Lathes

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charles.bulloch
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Lathes

Postby charles.bulloch » Sun Sep 15, 2019 7:23 pm

Hi, all.

Is it worth buying one of the small lathes advertised by Machine Mart or Clarkes?

C

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Bob.Murphy
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Re: Lathes

Postby Bob.Murphy » Sun Sep 15, 2019 10:51 pm

Charles,

It all depends on what you want to do with the lathe. A small lathe, such as you describe, will be very useful for small jobs - spacers, bushes and so on. One with a vertical drill attached will be even more useful as a small mill.

The problem is . . You will soon reach its limits and wish you had something larger and of better quality. As you become better acquainted with the turning & milling processes your horizons will enlarge and you will want to take on larger jobs and turn to greater accuracy.

As with most things, you get what you pay for.

If you only ever want to turn small items then go for it, its a fascinating and absorbing hobby that can easily become another money pit (DAMHIK :oops: ).

I started with a 1950s Denford Lathe of around 24" between centres. It was well worn and jiggled & shook - but it taught me a lot.

I then added a new Warco 280 VF lathe and a Warco GH Universal mill. They are Chinese and at the 'Hobby' end of the market. They are better than the old Denford but still not robust or accurate enough for me.

I am currently installing three-phase power in the workshop and making room for a serious lathe - I'm looking at Colchester Triumphs - 50" between centres and Industrial quality. I dream of being able to set the machine to remove X thousandths of an inch and having it do just that - instead of finding that some random amount has been machined!

I am using the Warco to make new screws & nuts for the Cross slide & Top slide on the Denford. Once its tightened up and machining accurately I may sell it (to make room).

Before diving in I suggest you look for a local Club or Society that promotes Engineering - Model Engineers might be a starting point. Try and get your hands on different machines and talk to the experts. They will give you some good pointers on what to look for.

If you're heading down to Edinburgh at any time, drop in and have a look at my workshop. I can show you some of the stuff I've made. Tea and biscuits will be provided !

Bob.
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Re: Lathes

Postby Mick D » Mon Sep 16, 2019 6:55 am

Hi

I've had a Warco mini lathe for about 15 years now and would agree with everything Bob has said, particularly the tooling money pit, I've spent around the cost of the lathe on additional tooling.

One thing I would add though, is to buy from a reputable dealer such as Warco or Arc Eurotrade in order to benefit from their after sales support.

Regards Mick

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Re: Lathes

Postby simon.holyfield » Mon Sep 16, 2019 9:25 am

I'd echo Mick and Bob's comments. I've used my mini lathe a lot over the year or so that I have had it. They are very useful for all sorts of small jobs, just like the bench grinder or pillar drill - some things are just easier if you have a lathe, and you can make countless fasteners, spacers etc. to keep the job going rather than stopping and ordering from a supplier. Here's a selection of blog posts featuring stuff I've done with mine:

http://ariel-square-four.blogspot.com/s ... Mini-lathe

Secondly, don't believe all you read about mini-lathe quality - they have improved vastly over the years. Buy from a reputable supplier, as Mick says: I've use Arc for bits but bought my lathe from Amadeal - their customer service has been excellent.

http://ariel-square-four.blogspot.com/p/mini-lathe.html

You'll see from my posts that it does end up being a hobby in it's own right...
cheers

Simes

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Re: Lathes

Postby Bob.Murphy » Mon Sep 16, 2019 10:56 am

Mick D wrote: I've spent around the cost of the lathe on additional tooling. Mick


:lol: :lol: There are times when I think I should just have my pension paid directly to 'Chronos' :roll: .

( https://www.chronos.ltd.uk/ ).

Bob.
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charles.bulloch
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Re: Lathes

Postby charles.bulloch » Mon Sep 16, 2019 11:44 am

Thanks for the excellent advice. It depends on budget and space, which are both limited.

Much appreciated.

Charlie

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Re: Lathes

Postby GuyWalton » Tue Sep 17, 2019 8:47 pm

I use a Maximat v10, made by Emco . It does anything I want .
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Re: Lathes

Postby JohnnyBeckett » Tue Sep 17, 2019 10:23 pm

i use a good old myford super 7 they are good workhorse and does all i need to do and more

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Re: Lathes

Postby Bob.Murphy » Wed Sep 18, 2019 10:03 am

A friend-of-a-friend (Donald) has a small Garage business in Leith (North Edinburgh). He bought the premises 30 years ago at the same time as an Engineer (Ronnie) bought the place next door. These are 17th century buildings, one being initially a Cooperidge and the other a coach house for the Mayor of Leith - when it was a separate town.

Over the years, Ronnie's workshop has received increasing amounts of machinery. Latterly he was into CNC machining.

Tragically, Ronnie died suddenly a few weeks ago (he literally dropped dead in his bedroom one morning) - he was 53.

Ronnie's machinery is to be auctioned - Donald is attending to that for Ronnie's Widow.

The other day three of us went along to have a look at what is in there . . . Depending on your perspective its either a nightmare or a Glory Hole!

We had to squeeze in !

DSCN8986.jpg


There is a nice little 'Colchester Master' with a turret attachment:

DSCN8999.jpg


Tucked into a corner, behind the Hurco VMX30 CNC Mill is this little 'Holbrook Minor' lathe:

DSCN8995.jpg


I hadn't heard of these - so looked it up. Its a little gem of a machine, 5" x 20" between centres, built to a very high degree of accuracy and intended for the production of microscopes and the like. The link is here:

http://www.lathes.co.uk/holbrook-minor/

I would love it. Not because I need a lathe that small but just to have as a 'toy'.

There is also a simple Denford Lathe. It doesn't have a gearbox or any form of power feeding or screw-cutting:

DSCN8996.jpg


Then . . There is this Bridgeport Mill. . . . I would love that too - if I had the room 8-) .

DSCN9006.jpg


I'll put a few more pics in the next post (I've reached the limit of 5 !).

Bob.
Last edited by Bob.Murphy on Wed Sep 18, 2019 10:19 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Bob.Murphy
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Re: Lathes

Postby Bob.Murphy » Wed Sep 18, 2019 10:17 am

A few more pics of Ronnie's Glory Hole:

A very substantial Milling Machine (I don't know the make) and a Post Drill:

DSCN8990.jpg


And another one:

DSCN8991.jpg


A pipe bender - in front of a sheet metal shear if my memory is correct.

DSCN8989.jpg


A CNC Lathe (don't know the make) - with kettle:

DSCN9000.jpg


And the large (5-ton !) Hurco CNC Mill:

DSCN9002.jpg


(Grrrrr its really annoying that pictures don't stay the right way up when posted :x )

There's more and the whole lot will be up for auction. Getting it out of the narrow Edinburgh close will be a challenge.

I shall be keeping my eye on developments but I'm not seriously after any of this (famous last words).

Bob.
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