Suggestions for a table top Lathe and Welder?

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libertyman777
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Suggestions for a table top Lathe and Welder?

Post by libertyman777 » Thu May 16, 2013 7:17 pm

I'm going to buy a lathe. I'd like to do some form 1 cans and have the ability to make small parts. I also want to introduce my son to machine work. I'd like to keep cost including tooling to under $1000.

I've started by reading here> http://www.mini-lathe.com/Default.htm

Most of the lathes discussed are of Chinese manufacture.

But also mention are some US made machines>

http://www.sherline.com/tools.htm

http://www.taigtools.com/index.html

Now to a welder. I did a little stick welding years ago and Mig as well. I have a great deal of experience with oxy-acetylene and oxy-propylene but only in high volume cutting (if I told what I was cutting, many would cry), while working for the US Army demil as a temp employee a few years back.

I understand that Tig is best for welding up cans but I can't spring for a Tig setup (at least I don't think so). Much of my welding will be on larger items as well. I've also thought about just buying a plain jane stick welder and then a micro torch for the oxy-acetylene setup and weld up the cans that way. But I don't know enough about building or welding to know if this if feasible. Initially the torch setup will cost $200 (plus bottle lease) and the mirco torches will be another $200. About $200 for a stick welder.

I need the torch for other things to that initial $200 is a must. But the remaining $400 could go toward a better welder. But $1600 is my max for the shop.

All input is welcome.

Thanks,

Paul
Remember............ You're Special, Unique, One of a Kind.............Just like everyone else.................

crazyelece
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Re: Suggestions for a table top Lathe and Welder?

Post by crazyelece » Thu May 16, 2013 8:00 pm

Personally I'd look to auction houses for a used lathe. Most of the bench tops aren't very good, and the ones that are aren't cheap. For reference I got my 14" engine lathe for $900 and it came with a 8" four jaw. I've put much more into it with tooling, but if you can find a decent lathe with a tool post and a chuck, you can tool up as fast or slow as money allows. I'd look for a small southbend, a 9 or 10, with some added tooling. A slightly bigger lathe would be a bonus, but would likely be over your $1000 limit.

As to the welder, I would suggest a small MIG buzz box. I got a decent Lincoln that runs off 110V at Lowes a few years ago for around $400-450 if memory serves. It has done great from sheet up to 1/4" plate. I think it could go thicker if the pieces were preheated with a torch, but we also have a large mig and a large stick welders at the shop. The little lincoln is great though, very portable, and very easy to use. You can set it up for flux core or solid wire. It also has the capability to do aluminum with optional equipment.

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bakerjw
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Re: Suggestions for a table top Lathe and Welder?

Post by bakerjw » Sat May 18, 2013 7:52 am

Save your money for the biggest lathe that you can afford. Also, you will spend just as much on tooling and fixturing. Also don't get in a hurry. Good lathes come around regularly but patience will be your best friend. I am personally a fan of American iron. Some of the old machines will just not quit.
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daleper
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Re: Suggestions for a table top Lathe and Welder?

Post by daleper » Sun May 19, 2013 11:54 am

On the welder side of things, if you're wanting to learn to tig weld, go that route. A TIG machine can stick weld as well and most non high end ones come with the stinger so that you can do both. I'm running an everlast dc only unit right now and an quite happy with it. I got it shipped to my door for less than $600 a couple of years ago. I've also hears good things about the longevity welders. You'll still have to lease a bottle of argon to tig with but I think you'd be light years ahead of the gas rig.

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Re: Suggestions for a table top Lathe and Welder?

Post by joe0121 » Mon May 20, 2013 8:54 am

I am in the same boat as you and for the last 18 months I have been talking to every gunsmith in my area and on the internet and looking on every forum and here is the opinion I have formed so far.

Around Here (Ohio) for the small stuff the Hobart 120 VAC unites come highly recommended in the low end of the price spectrum for the high end the passport has an excellent reputation. http://www.weldingtipsandtricks.com/mil ... elder.html. IMO I have tried welding small parts with a three phase stick welder and for thin metal say smaller than 1/4 inch even on the lowest setting the three phase just burns through it like a hot stick through butter. So for making Cans and small projects you would want a 110 VAC single phase. Now for a big project the 110 unit will seem hopelessly under powered.

Lathes? IMO you need to spend 4k and get a decent size machine. If you make cans you might as well thread the barrel as well. A smallish desktop lathe wont thread a barrel. Over at Accurate shooter modern European and Chinese imports have a good rep. If buying used like me the older US machines are hard to beat. You also should consider a DRO setup.

http://www.longrangehunting.com/forums/ ... post805802
http://www.practicalmachinist.com/vb/gu ... es-246077/

Here is one that is brand new that people have had luck with once they have it set up
http://www.grizzly.com/products/Gunsmit ... and/G4003G

A three jaw chuck IMO will not work well for threading barrels and such most smith go to a 4 or 5 jaw or make a fixture with more jaws it is much easier to remove run out from the work prior to machining operations.

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Re: Suggestions for a table top Lathe and Welder?

Post by joe0121 » Mon May 20, 2013 8:58 am

joe0121 wrote:I am in the same boat as you and for the last 18 months I have been talking to every gunsmith in my area and on the internet and looking on every forum and here is the opinion I have formed so far.

Around Here (Ohio) for the small stuff the Hobart 120 VAC unites come highly recommended in the low end of the price spectrum for the high end the passport has an excellent reputation. http://www.weldingtipsandtricks.com/mil ... elder.html. IMO I have tried welding small parts with a three phase stick welder and for thin metal say smaller than 1/4 inch even on the lowest setting the three phase just burns through it like a hot stick through butter. So for making Cans and small projects you would want a 110 VAC single phase. Now for a big project the 110 unit will seem hopelessly under powered.

Lathes? IMO you need to spend 4k and get a decent size machine. If you make cans you might as well thread the barrel as well. A smallish desktop lathe wont thread a barrel. Over at Accurate shooter modern European and Chinese imports have a good rep. If buying used like me the older US machines are hard to beat. You also should consider a DRO setup.

http://www.longrangehunting.com/forums/ ... post805802
http://www.practicalmachinist.com/vb/gu ... es-246077/

Here is one that is brand new that people have had luck with once they have it set up
http://www.grizzly.com/products/Gunsmit ... and/G4003G

A three jaw chuck IMO will not work well for threading barrels and such most smith go to a 4 or 5 jaw or make a fixture with more jaws it is much easier to remove run out from the work prior to machining operations.
Also spending as much on the tooling as on the lathe may be a bit low. The price of toolholders carbide cutters and all the various nick nacks involved in turning raw pieces of steel into usable parts boggles the mind. I have decided for a Lath set up I will need 10K in capital and 1 year of time cruising craigslist and online forums looking for what I want. I know guys who makes cans on smaller cheaper machines but for me I want to thread heavy contour barrels and maybe true an action or two so I need a big Machine. But I of course want to be a gun smith "one day" Buy once cry once I always say.

Historian
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Re: Suggestions for a table top Lathe and Welder?

Post by Historian » Mon May 20, 2013 10:28 am

Joe0121, bravo on your well presented philosophy that needs to be repeated often:

" Buy once cry once I always say. "

For our younger members this is the most important idea that you
can take away from what you learn here. The lamentable stories
of folks on hobby sites whose cheapie lathes 'poop their shorts'
out of the blue are all over the place. You will smile and feel like the cat
that ate the canary with good old American Iron. [ New CNC lathes
for the same price are the happy exception. ]

I often expressed my annoying philosophy of "buying only the best once" to a few of my friends
long ago. Some unfortunately had to grudgingly admit they should not have sniggered at me
especially after their one or more marriages failed.

Forty three years of Blessed Happiness continually
proves my point.

"Alimony is nature's way of reaffirming that the bad decision of seeking a 'bargain'
never stops. And bemoan the monies lost that you will never be able to spend on guns, suppressors,
and sports cars." :) :)

joe0121
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Re: Suggestions for a table top Lathe and Welder?

Post by joe0121 » Mon May 20, 2013 12:09 pm

Historian wrote:Joe0121, bravo on your well presented philosophy that needs to be repeated often:

" Buy once cry once I always say. "

For our younger members this is the most important idea that you
can take away from what you learn here. The lamentable stories
of folks on hobby sites whose cheapie lathes 'poop their shorts'
out of the blue are all over the place. You will smile and feel like the cat
that ate the canary with good old American Iron. [ New CNC lathes
for the same price are the happy exception. ]

I often expressed my annoying philosophy of "buying only the best once" to a few of my friends
long ago. Some unfortunately had to grudgingly admit they should not have sniggered at me
especially after their one or more marriages failed.

Forty three years of Blessed Happiness continually
proves my point.

"Alimony is nature's way of reaffirming that the bad decision of seeking a 'bargain'
never stops. And bemoan the monies lost that you will never be able to spend on guns, suppressors,
and sports cars." :) :)
The problem is convincing my wife that I need a 5K Lathe.

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