Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 30 of 31
  1. #1
    Join Date
    29th December 2013
    Location
    Bayport MN
    Posts
    103

    Looking for advice on getting a lathe

    I’m looking for a little guidance on putting a lathe in our shop. When I told my son to ask about using one at his Jr high, he found out they his school got rid of all the machines in their metals shop because of a lack qualified of teachers. Based on the projects I see us working on in the next few years I’d like to find something 40” between centers. Larger would be nice, but the size and weight of the machine could start being a factor…. For rocketry, we would be making parts for research motors, inter stage couplers (we have MD 54mm to 38mm and MD 75mm to 54mm planned for this years, and likely larger projects in the future) The possibilities I’m looking at right now are:
    • New Enco / Birmingham/etc. Asian 13x40 lathe (about 800-900lbs, plus 200-300lbs for the stand).
    o Plus - plug and play
    o Minus – may not be the most accurate machine – a lot lighter that a 14” lathe, would eventually get drawn into getting a benchtop mill to go with it.
    • Used 14 x40 lathe with about a year of use in a tech school (they just traded a couple in for larger ones). Comes with all tooling like a new one. 1700-1900 lbs.
    o Plus - fresh check out and service from the dealer, plug and play, probably the best I could conceivably afford right now – about the same price as the new Asian ones.
    o Minus – needs a 3-phase converter – extra$$, would eventually get drawn into getting a benchtop mill to go with it.
    • Smithy Granite 1340 3-1 lathe mill combo (about 750lbs)
    o Plus - plug and play, already has a milling machine, so no worries about that. Less expensive than one of the above lathes AND a new bench top Asian mill.
    o Minus – may not be the most accurate machine – a lot lighter that a 13” Asian lathes, belt changes for speed changes, a lot of tooling (4 jaw chuck, steady rest, etc.) not included. questionable reviews of some 3-1 machines.
    • Craigslist lathe
    o Plus – likely half the cost or less of above options
    o Minus – hard to find lathes in this size range, random availability may push us into not having one in time for this year’s projects.

    My son Orion’s project last year:
    https://www.flickr.com/gp/18181108@N05/4r72s5

    Last edited by Thorfire; 17th February 2017 at 04:09 PM. Reason: typo
    L1 - Madcow 4" Phoenix I180 Skidmark 1651 feet
    L2 - Darkstar 2.6" J145 Skidmark longburn 4787 feet

    http://www.rocketreviews.com/karl-tyrrells-page.html

  2. #2
    Join Date
    23rd January 2009
    Location
    New York
    Posts
    4,879
    Quote Originally Posted by Thorfire View Post
    I’m looking for a little guidance on putting a lathe in our shop. When I told my son to ask about using one at his Jr high, he found out they his school got rid of all the machines in their metals shop because of a lack qualified of teachers. Based on the projects I see us working on in the next few years I’d like to find something 40” between centers. Larger would be nice, but the size and weight of the machine could start being a factor…. For rocketry, we would be making parts for research motors, inter stage couplers (we have MD 54mm to 38mm and MD 75mm to 54mm planned for this years, and likely larger projects in the future) The possibilities I’m looking at right now are:
    • New Enco / Birmingham/etc. Asian 13x40 lathe (about 800-900lbs, plus 200-300lbs for the stand).
    o Plus - plug and play
    o Minus – may not be the most accurate machine – a lot lighter that a 14” lathe, would eventually get drawn into getting a benchtop mill to go with it.
    • Used 14 x40 lathe with about a year of use in a tech school (they just traded a couple in for larger ones). Comes with all tooling like a new one. 1700-1900 lbs.
    o Plus - fresh check out and service from the dealer, plug and play, probably the best I could conceivably afford right now – about the same price as the new Asian ones.
    o Minus – needs a 3-phase converter – extra$$, would eventually get drawn into getting a benchtop mill to go with it.
    • Smithy Granite 1340 3-1 lathe mill combo (about 750lbs)
    o Plus - plug and play, already has a milling machine, so no worries about that. Less expensive than one of the above lathes AND a new bench top Asian mill.
    o Minus – may not be the most accurate machine – a lot lighter that a 13” Asian lathes, belt changes for speed changes, a lot of tooling (4 jaw chuck, steady rest, etc.) not included. questionable reviews of some 3-1 machines.
    • Craigslist lathe
    o Plus – likely half the cost or less of above options
    o Minus – hard to find lathes in this size range, random availability may push us into not having one in time for this year’s projects.

    My son Orion’s project last year:
    https://www.flickr.com/gp/18181108@N05/4r72s5
    You want exactly what I have...a South Bend 13" x 6' bed (~42" long case capability). Can be had without tooling for ~$700-1,000 depending on your locale and may require a motor swap.

    Dan Patell
    TRA 10904 L3

    Easy Research Rocketry
    29mm Research Hardware and 3d Printed Accessories

  3. #3
    Join Date
    23rd July 2011
    Location
    Butte, MT
    Posts
    1,089

    Looking for advice on getting a lathe

    Definitely not the Smithy. I have an older Jet 13x36, made in Taiwan, rather than the mainland. It's pretty decent, but I'm still fixing it up (everything's a project). I think the best choice of the ones you listed would be the 14x40 with all the tooling. The three phase convertor is not very expensive.
    The older South Bend belt drive lathes were nice, but good quality new gear head lathes are very capable. I wish I had gotten a used school trade in like your second option. I did look at a South Bend with an 8 foot bed (total bed, not between center length) but I didn't have room for it.


    Steve Shannon
    Steve Shannon
    L3CC, TAP, Director, Tripoli Rocketry Association

  4. #4
    Join Date
    24th June 2011
    Location
    Whitney Point, NY
    Posts
    325
    Don't rule out just buying a 3 phase motor and making your own converter. I have been running a few of my machines with a converter for decades.

    What make is the one at the school?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    29th December 2013
    Location
    Bayport MN
    Posts
    103
    Quote Originally Posted by SCP View Post
    Don't rule out just buying a 3 phase motor and making your own converter. I have been running a few of my machines with a converter for decades.

    What make is the one at the school?
    The school trade in is an Acra GH-1440A that was used there for a year. While I'm sure I could make a 3-phase converter, I don't realistically have the time to invest in it before we need this running. Static converters are about $300
    http://www.acramachinery.com/Manual_.../1400FEL-E.htm
    L1 - Madcow 4" Phoenix I180 Skidmark 1651 feet
    L2 - Darkstar 2.6" J145 Skidmark longburn 4787 feet

    http://www.rocketreviews.com/karl-tyrrells-page.html

  6. #6
    Join Date
    23rd July 2011
    Location
    Butte, MT
    Posts
    1,089
    Grizzly has a static converter for $240
    http://www.grizzly.com/products/Stat...-to-4-HP/G5841
    Steve Shannon
    L3CC, TAP, Director, Tripoli Rocketry Association

  7. #7
    Join Date
    21st January 2009
    Location
    Glendale, Arizona
    Posts
    1,515
    I would suggest whatever you get hiring a machinery mover.
    The money it costs doesn't go far in the emergency room.

    I work for a gunsmith, our big lathes and mills run off phase converters..

    M

  8. #8
    Join Date
    16th February 2014
    Location
    Gilroy, CA
    Posts
    1,906
    Those Acra machines are supposed to be decent.
    Chris Attebery
    TRA 6602 L2
    Personal best: 24626' 1219mph

    www.ape-rc.com

  9. #9
    Join Date
    19th January 2009
    Location
    Portland, OR
    Posts
    1,357
    I would suggest whatever you get hiring a machinery mover.
    The money it costs doesn't go far in the emergency room.


    Wise advice.
    We rigged one of these bad boys....a vintage Sydney that was used to turn prop-shafts by the Navy.
    Was not fun.
    The two 8-ton forklifts we rented couldn't lift it off the flatbed.
    Long story short, it became one of the scariest things I've ever done.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Lathe.jpg 
Views:	70 
Size:	179.6 KB 
ID:	312372
    Fred Azinger

  10. #10
    Join Date
    24th May 2013
    Location
    Battlground indiana
    Posts
    1,691
    Look at government salvage , or a university salvage like Purdue salvage look them to see what I'm talking about . Also a lathe is the only machine that it could build or rebuild it self or anything else
    Recertification coming soon
    Member of Indiana rocketry joining again

    Tripoli 14704 L2
    L1 mwp 11 XS on a H 250
    L2 mega Hi flyer on J285
    Staring my L3 build a 10" sono tube fin 10.50' tall



    I scratch build .

  11. #11
    Join Date
    25th August 2009
    Location
    Carol Stream
    Posts
    2,936
    Quote Originally Posted by chris m View Post
    Also a lathe is the only machine that it could build or rebuild it self or anything else
    What?
    L3-TRA 12636
    QCRS BOD/Prefect. Princeton, IL
    TWA Bong, WI
    Chicago Rocket Mafia "The Hot Tub"
    Public Enemy Aerospace
    Beep-Beep-Boop-Boop

  12. #12
    Join Date
    23rd January 2009
    Location
    New York
    Posts
    4,879
    Quote Originally Posted by GRIFFIN View Post
    What?
    It's the common bit of tool lore often discussed about lathes. Theoretically a lathe could clone itself if you have a milling attachment, collet closer, and unlimited capacity.
    Dan Patell
    TRA 10904 L3

    Easy Research Rocketry
    29mm Research Hardware and 3d Printed Accessories

  13. #13
    Join Date
    4th January 2011
    Location
    Alpine, Ca.
    Posts
    222
    dont worry about three phase- most if us have been using old school phase converters for years. today you can get inexpensive solid state variable frequency drives that happen to include two to three phase conversion- price 120 to 350 - tons on ebay, easy hook up. On lathe- look at bore through chuck- bigger opening is better! Weight is your friend. used american made better than new Chinese. Used with electronic controls- deluxe!
    L1 4k
    L2 13k
    73 14725 (waiver -275ft!)

  14. #14
    Join Date
    18th January 2009
    Posts
    1,308
    Quote Originally Posted by patelldp View Post
    It's the common bit of tool lore often discussed about lathes. Theoretically a lathe could clone itself if you have a milling attachment, collet closer, and unlimited capacity.
    If only it were that simple. The bulk of a lathe is cast parts, namely the bed.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    25th October 2016
    Location
    Texas, United States
    Posts
    1,174
    Quote Originally Posted by chris m View Post
    Also a lathe is the only machine that it could build or rebuild it self or anything else
    Some 3D printers can.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    24th May 2013
    Location
    Battlground indiana
    Posts
    1,691
    Yes and old school green sand casting and India blue you can .
    Recertification coming soon
    Member of Indiana rocketry joining again

    Tripoli 14704 L2
    L1 mwp 11 XS on a H 250
    L2 mega Hi flyer on J285
    Staring my L3 build a 10" sono tube fin 10.50' tall



    I scratch build .

  17. #17
    Join Date
    23rd July 2011
    Location
    Butte, MT
    Posts
    1,089
    Quote Originally Posted by Binder Design View Post
    If only it were that simple. The bulk of a lathe is cast parts, namely the bed.
    Well, with a really big lathe it would be easy to make a really small lathe.



    Steve Shannon
    Steve Shannon
    L3CC, TAP, Director, Tripoli Rocketry Association

  18. #18
    Join Date
    7th August 2014
    Posts
    247
    You would still have to grind the ways. I say no-can-do. A lathe can't clone it's self.

    As for advice, a lathe is a big expenditure. Get one that will last, has good accuracy. South Bend gear-head if you can. Also a digital readout is a nice accessory to have.
    BuiltFromTrash
    First RMS Flight: June-17 2015
    Pringles Can Rocket
    G53-FJ-7 (29-40/120) 92 Newton-Seconds
    ~1300 Ft

  19. #19
    Join Date
    25th October 2016
    Location
    Texas, United States
    Posts
    1,174
    Quote Originally Posted by chris m View Post
    Yes and old school green sand casting and India blue you can .
    I can also make an unfinished cast iron skillet clone itself then. I just have to cast the iron.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    23rd July 2011
    Location
    Butte, MT
    Posts
    1,089
    Quote Originally Posted by BuiltFromTrash View Post
    You would still have to grind the ways. I say no-can-do. A lathe can't clone it's self.

    As for advice, a lathe is a big expenditure. Get one that will last, has good accuracy. South Bend gear-head if you can. Also a digital readout is a nice accessory to have.
    My comment was tongue in cheek, meant to be humorous, but some small lathes have heavy steel turned and ground bars instead of ways.



    Steve Shannon
    Steve Shannon
    L3CC, TAP, Director, Tripoli Rocketry Association

  21. #21
    Join Date
    10th February 2010
    Location
    In the Mutt Hut again
    Posts
    120
    The thing to keep in mind is decent quality accessories (chucks, faceplates, collets & closer, steady rests, tool posts/holders, tooling, etc) can easily cost as much as the lathe. The more accessories that come with the purchase is money in the bank.
    "Safety doesn't happen by accident"

  22. #22
    Join Date
    18th January 2009
    Posts
    1,308
    Most important consideration: Through hole size. Everything else is further down the list.

  23. #23
    Join Date
    19th January 2009
    Location
    Portland, OR
    Posts
    1,357
    Most important consideration: Through hole size. Everything else is further down the list.

    Really, why?
    Most lathes I see are not very big wrt through-hole size.
    Trying to get one big enough for 75mm is hard....more is near impossible without spending a ton of coin.

    You can make an internal spindle that expands to grasp the tubes on the inside this allows you to cut all the groves near the chuck.
    We do this for all our motors from 54->150mm.
    Makes length a don't care too which is nice.
    Fred Azinger

  24. #24
    Join Date
    18th January 2009
    Posts
    1,308
    Quote Originally Posted by FredA View Post

    You can make an internal spindle that expands to grasp the tubes on the inside this allows you to cut all the groves near the chuck.
    We do this for all our motors from 54->150mm.
    Makes length a don't care too which is nice.
    I was the one who showed the good doctor how to do that, but I told him to keep it to himself. The fixtures are a pain. Not good for production speed.

  25. #25
    Join Date
    19th January 2009
    Location
    Portland, OR
    Posts
    1,357
    I was the one who showed the good doctor how to do that
    I think we both did then...and the reinforcement convinced him to do it.
    Agree that it's a bit painful, but allows you to make motors longer than the bed and larger than the through hole.
    I don't think anyone on this thread, besides yourself, is thinking mass production.
    Fred Azinger

  26. #26
    Join Date
    30th April 2012
    Location
    St. Louis, MO.
    Posts
    492
    Quote Originally Posted by Binder Design View Post
    Most important consideration: Through hole size. Everything else is further down the list.
    Mike is right. I have a Logan Model 200 in the garage. I picked it up because I build 1/12 scale live steam locomotives. While I'm happy with it, I've already run into a few snags.

    First and foremost, the through hole size. I have to machine axles for the steam engines and they are typically 1" round. Talk about a show stopper. Thankfully I'm still within my 4:1 length to diameter ratio (sticking out of the chuck) so I can still do it.

    I still have the original motor on it, which requires me to move the motor brushes in order to reverse it (this threw me off at first, but I figured it out). It can bog down, which I don't think it should.

    I picked mine up used on Craigslist. $700 including a boatload of tooling. It was mounted to a nicely built workbench with drawers. Loading that was a pain. Motor and mount came apart from the lathe bed easily. Two-man job. It was advertised for $900, but once I called the guy, he realized that I was deaf and asked if I knew his son (who is deaf also)... So he hooked me up. Small world.

    As far as wear, as long as you understand the wear on your lathe, you can do anything.
    Mike Walsh
    NAR L3 - 07/27/2013

  27. #27
    Join Date
    4th January 2011
    Location
    Alpine, Ca.
    Posts
    222
    The bore through chuck limits how big a long item item you can naturally turn without resorting to some fancy inside holding system- thats why i suggested used system as the larger bores get pricy. wish i had known before i purchased a 12in new Chinese.... freight costs not too bad.... ebay has lots of lathes listed.... dont let the three phase be a showstopper (see my prior post) ... this tool will outlast you... so reach a bit.
    L1 4k
    L2 13k
    73 14725 (waiver -275ft!)

  28. #28
    Join Date
    7th August 2014
    Posts
    247
    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Shannon View Post
    My comment was tongue in cheek, meant to be humorous, but some small lathes have heavy steel turned and ground bars instead of ways.



    Steve Shannon
    Lol. I am a bit dense sometimes.

    I did not know that. Learn something every day!
    BuiltFromTrash
    First RMS Flight: June-17 2015
    Pringles Can Rocket
    G53-FJ-7 (29-40/120) 92 Newton-Seconds
    ~1300 Ft

  29. #29
    Join Date
    23rd July 2011
    Location
    Butte, MT
    Posts
    1,089
    Quote Originally Posted by BuiltFromTrash View Post
    Lol. I am a bit dense sometimes.

    I did not know that. Learn something every day!
    For a great series on homemade machine tools, Google Gingery lathe.
    Steve Shannon
    L3CC, TAP, Director, Tripoli Rocketry Association

  30. #30
    Join Date
    16th February 2009
    Posts
    607
    That "thru-hole size" is called the spindle bore. Be careful here. That 13-40 may only have a 1 7/16" spindle bore, which means a 38mm case won't fit, so a special set-up would be required for working with longer ones.

    Get the biggest, best machine your wallet and shop space will allow. (Cuz believe me, what ever you get, you're going to want a bigger one. It's a part of human DNA.) Three phase is a non-issue. Cuz if you're worried about the cost of a phase converter, you're gonna mess yourself when you start buying tooling for a lathe.

    Someone mentioned maybe finding a South Bend for around $1K... Good luck. In the shop I worked in, I had an old SB 16-60. Sweet machine!! Oooooh... Don't I wish. Today, I have a 12-36 Taiwanese POS that was manufactured when I was in junior high school. It turns.

    As mentioned, make sure you get the accessories that should come with the machine. A steady rest, a follow-rest, a 3-jaw scroll chuck with both inside and outside (or reversible) jaws, and a independent-4-jaw chuck should come with the machine. If they don't, the cost of acquiring them separately might prove prohibitive. Extra accessories to ask about (with a used machine) are a tail-stock chuck, a live center, dead centers, lathe-dogs, and a quick-change tool post.

    One thing that won't come packaged with the machine is the experience to use it. Be careful. No long sleeves. Ever. Clear swarf with the chuck dead still. Those curls are double-edged razor blades. One set of fingers to a customer.

    Most of all be safe, wear glasses, and have fun.

    Last edited by cherokeej; 22nd February 2017 at 12:26 PM.
    "You annoy me. Therefore, I exist."

Similar Threads

  1. woo hoo! a lathe
    By Zetoyoc in forum The Watering Hole
    Replies: 9
    Last Post: 5th April 2012, 07:30 PM
  2. New lathe
    By Bigander in forum The Watering Hole
    Replies: 22
    Last Post: 12th October 2007, 02:39 AM
  3. In the market for a Lathe
    By Tolppisouth in forum The Watering Hole
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 3rd June 2007, 11:48 AM
  4. New lathe help
    By Neil in forum The Watering Hole
    Replies: 17
    Last Post: 11th October 2004, 02:19 AM
  5. New lathe
    By rocket trike in forum The Watering Hole
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 4th January 2004, 06:31 AM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •