012 12:49 pm

I cant find the emotcon for people clapping and blowing whistles and stuff.
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Re: Looking for a small lathe.....suggestions, got one?

Postby salmon » Mon Mar 12, 2012 7:46 pm

Thanks guys for the information. What kind of money am I looking at for new verses used?
If you can cut, drill, saw, hit things and swear a lot, you're well on the way to building a working model sub.
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Re: Looking for a small lathe.....suggestions, got one?

Postby Sub culture » Tue Mar 13, 2012 3:38 am

Depends on condition and who is selling it, plus the range of accessories supplied with it.

Sometimes you can pick up a used machine for a fraction of the price of a new machine. In general smaller machines in good condition tend to hold their value better, as they're often highly sought after by modellers being easier to stow away.
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