New lathe purchase, is this enough?

Yes, it can be legal to make a silencer. For everything Form-1, from silencer designs that are easily made, to filing forms with the BATF, to 3D modeling. Remember, you must have an approved BATF Form-1 to make a silencer. All NFA laws apply.

Moderators: mpallett, bakerjw

User avatar
mr fixit
Silent But Deadly
Posts: 450
Joined: Fri Mar 02, 2012 12:09 pm
Location: N.E. Texas

New lathe purchase, is this enough?

Post by mr fixit » Thu Apr 21, 2016 12:46 pm

The machine in question is a Precision Mathews 10X30. http://www.machinetoolonline.com/PM1030.html

I have not purchased yet, but plan to soon. I have looked and compared and read and worried over many machines (all new). I can't think of anything I would want to do that I can't do with this machine, although some things might require some special set up.

I have been wanting and searching for a lathe for years. I have been hearing the advice of many to "buy old American Iron" everywhere I turn. Problem is that Texas doesn't seem to be awash in "Old Iron", and what does show up is either Tiny, huge (16x106), or obviously worn out.

What I would do with a lathe would be building suppressors obviously, threading factory barrels, "building" rifles using short chambered pre-threaded and contoured barrels, making bushings and sleeves for projects, making various pins, making bolts. I don't foresee the need to turn brake rotors, or build bench rest barrels.

So my question is, relative to the PM 10x30 above, what can I not do with it? What will the lathe limit me from doing?

User avatar
fishman
Silent But Deadly
Posts: 1444
Joined: Sun Dec 20, 2015 9:15 pm

Re: New lathe purchase, is this enough?

Post by fishman » Thu Apr 21, 2016 1:04 pm

mr fixit wrote:The machine in question is a Precision Mathews 10X30. http://www.machinetoolonline.com/PM1030.html

I have not purchased yet, but plan to soon. I have looked and compared and read and worried over many machines (all new). I can't think of anything I would want to do that I can't do with this machine, although some things might require some special set up.

I have been wanting and searching for a lathe for years. I have been hearing the advice of many to "buy old American Iron" everywhere I turn. Problem is that Texas doesn't seem to be awash in "Old Iron", and what does show up is either Tiny, huge (16x106), or obviously worn out.

What I would do with a lathe would be building suppressors obviously, threading factory barrels, "building" rifles using short chambered pre-threaded and contoured barrels, making bushings and sleeves for projects, making various pins, making bolts. I don't foresee the need to turn brake rotors, or build bench rest barrels.

So my question is, relative to the PM 10x30 above, what can I not do with it? What will the lathe limit me from doing?
I just bought a lathe much smaller than that for making silencers. I can only thread a 16" barrel or shorter. But other than that, I'm not too limited. Obviously a bigger machine can take material off faster though
300 blackout form 1: http://www.silencertalk.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=137293

5.56 form 1:
http://www.silencertalk.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=141800&p=955647#p955647

propeine
Silent But Deadly
Posts: 385
Joined: Mon Nov 10, 2014 10:24 am

Re: New lathe purchase, is this enough?

Post by propeine » Thu Apr 21, 2016 1:08 pm

mr fixit wrote:The machine in question is a Precision Mathews 10X30. http://www.machinetoolonline.com/PM1030.html

I have not purchased yet, but plan to soon. I have looked and compared and read and worried over many machines (all new). I can't think of anything I would want to do that I can't do with this machine, although some things might require some special set up.

I have been wanting and searching for a lathe for years. I have been hearing the advice of many to "buy old American Iron" everywhere I turn. Problem is that Texas doesn't seem to be awash in "Old Iron", and what does show up is either Tiny, huge (16x106), or obviously worn out.

What I would do with a lathe would be building suppressors obviously, threading factory barrels, "building" rifles using short chambered pre-threaded and contoured barrels, making bushings and sleeves for projects, making various pins, making bolts. I don't foresee the need to turn brake rotors, or build bench rest barrels.

So my question is, relative to the PM 10x30 above, what can I not do with it? What will the lathe limit me from doing?
The 1" spindle bore would irritate me. I would recommend if you're buying new to step up to the 12x36 with the 1.5" spindle bore. It will make threading barrels through the headstock possible, will make threading tubing without the steady rest possible etc etc. Admittedly the price increase is tough to swallow though.

http://www.machinetoolonline.com/PM1236.html

I have 1.375" spindle bore and that's enough for barrels but not rifle suppressors.

User avatar
mcrump
Senior Silent Operator
Posts: 103
Joined: Fri Aug 07, 2015 3:36 pm

Re: New lathe purchase, is this enough?

Post by mcrump » Thu Apr 21, 2016 3:06 pm

mr fixit wrote:The machine in question is a Precision Mathews 10X30. http://www.machinetoolonline.com/PM1030.html

I have not purchased yet, but plan to soon. I have looked and compared and read and worried over many machines (all new). I can't think of anything I would want to do that I can't do with this machine, although some things might require some special set up.

I have been wanting and searching for a lathe for years. I have been hearing the advice of many to "buy old American Iron" everywhere I turn. Problem is that Texas doesn't seem to be awash in "Old Iron", and what does show up is either Tiny, huge (16x106), or obviously worn out.

What I would do with a lathe would be building suppressors obviously, threading factory barrels, "building" rifles using short chambered pre-threaded and contoured barrels, making bushings and sleeves for projects, making various pins, making bolts. I don't foresee the need to turn brake rotors, or build bench rest barrels.

So my question is, relative to the PM 10x30 above, what can I not do with it? What will the lathe limit me from doing?
I have a PM 11x27VF and it has a 1.5" spindle bore. If you get one go ahead and have a DRO installed. It makes turning so much more accurate and easy. The only PITA that I have found is changing the gears for different thread pitches.
Spectrum Tactical Solutions
FFL 01/SOT/07 license holder
Master Machinist

User avatar
mr fixit
Silent But Deadly
Posts: 450
Joined: Fri Mar 02, 2012 12:09 pm
Location: N.E. Texas

Re: New lathe purchase, is this enough?

Post by mr fixit » Thu Apr 21, 2016 4:27 pm

mcrump wrote: I have a PM 11x27VF and it has a 1.5" spindle bore. If you get one go ahead and have a DRO installed. It makes turning so much more accurate and easy. The only PITA that I have found is changing the gears for different thread pitches.
I really like the 11x27. But it is $1000 more than the 10x30. That difference will buy a lot of tooling, and even though the spindle bore would make many things easier, I'm not sure what it would keep me from doing.

User avatar
fishman
Silent But Deadly
Posts: 1444
Joined: Sun Dec 20, 2015 9:15 pm

Re: New lathe purchase, is this enough?

Post by fishman » Thu Apr 21, 2016 5:09 pm

mr fixit wrote:
mcrump wrote: I have a PM 11x27VF and it has a 1.5" spindle bore. If you get one go ahead and have a DRO installed. It makes turning so much more accurate and easy. The only PITA that I have found is changing the gears for different thread pitches.
I really like the 11x27. But it is $1000 more than the 10x30. That difference will buy a lot of tooling, and even though the spindle bore would make many things easier, I'm not sure what it would keep me from doing.
you'll be regretting it when you need to thread a 32" shotgun barrel for custom insertable chokes :lol:
but seriously, for $1000 i'd rather just deal with the steady rest than take the 'luxury' of a larger spindle bore. the one you picked out seems like the way to go. disclaimer: im not a professional machinist take my advice for what its worth
300 blackout form 1: http://www.silencertalk.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=137293

5.56 form 1:
http://www.silencertalk.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=141800&p=955647#p955647

V8Astro
Silent But Deadly
Posts: 243
Joined: Mon Sep 17, 2007 7:30 pm

Re: New lathe purchase, is this enough?

Post by V8Astro » Thu Apr 21, 2016 6:59 pm

That's about the size of my Grizzly lathe. I've made 3 suppressor and 10,000 other things with it. Best piece of equipment I've bought in a while

User avatar
Capt. Link.
Silent But Deadly
Posts: 2593
Joined: Wed Oct 17, 2007 10:05 pm
Location: USA.

Re: New lathe purchase, is this enough?

Post by Capt. Link. » Thu Apr 21, 2016 7:03 pm

I bought a G4003G and never regretted it, this is a short bed 12x24 that is a near clone w/ full sized controls.I would be happy with the 24" bed as its very stiff at 1000lbs.

G4002—12" x 24" Gear-Head, Cam Lock Spindle, Gap Bed Lathe

Produced with precision slides and ways.

Features:

Removable gap bed allows turnings up to 17" in diameter
Nine spindle speeds - ranging from 70 to 1400 RPM
Easy-to-use lever controls
Hardened and ground cast iron bed
Cuts 4-112 Standard TPI and 0.2-4.5 Metric
Full length splash guard
On/off/reverse switch on carriage

Standard Equipment:

6" 3-Jaw chuck w/2 sets of jaws
8" 4-Jaw chuck w/reversible jaws
10" Faceplate
Steady rest
Follow rest
Quick-change tool post w/holder
4-Piece insert tool holder set
Set of seven change gears
Dead center MT#3 HSS tip
Dead center MT#3 carbide tip
Live center MT#3
1/2" Drill chuck w/MT#3 arbor
Spindle sleeve MT#5/MT#3
Oil can
Toolbox

Specifications:

Swing over bed: 12"
Swing over gap: 17"
Swing over cross slide: 7"
Distance between centers: 24"
Bed width: 7-1/4"
Spindle bore: 1.417"
Taper of spindle bore: MT#5
Spindle: Camlock D1-4
Cross slide travel: 6-1/4"
Compound travel: 3-1/4"
Tailstock barrel taper: MT#3
Tailstock barrel travel: 4"
Diameter of tailstock barrel: 1-9/16"
Number of speeds: 9
Range of speeds: 70, 200, 220, 270, 360, 600, 800, 1000, 1400 RPM
Motor: 2 HP, single-phase, 220 Volt, 8.5 amps, 60 Hz, 1725 RPM
Height w/o stand: 23"
Height w/ stand: 52"
Length w/ stand: 53"
Width of stand: 26"
Image

PS: if you add a different steady rest building a 50bmg rifle and suppressor are possible with a machine like this.
The only reason after 243 years the government now wants to disarm you is they intend to do something you would shoot them for!

User avatar
curtistactical
Silent But Deadly
Posts: 471
Joined: Fri Apr 25, 2014 10:22 am

Re: New lathe purchase, is this enough?

Post by curtistactical » Thu Apr 21, 2016 8:35 pm

+1 on Grizzly. Not only are you getting a good machine, your money is going to a pro gun company.
Joseph Jones
Curtis Tactical
07/02

Historian
Silent But Deadly
Posts: 3311
Joined: Mon Mar 29, 2010 11:37 pm

Re: New lathe purchase, is this enough?

Post by Historian » Fri Apr 22, 2016 8:34 am

curtistactical wrote:+1 on Grizzly. Not only are you getting a good machine, your money is going to a pro gun company.
+2!

And an MT#5 spindle to boot.

Amortized over 10 - 15 years and the
slightly added cost is negligible.

Buy the maximum up front ... no regrets,
no institutionalized dissatisfaction, and you can
lord it over the envious geriatric set with
their MT#2 Atlas 618's. :)

User avatar
CMV
Silent But Deadly
Posts: 750
Joined: Thu Feb 09, 2012 6:31 pm
Location: NC

Re: New lathe purchase, is this enough?

Post by CMV » Fri Apr 22, 2016 6:15 pm

PM has a lot of 'LB' variants for their lathes. Meaning large bore. Haven't been on their site for a long time, but maybe the one you want has that for just a small upgrade cost? Call Matt there & ask him. He's a real nice guy & extremely helpful.

Mine is real similar to the G4003G. It has a 40mm spindle bore - just a hair over 1.5". That is really really nice. A few times I've wished it were even bigger, but most times I'm just grateful it is the size it is. I'm also grateful for the gearbox. I have never once wished I had to swap gears or move around belts. Never.

Another thought - when it comes time to (a) upgrade to a bigger machine or (b) decide you'd rather have the space than the lathe, I would think all things being equal you'll get a lot higher % of your money back out of it with the Grizzly name on it. Not that Grizzly = Mori Seiki by any means, but a lot more people have heard about the brand & heard good things. Not to say PM stuff is junk - a lot of people are real happy with their equipment & value, just it will be easier to sell a brand that more people are familiar with when the time comes.

Also - don't rule out a used machine. Use search tempest to check a lot of CL around you quickly. You can get more machine for you money or some free tooling included. But you also get something that's already set up & you can 'test drive' it to make sure its a good one. As people outgrow the size machine you're looking for, they have to do something with them. You're looking at right around $2k for the lathe with no upgrades? I got my mill and lathe and a lot of tooling for $2k. Took several months of searching & waiting for the right deal, but they are nice machines. viewtopic.php?f=10&t=89592 this is what all I got for $2k.
--------------------------------------

"Sorry but you cannot use search at this time. Please try again in a few minutes"
"This board is currently disabled"
These things make me :(

Fulmen
Silent But Deadly
Posts: 1045
Joined: Wed Feb 04, 2009 8:36 am

Re: New lathe purchase, is this enough?

Post by Fulmen » Fri Apr 22, 2016 6:37 pm

That Grizzly sure looks nice considering it's size, power feed is worth a lot. Sure you can get feeds using the lead screw, but swapping gears quickly gets tiresome.

One remark on Chinese large-bore lathes, they can be less sturdy than their small-bore cousins. Sounds counter-intuitive, the fellow that told me so is quite experienced and had first-hand experiences with them. Seems like they had to cut some corners to fit the bigger bore.

User avatar
mr fixit
Silent But Deadly
Posts: 450
Joined: Fri Mar 02, 2012 12:09 pm
Location: N.E. Texas

Re: New lathe purchase, is this enough?

Post by mr fixit » Fri Apr 22, 2016 10:49 pm

CMV wrote:PM has a lot of 'LB' variants for their lathes. Meaning large bore. Haven't been on their site for a long time, but maybe the one you want has that for just a small upgrade cost? Call Matt there & ask him. He's a real nice guy & extremely helpful.
PM sizes go from 10x30 with a 1" bore, the next step is 11x27 with 1.5" bore. That one step is $1000, actually just a bit more when you figure shipping.

User avatar
yondering
Silent But Deadly
Posts: 373
Joined: Thu Aug 02, 2007 12:22 pm
Location: NW Wa. state

Re: New lathe purchase, is this enough?

Post by yondering » Sat Apr 23, 2016 1:41 am

propeine wrote:
The 1" spindle bore would irritate me. I would recommend if you're buying new to step up to the 12x36 with the 1.5" spindle bore. It will make threading barrels through the headstock possible, will make threading tubing without the steady rest possible etc etc. Admittedly the price increase is tough to swallow though.

http://www.machinetoolonline.com/PM1236.html

I have 1.375" spindle bore and that's enough for barrels but not rifle suppressors.
This +100

There are more jobs than you realize that will be a lot easier to do with a larger spindle bore.

Up till recently I had two lathes - a 9x48 South Bend (old american iron) and a 12x39 Grizzly. The South Bend had all the good features - quick change gear box, power carriage and cross feed, quick change gear box for threading from 2-114 tpi, back gear, reversible feed, etc, and a 7/8" spindle bore.
The Grizzly had none of that - just power carriage feed and some gear sets for threading, but a 1-1/2" spindle bore.

BUT - I used the Grizzly almost exclusively; the bigger heavier lathe and larger bore made all the difference in the world, and were far more important than the numbers indicate.

Then again, I just replaced both with a used Jet 13x36 that does all of that, for less than the cost of that little 10" PM lathe. The newer Jet 13x40 lathes are very similar too for slightly more money on the used market. If you're limited by funds, go used, don't go with smaller new stuff. It's more compromise than it's worth.
Last edited by yondering on Sat Apr 23, 2016 1:46 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
yondering
Silent But Deadly
Posts: 373
Joined: Thu Aug 02, 2007 12:22 pm
Location: NW Wa. state

Re: New lathe purchase, is this enough?

Post by yondering » Sat Apr 23, 2016 1:45 am

Also, just a tip - if you have the capacity to move larger machines, or can get it done - bigger lathes and mills often go for less than the small bench top stuff. For the money you're talking about, you could get that tiny bench top lathe that is barely adequate, or you could get a 1,000-2,000 lb machine that will do more than you'll ever need, and will do the small stuff far better.

The difference is whether you can move it in a minivan, or on a flatbed trailer.

User avatar
T-Rex
Silent But Deadly
Posts: 1864
Joined: Wed Oct 29, 2014 4:38 pm
Location: CT - The AntiConstitution State

Re: New lathe purchase, is this enough?

Post by T-Rex » Sat Apr 23, 2016 7:42 am

This guy can save you some $$ https://youtu.be/7JQC7kXu_rU

This guy even more
https://youtu.be/ihPFjuxBjPo
Completed Builds www.silencertalk.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=79895
Burst Calculator www.engineersedge.com/calculators/pipe_bust_calc.htm
Silencer Porn www.instagram.com/explore/tags/silencerporn/

fastfire
Silent But Deadly
Posts: 185
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2010 11:19 pm
Location: I-D-HO

Re: New lathe purchase, is this enough?

Post by fastfire » Sat Apr 23, 2016 11:00 am

[quote="T-Rex"]This guy can save you some $$ https://youtu.be/7JQC7kXu_rU




The rubber boots must have been for catching the swarf?
Really wanted to see the barrel make it to the floor when the saw blade made it through :roll:

User avatar
daviscustom
Silent But Deadly
Posts: 924
Joined: Mon May 26, 2008 5:40 pm
Location: Fly-over Country

Re: New lathe purchase, is this enough?

Post by daviscustom » Sat Apr 23, 2016 6:57 pm

fastfire wrote:
T-Rex wrote:This guy can save you some $$ https://youtu.be/7JQC7kXu_rU




The rubber boots must have been for catching the swarf?
Really wanted to see the barrel make it to the floor when the saw blade made it through :roll:
That's funny....I was waiting for the same thing....noticed he hadn't made any provisions to keep it from falling.

mr fixit.....
I would have to agree with all the folks that are recommending going to a larger spindle bore.....being able to run 1.5" material through the spindle is something you will never regret if you can find one you can afford
The myopic majority will be our republic's undoing.

Fulmen
Silent But Deadly
Posts: 1045
Joined: Wed Feb 04, 2009 8:36 am

Re: New lathe purchase, is this enough?

Post by Fulmen » Sun Apr 24, 2016 3:45 am

The spindle bore can never be too large. A 1.5" bore is enough for a barrel blank, but might not fit a barreled action. For large center-fire silencers it might also be a bit small, but you can usually get around that with a steady rest.

User avatar
mr fixit
Silent But Deadly
Posts: 450
Joined: Fri Mar 02, 2012 12:09 pm
Location: N.E. Texas

Re: New lathe purchase, is this enough?

Post by mr fixit » Sun Apr 24, 2016 10:57 pm

Thanks for the comments, suggestions, and private messages. I do appreciate the advice and suggestions. I did not post with the intention of only having my choices and opinions validated.

Sigh....it's only money. Right?

I may have to make a few more liquidations, but I think I will take some time and try to save up for a larger machine.

User avatar
yondering
Silent But Deadly
Posts: 373
Joined: Thu Aug 02, 2007 12:22 pm
Location: NW Wa. state

Re: New lathe purchase, is this enough?

Post by yondering » Mon Apr 25, 2016 1:13 am

mr fixit wrote:Thanks for the comments, suggestions, and private messages. I do appreciate the advice and suggestions. I did not post with the intention of only having my choices and opinions validated.

Sigh....it's only money. Right?

I may have to make a few more liquidations, but I think I will take some time and try to save up for a larger machine.
As I pointed out, you can easily get a larger machine for the price you're considering, if you look at the used market.

User avatar
mr fixit
Silent But Deadly
Posts: 450
Joined: Fri Mar 02, 2012 12:09 pm
Location: N.E. Texas

Re: New lathe purchase, is this enough?

Post by mr fixit » Mon Apr 25, 2016 9:46 am

yondering wrote:
As I pointed out, you can easily get a larger machine for the price you're considering, if you look at the used market.
I've been looking at the used market here in Texas for a few years to be honest. What shows up are huge machines, as in 16" and above swing and over 10 feet long. Or machines that could be considered in my range but appear to be possibly crapped out.

Here are a few listings of the area:
https://dallas.craigslist.org/dal/tls/5553285904.html

Ad says " New cross feed nut, new head stock bearings", it also says "No wear on ways, came out of a high school that hasn't used it in 15 years (lost the teacher, couldn't find a replacement"

So, hasn't run in 15 years Does it run now? Correctly? New cross feed nut and head stock bearings? Why? There is no wear on the ways, but it needed new bearings? And its $4K

Or this:
https://dallas.craigslist.org/dal/tls/5553279855.html

Same seller, sounds like the same school it came from. $3500 may be a deal but it also has bearings replaced and cross feed nut. Why? What else is wrong or covered up?

From Tusla OK,: https://dallas.craigslist.org/dal/hvd/5551652623.html Still more money and size.

Southbend 9A, listed as "Would make a very good restoration project"
https://dallas.craigslist.org/dal/tls/5547479879.html I don't need a restoration project, nor do I want one right now.


13 X 40 Takisawa Webb Engine lathe with tooling, which is too big for my shop: https://dallas.craigslist.org/dal/tls/5517181284.html

Victor Working Lathe 16" x 40" With 3 jaw Chuck and 5C collets, again too big https://dallas.craigslist.org/dal/bfs/5542267719.html

An interesting specimen https://dallas.craigslist.org/dal/bfs/5546765905.html But I have no way of checking it out to see if it is worn out or not.

From East Texas; 18x80 Leblond that looks like it is being stored outside.https://easttexas.craigslist.org/hvd/5513473065.html


The point to all this is that I can find used American Iron all over the place in the midwest and east to the coast. Texas was apparently never awash in home hobby lathes, so when they do show up they get big money, simple supply and demand. And I don't know enough to go check out a used machine and make an informed decision on if it is a good deal or not. So in my mind, why not buy piece of equipment with a known quality, even if the quality is much less than what it could/should be. At this point a new Chicom machine will exceed my abilities. When my abilities grow to the point that I have outgrown a new Chicom lathe, I will be ready to evaluate the "Old Iron" that does show up. And, the used market here being what it appears to be, I could probably do pretty good on selling the "Lightly used with no bed wear and new bearing" Chicom I started with.

Yondering, I do very much appreciate the suggestions. But I think the advice to look for "Old American Iron" holds true for the Mid West and the rust belt, not so much for Texas.

propeine
Silent But Deadly
Posts: 385
Joined: Mon Nov 10, 2014 10:24 am

Re: New lathe purchase, is this enough?

Post by propeine » Mon Apr 25, 2016 10:58 am

mr fixit wrote:
yondering wrote:
As I pointed out, you can easily get a larger machine for the price you're considering, if you look at the used market.
I've been looking at the used market here in Texas for a few years to be honest. What shows up are huge machines, as in 16" and above swing and over 10 feet long. Or machines that could be considered in my range but appear to be possibly crapped out.

Here are a few listings of the area:
https://dallas.craigslist.org/dal/tls/5553285904.html

Ad says " New cross feed nut, new head stock bearings", it also says "No wear on ways, came out of a high school that hasn't used it in 15 years (lost the teacher, couldn't find a replacement"

So, hasn't run in 15 years Does it run now? Correctly? New cross feed nut and head stock bearings? Why? There is no wear on the ways, but it needed new bearings? And its $4K

Or this:
https://dallas.craigslist.org/dal/tls/5553279855.html

Same seller, sounds like the same school it came from. $3500 may be a deal but it also has bearings replaced and cross feed nut. Why? What else is wrong or covered up?

From Tusla OK,: https://dallas.craigslist.org/dal/hvd/5551652623.html Still more money and size.

Southbend 9A, listed as "Would make a very good restoration project"
https://dallas.craigslist.org/dal/tls/5547479879.html I don't need a restoration project, nor do I want one right now.


13 X 40 Takisawa Webb Engine lathe with tooling, which is too big for my shop: https://dallas.craigslist.org/dal/tls/5517181284.html

Victor Working Lathe 16" x 40" With 3 jaw Chuck and 5C collets, again too big https://dallas.craigslist.org/dal/bfs/5542267719.html

An interesting specimen https://dallas.craigslist.org/dal/bfs/5546765905.html But I have no way of checking it out to see if it is worn out or not.

From East Texas; 18x80 Leblond that looks like it is being stored outside.https://easttexas.craigslist.org/hvd/5513473065.html


The point to all this is that I can find used American Iron all over the place in the midwest and east to the coast. Texas was apparently never awash in home hobby lathes, so when they do show up they get big money, simple supply and demand. And I don't know enough to go check out a used machine and make an informed decision on if it is a good deal or not. So in my mind, why not buy piece of equipment with a known quality, even if the quality is much less than what it could/should be. At this point a new Chicom machine will exceed my abilities. When my abilities grow to the point that I have outgrown a new Chicom lathe, I will be ready to evaluate the "Old Iron" that does show up. And, the used market here being what it appears to be, I could probably do pretty good on selling the "Lightly used with no bed wear and new bearing" Chicom I started with.

Yondering, I do very much appreciate the suggestions. But I think the advice to look for "Old American Iron" holds true for the Mid West and the rust belt, not so much for Texas.
Worn out is relative. The length of the parts on a suppressor or even the turning portion of gunsmithing is generally very short. So what if it has 5 though of slop over 2ft. You're working on things that are generally 1-2" long. You're not making shafts for submarines here although with the money you're looking at spending I think the ones you linked are over priced personally depending on tooling. Also a 10x30 is what a foot, maybe 2ft smaller than the 13x40? I watched a 13x40 go for 850 dollars at auction because nobody wanted to move the damn thing. If I had a truck and trailer I would have bought it.

User avatar
CMV
Silent But Deadly
Posts: 750
Joined: Thu Feb 09, 2012 6:31 pm
Location: NC

Re: New lathe purchase, is this enough?

Post by CMV » Mon Apr 25, 2016 8:07 pm

If a 30" bed isn't too big, but a 40" is, you don't have enough room for the 30" either :) You will want/need free space left of the chuck end. It's a lot easier working on a barrel (for me anyway) going thru the spindle. An outboard cathead plus the chuck are much faster to setup than steadyrests to me. Also easier/faster if you have a 3'+ piece of stock to just run it thru & part off a piece to work with instead of dragging out the saw. But if you don't have the clearance, you can't do that.

Don't get discouraged. You might want to try some of the hobbyist websites like Practical Machinist or Hobby Machinist. I don't know if they have a classified section but that might be a good place to look for people selling machines.

BTW, if I hadn't found my machines on the used market, I was all set on the PM-1127-VF-LB. It looks like a lot of machine for the $.

I posted this elsewhere a while back, but some might apply to you. OP was asking about getting a 'starter lathe' vs a bigger machine as a novice.

Do you already know how to operate a lathe?

I didn't & started with a used HF mini lathe. For what it is, it's a good machine. I'll offer a contrarian perspective that worked for me.

Since I knew next to nothing about running a lathe, didn't know how important different features were, or if I'd like having one/use it enough to justify the cost, the HF mini lathe was a great starting point. Reasons why it's a good starter:

1. Very low cost. Mine was $400 & included a very large, heavy, all steel work table that would probably be $200+ alone. Also included some basic 1/4" tooling - enough to make chips on day 1.
2. Very forgiving. Mildly crashing the thing won't hurt anything. Major crashing will probably result in breaking a plastic gear which are easy to find, easy to replace, & inexpensive.
3. Not intimidating. Small size, easy controls, turn a knob to adjust speed, bare minimum controls. Very intuitive for a novice to just look at & see what needs to happen.
4. Safety. This could be a pro or con. Besides getting a chip in your eye, you'd probably have to try pretty hard to hurt yourself beyond bandaid 1st aid with one. Any little 'ouchie' from the mini lathe could have been a serious injury on a large machine. There's a significant difference between what a 1/3hp motor machine will do to you vs what a 2hp+ machine will do if you get stupid around it. I say that's a positive when you do something dumb, think "wow, that would have been a LOT worse on a big machine", & learn from it. It could be a con if it leads to unsafe behaviors because there's no fear of getting getting hurt and you carry unsafe practices over to the big machine. Leave the chuck key in the headstock of the mini lathe & it might hurt a little or you'll have to go chase it down. Leave a full size one in a big machine & it will knock you out or worse. Since the mini lathe always starts from 0 rpm (if you stop & start it correctly), it will probably just mildly toss the chuck key as it spools up. A large machine starting in a fast gear is going to violently expel it and it's a lot bigger of a piece of steel being flung at/near you. In that example, you'd either learn to never, ever, ever, leave the key in the chuck without your hand on it or else you'd learn that it's not big deal & carry that to a big machine & royally screw up. Depends on your mindset I guess.

I got my $400 back out of it AND kept the big steel table so it was like getting a "training machine" and the table for free when it was all said & done. I included about $25 worth of barstock & maybe $15 worth of additional tooling when I sold it, so really I was -$40 in the end, but a good deal overall.

I wish I would have kept the machine. The lathe I replaced it with is a 14x40 which isn't huge by any means, but for small things, the mini lathe was really nice.

Besides basic operation, what I learned was what I was missing with lacking features which helped me figure out what I wanted & what I didn't need. Made me feel a lot more informed when shopping for a larger machine.

SO if you aren't already good with a lathe, there's nothing wrong with spending $400ish for a used HF (or other) mini lathe. Not only will it save $, but you'll get some tooling, someone cleaned it & set it up, and you can demo it before buying. While waiting for your 'dream machine' to show up on craigslist, you can be making chips & learning basic operation. You can also be defining what is & isn't important to you so you'll know your 'dream machine' when you see it.

Anyone who says you CAN'T cut stainless or hard materials on a 7x10 mini lathe has never tried it or just had a POS machine. You could cut perfectly good K's or cones on one but it will take longer because you're taking much lighter cuts. on the 7x10, you're not going to thread a tube of any useful length. You run out of bed length real quick. With a tailstock chuck & a jobber drill, you're not deep drilling anything - the length just isn't there. The 7x10 is the common size - shame it's not 7x14 which would really increase the little machine's capabilities a lot. If you were planning something welded & not a threaded tube, I don't see why you couldn't make it entirely on a mini lathe.

Anyway, nothing wrong with a mini lathe to get your feet wet. Like I sad, I wish I would have kept mine.

This is what I was looking for if it helps you define your 'dream machine':

Not an expert - not a machinist by any stretch of the imagination - but these are the things that were on my wishlist when I was shopping.

1. 220v single phase. I'm less of an electrician than I am a machinist but even I can/did add a 220 circuit. That limits your choices a lot, but I didn't have room for a huge machine anyway.

2. 1 1/2 or larger spindle bore. Figured 90% or so of what I'd turn would be 1.5" or smaller OD. So far that's been right and anything bigger hasn't been a long enough piece of stock that I needed to worry about it.

3. Quick change gearbox. No effing around with swapping gears to change thread pitch or speed.

4. 50-60 rpm min speed. Don't know how critical that is. I thought you *had* to thread or part at those speeds. I mostly do but get away with higher speeds often.

5. Power feed and power cross feed. Not really something to look for because I think it would be hard to find a machine without those that isn't a benchtop size machine but I didn't know at the time those are mostly standard.

6. Reverse. Again pretty standard but I think you can find a lot wired for 110v or pretty old that only go forward.

7. Lots of flat surfaces. Bad habit and laziness but I didn't want something with a round top behind the spindle. I wanted a large flat area to set things there (so they can fall onto the spinning chuck and be hurled violently at me).

8. Clutch. I ended up not getting this one but wish I a had clutch. Get along fine w/o it but would be nice to have.

9. Cam lock spindle in a standard/common size. I might be calling it the wrong thing but I wanted a headstock that's positevely locked and not a threaded spindle mount.

10. Gap bed. I couldn't fit a huge machine but thinking bigger is better a gap bed would be ideal. After getting the lathe and looking at it, there's no way I'm removing that for extra swing capacity. Ever. Taking a section of the ways out and then putting them back and have everything aligned as it was seems like a fool's errand to me. So although I really thought that was something I had to have, it wouldn't influnce my decision if I were shopping for a lathe today. I might get some contrarian opinions on that one and I'll defer to those more experienced than I am.

Lots of other things to look for as far as condition and capability depending on your needs. I needed something newer and in really good condition. Don't know enough about fixing machine tools and want to spend my time making chips and not restoring a production or abused machine. I bought my lathe and mill together from the same guy and a large factor was how clean his shop was and the condition of all his tools. It was easy to tell that he took care of his things so I was comfortable buying them.

Tooling does add up but I disagree that it equals the cost of the machine tool. Maybe over time it eventually does, but the basics to get going can be had inexpensively from Enco or many other places. With a used machine there's a good chance you'll get a lot of tooling with it and should be willing to pay a little more factoring that in. If all you had was a bare machine and needed *everything* it would cost a lot up front. I paid $2k for both machines and haven't spent that much for tooling on both yet. They came with a lot and I'm sticking to cheaper stuff until I find what I use the most and feel I need higher quality. My $100 faux-loris QC toolpost works but I should have bought a better one for example. I use a rh turning tool all the time so I bought a nicer insert one and I'm happy that I did. If I had spent $100 on a LH one I'd feel that was money wasted since its something I use rarely.


That's the route I took. Now though I'd suggest something like a G0768 or G4000 vs a 7x10. You can do a whole lot more & still not break the bank. That's IF you want to get something small for now while saving up & deciding exactly what you want for the bigger machine. I know it sounds kind of dumb to suggest buying something for $1000 with the intent of outgrowing & replacing in a year. But how many people save up to get exactly what they want (thing they want) & then figure out after it's too late that it doesn't have the capability they needed? Plus since there are apparently no similar machines on your used market it should be real easy for you to sell it quickly & get most of your $ back out of it.

You WILL frequently bump up against the limitations of a benchtop lathe, but there is a lot of stuff you can still do on one. However there are many pro's such as low cost, cheaper tooling, easy to move around, 110V power, small footprint, etc. You might find a 'larger mini' like the G4000 suits your needs & you don't outgrow it ever. I have no idea what projects you plan to get in to. Also - you can see there are some things I thought I really had to have in a machine & don't have - or things I thought were important that really weren't for me.

Up to you....wait for the right machine to show up used, go with the PM machine you picked out & maybe need to upgrade in a while, save up for something bigger, get a starter for now while you figure it out..... it's tough.

One thing I think you're finding out is what I did. In the beginning I kept getting "buy a good used, large, American machine" advice. Nothing wrong with that. But that's easier said than done because they're big, heavy, hard to find in real good shape, hard to find cheap if they aren't a mess, usually 3-phase (phase converter solves that, but still), and most times not set up for a test run. Probably really depends on what part of the country you're in.
--------------------------------------

"Sorry but you cannot use search at this time. Please try again in a few minutes"
"This board is currently disabled"
These things make me :(

User avatar
yondering
Silent But Deadly
Posts: 373
Joined: Thu Aug 02, 2007 12:22 pm
Location: NW Wa. state

Re: New lathe purchase, is this enough?

Post by yondering » Mon Apr 25, 2016 10:02 pm

mr fixit wrote:
yondering wrote:
As I pointed out, you can easily get a larger machine for the price you're considering, if you look at the used market.
I've been looking at the used market here in Texas for a few years to be honest. What shows up are huge machines, as in 16" and above swing and over 10 feet long. Or machines that could be considered in my range but appear to be possibly crapped out.
At a glance, you're right, craigslist in your area is a bit sparse on lathes at the moment. It's still got a lot more listed than my area though; you just have to look and be patient, but be open to something a little bigger than you think you need.

Of those you listed, none are what I would be looking for exactly, but that 13x40 Webb would be your best bet. You might be surprised to find that doesn't take up a whole lot more space than a little 9" South Bend on a cabinet stand. It might be worth looking at some this size in person to get a better feel for it.

I don't really advocate looking for old american iron though. I've done that, and honestly am happier with used but newer Asian machines of decent quality. A Jet 12" or 13" lathe would do everything you need. I'd be happy with one of the Grizzly lathes too, provided it was large enough. Those tend to be reasonably priced on the used market.

I paid $1650 for my Jet 13x36 recently, and our market has a much smaller selection than yours. Size wise, it's obviously a bigger machine than something like my little South Bend, but the overall space it takes up isn't much different; just a matter of a few inches. Like a lot of machines in this size, it can be wired 110 or 220v. Don't be afraid of a 3ph machine if the price is right though; modern vfd controllers are only a few hundred bucks, and give you a variable speed control too.

Post Reply