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New Guy, New Machinest, Looking For A Start

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Reverend Bow

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#1
Gents, I am new to machining, but I would like to start.

I was at Harbor Freight today an was looking at the 7x10 they have in the store.

I was looking on line about it and it brought me to this forum. Most forums chalk this thing up as pure evil, but I like the can do atmosphere here.

I understand there are better units out there, but as a starter, and available locally, this seems to be it.

I have a project in mind, which is converting a Brass framed kit 5 shot Colt .36 BP pocket pistol to 5 shot 22 Mag... 22 barrel liner is already installed, I need to cut it off and crown the muzzle, then counter the forcing cone.

The biggest trick I think will be boring the cylinder to sleeve it from .36 down to the .22Mag. I already have the 0.375 OD x0.065 wall DOM steel tubing for the sleeves, I just need to turn down the OD to fit in the bored cylinders.

Will the 7x10 be up to a task such as this?

So.... is the HF 7x10 good enough to start with for this type of project?

Thank you for your input.
 

Charles Spencer

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#2
I don't know about that machine or your particular project, but I'd go for the 7x12 over the 7x10. It's only thirty dollars more and the extra length is easily worth it.
 

LsSix

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#3
Also new here and for what its worth I decided to pick up a vintage machine of much larger size for Im sure less than the HF machine.

My reasoning being more capacity equals more better and that with all the fiddling the forums say comes standard with the HF machine Im not losing much more time reconditioning a classic.


Dont let that sway you to much though, I am heavily biased by a passion for vintage iron as well. Its entirely possible I made an entirely illogical decision[emoji23]

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Billh50

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#4
I own a 7x12 Homier that is the same lathe as HF. Right out of the box they will do light cutting and hold size within .003 and sometimes closer. They will have a lot of chatter on some materials as the fit for most slides leaves a bit to be desired. I have done a lot of work on mine to get it to hold sizes to within .001 and if I need closer I stone and polish the part down. There are a lot of sites with modification for making them better. But they are still limited. If you really look around you can find some good deals on something a little larger for not much more money.
But will it do the job. Yes it will. I turned one of my blackpowder 44's into a 22Lr using mine.
 

Reverend Bow

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#5
Thanks for the replies gents.

I guess I didn't realize 2" makes that much of a difference.

Also new here and for what its worth I decided to pick up a vintage machine of much larger size for Im sure less than the HF machine.

My reasoning being more capacity equals more better and that with all the fiddling the forums say comes standard with the HF machine Im not losing much more time reconditioning a classic.


Dont let that sway you to much though, I am heavily biased by a passion for vintage iron as well. Its entirely possible I made an entirely illogical decision[emoji23]

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I can understand that, I just do not have the room for anything vintage sized.

Standard 2 car garage... with 2 cars in it, and the rest of my tools is a serious limitation.

I own a 7x12 Homier that is the same lathe as HF. Right out of the box they will do light cutting and hold size within .003 and sometimes closer. They will have a lot of chatter on some materials as the fit for most slides leaves a bit to be desired. I have done a lot of work on mine to get it to hold sizes to within .001 and if I need closer I stone and polish the part down. There are a lot of sites with modification for making them better. But they are still limited. If you really look around you can find some good deals on something a little larger for not much more money.
But will it do the job. Yes it will. I turned one of my blackpowder 44's into a 22Lr using mine.
Thank you sir. My wife has always told me "find the one you think you want, then go to the next level higher and if the price isn't that much worse, go better.

.44 to .22LR? do you have a thread on that?
 

Billh50

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#6
No I don't....but should do a write-up one of these days. I did just to have a special plinker.
 

royesses

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#7
If you do get the HF 7x10 the following link has many coupons 20 to 25% off:
http://www.hfqpdb.com/

As BillH50 said it will require some work on your part to tighten up the machine. All the gibs need to be tight to get the accuracy he has. It can be done and is actually fun to make these little lathes work better. I have converted mine from 7x10 to 7x16 using the Little Machine Shop kit. If you are patient I think it can do what you ask of it. You will find many upgrades and modifications for the 7x10 to make it a decent little machine.

Roy
 

LsSix

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#8
If you really are stuck with such a small available footprint the HF may be they way to go.

It seemed to me that small older lathes fell into a few distinct categories that all make them a hard sell.

1: they can be oddball machines with specific tooling and fixtures that cant be found today.

2: they typically have an external motor, that has advantages but a major disadvantage is for a given sized machine the total space required will be more.

3: they can be junk, the 190 Cmans spring to mind. Junk may be harsh but what I learned was enough to turn me away from all but a freebie.

4: the good ones are apparently gold and are priced accordingly! Watch maker, jewelers and small gunsmith lathes are only worth it if you absolutely cant stick a 12" machine somewhere.

Again, rank newb here. This is just the impression I got while shopping.



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Groundhog

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#9
I started my machining hobby with a 7x10 HF lathe. It served me well, was a good machine to learn on and completed some decent projects with it. I recently traded it for my a 12x36. I wish I would have kept the 7x10 (now 7x12). Either way I am glad I didn't start my self education with a used lathe. It is hard enough tinkering with a new Chinese lathe to get it to run right. No way could I have taught myself anything about using a lathe while refurbishing an old lathe at the same time. I would never have figured out which one of us was making mistakes.
 

Reverend Bow

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#10
Thanks again.

I picked up "The Home Shop Machinist" today and there is a coupon for the HF 7x10 for $449. that is quite tempting...

Yes, my footprint is very limited, love my house, hate my garage....

I realize the best bet is yo get a 12" or bigger, but I need to be realistic and work with what I have. Since i am just starting out, I want to be able to afford to start and learn something.

Roy,
Thank you for the link, and you are correct, I enjoy the challenge of taking a lower end equipment and making to perform at higher levels.
 

Subwayrocket

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#11
And for what that lathe costs, you wont have alot tied up in it. You can learn alot and if ever wana upgrade, probably sell it close to what you paid ...even if you sell it for half of what you paid, it only cost you a couple hundred bucks during the learning process.
I myself have tossed the idea around. Financially the lathe I want is 6-9 months out ...i've considered a mini lathe to learn on ...vs no lathe next 6-9 months . I don't see where you could go wrong with either of those . Just be sure to hit the scrap yard for practice material before learning on the real thing which could end up costing you $$$ while learning .
Get your feet wet, and their easy to sell if/when want more. good luck !
 

Reverend Bow

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#12
Thank You Sir!

Gotta start some where, right?

Now I should start researching the basic starter set of tools I need for this to turn good stock into shavings...
 

Reverend Bow

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#15
Thanks!

Just what I need, another expensive hobby...

Guitars
Cars
Amateur Radio...

and not... Machining....

Well, its more legal and healthier that Hookers and blow I reckon!
 

Hawkeye

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#16
Congratulations. With a bit of care, you can do quite a lot with the little benchtops. As previously mentioned, you will find a lot of information on the web dealing with tuning and improving these machines. May I recommend making a cam-lock for the tailstock? It's a simple conversion which will teach you a few skills and will make your lathe easier to use.
 

Subwayrocket

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#17
just forget about all the guitars, cars, etc ...they're all history now
 

royesses

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Reverend Bow, after cleaning the lathe you will need to go over every adjustment and nut and bolt on it. They are usually shipped barely assembled. Adjust the change gears to make sure there is some clearance about .004" between the teeth. If you are in a hurry to get your feet wet the only decent lathe tools at HF are Item Number 39931 five piece carbide insert 1/4" tools. With a 20% off coupon they are inexpensive. You will need to shim them up to the center of the work in the original tool holder. It is set up for 5/16" bits if i remember correctly. Little machine shop sells the replacement inserts and screws for them. That link I gave for the coupons i've used dozens of times. I've never had HF refuse the printed out coupons.

There are recommended tools links on this forum if you need to know what to get. If you break anything LMS sells every part for that lathe. And a ton of enhanced upgrade parts and kits. One of my first upgrades was the all metal complete gear set. Then the Tormach 0XA Quick Change Tool Post kit, AR Warner turning tools and on and on. I'm trying not to get you infected with little machine upgrade disease.

Have fun and keep us informed. Feel free to seek the forum for advice and help.

Roy
 

LsSix

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Congrats! For a little perspective I have about the same amount of time in my machine (not counting the 2.5 hour round trip to pick it up or the hour plus feat of unloading it solo!) But while you have a nominally functional machine in need of fine tuning I have parts spread all over my garage floor and a table and many hours to go yet before I can turn anything.

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David S

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#20
Congratulations Reverend Bow. I started machining with a Unimat DB200 back in the 70's. Learned a lot about small machine capabilities..and patience. What you have is a way better than what I started with.

To increase your work envelope I suggest that you get yourself a set of screw machine drill bits or stub drill bits. They are much shorter and will give you more room when working from the tail stock.

Good luck and post pictures of your progress.

David
 

Reverend Bow

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#21
Thanks David.

I have a question for you Gurus...

What is the trick to making the handles turn smoother... is that notchy, rough feeling on everything one can manually turn either by handle of wrench (the chuck) kind of a built in feature of buying an inexpensive unit?
 

Subwayrocket

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#22
You might have to get in it and clean everything out. Machines ship with a coating of gummy grease , cosmoline . It's on all your threads , gears, ways, etc . Once you get that off and re oil it, they slide smoother.
 
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owl

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#23
FWIW, the 7x12 is actually 4" larger than the 7x10 (go figure). I started with the 7x10, and eventually got the LittleMachineShop conversion to 7x12, so don't think that you are necessarily locked into a size, it can eventually be changed if you feel the need. While I have extensively modified mine to be more capable, I believe that with careful adjustment to take out slop, there is no reason that you cannot use an unmodified one to do your project. I would suggest that you use high speed steel bits and keep them as sharp as possible.
 

Reverend Bow

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#24
Thanks Owl!

I ordered a Quick change post from Little Machine Shop yesterday...

I picked up some Aluminum 3/8 rod at the local hardware store yesterday and chucked it up last night to give making chips a go...
I was able to face it (with no nub!) and cut it down. I was just playing with it to get a feel for it, but I can see why the QCTP is the first think everyone goes for, the shimming it a serious Pain in the rear.
 
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Subwayrocket

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#25
I picked up some Aluminum 3/8 rod at the local hardware store yesterday and chucked it up last night to give making chips a go...
Check out some of your local scrap yards, make friends , they usually have a bin with clip aluminum and tons of material for machining and practice , round stock , flat stock , blocks .
You'll get alum for about 50-55 cents/lb and steels are 10-25 cents/lb . Usually cutoffs from small shop production runs , so it's not old junk .
 

markba633csi

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#27
Hi Reverend! Welcome to the monkey house. Certainly not the money house cuz we're all broke, but we're friendly. Plenty of experts here plus miscellaneous characters of various qualification, and dubious integrity. A little ditty for you:
"To clean his lathe spindle Joe Hurning,
inserted, while it was still turning,
his finger alack
which he didn't get back
to manage with 9 he's still learning"
(picture guy holding up finger which now looks like twisty compact fluorescent bulb)
Mark S.
 
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Reverend Bow

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#28
Thanks Mark!

So if I haven't touched a lathe in years...

Go my new 7x10 this week
QCTP arrived this afternoon


Start simple, right?

Heck no, dive in with some 3/8" aluminum rod from Lowe's and test a theory turning an offset chamber insert for my .36 black powder to .22 WMR.

Inserted 2 feeler gauges to get the 1/16" off set and with a bit of tweaking, it slide in to the cylinder!

Now I'm working with a piece of steel DOM rube to see how to translates to real life.

Also found out my tailstock is high and left.... Hmmm....
 

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markba633csi

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#29
Not a gun expert so I'll only say be careful modifying a firearm...or rather USING a modified one
Mark S
 

LsSix

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#30
Not a gun expert so I'll only say be careful modifying a firearm...or rather USING a modified one
Mark S
Just turn your face away during the first test fire, t'was apparently traditional back in the BP revolver days.



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