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Help with lathe decision

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Belliger

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#1
I am looking at starting a small garage machine shop for hobby purposes. After a year of research I had decided on a PM 1022 lathe and PM 727mill and have budgeted accordingly.

Part of my decision to go with Chinese machines is they are smaller (I only have 17' of wall space to fit machines and a work bench) and the used market in the Seattle area is not good, deals are rare to be had.

Then I ran across this partially rebuilt Clausing 5914 for $3200 and don't know if I should blow half my mill budget on it.

https://seattle.craigslist.org/oly/tls/d/clausing-5914-variable-speed/6330096089.html

It's larger than I wanted, I don't have the equipment to move it and I won't have the $ for tooling and accessories (example 4 jaw chuck) and a mill until early next year.

On the other hand it will be more enjoyable to operate and can turn out better parts faster. And I know it's something I will not grow out of.

Likely it will be used about once a week. Is it worth it to go for such a monster for such a beginning hobby?

Any advice?
Thanks
 

Silverbullet

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#3
I also think you will be better off with the clausing . It looks to be restored and done well. With LATHES and mills go with the biggest you can . Unless you only plan on making pens . Usually the smaller the lathe the quicker you out grow it. Just things I've found
 

fradish

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#4
If you decide to go with the PM, you might want to spend another $100 for the PM1030v
to get a longer bed. The PM1127LB is nice, but that's at least $1000 more. The 1127 and
the PM1228 (which I have) have a D1-4 spindle which makes it easy to use third party
chucks. They also have a 1 1/2" spindle bore.

I have the PM727 which I am very happy with, but if it were available at the time I would
have probably gone for the variable speed version.
 

mikey

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#6
I vote for going with your original plan and let the Clausing go. Your chosen machines are within your budget, will allow you to decide if you even like working with metal and will hold their market value enough to enable you to upgrade if you decide you need to. They will be fully tooled for basic operations and fit into the space you have available. You'll have a lathe and mill to play with and a budget that isn't blown.

The Clausing, if it really is in the condition the seller says it is (always a big question mark), is a capable lathe but there are many better ones out there, new and old. Old Iron is cool and all but give me a camlock chuck, hardened spindles and gears running in precision bearings and variable speed that at least goes faster than 2000 rpm for my money.

Bottom line: stay within your budget and get the machines that you so carefully researched. Learn to machine stuff and define your needs better so that your next purchase will be an informed one based on your own informed biases, not someone else's.
 

Chipper5783

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#7
It is a nice enough machine, a very useful size (certainly not a monster). Assuming it is actually in good condition, then it will sell on well when you are done with it. I really don't know about the prices in you area. It seems a bit high for being pretty spare on tooling. Of course the, QCTP holders, tail stock tools and spindle tooling are pretty easy to get - just money (at 3200USD it ought to be better dressed).

However specialty items - like the steadies or a taper attachment will likely be very hard to find - further ahead to make them (which is quite a project), or buy a machine that is better dressed. Granted, these are not usually common use items - depends on you use.
 

Belliger

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#8
Thank you all for your help. You do bring up a good point that the lack of extras on this machine make it within $100 of a PM 1228 shipped with a QCTP. Given that I don't have "plans" for the machine and it will likely be relegated to garage puttering I think Mikey might be right that I am getting ahead of myself. It's just that machines like this don't come up often in this area, or if they do they need some restoration to be nice again (eg. surface rust).

Being I am mostly a lurker I have read over and over (when other people ask) that for the money I would be better served with a good used older machine than a newer Chinese machine. Maybe I am taking it too far?
 

Ulma Doctor

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#9
you'll not likely outgrow the Clausing lathe.
i had a mini lathe and quickly outgrew it.

i have an import Shenwai 1236 that i don't think i will never outgrow, it's just too dang nice to have around.
i also have a Hercus ARH 922 (improved SB9 clone) that is beautifully constructed and gets the light(er) work. it is very capable too
i wouldn't want to get rid of either one- but i'm a machine hoarder :oops:

it will depend on what you are going to be machining, but i'd get the biggest machine you can afford and move!
good luck!
 

mikey

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#10
Why do you think that a new machine with zero wear and is fully tooled and comes with factory support is inferior to an old machine?

I have a friend who owns a really nice South Bend 13 that I helped to restore. It took us two years to find the parts we needed to get it in decent shape and it is indeed a nice looking lathe now. However, it has enough wear near the chuck that he has trouble holding tight tolerances on parts. I can work around them but he can't because instead of learning to machine stuff, he learned to restore an old lathe. After all the work, money and aggravation his plan is now to sell the lathe and buy a new Taiwanese 13" lathe and learn to use it. He is an auto mechanic and needs a working lathe so his situation is different from a pure hobby guy but he told me not long ago that he wished he had listened to me in the first place. True story.
 

ezduzit

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#11
The Clausing is the right size and way better quality and value than the new Chinese machine. Then you'd have a real machine that will not depreciate further. I'd offer him $2500 and negotiate from there. If the used market in Seattle is truly as you say it is, I wouldn't waste any time.
 

Belliger

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#12
I talked to the seller. The machine was donated to a local school with a 3 phase motor, which quickly died and the machine sat in a corner for 5 years until this seller bought it at a auction earlier this year. He rebuilt it himself with the intent to sell, replacing the motor with a capacitor start 2hp, replaced the bearings and bushings in the drive, belts, as well as the lead screw for the cross slide. He says everything else seems tight and does not show much wear. Because the unit is bolted to rollers it's never been leveled to test the ways.

Still don't know what I want to do. Is there anything else I should consider when looking at a old lathe?
 

chips&more

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#13
When I have a choice between made in the USA or Import. It’s a no brainer for me, USA baby! And I have the bigger sister to that Clausing, the 14”. It repeats 0.0002” all day. If I tripped over a 10EE, I’d get that too! But would still keep the Clausing 6900…Dave
 

chips&more

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#14
I talked to the seller. The machine was donated to a local school with a 3 phase motor, which quickly died and the machine sat in a corner for 5 years until this seller bought it at a auction earlier this year. He rebuilt it himself with the intent to sell, replacing the motor with a capacitor start 2hp, replaced the bearings and bushings in the drive, belts, as well as the lead screw for the cross slide. He says everything else seems tight and does not show much wear. Because the unit is bolted to rollers it's never been leveled to test the ways.

Still don't know what I want to do. Is there anything else I should consider when looking at a old lathe?
If it’s factory original and needing help, I’m OK with that. But if somebody has “touched it”/”restored it” I get concerned. I have seen too many Joe McGee’s. The pics do look good! When looking at it in person, let your eyes and gut do the evaluation. And not what the seller is pitching…Dave
 

Reeltor

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#15
Budget, Budget, Budget...
Does the brand new PM lathe come with a steady and follow rests? 3 and 4 jaw chucks? The rests for an older Clausing, are hard to come by and are expensive when you do come across one. Don't get me started on the price of "good" to "high" quality chucks. I am all for older American Iron over new China Imports, is your PM a China or Taiwan machine? In this case, I think the seller is expecting too many $$$'s. It MIGHT be a buy at $2,000; chipsandmore has a point about garage rebuilding.
You may consider saving some more and upgrading your PM machine.
 

Belliger

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#16
Good points about the tooling. Yes the PM machines come with all the goodies. If I wanted a cheap 4 jaw chuck for the Clausing I would be looking at $200 for the L00 back plate and $100 for the Shars chuck.
I hear you about garage rebuilds being a risk. I don't have the time or inclination to rebuild a lathe before I can make chips so it's rebuilt or new.
He is not negotiable on price at this time, as the unit just went up. I think I will step back and see what happens, if it sells soon it sells, if not then I can call back about negotiating the price. I just can't justify $3200 for a hobby lathe when I need do dump at least $300 more into it for a 4 jaw, and the whole thing is taking a risk on buying a project.

Thanks so much for all your advice, you guys are great.
 

.LMS.

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#17
To folks familiar with the Clausing, does it have the reeves drive? If it does, is that good, bad, or doesn't matter for a lathe? I have that type of drive on my Clausing Drill press and love not having to change belts. Why don't we see more lathes with that kind of drive?
 

tweinke

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#18
I will not join the old vs new part of the conversation with exception of saying unless it was truly restored correctly I wouldn't even consider an older machine, untouched and unrestored I would look and consider for purchase. In my opinion for most guys the definition of restored is made shiney and painted with all the issues hidden as well as possible. Where I live there are machines around to be bought but worn out junk sure seems to be the norm, With that said I bought a PM727 from Matt knowing that it was of Chinese linage but knowing it had warranty for three years with someone who would stand behind it. Would I have liked a nice smaller sized USA made machine yes, but not necessarily having to rebuild it before I could use it.
 

Belliger

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#20
Since I already talked myself into spending more, does anyone have thoughts on the PM1022/1030 or saving a couple extra months for the 1127?
 

tweinke

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#21
Since I already talked myself into spending more, does anyone have thoughts on the PM1022/1030 or saving a couple extra months for the 1127?
Now you are heading down the slippery slope of if I spend this much more will I be happier, and luck will have it you have asked that question here! :grin: We are here to "help you spend your budget.... and then some! :eagerness: My answer is get the biggest machine that you can fit in your budget/shop space. but figure in tooling cost so that you can at least use the machine or machines. I think a 1030v would be a respectable machine with decent features and capability but then again for not much more you could have an 1127 and for a bit more a 1228 and a bit more........ Slippery slope here we come! When I was in your shoes picking a mill I spent nights reading about every mill that was even close to my budget and then some. I had to at a point back up analyze what I really wanted to be able to do vs money spent and size of shop. I resorted to making as close to life size cardboard models of tables and machines in whole. I think I almost drove my self crazy. In the end I decided for what I wanted to do the 727 would be fine. Now a little more then a year later I do not have buyers remorse, could I have gotten a 932 instead sure I guess so but the 727 is a decent machine and I'm making chips every chance I get while learning this fine hobby. :encourage:
 

mikey

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#22
+1 to the slippery slope!

The 1127 vf-lb is the smallest PM lathe that offers a separate carriage drive if I'm not mistaken. D1-4 camlock, hardened and ground spindles and gears, 1.5" spindle bore, hardened bed and a VFD drive - all the good stuff that a good lathe has. I don't own a PM lathe but I've looked at them a LOT. In my opinion, a good hobby class lathe falls within the 11-12" class and the 1127 offers a lot of bang for the buck. Whichever lathe you go for, ask if they have the full change gear set.

But then for a few dollars more you can get a 1228, and then a 1340 and then ... :)
 

ttabbal

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#23
I'm looking at PM lathes as well. These are just my thoughts from researching various options.

1022 vs 1030. If you have the space, no brainer, 1030.

Those to the 1127/1228... That's another $1000. Given that the 1236 comes with the stand, if you want a stand, the 1236 seems like a better choice.

1127 comes with a QTCP, 1228 it's another 150.. The 1228 looks like it has some nice upgrades, but with the stand and QTCP, you're within $50 of the preferred package 1236 which comes with both as well.

Right now, I'm leaning toward the 1030 and getting a bunch of tooling to go with it. If the budget opens up, I would probably jump to the 1236. Space and 220V aren't an issue for me, and those seem like the biggest reasons to go with the smaller units.

If you don't want to buy a stand, the 1127/1228 become more interesting.


I did look at Grizzly and a couple others. I think the PM machines have a better package and if you assemble a similar package on Grizzly pricing is often higher. PM warranty service seems better, from reading around. And I like that they have a good reputation and presence here on HM.
 

fradish

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#24
I have the 1228 and am happy with it, but the 1127 comes with more accessories. The 1127 has a 1 hp A.C.
motor with a vfd and the 1228 has a 2 hp D.C.

At the time I bought my 1228, the 1127 didn't come with a D1-4 spindle, but now it does. If I were buying
today I probably would have picked the 1127 just for the extra accessories. I'm not sure I need the extra
power or the extra inch of swing. Don't get me wrong, I really like my 1228, but I just think the 1127 is
probably the better bang for your buck...
 
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tweinke

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#25
When I go lathe shopping to replace my Shoptask 3in1 lathe the 1030v seems to be suitable feature and price wise, thinking of the things that at times drive me crazy on the Shoptask ( no half nut or power cross feed and really only about 18 inches usable between centers) Threading would be so much nicer with an actual half nut and threading dial due to having to time stopping reversing restarting forward etc. The lack of a separate feed rod doesn't bother me at this price point. The 1127 has a lot of nice features mentioned already and from my reading seems almost fool proof in the reliability department, and probably the best bang for the buck if I can bump the budget to that price point . Here I go down the slippery slope. All hinging on budget/space at my house but its a hobby I enjoy.
 

ch2co

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#26
When I blindly jumped into hobby machining I had (and still do) a very limited budget. I looked around in several forums and thought that I knew about what I would like to have. I followed a 10-22 discussion group and realized that I would probably have to look into a used machine. About the time I almost gave up, one of the fellows that I had followed in one group said that he was through with machining due to his age. I immediately contacted him and put down a "hold it until I can pick it up deposit." Then worked in a vacation with the wife that just happened to go past his place. When's I got there I looked at the lathe and all the extras that came with it, I was delirious with joy. The lathe looked to be in extremely good shape and came with extras worth far more than the lathe was worth, including a mini mill again with a plethora of extras. I really didn't want the mill, but what the heck. To this day I haven't needed to buy anything and still haven't touched much of the included equipment. The mini mill that I thought was a toy has proved to be a fairly competent device. . I have run into size limitations with the lathe, but have learned how to redesign around them. If I were to replace anything, it would be the mill and the 727 would be my choice.

A very pleased old man.
 

machPete99

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#27
I have a Clausing 5914 that I rebuilt myself. Problem points on these lathes are the delrin bushings and hydraulics in the reeves drive. I ended up going VFD so no more reeves, thats always an option (and better IMHO). There is a specialized thrust bearing in the clutch/brake mechanism that is NLA or very expensive for NOS. With VFD none of that is really needed, and the lathe will be much quieter to run.

Also check the 4 bearings in the QCGB, as mine needed replacement. These bearings are somewhat standard but I had to make bushings for 2 of them.

I also had to replace the large bearing in the back gear drive sleeve. Its somewhat standard but need to fab a bushing to go inside.

Once tuned up it is a very fine lathe.
 

Bamban

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#28
If you can find a Jet 1024 in good condition, jump on it. So far, the only limitation I find in mine is the smallish, 1 1/16. It is a very rigid lathe for its size.
 

Glenn Brooks

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#29
Hi Belliger,

At least go look at it and get a first hand look. The ad says it is in excellent condition. You aren't that far away. Easy RT day trip. If this is in its original condition, WOW, you will never look back.

For my money, the most important thing you can buy, when you are buying a lathe is - precision. The least wear and tear you can afford to pay for is the Best Buy you can make. Now the PM machines are fine machines. And the vendor who sells them has received rave reviews. But, I'll bet you will wish you bought a 12" swing lathe, very soon after you buy a smaller one. Anyway, this Clausing might be the best deal you will find around Washington for a long time, if it is in the condition the owner says it is.

Edit: I just reread the CL Ad more closely. Something is a miss here. The machine looks like it has very little wear - yet the bearings the owner replaced don't go bad with out a LOT of running time - which should be reflected in wear on the ways underneath of the tailstock, chuck jaws, gearing in the head, etc. and the general condition of the machine. Yet, the photos look like it it has had very light use.

In short, all parts of the lathe wear on each other, as the machine wears. So if you go look at it you could put a straight edge on the ways and look for the telltale sliver of light between the straightedge and the worn gap on the ways - primarily up front near the chuck, on the nearest side of the bed to you. You can even take some feeler gauges and measure bed wear. If very little wear, e.g. 3-4-5 or maybe 6 thou gap, you've got a nice machine. If .015 to .030" gap - walk away..

Same thing with a quick look underneath the tailstock. Just push the tailstock part off the edge of the bed - don't need to remove it. Just look and feel the back edge.

The bottom of the tailstock is a sure fire telltale inspection about the overall condition of the lathe. If it has been used hard in its early years, the tailstock bearing surface will have worn significantly, due to repeated, prolonged operation over the ways. If you scratch the bearing surface with your thumb and don't feel much of a ridge where the ways have cut into the casting - you've found a very lightly used lathe! On the other hand, an old production machine might exhibit up to .100" wear. This would be a regular groove cut deep into the base of the tailstock. Can't hide this stuff with a paint job.

Good luck!

Glenn
 
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machPete99

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#30
The bed ways on the Clausing are flame hardened, not likely to show any wear unless the machine was really beat upon.
 
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