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My new Taiwanese lathe

Skierdude

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#1
So I'm new to machining. I've cut, bashed, bent and welded metal for quite some years now. Purely for fun to give me a diversion from the pain of being part of the IT industry. I've been looking to add a lathe to the workshop for a few years now. I've been looking for a good second hand machine for a while now but here in New Zealand there hasn't been a lot available that's in good enough condition. I've watched YouTube videos, read website blogs and wandered through dozens of forums gathering information to make that first purchase. I hate buying any tool only to find it isn't quite up to the job. So after much reading and with a little bit of apprehension I purchased a new Taiwanese 12x36 2hp lathe - a Hafco AL-960B.
I have read horror stories about Asian lathes having casting sand in the gearbox, out of tolerance components and other assorted nasties so this lathe got a thorough going over as it was uncrated. I have been very pleased with what I've found so far. Castings are pretty good and certainly better than some Chinese lathes I've seen. Once the lathe was mounted on its stand and given an initial alignment I ran the DTI over most of the moving parts and it was well inside the tolerances for this unit so I was quite happy. There's a few annoyances such as the Drive belts are very difficult to change as the motor won't move as far as it should as it runs up to the rear splash guard and into one of the headstock adjustment screws. Second and more important issue is that the motor control is a simple FWD / OFF/ REV switch. Turn the power on while the switch is in FWD or REV and the spindle starts to turn. I've already bought some contractors and will be building a new electrics system. I'm learning how to grind tools and chips have started to fly so let the fun begin.
One question, if anyone is still reading, do people use the chuck guards that seem to be supplied with new lathes. I don't see what real purpose they serve covering just the chuck and I'm not usually standing in front of the chuck. I don't recall any videos where a chuck guard is in use.
 

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Chipper5783

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#2
I use my chuck guard about 20% of the time. The wat it is set up, it just flips up out of the way. I don't have a splash guard, and most of the flying chips are launched bu the chuck - I like the guard because it reduces how many and how far the chips fly. It also reduces the spray of various oils & lubes. I do not think of it as a safety device, it simply contains stuff that would fly around more. Even if I had a splash guard (on the project list) I would still keep the church guard.

I see you have a splash guard. Try out the chuck guard for a while - you may find you like it.

I agree, don't stand in the line of fire off the chuck.
 

mikey

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#3
So I'm new to machining. I've cut, bashed, bent and welded metal for quite some years now. Purely for fun to give me a diversion from the pain of being part of the IT industry. I've been looking to add a lathe to the workshop for a few years now. I've been looking for a good second hand machine for a while now but here in New Zealand there hasn't been a lot available that's in good enough condition. I've watched YouTube videos, read website blogs and wandered through dozens of forums gathering information to make that first purchase. I hate buying any tool only to find it isn't quite up to the job. So after much reading and with a little bit of apprehension I purchased a new Taiwanese 12x36 2hp lathe - a Hafco AL-960B.
I have read horror stories about Asian lathes having casting sand in the gearbox, out of tolerance components and other assorted nasties so this lathe got a thorough going over as it was uncrated. I have been very pleased with what I've found so far. Castings are pretty good and certainly better than some Chinese lathes I've seen. Once the lathe was mounted on its stand and given an initial alignment I ran the DTI over most of the moving parts and it was well inside the tolerances for this unit so I was quite happy. There's a few annoyances such as the Drive belts are very difficult to change as the motor won't move as far as it should as it runs up to the rear splash guard and into one of the headstock adjustment screws. Second and more important issue is that the motor control is a simple FWD / OFF/ REV switch. Turn the power on while the switch is in FWD or REV and the spindle starts to turn. I've already bought some contractors and will be building a new electrics system. I'm learning how to grind tools and chips have started to fly so let the fun begin.
One question, if anyone is still reading, do people use the chuck guards that seem to be supplied with new lathes. I don't see what real purpose they serve covering just the chuck and I'm not usually standing in front of the chuck. I don't recall any videos where a chuck guard is in use.
Welcome to HM! That's a nice looking lathe. Most guys don't seem to like the chuck guard but some do. It has more to do with preventing the lathe from running if you forget your chuck key in the chuck. It also reduces the vertical stripe of oil you get on your shirt and face when you first run a freshly oiled chuck. I don't really care for them but mine is still in place; it doesn't really get in my way ... much.
 

kvt

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#4
Like mikey said, they will prevent the oil sling on the shirt from fresh oiled chuck. I got those, as my old lathe did not have sucha thing. Have never used one but my though is how do you keep it clean so you can see through it. Scratch city. Welcome to the site and have fun.
 

Chipper5783

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#5
I don't try to see through mine. I might clean it once a year. The way I have the guard adjusted, I can see just fine. Like I said in my earlier post, I don't use it all the time - it just flips up out of the way. I don't think of this as a safety item, the purpose is to reduce the spray off (shirt, wall, ceiling).
 

kvt

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#7
Yea, I have two lathes back to back, The front side of the back splash on one is acrylic and wipes down. The problem is the back side which the other lathe sits is not, It has a nice strip of oil from the chuck. Of course I got it from both. I even though I was standing to the side when I started it up after oiling, but still got it. I also figured out a put to much and lowered the amount I put in.

One lathe I saw with it would not start or run with the shield up, Thus I did not like it.
 

markba633csi

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#9
Chuck guards are good for cutting certain metals like brass which emit a spray of pernicious little chips; I had a brass chip bounce off my eyeball once
and wished I had had a guard.
Mark S.
 

darkzero

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#11
Striped t-shirt & wall means you're doing it right! ;)

No striped shirt for me though, I was taught to never stand in the line of fire of the chuck.

I'm one of those who don't care for chuck guards/shields. My lathe came with one stock, it was connected to a safety switch. So if the guard was not down, spindle won't power on. Like mentioned it also prevents me from running the lathe with a key in the chuck as the guard can't come down far enough to disengage the safety switch.

I used it for like 8 months or so & thought nothing of it. Mine blocked a lot of the oil flung from a chuck but it was not wide enough to shield from chips. Then when I started making multiples of things, as I would doing an op on each part then change to the next op, I got really tired of the chuck guard as I was swapping each piece in for each op to save time on tool changes & setup. All the chuck guard did was slow me down. Taking mine off was one of the best things I did to my lathe as it saved me so much time when do a run of parts. It served me no real benefit to keep it on so off it stays & has been for years.

I've seen a number of guys here use the flexbar shields which look very nice, pretty expensive too. Having it not connected to a safety switch will allow you to only use it when needed & still run the lathe. Still I prefer not to have one.

You can always try one & see if it's suitable for you. Do you have one for your lathe, it looks like the mounting arm is there.
 

Skierdude

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#12
Thanks to everyone for the feedback. I’ve been busy with a sick grandson the last couple of weeks so only just got back into the shop.
My lathe doesn’t have a safety interlock on the chuck guard so I can run it with guard up or down. I’ve gone ahead and fitted the guard so will see how it goes from here.
 

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brino

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#13
I have never used a chuck guard.
My lathe did NOT come with one, and I've seen no requirement for one.

But I did want to say......Congratulations on the new lathe!
I am glad you did your research, paid attention to details, looked it over close during unpacking/assembling and ended up with a good one.
New tools are very exciting times.

-brino
 

Silverbullet

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#14
Chuck guards are good when you run the lathe. The ones I wouldn't have are the SAFTEY interlocking . If it we're on my own lathe I'd bypass it. But I'd use it if my chips are flying all over. No reason not to , it's only in the way when setting up. Oh and hi it is a nice looking lathe. Welcome to the site.
 

westsailpat

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#15
Congrats on the lathe Skierdude , good looking machine and love the DRO . Question , why do you have to mess with the belts ? I ask because I'm seeing spindle gear box shift handles . For me (when I had my shop) my lathes had the chip guard except I didn't really think of them as a chip guard more a coolant guard , when blasting a short part from two different angles with water soluble oil you will be glad to have it . I even had "mud" flaps on mine front and rear , that water sol. was expensive so I wanted to contain it as much as possible .
One more question what stuff are you making ?
 

Skierdude

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#16
Congrats on the lathe Skierdude , good looking machine and love the DRO . Question , why do you have to mess with the belts ? I ask because I'm seeing spindle gear box shift handles . For me (when I had my shop) my lathes had the chip guard except I didn't really think of them as a chip guard more a coolant guard , when blasting a short part from two different angles with water soluble oil you will be glad to have it . I even had "mud" flaps on mine front and rear , that water sol. was expensive so I wanted to contain it as much as possible .
One more question what stuff are you making ?
I was extra lucky to get The DRO. It wasn’t in my initial budget but the supplier had a mix up in their import shipment and ended up with one lathe with DRO so rather than make me wait for the next shipment they gave me a super discount.
The lathe has 12 speed spindle with 2 x 3 speeds in the spindle gearbox giving 6 speeds but then also high and low speed pulleys so I need to swap the pulley belt depending on what speed I need. Usually I can run on the slow speed pulley - mostly depends on the stock size etc..
So far I’m still developing machining skills so I’ve mostly made a large box full of chips and curls. Having lots of fun so that’s what counts.
 
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