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Art & Inspiration school me on benchtop lathes

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by GreenGrenade, Oct 13, 2012.

  1. Shane Spencer
    Joined: Oct 3, 2009
    Posts: 2,159

    Shane Spencer
    Member

    ive been looking up lathes lately. found some benchtops on craigslist for what seem like decent prices. i guess what im looking for is info from guys at home. what should i look for in a lathe, certain aspects, tooling etc. what features will a guy in a home garage really need or use. what brands have you guys had success with, what should i stay away from. i think this can really open up opportunities to make some bitchin stuff. thanks for any and all help and opinions
     
  2. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 27,536

    Mr48chev
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I've been hunting an older Atlas lathe for years but haven't picked up one yet. 40's /50's lathe that you often saw in a high school metal/machine shop years ago but they are pretty simple and there is stuff available for them.
     
  3. Shane Spencer
    Joined: Oct 3, 2009
    Posts: 2,159

    Shane Spencer
    Member

    Yeah, i rent a garage and the owner of the property just picked up a small lathe. Its such a cool unit. So many possibilities with a tool like that

    Sent from my DROID device using the TJJ mobile app
     
  4. I bought a Logan at a yard sale and and fixed it up, I'm not an expert but the more tooling and bits the better. One with a power cross feed and a compound rest is handy. When you find yours mount it on a sturdy bench , the heaver the better, in a well lit dry area.

    [​IMG]
     

  5. Deuces
    Joined: Nov 3, 2009
    Posts: 18,726

    Deuces
    Member
    from Michigan

    I bought the 7 X 10 from H.F. about 5 years ago... I still haven't tried it out yet...:eek::eek:
    I'll probably get "burned" for this..:eek:
     
  6. Willy301
    Joined: Nov 16, 2007
    Posts: 1,426

    Willy301
    Member

    Tooling is always a bonus, but you should look for something with a 3 jaw self centering chuck and a 4 jaw independent chuck, so you can chuck up oddly shaped items. Power crossfeed is great, and a quick change tool holder is even better. I bought a floor model from a factory that was upgrading, and mine has a taper attachment as well. They are handy to have, and you can make some parts that are hard to find, or may hold you up for weeks waiting for them to be ordered. I would avoid the chinese ones, their tolerances seem tight when new, but quickly degrade. An older one with a little bit of wear can be dealt with, once you get the feel of the machine. Good luck on your search.
     
  7. snaptwo
    Joined: Apr 25, 2011
    Posts: 696

    snaptwo
    Member

    I would look for an US made machine ,Logan ,Atlas,LeBlond,Sheldon,etc. Support is available. Quick change feeds for threading,power feeds long. &cross, taper attachment is handy, 3 and 4 jaw chucks.and as much tooling as you can lay your hands on. I'm not going to bash some of the imports as the lack of support , parts and tech. is doing that job for me.
     
  8. Shane Spencer
    Joined: Oct 3, 2009
    Posts: 2,159

    Shane Spencer
    Member

    Cool. Thanks for the info guys. I just think it will be awesome to make stuff. The precision with these is awesome, i need to keep stocking up the piggy bank ! Hahah

    Sent from my DROID device using the TJJ mobile app
     
  9. I have and use one. I'll try and get some pics later today and post 'em up. It works good, I make custom bike parts on it quite often. It takes a little finesse and patients to work with because it's old but then isn't that to be expected.
     
  10. redeyewelder
    Joined: Sep 26, 2011
    Posts: 120

    redeyewelder
    Member
    from ten

    i love my old chraftsman...picked it up at a buddies shop ,,pushed to the back to make room for a bigger import ;-(.. that he has had nothing but problems out of...sux for him ,,,great for me...
     
  11. Deuces
    Joined: Nov 3, 2009
    Posts: 18,726

    Deuces
    Member
    from Michigan

    Last edited: Oct 14, 2012
  12. shawnspeed
    Joined: Sep 10, 2009
    Posts: 165

    shawnspeed
    Member
    from Attica Mi

    Just a note ....for the best accuracy , look for a lathe with the V bed ways instead of the flat craftsman/ atlas type.. these are normally South Bend , Logan , ect..2nd go as big as possible the first time ....and I know you said benchtop ... but a SB 10" model will have all the bells and whistles you could need , and with a milling attachment , could be a "Shopsmith " of lathes for your home machine shop....Having said that, it will take longer to do some set -ups to machine some parts , but it is doable....Just check out this link and look at some of the set-ups... http://wewilliams.net/SBLibrary.htm, I personnaly have a 9" SB # 405 made in the '30's that I am still gathering tooling for...I also aquired from a neighbor , a 12", or 14" x 60 " Lathe from new england that was made around the turn of the century (teens) and a more modern 16x60 shanghi shaker (Goodway) with dro's on 2 axis and q/c tool post, that I thought would be way over kill when I bought it , (CHEAP) but I have been glad on several occasions , that I had the extra capacity....also, the larger lathes are sometimes available way cheaper than the benchtop models...that lathe I mentioned above , that I got from the neighbor....60 bucks....thats right ...3 -$20's...and it was under power and works....does it need some tlc ..yes ...but it is a good start...just keep your eyes open ...Shawn
     
  13. Dontiac
    Joined: Dec 13, 2008
    Posts: 126

    Dontiac
    Member

    It's hard to beat an old Southbend. My 9" was made in 1947 and works great. On any lathe compare the ways out on the end to up by the chuck where it is used the most to determine how much wear it has. A 3 jaw chuck at least and a quick change or rotating tool holder. The more accessaries the better!
     
  14. gas pumper
    Joined: Aug 13, 2007
    Posts: 2,953

    gas pumper
    Member

    pictured is my 10" South Bend. Perfect for 99% of all car needs. Large 3 jaw, small 3 jaw, collet chucks and smaller 3 jaw that's mounted to a 5C collet. Inch (not metric) threading.

    For the other 1% is a 1915 Hendey 16". Good for big hubs, drums, flywheels.

    Frank
     

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  15. jimbousman
    Joined: Jul 24, 2008
    Posts: 541

    jimbousman
    Member

    Which lathe to buy also depends on what you plan to do. There are three key dimensions that determine the lathes capacity. Bed length, head swing, and head bore. Bed length limits the length of the part you can turn. In most cases, home builders can get buy with what called a "tool Room" lathe with a shorter bed. Head swing determines the diameter of the part you can turn. This is the biggest short fall of small hobby lathes. A 7" lathe can only swing a part slightly over 7" in diameter. Head bore determines the size of the metal stock you can feed though the head when turning down the end of a long rod. If a lathe has a .75" diameter head bore, then .75" is the largest rod you can fit through the head.

    I've looked at lathes for years including the China hobby lathes. Shop around and you can pick up a good industrial quality lathe for the same money as a hobby lathe. Look for a "Tool room lathe". They are shorter and usually see fairly light use compared to those on the shop floor. Your biggest additional cost might be a single phase motor as many shops run three phase but that's a small cost for a lathe that will serve you well for a life time.
     
  16. How are these "benchtops"??? :confused:
     
  17. gas pumper
    Joined: Aug 13, 2007
    Posts: 2,953

    gas pumper
    Member

    The SB could be had as a bench top. real small.
    The Hendey, I'm just braggin:D
     
  18. vintagedream
    Joined: May 27, 2011
    Posts: 50

    vintagedream
    Member

    I have a Chinese one similiar to that, It's great for making special bolts(smaller ones from bigger ones) or spacers, sleeves etc. But I don't know if this is commom with these but the ACCURACY SUCKS, however, with a little imagination you can work around that. Mine has gotten me out of trouble many times.
     
  19. F&J
    Joined: Apr 5, 2007
    Posts: 13,217

    F&J
    Member

    I traded 3 hours minor dent paint work on a Durango for my SouthBend with quick change and taper attachment. It also has a Gap Bed, which is a small piece of the ways that can be removed, so you can turn a larger diameter part. I did resurface a pressure plate by doing that.


    I got plenty of HAMB help to get mine set up and working.


    I also find that most older used 3 jaw chucks are worn out and are frustrating to try to get accurate, so I use a 4 jaw, and it's great.
     

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  20. CutawayAl
    Joined: Aug 3, 2009
    Posts: 2,144

    CutawayAl
    Member
    from MI

    There are so many people wanting toy size lathes that it makes them more expensive than they should be. People will buy worn out small lathes that, if they were larger, would be scrapped. If you can make the space, a bigger lathe is a better value. For most automotive uses, within reason, the bigger the lathe, the more useful it will be.

    All things being equal, a gear head lathe is better than a belt drive one. Most small lathes are belt.

    For a price it's possible to have worn feed screws/nuts repaired, but don't buy a lathe that is too worn out. It limits what can be done with it.

    There are several common/standard spindle patterns for mounting the chuck. Some lathes have an oddball mount. Most likely that's going to mean some kind of custom adapter for every chuck or faceplate you get. Not a deal breaker, but something to be aware of.
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2012
  21. Yea you got that right.
     
  22. coupster
    Joined: May 9, 2006
    Posts: 860

    coupster
    Member
    from Oscoda Mi

    I love my little atlas. I have made many small parts on it. To me it is indispensable.
     
  23. Shane Spencer
    Joined: Oct 3, 2009
    Posts: 2,159

    Shane Spencer
    Member

    Yeah i dont need anything huge, whats a decent price for a small atlas or something along those lines. I know tooling can cost some decent money so lets say just a lathe ?

    Sent from my DROID device using the TJJ mobile app
     
  24. seabeecmc
    Joined: Jan 28, 2005
    Posts: 994

    seabeecmc
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    First lathe, rule number one: You can do small work on a large lathe but, not vice versa. Ron
     
  25. Deuces
    Joined: Nov 3, 2009
    Posts: 18,726

    Deuces
    Member
    from Michigan

    Still have mine under my bench in the basement... I haven't plugged it in yet..
    I did have one of the guys at work grind me up a double morse taper adaptor for my 0-3/8" Jacobs ball bearing drill chuck...
     
  26. Dale Fairfax
    Joined: Jan 10, 2006
    Posts: 2,585

    Dale Fairfax
    Member Emeritus

    If you have the space, look for something more than a bench-top. Those are usually in the range of 6-9" swing (diameter). I would think 13-14" min. I have a 13" and wish I had a 16" (so I could swing a wheel). If your local newspaper carries auction ads, it seems there is always a shop going out of business and auctionin off machinery. Often good stuff going for peanuts. Sometimes you can make out at a used machinery dealer. Good old American brands are what to look for: Monarch, South Bend, Springfield, Pratt & Whitney, Leblond, American, Lodge & shipley, and the list goes on.


     
  27. Shane Spencer
    Joined: Oct 3, 2009
    Posts: 2,159

    Shane Spencer
    Member

    Im lookin at a 10 by 36 atlas for $450 with tooling and a bench. I really cant get a bigger one just due to shop space or lack there of.

    Sent from my DROID device using the TJJ mobile app
     
  28. jfortvalley
    Joined: Sep 17, 2012
    Posts: 15

    jfortvalley
    Member
    from GA

    check out the practical machinist.com
     
  29. kleinbike
    Joined: Dec 1, 2011
    Posts: 41

    kleinbike
    Member
    from Nor Cal


    I picked up an Atlas 10"x54" for $400 a while ago. It came with the basic tooling, knurling tool, couple different tool holders, etc. No bench.

    I don't know how I got by without it. (Neither do my friends who are always asking me to make something!)
     
  30. metalman
    Joined: Dec 30, 2006
    Posts: 3,279

    metalman
    Member

    We did some trading and got a old small benchtop Craftsman awhile back, it works well and it's handy but we're looking for a bigger one for sure. I figure enough people want the little ones I'll be able to sell it easy enough when I do find a bigger one.
     

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