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First Metal Lathe Suggestions

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Caveman

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#1
So I'm ready to get a metal lathe. Most of the parts I make are small, mostly less than 12" long and rarely larger than 2" in diameter. I have been looking at all I can find on the web and it's time to ask someone some questions and get some suggestions.
I'm looking for the smallest lathe out there with the following features:
1. Quick change tool post (not the square multi tool one)
2. Automatic cross feed and length feed
3. Levers or dials to change the feed rates and spindle speeds (no gear changes), is that a gear head?
Those are my biggest wish list.
I have been looking at the Grizzly G4002 but it's a little big, I don't need a 1000 pound lathe.
What do you all suggest?

Thanks,
Jeff
 

CluelessNewB

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#2
I'm guessing you are looking for something new. Maybe this?
http://www.machinetoolonline.com/PM1030.html

If you are interested in older machines you can find some models of Logan, South Bend and Atlas machines that would meet your requirements. Adding a quick change tool post isn't a big deal.
 
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mksj

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#3
I would look at something like the PM1228VF-LB. The Grizzly 1224 will be about twice the weight, I think the 1228 has more features as a starter lathe.
It has most the features you are asking and more. It is a 2 Hp variable speed motor with 2 speed ranges, the gearbox covers most common thread ranges (there may be a few change gears, this is very common in this size machine), comes with a very common chuck mount which is a D1-4 (allows to quickly change chucks and they will be much more common), the spindle bore is 1.5" (allows larger stock to pass through) and it has a MT3 tailstock. The Quick Change Tool Post (QCTP) is an option on most lathes, this one takes an AXA. Lots of good features in a compact and relatively light machine. Just because you only work with 12" doesn't mean that you can get a short lathe with big lathe features. There are a number of reviews in the forum and some posted video's.
http://www.machinetoolonline.com/PM-1228VF-LB.html
 
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hman

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#4
Though some 7" lathes come with a bed long enough for your needs, they'd fall short on the gear situation and on the powered cross feed. But then, even a 9" lathe like the Grizzly G4000 will lack power cross feed. If that's a "must" for you, then the PM1022 suggested by CluelssNewB is probably your best bet. The G4002 is a 12" lathe, the next step up form a 10".

I've owned a G4000 for a bunch of years and it's done well for me. My biggest complaints have been the poor mounting for the compound (LMS used to sell a worthwhile 4-bolt compound mount, but I can't find it on their site any more) and the lack of a reverse tumbler (for right/left threading). LMS sells a nice tool post adapter that lets you add an AXA size QCTP:
http://littlemachineshop.com/products/product_view.php?ProductID=3712&category=
You'll have to decide if these "features" are deal killers as far as 9" lathes are concerned.

Hook 'em!
 

Caveman

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#5
Thank you for taking some time to add links and reply. I think the PM1022V will be an excellent choice, I believe it has all my requirements. It is very similar to the grizzly g-0752 but it has power cross feed and you don't need a wrench to tighten the tailstock.
Hopefully I can get this thing ordered this week sometime. I'll post a picture when I get it in place!

Jeff
 

Uglydog

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#6
Each machine has it's unique personality.
Vintage feels very different than new.
Different manufactures produce different personalities.
If possible consider some hands on before you put your money on the counter.
QCTP can be added later for a wide range of prices. Good results can be had with an old lantern, it's just not as easy.
Same can be said for a QCGB however it gets much more expensive to add.
An old flat belt system has it's advantages.

Consider some hands on before you buy.... Reputations have value, but some are more marketing than reality.
My opinion.

Daryl
MN
 

mksj

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#7
The PM 1020 and 1030 have only have 3 selectable gear/feeds (A, B, C), everything else needs change gears so a lot of fiddling. You will be very limited on the chuck selection and a bit more cumbersome to change. I would feel that if you are going to spend that much on a lathe, you would be better off with something a bit more full featured liked the 1228, so you have something to grow into. Until you start using the lathe, it is hard to envision how your scope will expand once you start using it. This way, you will not be upgrading in 2-3 years, assuming you are using it. As Daryl mentioned, some hands on experience is important. There are also a number of other brands, other than QMT and Grizzly that will sell you a lathe for less, but the post sale support may be minimal or absent should you need it, and although machine may appear to be the same they are often speced very differently. SO I would do some reviews of the lathes you are interested in first to see what others experiences have been.
Mark
 

Caveman

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#8
So here's my deal :) - I have been using a Jet 1340 for the last year or so at my local TechShop (Membership co-op). It's been great, but since it's a community tool it gets a little beat up and it's pretty big.
I really liked the PM1228 but it's $2999.00, the Grizzly G4002 has more features and it's $2795.
I agree that users experience with the tool is important. I have tried to watch videos on YouTube to get a sense of the size and features but I was hoping that someone out there had some of the lathes we are talking about and tell me how they like them. I would love to hear about someone who has a PM1020 and see how they like it. I'm curious if the 3 selectable speeds would cover most of my stuff. I mostly make small aluminum pieces. Limited threading, most facing and concentric cuts, that's why I want the powered feeds.
Once you hit about $3000.00 there is a lot available, I would love to stay closer to $2000.

Thanks everyone, keep the ideas and conversation going so I can make an informed decision.
Jeff
 

pdentrem

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#9
If you are using a Jet of that size, likely you will find that going to lighter and cheaper machines a bit of a let down. How about the used market? I bought a clone of the Jet BDB-1340A for $1500 to replace my Atlas 10F series lathe after 20 years.
Pierre
 

Caveman

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#10
Size is a big deal, my shop is a 2 car garage and it's pretty packed and one these full size lathes would be tough. I'm used to down sizing, I went from a huge shopbot CNC to my small Camaster Stinger 1 - 2x3 CNC (totally awesome machine by the way). It works for me because my parts are small and sometimes it's tough to make small precision parts on huge machine.
I've been searching ebay and craigslist for about 6 months and nothing has come up that's close or not totally trashed. I like the idea of a new machine, I'm not buying someone else's problems. :)
 
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pdentrem

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#11
Cool stuff you have. My little shop is 9X12'. I agree that some of the stuff is worn out or needing a major rebuild. I lucked out as the deal was just posted and low hours on the lathe. I would love new as well! Too bad you could not find a Grizzly 12X24, can not remember the model number, it was the small version of the G9469 (maybe) which is the same as my 1340.
Pierre
 

fradish

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#12
I have the PM1228. Some advantages over the 10" are a 1 1/2" through bore and the D1-4 spindle.
Also variable speed and separate feed rod. Some of the disadvantages are that it only comes with a
3 jaw.

Also take a look at the PM1127 if the D1-4 spindle isn't important to you. It is a little cheaper than the
1228 and comes with a 4 jaw and maybe a faceplate? I just checked and it also includes a
live center, a drill chuck and a QCTP. I know at the time I was looking I was really leaning
towards the PM1127 but I really wanted the D1-4 spindle and so ended up getting the PM1228.
 
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jer

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#13
Hi Caveman, I started out around three years ago on the long trip to decide which lathe would do what I wanted it to do. A machinist friend got me to go up in size to a PM1030V. I thought it was too big for my needs. Boy was I wrong, in 6-8 months I knew I really needed a bigger lathe to do some of the projects I was doing by then. So the long look, wait and learn started. I decided to go to a PM1236, which I recommend highly, then I started doing some things that it would be nice to have a larger spindle bore than the 1236 had so the search widened. I'm not saying to get a 1440 like I did, it will be here Friday, but unless you are sure a smaller foot print is needed I would go with a 1236 myself.

I have went to my friends shop to do quite a bit of my larger bore needs, he has a Sharp 1340VS, and it isn't overkill either. I have been very happy with the parts I have made on the larger/heavier machine. My 1030V does nice work but I feel I outgrew it. On the other hand my friend needed to thread a short barrel and his machine was too big to get the spider to hold of the rear of the barrel and he used my 1030 for the job and had 4" of barrel beyond the spider.

Then again, if you were closer, I will have a PM1030V for sale very soon. LOL. Remember, the smaller the machine the more change gears are necessary, in my opinion, Only you can make the final decision as to your needs. Good luck with your choice.
 
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ezduzit

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#14
...I don't need a 1000 pound lathe...
Yes, you do.

Also, financially, you would be much better off finding a used lathe, in excellent condition, that comes with a comprehensive set of tooling. Buying a new lathe automatically puts you thou$ands behind the tooling curve.
 

RCWorks

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#15
I've had the 8x12 Harbor Freight for 10 years, used it seriously for 1 year... If I was to do it over again that spot in my garage would be held down with a 10 inch South Bend.

As soon as I have the money and the right machine I'll be upgrading. I hope I live that long.
 

Bi11Hudson

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#16
I have got to throw my 2 cents worth in here. I'm not a machinist as much as these other guys. My life has been spent in the electrical business, making repairs to archaic electrical machinery. My personal interest in machining is as a way to obtain "stuff" that is no longer available. Or is, but at exorbitent prices.

I started with a small jewelers lathe, a DB200, until I wanted to cut threads. That required a Grizzly G-1550, currently sold as a metric version G-4000. When I wanted to do large scale models (trains) of 1-1/2 inch to the foot (7-1/2 guage) a larger swing was required. A Craftsman 12 inch machine was necessary and by this time I had aquired enough judgement to make that choice. The long bed was not required, just what I stumbled onto. It was well worn from use in a textile mill. With the Griz, I made what parts were neded to get it back usable.

My input here is the caveat that I use a shop that is actually an old wooden residential building so weight is a very important consideration. One of the facets of the craft is finding solutions within your capabilities. The G-4000 is a good starter machine for several reasons. But it is not a production machine. The fewer gizmos and automation devices there are, the fewer mistakes to be made. To advertise the Grizzly a little, it doesn't weigh that much (~600lb) and doesn't cost that much.

The real expense is in tooling. One day you will want to invest in an(for the G-4000) AXA quich change tool post. If you bought a fancy lathe, there wouldn't be enough money to buy one. Threading is fairly easy with but 3 gear changes for ranging. It has what was known as a "half-norton" gear box. The good part is that they are metal gears of modulus one, a common pitch. The Craftsman has powered cross feed. Which I have used... once. In over ten years, once. To true up a face plate when I was recalibrating the squareness of the cross slide.

I include a link to my own page where I go into machine speed control(actually two):
http://www.hudsontelcom.com/ and http://www.hudsontelcom.com/9X20Gear.html
My reasoning here is I don't like or use variable speed motors. Not A-C motors, anyway. The belted speeds will just have to suffice. Finish is secondary, it's a repair part for God's sake, I don't care how it looks. I only care if it works. That's the limits of my motivation. Skills have improved over the years, but still not to machinist grade.

My point is that I started slow, and cheap. Then improved the machines to keep up with the skills as they improved. I know this input won't be that much use to you but it needs to be said. Simpler (not cheaper) is better from the git-go.
 

Veronica Stator

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#17
Caveman, the PM-1022V is just what you're looking for, if you want a new machine. It does great work in the size ranges you're talking about, comes with the QCTP, and has power cross-feed (very uncommon in machines that small). The LittleMachineShop HiTorque 8.5x20 would also be a good choice. I had requirements very similar to yours when I started and landed on these two choices after much research. In the end, Precision Mathews got my money for having a more capable machine with more included tooling at basically the same price point as LMS.

Here's a "getting started" guide to the 1022V:
http://quinndunki.com/blondihacks/?page_id=3338

And here's a review of it in Vise:
 

woodchucker

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#18
South Bend Lathe 9 model a... there are plenty around, they can be fixed up nicely, contains everything you would need.
 

hman

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#19
And here's a review of it in Vise:
??????? I saw absolutely NO sign of any kind of review in the video you included. Just a bunch of gobbledygook, interspersed with borderline offensive language.
 

fradish

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#20
I think if you do go for the PM 10" lathe I would think it would be worth spending the extra $100
on the PM1030v over the PM1022v (unless space is a premium or you really can't see yourself
needing the extra bed length.) Keep in mind that the lengths reported 22" or 30" are really
center-to-center distances, and most people turn with a chuck and a center which will decrease
that distance by a few inches. And if you need to add a drill chuck and drill bit, you're going to
lose a few more inches.

You typically only wish a lathe was smaller when you pay for it or when you move it, but you
generally wish it were larger the other times... :)
 

Veronica Stator

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#21
??????? I saw absolutely NO sign of any kind of review in the video you included. Just a bunch of gobbledygook, interspersed with borderline offensive language.
Apologies, I should have explained that link further. In the description of the video is the download link, and the video explains how to print and assemble the zine. And yah, AvE's style is not for everyone. He has good content on his channel though. Interesting and informative tool reviews and projects.
 

Downunder Bob

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#22
So I'm ready to get a metal lathe. Most of the parts I make are small, mostly less than 12" long and rarely larger than 2" in diameter. I have been looking at all I can find on the web and it's time to ask someone some questions and get some suggestions.
I'm looking for the smallest lathe out there with the following features:
1. Quick change tool post (not the square multi tool one)
2. Automatic cross feed and length feed
3. Levers or dials to change the feed rates and spindle speeds (no gear changes), is that a gear head?
Those are my biggest wish list.
I have been looking at the Grizzly G4002 but it's a little big, I don't need a 1000 pound lathe.
What do you all suggest?

Thanks,
Jeff
The answer depends so much on a few points.
What is the maximum size you want to swing, not now, but in the future. A very hard question to answer.
What is the longest length you will want to work with, as above.
What about threads, imperial as in British or American, and or Metric. USA will eventually get there.
What is your budget.
How much room do you have.

Unless you are only ever going to be working on very small miniature model type stuff, then my general advice is to get the biggest that will fit in the space you have and best you can afford. That will generally mean something in the 1016 to 1440 size range.
Without any doubt, the machines from Taiwan are far superior to those from China, even though many look very similar and have similar specs.

The floor in your workshop must be considered if it's not concrete, then you must consider how much weight it can safely carry without flexing.

I consider a fully geared headstock a must, variable speed motors are ok on small lathes, but lack power for larger machines. As is a quick change gearbox for feeds and threads..Ability to cut inch threads as well as metric. A fixed and travelling steady are almost essential, large spindle bore is very important. QCTP is nice, but not a deal breaker, they can always be added to any reasonable sized lathe, long and cross power feed with separate feed shaft, not using lead screw is important as is a feed reverse tumbler. Ability to run lathe in reverse is nice but not essential. Avoid screw on chucks D1-4 or similar cam lock chuck is the way to go.

Have a good look around and when you see something you like, ask on this forum, bound to be plenty of members with experience on that particular machine.
 
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