Bench Top Lathes???

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  1. mopowers

    mopowers Well-Known Member

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    Are the small 7-10" swing foreign-made bench top lathes any good for small hobby-type turning of bushings, spacers, etc.?

    Do any of you guys have one of these small bench top lathes? How do you like them? Can you explain a little about their limitations?

    Thanks!
     
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    • 273

      273 Well-Known Member

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      No but i guess depends on what your doing with it, the youtube reviews I watch say the ok with softer metal.
      Been looking at diy lathes on youtube I want to try to build once my garage is built.
       
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      • pishta

        pishta I know I'm right....

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        IIRC the tooling and turrets were more than the lathe itself. Friend had an old 5 speed in his shop. Must have been a 6" but I spent many lunch hours on that just turning brass scraps. Almost bought one with no tooling for $120 at the last Spring Fling but I didnt want to haul it a quarter mile back to my car.
         
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        • RustyRatRod

          RustyRatRod Weenie idiot loser. FABO Gold Member

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          I think Del (@67Dart273) may have one. Maybe he'll chime in.
           
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          • dartfreak75

            dartfreak75 Restore it, Dont part it! FABO Gold Member

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            The smaller Grizzlie bench tops are pretty good lathes. Iv used them and they work great for what they are. They have there limitations just like anything else but if your creative enough you can work around it. Iv been wanting one for years someday I will buy one.
             
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            • famous bob

              famous bob mopar misfit FABO Gold Member

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              I have one w/ the milling machine on top, if u buy one , buy the ''biggest one'' u can afford !! WISH I`D GONE BIGGER, DONT KNOW HOW I EVER GOT ALONG W/O IT !!
               
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              • YY1

                YY1 Well-Known Member

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                I have a somewhat related lathe question-

                Can you use a lathe to turn down a rusty drive shaft yoke?

                I have several (many?) drive shafts that have been stored uninstalled and developed a good layer of surface rust on the polished yoke area.

                Are the yokes ruined or can they be saved?
                 
              • yellow rose

                yellow rose Doctor of Thinkology.

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                The little bench top lathes will do more than most people think. The big deal is I never use the dials on the machine. I always use dial indicators so I know exactly what I’m doing.

                Sharp tooling is a must. Don’t crowd the tool, especially on harder stuff. If you do, you won’t get the results you want. So take your time.

                You can build a quite a bit of stuff on one if you want to. The real limitations are the size of stock you can work on.
                 
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                • yellow rose

                  yellow rose Doctor of Thinkology.

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                  If you can’t polish the rust off they probably aren’t salvageable. I’m not sure how much you can turn down a yoke and still get the seal to function.

                  It will also take a 4 jaw Chuck or a face plate (maybe a face plate) to grab it, and certainly use a live center.
                   
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                  • '63GT

                    '63GT Well-Known Member

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                    I have had a few.
                    But like any other tool, just as YR stated, you must use it responsibly.
                    A good machinist, on a marginal tool, will turn out a better product than someone on a quality machine with no ability.
                    There's 100 things to consider when buying. Consider what your needs are, and take a machinist with you before you buy.
                    And be careful! Its easier than you think, to get hurt.
                    It's a lot of fun, especially if you're creative.
                    Like this
                    20200217_195728.jpg
                     
                    Last edited: May 22, 2020 at 11:32 PM
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                    • '63GT

                      '63GT Well-Known Member

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                      Here's a video that may help..
                      Its kinda long, but entertaining too.
                       
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                      • gzig5

                        gzig5 Well-Known Member

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                        I've currently got four lathes, from a little jewelers lathe up to a 1200 pound 11" swing gearhead. I had to sell my bigger machines to get the car in the garage. You would be surprised what can be accomplished on worn or suspect quality machines. Some of the mini lathes should be considered kits, but there are some good ones. Like many things in life, it's the Indian not the arrow, that makes the difference. Get the biggest, heaviest, best quality machine you can fit and afford. While I can turn 1/2" O1 rod .020" depth of cut on my little 4x8" EMCO, it's a hell of a lot easier, faster, and more accurate on it's 11" swing big brother.
                         
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                        • 67Dart273

                          67Dart273 FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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                          I've lost a lot of ground on lathes. I once had a little benchtop forget the brand. it was sold under at least 2-3 brand names, and "in it's day" was pretty fair. Stay away from HF, the lower end Chinese stuff. Grizzly is good. Older stuff, Sears sold their larger lathes in made by Atlas, but sold a little 6" I think Dunlop? It was not "much" and then of course there's South Bend. All of that older stuff can be expensive to update.....better tool holders, etc, and CAN BE WORN both spindle bearings and the ways and so on.

                          Make sure you find something that has support such as for taper attachments and that it can do threading and so on
                           
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                          • rustycowll69

                            rustycowll69 Well-Known Member

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                            you could possibly turn the seal surface down and/or use a "speedy sleeve" to restore the seal area.
                             
                          • YY1

                            YY1 Well-Known Member

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                            I was thinking a very light turn or even just something to hold them while applying the emory cloth evenly might do it.

                            I've been thinking of how to hold and spin with a floor model drill press but haven't come up with anything,
                             
                          • gzig5

                            gzig5 Well-Known Member

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                            The Dunlop machines were pretty light duty, but they will make chips. The Atlas 6x18" is a very capable little machine. The Atlas 10" and Craftsman 12" machines can do great work. I have or have owned each one of those.
                             
                          • C130 Chief

                            C130 Chief Mechanical Genius

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                            A lot depends on how serious you are. If you just plan to make bushings and such, the low end Asian machines will do you fine. If you plan to do more precision work, you'll quickly wish for a bigger and nicer machine. Older American or European machines can be bargains or money pits. I picked up a 10"x24" Logan a few years back for $600. It didn't come with much tooling and by the time I got a quick change tool post and hopefully soon a newer 3-jaw chuck, I'll have that much into it again easily. There's a lot of overpriced junk out there so don't pay too much. Check out www.hobby-machinist.com forums.
                             
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                            • rustycowll69

                              rustycowll69 Well-Known Member

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                              if you're serious, I'd recommend getting the biggest, heaviest lathe you can afford, and have room for. The heavier lathes are less prone to vibration. Previous post, had a really good point, to try and get one with as much tooling as possible, because that can end up costing more than the lathe, itself, to round up after the fact. You will need a 3-jaw and 4-jaw chuck, w/cam-locks is a good option, steady rest. Live center, dead center, quick change tool post is great. taper attachment is a bonus. Hollow spindle of substantial dia is good, too. Look for damaged ways, crashed apron. Might want to check the gears in the headstock, for damaged gears and proper oil level. Helical-cut gears are quieter, generally.
                               
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                              • 67Dart273

                                67Dart273 FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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                                I had a Craftsman/ Atlas 12x48 almost wish I'd kept it. I have a SB 9 or 10 I forget. It's actually not in as good shape as the Atlas wear wise.
                                 
                              • RustyRatRod

                                RustyRatRod Weenie idiot loser. FABO Gold Member

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                                • gzig5

                                  gzig5 Well-Known Member

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                                  That's the one I had but Craftsman version with Timken bearings. That one is priced fairly with all the accessories and collets that come with it. In decent shape that machine can make anything you need, just will take a little longer on some operations because you have to sneak up on that last little bit where with a big rigid machine you can get in and get er done. I used mine for 12 years and then sold it for more than I paid for it. Nice thing with a machine like that is that I can get it into the basement. My 14" Rockwell lathe wieghed 2500 pounds and was stuck in the garage. Not fun using that when it was 10 degrees out and 30 in the garage. One of my hobbies is rebuilding/refurbishing old lathes and mills, including scraping the running surfaces back in. Keeps me out of the bars, for the most part.

                                  When you are looking at old used iron, pay attention for wear on the ways near the headstock. That's where most of the work occurs. Wear doesn't mean worn out. There are techniques for getting good results with worn machines. But if you are just starting out you probably want to pay up for something that isn't too worn.
                                   
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                                  • '63GT

                                    '63GT Well-Known Member

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                                    You're right about that. Speedy sleeves have their place, it really depends upon their environment.
                                    In light duty situations, they're a life/wallet saver. But in industrial/farming, not so much. often times seal loads, combined with dirty oil, spells death to a Speedy. And given how much you'll shell out for one X's how many times it will need to be replaced. (yes, I've seen it) The smarter money is to either replace the shaft with OE parts or make a new one.
                                     
                                  • '63GT

                                    '63GT Well-Known Member

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                                    Those yokes are pretty thin already, given what they're asked to do.
                                    I wouldn't turn them down... depending upon how bad they're pitted, cause you have to go 'beyond the pitting' to get to good seal-able surface.
                                    You could put a Speedy sleeve on it, in this case, cause the seals don't put much load on the surface. But, given the cost of a Speedy, $40 -$50, you may as well buy a new yoke.
                                     
                                  • YY1

                                    YY1 Well-Known Member

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                                    They don't appear to be pitted, just the rust is thicker than I'd feel comfortable manually sanding off.

                                    Just having them turning so I could hold the sandpaper and guarantee an even application would probably do it.

                                    If not, one or two very shallow passes with a tool would absolutely do it.
                                     
                                  • Tooljunkie

                                    Tooljunkie King of cobble/master of the broken bolt FABO Gold Member

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                                    Get an old electric drill and fashion a way to mount it to the table, spinning a large object in a drill press will turn into a projectile. Been there, told him not to, and he did it anyway. I was right! With support on the loose end its in complete control.
                                     
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