Bare Minimum Lathe?

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2Munkeez
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Bare Minimum Lathe?

Post by 2Munkeez » Mon Oct 31, 2011 12:40 am

if someone wanted to get into making their own silencers, .22 through .308, and wanted to use stainless steel, what would they need as far as machinery goes? i've seen the lathe/mill combo's that HF sells for $500 and i'm guessing that this would NOT be sufficient. obviously, the more you spend, the nicer your equipment and therefore the easier the mfg process, but where is the floor? what's the cheapest lathe you can reasonably get by with? and do you need any machines other than the lathe?

thanks guys

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Re: Bare Minimum Lathe?

Post by bakerjw » Mon Oct 31, 2011 6:11 am

Within reason buy the biggest that you can afford.
Also plan on spending just as much for tooling.

Someone with good machinist skills can make a good silencer on a small lathe but a beginner will likely become very frustrated and will spend more time fiddling with the lathe than making parts.

I started with a 12"x36" Atlas. It worked ok but I wanted something with a bit more beef so I picked up a used Hendey 12" x 36" that has a 1 5/8" bore. It is a monster and will do anything I need even turning my own brake rotors.

You can get by without a mill but they are also nice to have around.
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Re: Bare Minimum Lathe?

Post by PTK » Mon Oct 31, 2011 11:28 am

The bare minimum I'd want for doing rifle silencers is a 10x22. G602 is the model of lathe I have, and it has a bore of just over one inch. Problems arise if you're used to doing things without a rest to hold the tube, etc. The nice part is you can get into one, plus some tools and a QCTP, for about $2000.
RIP Dave. You will be missed.

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Re: Bare Minimum Lathe?

Post by 2Munkeez » Mon Oct 31, 2011 12:50 pm

wow, now this is strange. i just talked to a relative of a close friend. this guy has made a POO TON of firearms and he said go to Harbor Freight and buy a mini lathe. i told him i would be wanting to make baffels out of stainless steel and he said it was fine. i had always heard to avoid Horrible Freight, he says the little $500 mini lathe is all i need to knock out some decent cans?!?! is he way off?

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Re: Bare Minimum Lathe?

Post by PaulNoiseLess » Mon Oct 31, 2011 1:14 pm

Hi,

I do have a 9x20 MiniLathe and just do Suppressors (Prototypes). I use it a lot.

The main issue I have is threading Tubes: The bore spindle of mine is less than 1 inch (20 mm I guess) so I have to use the fucking steady rest.

For the rest, it’s just fine. I do mainly Alu due to difficult access to SS but whenever I get my hands on a piece of those, I just cut and turn fine.

I also have a little drill press that I use like a Mill but not good enough.

I’m trying to save some Money and replace Puky by a Lathe/Mill combo or just wait little more, buy a CNC Mill and just keep my Puky working.

Anyway, my best advice, get the biggest machine you can afford and keep 2x or 3x the Money you spend on the box to buy tools and accessories.

Best,

Paul
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2Munkeez
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Re: Bare Minimum Lathe?

Post by 2Munkeez » Mon Oct 31, 2011 1:25 pm

so... if i had a $1,300 budget and that includes accessories (in the short term, as years go by i could get more stuff), then is there a machine for me? or do i just need to stick with buying pre-made silencers?

2Munkeez
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Re: Bare Minimum Lathe?

Post by 2Munkeez » Mon Oct 31, 2011 1:59 pm

i mean, something like this:

http://www.harborfreight.com/8-inch-x-1 ... 44859.html

would that be a waste of time? would money be better spent just buying someonelse's work?

i do run a mfg business, i make custom concealment rigs, but i work with kydex not steel. i would really love to get into this stuff, but am on a pretty tight budget. i just bought an SMG and that has set me back quite far.

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Re: Bare Minimum Lathe?

Post by PaulNoiseLess » Mon Oct 31, 2011 2:15 pm

Hi,

For 1300 bucks what you show is what you can have (or close). Before buying make sure you can also have: QCTP and Steady Rests.

Also, open the door and have a look inside to check if you can have a cathead there. Most can't due to the band being too close to the spindle bore.

MiniLathes from China, Corea and India are tricky: I just found in mine that parts of the Lathe were designed in mm and some others in inches. So, I’m out of the standards and going shopping for accessories is just a mess.

I’m not in USA but once a month I go shopping to Littlemachineshop.com and never failed till now.

Best,

Paul
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PTK
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Re: Bare Minimum Lathe?

Post by PTK » Mon Oct 31, 2011 3:38 pm

You will find many turning operations an exercise in frustration, along with tools for the mini lathe costing as much or more than the same tools (scaled, of course) for larger bench lathes. Honestly, I asked myself the same question years ago, and decided to buy a mini lathe. I don't have it any more, and I am quite pleased with the G602. Grizzly machines may be made overseas, but they are a LOT of lathe for the money.

http://www.grizzly.com/products/G0602


My suggestion is to save for a few more months. You'd most likely be happier. :)
RIP Dave. You will be missed.

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Sergeant
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Re: Bare Minimum Lathe?

Post by Sergeant » Tue Nov 01, 2011 6:23 am

I have the Grizzly G0602 and i really like it. Small but it works for what I use it for. Saved for a long time and got everything I thought I might need with it.
Steve

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Re: Bare Minimum Lathe?

Post by Historian » Tue Nov 01, 2011 6:47 pm

2Munkeez wrote:if someone wanted to get into making their own silencers, .22 through .308, and wanted to use stainless steel, what would they need as far as machinery goes? i've seen the lathe/mill combo's that HF sells for $500 and i'm guessing that this would NOT be sufficient. obviously, the more you spend, the nicer your equipment and therefore the easier the mfg process, but where is the floor? what's the cheapest lathe you can reasonably get by with? and do you need any machines other than the lathe?

thanks guys
Like an old kettle drum, you cannot BEAT finding old American Iron, such as
used Atlas Lathe (or Southbend). They range from the sturdy 618 to the 12" model.

Look at eBay, your local area used machinery ads, and especially from estate sales.

If you find one you like there are Hobby Machinist sites that give a list of evaluation
parameters.

Either way you will have years of fun making shavings, wistfully dreaming of having
one of the latest, shiny, tool encrusted, computer controlled babies.

Reminiscent of a cartoon of a man, his wife, and baby entering a Chevy dealership:
His dream car on the left - a new Corvette; his wife pulling him to a van as she
imagines the room she'll be needing for the next few kids to come. :)

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Re: Bare Minimum Lathe?

Post by bakerjw » Tue Nov 01, 2011 7:44 pm

+1

My Hendey lathe was originally sold to MIT back in 54. IIRC Historian worked while going to MIT a while after than and part of his job was wiping down the lathe in a machine shop so he may have cleaned my lathe while in its infancy.

Some old American iron is worn out and takes more TLC to get back into spec that most of us can give. But you do find jewels out there. I got my Hendey 12"x36" 1 ton monster with an Induma kneemill for $2200 with a lot of tooling.

Be patient.
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PTK
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Re: Bare Minimum Lathe?

Post by PTK » Tue Nov 01, 2011 9:00 pm

While I absolutely LOVE old machines (my favorite mill was a Bridgeport older than my parents), there is a serious issue with older lathes. The spindle bore in almost all of them is MUCH smaller than what you would find on a similar machine these days. Do your homework! I damn near bought a gorgeous older 14x40, but when I did some research I found that the spindle bore is 5/8". Not a typo, .625" diameter. My freaking mini-lathe had more than that...
RIP Dave. You will be missed.

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Re: Bare Minimum Lathe?

Post by mg81 » Tue Nov 01, 2011 10:09 pm

A fair warning on the through hole being small on many older machines, but some did have a large one. You need to know what the different manufactures did.

The biggest question is space and resources. Do you have a bunch of space and a way to move a big machine that won't break the bank?

If so you can get a big machine that most would not buy because it weighs to much for them to move or they don't have a spot for it. I find huge nice machines for scrap weight prices and see a bench machine go for more money because that is what the at home guy can fit into his basement. Guys get a woody looking at the South Bend "Heavy" 10 lathes, which is a small machine but it is "big" by hobby standards but small/light by industry standards. Most machines that I find coming out of votechs and small manufactures are bigger and not as desirable to the home person, but they are a better machine.

As an added bonus by learning to machine on the big machines at home you can kill yourself or tear off an arm instead of just a finger like would happen with a smaller hobby machine. Perhaps this is not a bonus, more of a warning.

Best of luck finding a machine that works for you. Regardless of what you get you will always end up wanting something else, so just try to find something to play with to start that won't break the bank and change around later once you have experience, it is a lot of fun.

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Re: Bare Minimum Lathe?

Post by 2Munkeez » Fri Nov 04, 2011 12:18 am

Sergeant wrote:I have the Grizzly G0602 and i really like it. Small but it works for what I use it for. Saved for a long time and got everything I thought I might need with it.
Steve

wow, that Griz is a nice looking machine. it's also about the price i was trying to stay around. so, that's as much machine as i'd need to get into making my own silencers? you haven't ran into any situations where you were undergunned?

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Re: Bare Minimum Lathe?

Post by jreinke » Fri Nov 04, 2011 9:16 am

Check these guys out. You can get their 11x27" lathe with an 1-1/2" spindle bore!

http://www.machinetoolonline.com/NewLathes11under.html
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Re: Bare Minimum Lathe?

Post by PTK » Fri Nov 04, 2011 2:26 pm

2Munkeez wrote:
Sergeant wrote:I have the Grizzly G0602 and i really like it. Small but it works for what I use it for. Saved for a long time and got everything I thought I might need with it.
Steve

wow, that Griz is a nice looking machine. it's also about the price i was trying to stay around. so, that's as much machine as i'd need to get into making my own silencers? you haven't ran into any situations where you were undergunned?
I successfully crowned, threaded (for receiver and silencer) a 1.750" OD barrel, bull barrel, 18" long on my G0602. I haven't needed a larger lathe yet. :)


EDIT: That 11x27 lathe is awfully similar to the 10x22. It looks as though it's got a slightly longer bed, if that even, and a larger spindle bore but is otherwise only cosmetically different (even the gearcase is only cosmetically different, seems like). Still, the extra $1,000 or so might be worth it to some, I'll have to put that on the list of good hobby lathes.

EDIT 2: Okay, that 11x27 lathe is worth every penny. Not only does it have a bigger spindle bore than the Grizzly G0602, it has power cross feed and a bit more choices for feed speeds. Neat.
RIP Dave. You will be missed.

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Re: Bare Minimum Lathe?

Post by jfk » Fri Nov 04, 2011 2:40 pm

A Jet 9X20 or even a Grizzly 9x19 will work for alot of parts/applications. The operator will need to use a follow rest/steady rest as well as a live center on the tailstock, it just takes more set up but very capable of precise work.

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Re: Bare Minimum Lathe?

Post by PTK » Fri Nov 04, 2011 3:03 pm

Even when I don't have to, I use a steady or follower rest and the live center on the tailstock, if I can. Usually I end up using the 4 jaw independent chuck, too. The G0602 10x22 I bought is far more accurate than it has any right being.
RIP Dave. You will be missed.

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Re: Bare Minimum Lathe?

Post by calinb » Mon Nov 07, 2011 7:44 pm

I have an HF mini with a stretched 16" bed. You can make a bunch of stuff on the HF minis (lathe and mill) but they can become major projects themselves in order to gain the functionality that is customary in professional tools. Some enthusiasts call the minis "kits." I've made countless improvements to mine including structural stiffeners and 3-axis DROs. One nice thing about the mini-lathe is it can turn very slowly. 30 to 60 rpm is usually no problem for mine.

You can sacrafice about 1/2 of the length of the MT3 taper in the mini-lathe spindle (no loss, if you always a chuck anyway) and ream it out to about 0.850" or maybe 0.875" max. where the wall under the drive gear woodruff key starts to get pretty thin. I got the idea from Varmint Al's mini lathe page, but you'll always have to use a steady rest for anything larger. There are countless mini hobbiest sites and pages on the web. You can put up to a 5" chuck on the thing too. I have both a 4-jaw and 3-jaw in 5 inch.

-Cal

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Re: Bare Minimum Lathe?

Post by bakerjw » Tue Nov 08, 2011 7:36 am

I always say buy as big as you can store and afford. After that a minilathe is a perfect addition. It is a major pita to chuck up a small part in a big lathe. A mini lathe is a perfect compliment.
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Re: Bare Minimum Lathe?

Post by calinb » Wed Nov 09, 2011 6:15 am

bakerjw wrote:I always say buy as big as you can store and afford. After that a minilathe is a perfect addition. It is a major pita to chuck up a small part in a big lathe. A mini lathe is a perfect compliment.
I agree. I'd like to go as big as I can, after an upcoming relocation and move, but I also wish I'd bought an HF Micro Lathe when they were closing them out at something like $70--just for trimming cases and turning necks.

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Re: Bare Minimum Lathe?

Post by jdm033056 » Fri Nov 11, 2011 2:03 pm

I'm also considering a first lathe for turning small steel parts as well as 3.5 in plastic rod and am a complete novice. As such which of these two would you more knowledgeable folk recommend, and why?

http://www.machinetoolonline.com/PM1027.html

http://www.grizzly.com/products/G0602

Very similar money.... Thanks

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Re: Bare Minimum Lathe?

Post by PTK » Fri Nov 11, 2011 9:14 pm

Of those two, the PM1027 would be vastly better for your purposes and significantly easier to use (power cross feed, geared head). Honestly, if I had known about it I would have bought that one over the G0602.
RIP Dave. You will be missed.

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Re: Bare Minimum Lathe?

Post by calinb » Sun Jan 08, 2012 4:13 am

PTK wrote:Of those two, the PM1027 would be vastly better for your purposes and significantly easier to use (power cross feed, geared head). Honestly, if I had known about it I would have bought that one over the G0602.
Wow--yes!!! I may have to get one of those PM1027s.

It has several things that you sometime just can't work around not having with the smaller hobby lathes. That 1-1/16 spindle bore is exception for the price. Sometimes 5" chucks can be added to smaller machines but a 3 jaw and a 4 jaw are included. The 115 rpm minimum speed is a bit fast (60 rpm is what I'd like to have) but again...wow!

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