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Buying my first lathe, no experience and need help

Discussion in 'GENERAL DISCUSSIONS' started by Gr1m3eaper, Mar 14, 2017.

  1. bobshobby

    bobshobby Australia H-M Supporter - Premium Content H-M Supporter-Premium

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    That machine looks very old and somewhat abused. I can't believe it's never been used, maybe by the person selling it. but it's got to be 60 or more years old, You'd be buying a can of worms at best. No lead screw, and probably near impossible to buy one. Why is the lead screw mising, was it crashed.

    The first question I'd ask is how much can you afford, and what d you really want to achieve? Do you have any idea of the kind of things you want to make and or repair?

    After that I generally say buy the biggest and best you have room for and can afford.

    I see you are living in Frankston, I assume Frankston Vic. if so, there a quite a few machine tool selling companies with good showrooms in Melbourne, they usually also sell second hand machines that have been traded in. Buying from them may cost a little more but you've got a better chance of buying something that actually works.

    Good luck.

    Bob.
     
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  2. Laytonnz

    Laytonnz New Zealand Active Member Active Member

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    I was in the same boat about 2 years ago I looked for what felt like for ever, i ended up jumping on an old pile of pre ww1 junk because it was cheap. ... probably good for a museum !

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    dont have a picture of it complete ...!

    I ended up selling it because being new I just couldn't figure out if it was me or the machine making the mistakes

    Fast foward 6 months I was working at a local school and seen an old lathe coverd in sawdust and general shop dust I made a cheeky offer of $500 and took it home.

    [​IMG]
    After a clean, paint wasnt stuck very well...

    A few months later I started geting into it and realized I had made the same mistake a seemly good machine from the outside but under it all it has seen some fairly hard student abuse.... ground down gears damaged gib strips nasty crash damage greased bronze bush's resulting in exeptionally worn bush's. . Stuck backplate ect the list goes on

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    this is pretty much says it all, just abused.

    but remember even if you buy a dud there is always hope and by the time youre finished with it you will know the whole machine inside out and its workings and have some skills you wouldnt otherwise have and made some fairly interesting parts

    So I thought bugger it, brought a chineese HQ400 lathe/mill and started repairing the old girl so far I've rebuilt the apron, Norton gearbox just about finished the tailstock and various other bits and pieces the HQ400 is a fair lathe but a poor mill I purchased this second hand but this time I had a good idea what was a "acceptable " machine it turned out great exept for the electrical issue in the first week the on off switch stoped working so i just replaced the whole lot with a simple rocker switch.

    i built this bench to add mass to this small machine, its made of various scrap i had around but mostly 8mm+ thickness steel and a 18mm top the lathe is bolted to a 12mm piece of plate steel that is tek screwed to the ply top its fairly heavy it must weigh in heaver then the lathe, but it has definitely made a difference to the depth of cut i can make and the surface finish.

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    I have found the $60 set of carbide indexable tooling found on ebay to be a good starting point for me, the inserts are cheap also so if I make a mistake and chip or crack an insert it's no big deal

    http://www.ebay.com/p/7x-set-of-12m...de-insert-y/1086869247?_trksid=p2047675.l2644

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/New-Tungalo...733173?hash=item3f4c9464b5:g:zZkAAOSwstxVUaZ7

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/291970653363?_trksid=p2057872.m2749.l2649&ssPageName=STRK:MEBIDX:IT

    I say if you can, get a buddy to go looking at machines with you so you don't impulse buy a worn machine that's been trated up.

    I would definitely buy second hand as I've made a few mistakes I would cringe to make on a brand new machine..

    Sorry didnt mean to hi-jack youre thread just showing you my experence!
    Layton
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2017
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  3. markba633csi

    markba633csi United States Active Member Active Member

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    Thank you for sharing, those pictures make it clear that you have to go deep into a machine to find the flaws within- The Harrison (which I would also love to have) is a good lathe and would have been worth the trouble to fix up. School lathes get quite a beating. Hopefully your experiences will help others; forewarned is forearmed I always say.
    I've never been a fan of the combo machines, but there are those who like them and get a lot of fun out of them so whatever floats yer boat. :)
    Mark S.
    ps I like the color scheme on the Harrison- very stylish! BTW, what became of it?
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2017
  4. Laytonnz

    Laytonnz New Zealand Active Member Active Member

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    Well... lets say, its a work in progress!
    one fix at a time, and im buying the tools, odds and ends as i need them shipping takes a fair amount of time from china but it gives me time to research how to make the part i need and practise.
    this is how it sits at the moment
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    the latest one was a 10 TPI left hand acme thread in bronze for the tailstock quill, that was good fun.

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    looks abit scruffy, ill mask it all up and paint once all repairs are complete
    this is just a few pictures i had on photobucket of odds and ends..
    its slow but im enjoying the repairs, as much as i just want to turn it on and get making chips it should be rewarding once complete
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2017
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  5. markba633csi

    markba633csi United States Active Member Active Member

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    Looks great! I'm glad you dove in and started fixing it. Very nice lathe when you get it done.
    Cheers,
    Mark S.
     
  6. Gr1m3eaper

    Gr1m3eaper Australia Iron Registered Member

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    yeah mate will do, been looking for a few good auction pages and sales pages, keeping my eye out, still trying to work out the size i want, seeing what kind of things i want to make then go from there.

    im not sure, the guy who was selling it bought it for a project, i guess to try and fix up but didnt get around to it, yeah it was quite difficult trying to find one hence why i didnt buy it and looking for something better. Well as far as budget goes, im thinking of setting it at about $2000 so ive got breathing room and that should cover quite a few lathes that im looking at. i need it to be single phase, the three phase machines are too big for my workspace and getting a converter or paying to have 3 phase power wired to my shed is not worth it for me at this point in time. for what i want to achieve, i want to make some lathe projects to cut my teeth on as ive never used a lathe before, custom computer parts mainly for my watercooling setup, gokart/drift trike/motorised bike bits n pieces as im a welder as well so love making random stuff in my shed. Yeah ill definently be going for a decent sixed one, the SIEG SC3 i linked too in a previous message i went and had a look at this weekend, it was WAY smaller than i thought. ill definently be going for something bigger, just so i can turn bigger diameter things and have more flexibility for in the future. i also want to repair my bench drill press table cause its like 30 degrees out so need to machine some parts for it :) ive got a few lathes written down that im keeping my eyes on and to look at

    oh wow mate that looks awesome, looks like a hell of a lot of work but should be amazing once its up and running especially for $500 :)
     
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  7. Laytonnz

    Laytonnz New Zealand Active Member Active Member

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    i know the HQ400 gets a bad wrap on these forums but for a novice like me its fine, i can still turn accurate things... everything i have turned and needed accurate has turned out perfect or damn close to it... i think its more the set up time is abit more involved and taking youre time to make sure you hit the correct numbers but we arnt in a job shop where time matters, well for me it doesn't its just a hobby for a small machine it can swing 400mm and 500mm between centers i dont know of other machines that can swing those numbers in that size range i think they are definitely worth a look especially for the right price.

    as for the "mill head" well its rubbish only good for drilling holes and very light milling witch leads to frustration, i have broken more end mills and wrecked parts then i have made so i dont bother anymore but as for the lathe the only gripe i have is the motor, it could probably do with atleast a 1HP motor the 3/4 thats on it bogs down under a decent cut in steel but the chips are coming off blue and looking like they should so ill just keep pushing it untill the motor dies and replace it.

    i am adding a little homemade "DRO" to the lathe to make it more user friendly the hand wheel dials are rubbish pretty simple mod with a cheap tyre tread depth gauge

    im heading down the Varible frequency drive path due to 3 phase motors being more robust and powerfull plus theres a bigger selection of motors for a cheaper price and the varible speed would be nice aswell to dial everything in where you want it i actually have a .55kw VFD here im thinking of putting on the hq400 to make it more user friendly while threading.

    anyhow have fun lathe hunting! keep looking and the right thing will pop up just when you least expect it.
     
  8. bobshobby

    bobshobby Australia H-M Supporter - Premium Content H-M Supporter-Premium

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    $2000 that's where I started looking, and I ended up spending $5000. Have you tried writing down some lists. Like for instance what kind of things do you want to make or fix. Do you want to work on cars, new or old.

    Think about machining brake drums, or discs on more modern ones What about making new axles for cars or trailers. You need to think of the length of items you will be working on, do they need to fit through the headstock, what diam. What about threads, metric, imperial or both. You will need a lead screw and suitable gearbox. Preferably a feed shaft for long and cross feeds.

    If you plan to buy an older machine and do it up, do you the necessary mechanical skills, if you don't, this is not the way to learn, you'll just end up with a wrecked lateh.

    I would not buy a second hand lathe except from a reputable machine dealer and make sure you get a reasonable warranty, see it running get them to demonstrate that it acn do a sample of something you will want it to do.

    My general recommendation is to buy the biggest you can fit in the space you have, preferably at least one size bigger than you think you need. and spend a smuch as you can afford, Preferably stay well a way from chinese machines Taiwanese is ok. I know there some guys who have bought chineses machines and are quite happy with them but it's a bit of a lottery, for every good one you'll find a few bad ones .

    Good luck and happy hunting.

    Bob.
     
  9. scwhite

    scwhite United States Active Member Active Member

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    Yes
     
  10. Gr1m3eaper

    Gr1m3eaper Australia Iron Registered Member

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    Ah okey dokey well my sheds quite confined atm until i build something a little bigger, my sheds just storage atm. Na i more than likely wont be working on cars, not into them really. More into bikes, go karts, drift trikes etc so ill be making parts for those when i get the lathe, making watercooling parts for my computer as ive got a mercedes benz radiator cooling it down, picked it up for $5.50 off ebay the guys at my work had no use for their pretty much brand new raditor for their 4WD as it was too big so instead of chucking it in the bin they gave it to me, want to hook both the radiators to my PC with polished copper piping, guages etc make it look steam punk so will definently need custom machined parts

    I probabely wont be cutting internal threads or doing anything fancy, just simple stuff for now but ill be getting the bars and tools i need for it just in case i do need to use them.

    Na i wont be getting an old machine to do up, ill be getting one that has everything working properly, runs smooth and cuts accurately so i dont have to deal with any headaches. New vs old machines which one would be better to go with? I like the idea of older machines because of the reliability, accuracy and the fact that older stuff just lasts longer most of the time but one thing i am worried about VS new machines is the availability of spare parts for the older machines. Is it easy to find replacement parts or do they just not fail and last and last?
     
  11. arcsnsparks

    arcsnsparks United States Swarf Registered Member

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    I'm a fairly new hobby machinist who was like you about 3 to 4 years ago. I dove in at a machinery dealer who had an old Atlas TH42-28. Not much came with it but the price I thought was right at 300 bucks and trade for my little AA Dunlap lathe which was very incomplete. He'd never seen one and I paid 5 dollars for it at a swap meet two years earlier. Couldn't find any parts for it. The Atlas came with the pretty rare maple top cabinet, a steady rest, 2 original motors, drum switch with reverse, a dead tailstock center, a spooky 4 jaw chuck with MALE square adjusting bolts circa 1890, and that gawd awful lantern tool post. It also came with lots of wear on the bed ways near the head stock.
    What it didn't come with was a full set of change gears (always $150 on eBay). Trust me, there will come a time when you will want to cut threads. It also didn't come with the necessary rigidity desired of a lathe or the respect of people who own other makes such as a South Bend, Clausing, Lodge and Shipley, Hardinge, Lablonde
    What I don't like about it is that there isn't a flat place on it other than the ways. I can't set a dial indicator anywhere beside these areas. It seems that I am making parts for this lathe more than I am making parts for other projects. The reverse/forward transmission crashed and busted so I'm now remaking that from aluminum. The Atlas loves aluminum. The spindle hole is smallish, under 25mm.
    So I like your thinking about getting a newer machine. Something from the 1970's and newer.

    So looking back, Id look for a bit more swing, the largest through spindle I could find, a good (new!) 3 jaw chuck, a modern 4 jaw chuck, an Aloris toolpost with all the adapters and cutting tools,quick change gearing, a VERY slow lead screw travel for a fine finish, a DRO setup, and affordable/ available tooling. Also made in USA for me, anyway.
     
  12. Gr1m3eaper

    Gr1m3eaper Australia Iron Registered Member

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    Ah okey dokey ive been going to machinery dealers and keeping my eye out, i stumbled across this one on gumtree today. I like it cause its australian made, looks to be good condition and is a southbend clone so parts are easy to find from what ive read. What would be a fair price for something like this? I tried googling it to find the dimensions, swing, distance between centers etc but nothing came up

    20170321_141050.png 20170321_141117.png Screenshot_20170321-140955.png
     
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  13. bobshobby

    bobshobby Australia H-M Supporter - Premium Content H-M Supporter-Premium

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    Hercus a well regarded name. These lathes were very capable in their day providing they were in good condition. I did quite a bit of work on one of these during my apprenticeship, in the early 60's.

    The name AR 9 gives it away. A is for feed screw gearbox, R is for roller bearings on the main shaft. 9 is 9 inch swing. The lathe is a little small for my liking, but it may suit you. I think it originally came with a 1/2 HP single phase motor, and that is all it needs. 3 phase will give you reverse, but be careful if the chuck is screw on. The lack of motor and drive belt is of concern because you cant see and hear it run, I wouldn't buy it without that, it could be a basket case, in which case I wouldn't give it a value of more than a couple of hundred dollars.

    The serious collector and dedicated re-builder would probably consider it worth more, because of it's historical value.

    I would be more interested in the Hercus 260 also advertised on Gum tree and in Melbourne, a much later model looks to be in fair condition, and better specs also with quite a few tools and accessories, A fair price in my book.
     
  14. Gr1m3eaper

    Gr1m3eaper Australia Iron Registered Member

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    Okey dokey well hes asking $1000 atm but says its negotiable, so would it not be worth buying with no motor? Id love to get it seeing as its made in australia but i dont want a crap lathe that im going to be fixing and getting frustrated with, im going to have a look at it this weekend what would you guys offer him for the lathe as is?
     
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  15. Laytonnz

    Laytonnz New Zealand Active Member Active Member

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    It's pretty damn hard to determine how worn a machine is if it can't be tested out.... it may look fine and be totally clapped out.. take the saddle to the headstock made sure it's all tight then try go towards the tailstock. .. at least that will give you an idea how worn the bed is if it gets tight there is a fair amount of wear, not to say it's unusable just given you an idea what you are buying maybe even chuck a piece of drill rod or something and try slip a feeler Guage in the front of the chuck jaws see how bell mouthed the jaws are might give you an indication how much use its seen

    Sent from my GT-I9505 using Tapatalk
     
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  16. Gr1m3eaper

    Gr1m3eaper Australia Iron Registered Member

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    Okey dokey will do, ill write that down and keep and eye out. Ive been watching a few youtube vids today on what to look out for wheb buying a used lathe and got lots of pointers so ill be checking all that when i have a look. The thing im concerned about is the price, ive got no idea how much these lathes are worth brand new or even what similair size/brands go for. If the bedways are in good condition, the tail stock, apron, cross slide etc all work smoothly and theres no binding what would it be worth? Note that it has no motor attached to the lathe atm, hes got a three phase motor hes chucking in that used to be on there, ill provs be going for a single phase or getting a 3 phase inverter whichever is the cheapest option
     
  17. Laytonnz

    Laytonnz New Zealand Active Member Active Member

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    To be honest, I personally wouldn't want to spend anymore then $750 in fair condition, let's face is its seen 60?ish years of use? And abuse? Why did it have the motor taken off? Why did he stop using it? What was it used for? Why's he selling it? What tooling comes with it? Put you're finger in the tailstock and check how rough it feels if there's much scoring ...

    I say around 750 due to here in new Zealand you can pick up a Boxford or similar in decent condition for $1500 with decent tooling there's many myford's they seem to fetch a good price...

    But I'm sure somebody with better knowledge will chime in shortly

    http://www.trademe.co.nz/business-f...ork/lathes-accessories/auction-1284915930.htm
    http://www.trademe.co.nz/business-f...ork/lathes-accessories/auction-1286843058.htm
    http://www.trademe.co.nz/business-f...ork/lathes-accessories/auction-1285087735.htm
    http://www.trademe.co.nz/business-f...ork/lathes-accessories/auction-1285713928.htm
    http://www.trademe.co.nz/business-f...ork/lathes-accessories/auction-1284960661.htm
    http://www.trademe.co.nz/business-f...ork/lathes-accessories/auction-1284280042.htm
    http://www.trademe.co.nz/business-f...ork/lathes-accessories/auction-1284474718.htm

    The list goes on!

    Ps.. check out prices for a decent single phase motor!
     
  18. graham-xrf

    graham-xrf United Kingdom Steel Registered Member

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    Hi Gr1m3eaper
    I am the Brit who broke the "don't have a beer with your buddies and go shopping on eBay at the same time" rule. Things worked out OK, but it shows the point that if the deadline has not passed, you can retract, and it "winds back" to the previous good bid.
    http://www.hobby-machinist.com/threads/the-147-71-green-south-bend-something.47491/#post-401546
     
  19. bobshobby

    bobshobby Australia H-M Supporter - Premium Content H-M Supporter-Premium

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    Last edited: Mar 23, 2017 at 2:43 AM
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  20. bobshobby

    bobshobby Australia H-M Supporter - Premium Content H-M Supporter-Premium

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    I wouldn't even make an offer if I couldn't see and hear it run. the fact that it doesn't have a motor or a drive belt rings very large bells to me. The seller is making sure you can't test it, That tells me he is looking for a sucker, don't you be the sucker. If you would spend $1000 on this why wouldn't you spend $1500 on the Hercus 260 also advertised on Gum tree and in Melbourne, a much later model looks to be in fair condition, and better specs also with quite a few tools and accessories, A fair price in my book. A much better deal all round. Go have a look at it.
     

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