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New Member From Langley Bc Ready To Start Lathe & Mill Shopping

Kiwi Canuck

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#1
I found this forum by following Mike from ZMotorsports on another forum.
He has a very nice review of both of his PM machines and I have been looking to get into outfitting my shop/garage with a few machines, so here I am.

I am a bit overwhelmed with all the options available but I believe I will purchase PM machines as that's the brand I always seem to go back to after looking at others.
I visited the Grizzly store in Bellingham and eliminated a lot of the smaller machines as options including the 3 in 1's as that was what I thought I originally wanted.

As a starting point I want to be able to produce jigs and specialized parts for my locksmith business, we do a lot of large repetitive tasks and I'd like to make our own templates and jigs, from 1/4" Lexan to 1/2" thick alum. The tech's go through them quickly as they get nicked with a router or worn out from use and they are almost useless after that.
The cost to repair them is about 1/2 the price or more of buying new, but never quite the same as the anodizing is all messed up so they look "repaired" and no one wants to use them. Also new products need new jigs and the time to market for the new jigs can be slow.

I'll also need to press hardened drill guides into them, so I will need to make those or buy them in bulk.

But the main reason I want my own machines is that I restore classic motorcycles, mostly Suzuki's from the 70's and early 80's but occasionally an old Honda CT110 has shown up needing work, so nice to be able to make what I need for my hobby and not have to wait for parts or someone else.

I have a great machine shop not far from me and they do all my current work but he's only open 8-5 M-F and I usually need stuff on the weekend and when I take something in on Monday AM I usually get it 3-4 days later or sometimes the following week.

The big kicker is the US$ exchange rate is killing me and I keep waiting thinking it will improve in our favour, but I think it's just got worse. It's about 1.35 CND to a US$ at present.

So I have 2 sets of machines I'm looking at, PM 1127 lathe and PM 727 Mill or going bigger with the PM1340GT and PM935. I would like to buy the same brand of machines, single supplier to deal with etc.

My experience with Lathes and Mills is limited to high school metal shop, and I did do a Fitting and Turning Apprenticeship as that's what was on offer for locksmiths in NZ back in the 70's, so it's been a while since I've ran either a mill or lathe.


Any feedback or advice will be appreciated.
 
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T Bredehoft

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#2
I'm envious of your position/need. Also I applaud your interest in the PM line of machines. Matt is as good as they come, and his products match his attitude/service. Any you get will be well made, it's a common thought that the better (heavier, more well accessorized) machines are the ones to get. It's hard to do larger work on smaller machines, so get the largest you can afford and fit in your shop/budget. I'm really pleased with my PM25, but I'm working on finished assemblies you can put in your shirt pocket, or at most hold in one hand.

By the way, welcome to arguably the best hobby machinist board.
 

tmarks11

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#5
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Kiwi Canuck

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#6
Thanks for the replies and the lead to Modern Tools which is only 30 minutes from my house.

I did call them and chatted to a sales guy there and asked if it was OK to drop in.

Unfortunately the guy I spoke with was not very engaging once in person and they didn't have the mill shown in the attached picture. (the website shows it as in stock)

They only had larger units (Linmac) and he kept insisting a 935 is a pretty small mill/drill and I would be more interested in these larger units.

He showed me a 1440 lathe, they had 2 in stock, I asked if he knew the COO, "nope, not sure maybe China, but we do sell a lot of them to schools", I asked if they had a 1340, "nope, 1440's the smallest we have" that was pretty much it.

I think they sell a lot of their equipment to account customers and are not really setup to service the likes of me that need personal guidance and advice.

Well unless there is someone from Modern Tools monitoring this site and would like to contact me, it might be my last visit there. (never say never but first impression wasn't great)

It's possible I could certainly save a few $$ by buying from a local shop, but I'm just not that into buying on price when it comes to a technical purchase like this, I need to know they want my business and that they will work hard to take care of me if something goes sideways after the sale.

Same reason I have given up looking for quality used equipment, too many old worn out machines out there asking almost new money and I'm not experienced enough to distinguish between a great deal and a money pit.

OK that's enough of ranting for now, I do appreciate the lead and the other members welcoming me to the site.

David
 

Kiwi Canuck

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#8
Thanks tweinke, I will be calling on Matt at QMT to see what he can do for me if I buy 2 machines at the same time.

But before I get to that conversation I need to see if he can guide me as to what level of machines to look at.

I need a bit more experience or exposure to what's available and what the pros and cons are of each size model.

Wish there was a comparison chart like on a lot of websites were you can compare models online, that would at least give me a good starting point and a snapshot of the specs side by side.

Maybe I'll make one with excel.
 

tmarks11

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Active Member
#10
Too bad about Modern Tool.

Everyone will always try to help you spend your wallet empty. So here is my attempt....

A knee mill is much more useful than a square column mill, since it gives you a lot more option in how to cut and generally gives you a better finish quality. There are at least two individuals on this forum that started with large square column mills and ended up exchanging them for the PM935. Personally, I would jump straight to the PM935. Buy quality, cry once. Buy cheap, cry a thousand times!

For anyone who has space (a 12x36 lathe takes up A LOT of room), I would advocate not buying a lathe smaller than 12x36. reasons why:
- smaller lathes has a crippled Quick Change Gear Box, and you end up swapping gears every time you thread
- Smaller lathes have a bolt-on (or spin on) chuck instead of a cam lock chuck. You WANT a cam lock chuck, since it takes about 30 seconds to swap and is an industry standard so it is easy to buy different chucks.
- The following comments DON'T apply to the PM1127VF:
- most smaller lathes do not have power cross feed (which you want to give you a nice facing operation) (NOTE: PM1127 has power cross feed)
- smaller lathes usually have a higher low-end speed. Doesn't seem like a big deal to have a minimum speed of 150 rpm on a lathe.... until you are threading into a shoulder or an internal bore for the first time...

wrt PM1340GT. There is a definite step-up in quality to go to the Taiwan vs Chinese lathe. I would personally go with the PM1340GT.
 
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HBilly1022

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Active Member
#11
I'm not positive, but from what I can see the PM lathes are the same or very close to the Craftex brand Busy Bee sells in Vancouver. The difference being that I have only heard good things about the after sales support from PM but the opposite about Busy Bee. At least their BC operation. It appears that PM also offers more options with their line up.

When I was doing my search for the first lathe a year ago and my second one, over the last week, I searched for Canadian suppliers of hobby lathes and pretty much came to the conclusion that it would be a Craftex or King Industrial. My opinion is that it's too expensive to buy from the US because our dollar is so low right now. I just bought a King 12 x 36 lathe (same as the Grizzly G4003). When I convert the Grizzly price (with stand included) into Cad$, the Grizzly would be almost $1,000 Cad more than what I just paid for the King 12 x 36 with a stand.

If PM had a dealer in Canada I probably would've bought both of my lathes from them because of the options they offer with their machines and the great reviews I've seen about their after sales support. However I've found an excellent dealer near me and he sells King Industrial lathes. I've had issues with my recent King purchases but I got GREAT support from my dealer and from King's head office to resolve the issues. From some threads I've read BB does not stock much, if any, parts for their lathes, so if a part is needed it could take months to get. King has parts in their head office (Quebec) and as such parts are more than likely available within a week. My experience with one of their mill drill machines convinced me to stay with that brand instead of taking a chance on BB. I did consider PM but the price difference with our dollar being so low was just too much for me. I don't think King machines are the best quality but in the hobby lathe market, I believe they are comparable to other hobby machines. The difference for me is 2 things: 1) the after sales support I got from my dealer and the manufacturer has been excellent 2) parts are available in Canada. Another point in their favor is that the Grizzly brand appears to be identical to the King brand. I checked parts lists for both of my King lathes and they are the same as the Grizzly's. It appears Grizzly may however put different motors on their machines and sometimes (as in the case of my mill drill) some extra features, like a switch that includes a reverse function. Grizzly also has a very large customer base and parts supply. Their parts prices are also good. Being in Vancouver you could easily slip across the line and get any needed parts or have them shipped directly to you.

Those are the reasons I stuck with the King brand but your experience could be different. I think having a supporting dealer and manufacturer is what makes the difference. If you're lucky enough to get a machine that doesn't need warranty work or parts for a long time, then none of that matters but if there are issues, it is comforting to know the support will be there.

I have no affiliation with any of these suppliers or manufacturers and offer this based on my research and my personal experience with the dealer / manufacturer of the machines I bought.

Hope this is helpful.
 

qualitymachinetools

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#12
Yeah the exchange rate in Canada sucks, that's for sure! Wish there was something that could be done about that! But the thing is, it also is bad from Canada to Taiwan or China, or wherever the machine is coming from that you are looking at, so in general, they should be priced right about the same.

Just to compare pricing, I am looking at a Craftex 12x36 lathe that is at $4499 CAD (Not the same lathe, but similar) Thats without the foot brake, without the wedge tool post, etc. Add these things so figure around $5000 CAD. Which comes out to about $3730 USD in the converter, and we have the PM-1236 priced at $3399. Just one example, but the suppliers are in Canada are paying more to the factories to start with, so their prices shouldnt be any lower. For some reason, it seems like a tradition for the price in Canada to be higher all the time, at least from what I've found.

The owner of Busy Bee is the brother of the owner of Grizzly. Just an interesting bit of info.

I've met some of the guys from Modern Tool before, when I was in Taiwan, they were very nice guys. They were the higher ups though. But I think they are more of an industrial kind of place as already mentioned, they probably have 20x the sales that we do (Just a guess), completely different market. Mostly big machines and CNC's. And I've seen their prices before on their site, I am curious if you got a price on a machine like that 935 from them, even if it wasn't in stock. A while back when the exchange rate was about even, they were about 60% higher. Too bad you aren't closer, or I'd tell you to stop in here and take a look. Maybe check out that King if he had good luck above on pricing, see what they have too, I dont know a lot about them. Did not see anything from Taiwan, but they may have something not shown.
 

Kiwi Canuck

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#13
Too bad about Modern Tool.

Everyone will always try to help you spend your wallet empty. So here is my attempt....

A knee mill is much more useful than a square column mill, since it gives you a lot more option in how to cut and generally gives you a better finish quality. There are at least two individuals on this forum that started with large square column mills and ended up exchanging them for the PM935. Personally, I would jump straight to the PM935. But quality, cry once. Buy cheap, cry a thousand times!

For anyone who has space (a 12x36 lathe takes up A LOT of room), I would advocate not buying a lathe smaller than 12x36. reasons why:
- smaller lathes has a crippled Quick Change Gear Box, and you end up swapping gears every time you thread
- Smaller lathes have a bolt-on (or spin on) chuck instead of a cam lock chuck. You WANT a cam lock chuck, since it takes about 30 seconds to swap and is an industry standard so it is easy to buy different chucks.
- The following comments DON'T apply to the PM1127VF:
- most smaller lathes do not have power cross feed (which you want to give you a nice facing operation) (NOTE: PM1127 has power cross feed)
- smaller lathes usually have a higher low-end speed. Doesn't seem like a big deal to have a minimum speed of 150 rpm on a lathe.... until you are threading into a shoulder or an internal bore for the first time...

wrt PM1340GT. There is a definite step-up in quality to go to the Taiwan vs Chinese lathe. I would personally go with the PM1340GT.
Thanks Tmarks11, all good info to consider, I'm leaning toward the larger sized machines but I'll need to figure out power and space requirements.

My main shop is in one bay of my 3 car garage, but there's no room or power for the larger machines, so that's something I'll have to consider reorganizing or move it all to my large shop across the other side of my lot.

Cost wise for the larger machines is as follows.

PM1340GT with Preferred Package plus Stand, shipping and 12% taxes but no duty will be $9,250 CND approx.
PM935Tv will be a little over $10,000 so $20,000 CND is a fair budget for both machines.
 

Kiwi Canuck

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#14
I'm not positive, but from what I can see the PM lathes are the same or very close to the Craftex brand Busy Bee sells in Vancouver. The difference being that I have only heard good things about the after sales support from PM but the opposite about Busy Bee. At least their BC operation. It appears that PM also offers more options with their line up.

When I was doing my search for the first lathe a year ago and my second one, over the last week, I searched for Canadian suppliers of hobby lathes and pretty much came to the conclusion that it would be a Craftex or King Industrial. My opinion is that it's too expensive to buy from the US because our dollar is so low right now. I just bought a King 12 x 36 lathe (same as the Grizzly G4003). When I convert the Grizzly price (with stand included) into Cad$, the Grizzly would be almost $1,000 Cad more than what I just paid for the King 12 x 36 with a stand.

If PM had a dealer in Canada I probably would've bought both of my lathes from them because of the options they offer with their machines and the great reviews I've seen about their after sales support. However I've found an excellent dealer near me and he sells King Industrial lathes. I've had issues with my recent King purchases but I got GREAT support from my dealer and from King's head office to resolve the issues. From some threads I've read BB does not stock much, if any, parts for their lathes, so if a part is needed it could take months to get. King has parts in their head office (Quebec) and as such parts are more than likely available within a week. My experience with one of their mill drill machines convinced me to stay with that brand instead of taking a chance on BB. I did consider PM but the price difference with our dollar being so low was just too much for me. I don't think King machines are the best quality but in the hobby lathe market, I believe they are comparable to other hobby machines. The difference for me is 2 things: 1) the after sales support I got from my dealer and the manufacturer has been excellent 2) parts are available in Canada. Another point in their favor is that the Grizzly brand appears to be identical to the King brand. I checked parts lists for both of my King lathes and they are the same as the Grizzly's. It appears Grizzly may however put different motors on their machines and sometimes (as in the case of my mill drill) some extra features, like a switch that includes a reverse function. Grizzly also has a very large customer base and parts supply. Their parts prices are also good. Being in Vancouver you could easily slip across the line and get any needed parts or have them shipped directly to you.

Those are the reasons I stuck with the King brand but your experience could be different. I think having a supporting dealer and manufacturer is what makes the difference. If you're lucky enough to get a machine that doesn't need warranty work or parts for a long time, then none of that matters but if there are issues, it is comforting to know the support will be there.

I have no affiliation with any of these suppliers or manufacturers and offer this based on my research and my personal experience with the dealer / manufacturer of the machines I bought.

Hope this is helpful.
Thanks HBilly1022, I did check out the Craftex brand and dropped into their store when shopping for parts for a Busy Bee Drill Press, and they didn't carry the parts for that drill press anymore.

Their machines are probably one step below Grizzly and fit and finish was very poor for the lathes they had on the floor in their store, looks like a family run business and the owners were present while I was there.

I would consider that product if I was on a tight budget and wanted to get started rather than wait, but I think I would be happier with a better quality/finished product, I really like my good quality tools and always regret it when I cut costs even though I usually know better.

King lathes are sold at KMS tools, I almost bought one on sale a few weeks back just to get started (12x36) IIRC, but after fiddling with it a bit decided to walk away and see how I felt about it in 24hrs, I must not have felt right as I didn't return to buy it.

Thanks again for your info it is appreciated and helpful for me to go through this process.

Regards,

David
 

Kiwi Canuck

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#15
Yeah the exchange rate in Canada sucks, that's for sure! Wish there was something that could be done about that! But the thing is, it also is bad from Canada to Taiwan or China, or wherever the machine is coming from that you are looking at, so in general, they should be priced right about the same.

Just to compare pricing, I am looking at a Craftex 12x36 lathe that is at $4499 CAD (Not the same lathe, but similar) Thats without the foot brake, without the wedge tool post, etc. Add these things so figure around $5000 CAD. Which comes out to about $3730 USD in the converter, and we have the PM-1236 priced at $3399. Just one example, but the suppliers are in Canada are paying more to the factories to start with, so their prices shouldnt be any lower. For some reason, it seems like a tradition for the price in Canada to be higher all the time, at least from what I've found.

The owner of Busy Bee is the brother of the owner of Grizzly. Just an interesting bit of info.

I've met some of the guys from Modern Tool before, when I was in Taiwan, they were very nice guys. They were the higher ups though. But I think they are more of an industrial kind of place as already mentioned, they probably have 20x the sales that we do (Just a guess), completely different market. Mostly big machines and CNC's. And I've seen their prices before on their site, I am curious if you got a price on a machine like that 935 from them, even if it wasn't in stock. A while back when the exchange rate was about even, they were about 60% higher. Too bad you aren't closer, or I'd tell you to stop in here and take a look. Maybe check out that King if he had good luck above on pricing, see what they have too, I dont know a lot about them. Did not see anything from Taiwan, but they may have something not shown.
Well I feel special getting a response from Matt directly to my thread, how cool is that?

Thank you for the response, I will call you to pick your brain about what you suggest.

I like the package Mike from Zmotosports got but the whole 3 phase deal really gets me in over my head. I'll need help on that if I go that route.

I did not get any pricing on the 935 but he gave me a number on the Linmac VY-2VS 949 Knee Mill, $7,900 IIRC and I believe he told me it's used as that same serial number is listed as sold on their website, it's a pretty big machine.

I have noticed that with a lot of equipment we buy, we get to pay quite a lot more than the US does, in fact at times I can buy a product online for 20% less than when I buy direct from a manufacturer.

Thanks again for responding and I'll talk with you next week.

David.
 
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milomilo

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#16
You might want to contact one of our members, LKeithR. He is very close to Langley and runs a machine shop there.
 

brino

Active User
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#17
It's possible I could certainly save a few $$ by buying from a local shop, but I'm just not that into buying on price when it comes to a technical purchase like this, I need to know they want my business and that they will work hard to take care of me if something goes sideways after the sale.
I have no association with QMT or Matt, I have never been a customer, but I've read enough on this site to know he supports his customers. I have read nothing but positive comments here.

Everyone will always try to help you spend your wallet empty. So here is my attempt....
That's not what I'm attempting, however, you said "we do a lot of large repetitive tasks" and that almost screams out CNC. I guess you pay more for the operator or the machine.........you decide. If the operator is you, perhaps you can make concessions on the price of your time, however, if you miss your kids growing up then any price is way too low.

For some reason, it seems like a tradition for the price in Canada to be higher all the time, at least from what I've found.
I have noticed that with a lot of equipment we buy, we get to pay quite a lot more than the US does, in fact at times I can buy a product online for 20% less than when I buy direct from a manufacturer.
(/rant on) Fight it brother! Until all these over-pricing b@5t@rd5 get the point that we will not be held hostage by their ridiculous pricing strategies that's the way it will remain. Did you know that US auto dealers near the border have been told by "corporate" not to sell to Canadians? Buying a car in the US and paying the conversion, taxes, plus cost for inspection (day-time running lights, etc.) can still be less than the price here! They say that the population will not support the lower price, I say put the Canadian dealers out of business until they find one that will do it!!!!!!! (/rant off)

Well I feel special getting a response from Matt directly to my thread, how cool is that?
I don't mean to burst the bubble of your individual importance, but that's just Matt being Matt.
Yes it is way cool! He looks after his business name and customers........as an owner should!

If you do decide to go with King, find a local dealer that will support you. I feel lucky, my local dealer (Cardon Tools) is terrific! (again, no affiliation, I am nothing but a happy customer!)

Please keep us updated on your search and results!
-brino

EDIT: and oh yes......I got distracted.........Welcome to the group!
 

Kiwi Canuck

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#18
Hello Brino, thanks for the welcome and your input, just to clarify, the repetitive tasks are our tech's fitting electronic locks in the field, so with good jigs we can get them semi automated to install them more accurately and that saves time with adjustments afterwards.

We also have to modify locks when they get shipped with the wrong configuration and need to make parts rather than wait 6 weeks for the replacements to arrive.

Currently we are forced to do all this with a drill press and hand tools unless we buy premade jigs and the issue with damage can bring a job to a holt quickly, so the better machines will improve the quality of our handmade jigs by a huge margin and hopefully allow us to get a good return on the investment overtime.

I can justify spending a little more on the machines as they will help us be more productive at work and then I get to play after hours on them.

David.
 

Kiwi Canuck

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#19
You might want to contact one of our members, LKeithR. He is very close to Langley and runs a machine shop there.
Hello Chris, I looked up this member and his profile showed the last time he was online was in 2012 and has no posts.

Do you know him personally and can forward his details or did I miss something?

David.
 

Kiwi Canuck

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#22
I spent a bit of time today dropping by vendors looking and learning.

I first went to KMS and discovered they still have the King Industrial 12 x36 on the floor at the Coquitlam branch, it was still for sale for $3,799.00 CND
Now that I'm a little more familiar with lathes I was able to look at it and understand what I was looking at, if that makes sense.
The counter staff guy assured me it was made in Taiwan and suggested all the ones with King Industrial were made in Taiwan whereas King Canada was China. (I somehow didn't believe him but I'll verify by calling the HO of King Industrial just to know for sure.)
Back to the lathes on hand, there was also a 10 x22 mini lathe available as well, but after carefully inspecting the 12 x 36 I noticed the castings where the headstock attaches to the base, very poor castings and the bolt washers were on a 15-20 degree angle and the bolts bent because the casting were all uneven and the torque on the bolts bent them.

The amount of Bondo on this lathe was very obvious and the finish (out of view) was just about toddler level with play doh.
Welding on the stand was dismal.
The cross slide and carriage moved quite smoothly and the handles on the cranks felt quite good in the hand and not all wonky like some I've felt, so that was positive.
Chuck was a Sanou which I understand is a Chinese made item, but it was finished very well and stood out from the fit and finish on the lathe, it was actually a really nicely finished item.

Next I went by Busy Bee Tools about 5 mins away, same floor models as 18 months ago when I was last in there.
While there not a single staff member approached me or asked if they could help me, I was in the store for about 20 mins and was the only customer there.

The lathes were certainly lower end and the prices reflect that, the only machine that got my attention was the CX603 Knee Mill, it looked like a better made machine that everything else and was on sale for about $4,800 IIRC.
I checked their website but it does not show in stock.
Most of the floor models are either made in 2010-2012, didn't see anything much newer than that.
It says something for the durability as every floor model appliance or BBQ in Home Depot has almost every knob missing or broken off, and here were several machines 4-5 years old and on display for people like me to play with and they seemed to be holding up OK.

I am slowly learning more as I go and can eliminate most of these offerings unless the budget gets severely crunched.

At around 2PM (5Pm EST) I called QMT and got Matt on the line right away, we had a good chat for about 10 mins and I am in the middle of writing an email to him with my wish list. (Dear Santa ....)

I will need to take a leap of faith at some point but I will at least need to get myself to a point were I am clear on what I'll need to accomplish with these two machines at a minimum and that should help me with my choices.

Now if the people who set the exchange rates can help us out here, it'll make the decision to order the PM machines so much easier.

Thanks for all the input so far.

David.
 

Hawkeye

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#23
Now, would this be the same Kiwi Canuck from BCCMC? Can't be too many in this province using that handle. Welcome to H-M. These guys can steer you straight on any topic that comes to mind. Most of my machines are quite old, so I might not be much help right now.
 

Kiwi Canuck

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#24
Now, would this be the same Kiwi Canuck from BCCMC? Can't be too many in this province using that handle. Welcome to H-M. These guys can steer you straight on any topic that comes to mind. Most of my machines are quite old, so I might not be much help right now.
Yes that's me, I have that user name pretty much on all the motorcycle related forums I'm on, GS Resources, ADV Rider, DRRiders and Garage Journal as well.

Good to see familiar names on here.

I did go over to Rusty Bits workshop on Sunday after coffee and I was all over his machines, both older than me though and quizzed him a bit about what I should be looking for.

Cheers,

David.
 

Hawkeye

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#25
Twisted Twin would be another good one to touch base with. He lives in Langley and has machines at home as well as a t work.
 

Kiwi Canuck

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#26
OK, so I've received an email response from Matt and he gave me a very detailed response with regard to the 3 options I requested. (I added the 12x36 lathe & PM32 Mill package)

I have probably read (and watched videos) for 30 hours on lathes alone since I first posted and are finally starting to see through the fog.

I have been flip flopping back and forward, yes 120VAC machines (PM1127 + PM727), easy to install, reasonably light to move around will fit in my garage, up and running quickly, OK lets order..............

But what about the PM1236 & PM932 and as Matt mentioned, is only a grand more, better value, all righty then.................but where will I put them, no 220VAC in the garage where the machines will go and will require trenching outside around the building unless I run surface conduit inside the fully finished garage.

Well if I'm going to go 220VAC I'll need to run new wire and electrical, so might as well go with the better machines PM1340GT & PM935....................

Matt suggested something I never thought of, a PM1236 and a PM935 if I was challenged with the extra cost of the PM1340GT, so that added another factor that I'd not thought of and I've been looking online and reading about that lathe today.

Wow this rabbit hole just got deeper after reading about 3 phase motors conversions with a VFD on a PM1236.

I have not even started to get into the full landed costs for each option but did find out that Canada has a zero duty on metal lathes which is nice to know.

HS commodity code 8458.99.0000
https://www.dutycalculator.com/dc/1...rting-metal-lathes-from-china-to-canada-is-0/

Looks Like USA has 4.2% Import Duty on metal lathes.

OK back to the studying.
 

petertha

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#27
I'm in Calgary & one of the contributers on our local metalhead forum from Edmonton area bought a PM932 mill from Matt. He had nothing but great things to say about his service & shipping to Canada. I have a King 14x40 late 90's vintage, made in Taiwan. At the time Modern Tool (Calgary) was a King distributer & that's where where I purchased my lathe & RF-45 mill (very similar to PM932 mentioned). But Modern sells their own line of China connection machines & have for some time. This is the current smallest 14x40 they carry. I thought it looked ok, a little rough around the corners compared to mine, but nothing brutal. I wasn't enamoured about the dials & unfortunately that's what your hands are always on. http://www.moderntool.com/products/modern-model-c0636a-x-1000-lathe/
The biggest factor to me is when you need parts & service. There are some many +/- experiences out there but my own view is BusyBee/KMS King-China is a notch below the aforementioned vendors.

Some other considerations to hep melt your credit card (but for all the right reasons!)

- Consider a DRO. Sometimes the vendors can pass on savings & do the mounting & bracketry before delivering & might end up as same/lower cost when you factor buying it separately & the 'joy' of doing it yourself. Once that heavy muther machine is in place, you either need a way to get in behind it for certain mounting, or made provisions so you can move around a bit to accommodate. DRO's make machining so much more enjoyable. They save time, reduces boo-boos & mitigate some of the dial quality & any backlash issues on lesser machines. I ran my lathe & mill both ways & I would really miss my DRO now.

- if you are contemplating doing taper turning (ie. requiring a taper attachment) I suspect you have to make that decision now. Retrofitting them is a PITA & not cost effective. At least that was the case on my King 14x40 & I think that still holds true today, but check. Its not just a bolt-on thing, the cross slide & leadscrew assembly is different. There are days I wish I sprung for it, but those were my budget realities at the time.

- Really look hard at the stand. Sometimes they are decent & sometimes they are sheetmetal headaches. I had one welded for my lathe from 2" steel tubing & adjustable rubber feet. It's very solid & torsionally rigid & didn't cost that much. My RF-45 mill has the bolt-together tin stand & I regret not making one. It buzzes & vibrates, is less solid & is difficult to store anything in that goofy cabinet anyway.

- I also cheaped out & did not get the lathe backsplash which was sold separately at the time. Another dumb move on my part. I'm not a sheet metal welder guy. Keep the swarf & oil spittle off your walls, easier cleanup.

-220 wasn't a big deal, just money & an electrician. If you are like most of us metalheads, the family might grow one day with mill, TIG welder... heck even hobby compressors are coming that way now.

Good luck with your journey & keep us posted!
 

tmarks11

Active User
Active Member
#28
...PM1127...PM1236....PM1340GT and ...PM727....PM935........
:D :D :D

Welcome to machine buying! It is something we all go through.... for only $500 I can buy this.... and only another $500....

And then the online forum weighs in with "for only another $1000"....

wrt PM1127 vs PM1236 or PM1340GT:

PM1236 (or larger) has some very huge advantages:
1. Full Quick Change Gear Box (QCGB). The smaller machines are crippled.
2. Cam Lock Chuck. Huge deal. Swap out chucks in 30 seconds.

WRT 110V vs 220V. You could always put a 110V motor on a 1236 lathe. The downside is that a 2 HP motor fuel load current draw is about 19A, which probably exceeds (or is close to exceeding) the 110V circuit that you have installed. And you won't find a 115V inverter that would drive a three phase motor larger than 1 HP.

Surface conduit isn't a bad look. And really, it isn't that hard to run wiring in the walls either. I have put in 5 220V outlets in my fully-finished garage. Definitely no need to trench of either of those options are available.
 
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Muskt

Home Shop Tinkerer
Active Member
#29
I started with a Grizz 9x20 about 11 years ago. It did most of what I desired--Still, I wanted bigger. I acquired a Grizz mill--a bit smaller than the 932--Installed a VFD on it & had great fun using it. Retired & moved from Alaska to the USA. Sold the lathe & mill cuz it was too expensive to ship.

Did all the research things you have done, & settled on the PM12x36 (no DRO) + the PM932PDF with the installed DRO. I am satisfied with both machines. I had a few issues with surface finish on the lathe, & finally settled on a VFD & motor swap. Much improved surface finish--Changing the RPM by only a small amount can considerably change the finish. I have had no issues with the mill. During the surface finish time, Matt was planning a weekend in Ocean City MD. He offered to stop by my home in Delaware to check out the machine--about 45 minutes out of his way. I turned down the offer, but I firmly believe that that offer speaks volumes about him & his devotion to his machines & customers.

Back to the lathe. I am much more satisfied with it now, and feel that the VFD conversion was worth the money (about $675 USD).

As to the camlock vs direct mount for the chuck-I have a 3 jaw, a 4 jaw, & an ER-32 collet chuck. It is quicker to change, and generally less of a PITA than a direct mount with bolts, nuts, ropes, & bungee cords; however, if you are not prone to changing 2 or 3 times per project, well, maybe it isn't such a big deal for you. I LIKE THE CAMLOCK!!!

If you have a nicely finished floor in the proposed shop location, the 12x36 & the 932 can easily be moved by one person & an engine hoist. I am nearly 70, & uncrated, assembled, & placed both machines 100% by my self. I will not speculate on doing that with a 13x40 or the 935 because I have never seen them.

From all the posts here on the forum, the 13x40 & the 935 are superior machines. They come with a superior price tag, also. Does that mean that the others are inadequate or junk?? ABSOLUTELY NOT!!! Both of my machines needed a bit of tweaking to get them up to my desired degree of accuracy and usability. However, I am a home shop tinkerer and do not use them for income purposes. But, then think of all the shops that are running very old & possibly severely worn machines. The quality of work produced more than likely is a result of the operators skill and dedication than to the country of origin or color of the paint on the machines.

I would recommend that you base your decision on all of the factors and pointers that have been posted here and then enjoy your new tools and have fun using them.

Jerry in Delaware
 

Kiwi Canuck

H-M Supporter - Premium Content
H-M Supporter-Premium
#30
I'm in Calgary & one of the contributers on our local metalhead forum from Edmonton area bought a PM932 mill from Matt. He had nothing but great things to say about his service & shipping to Canada. I have a King 14x40 late 90's vintage, made in Taiwan. At the time Modern Tool (Calgary) was a King distributer & that's where where I purchased my lathe & RF-45 mill (very similar to PM932 mentioned). But Modern sells their own line of China connection machines & have for some time. This is the current smallest 14x40 they carry. I thought it looked ok, a little rough around the corners compared to mine, but nothing brutal. I wasn't enamoured about the dials & unfortunately that's what your hands are always on. http://www.moderntool.com/products/modern-model-c0636a-x-1000-lathe/
The biggest factor to me is when you need parts & service. There are some many +/- experiences out there but my own view is BusyBee/KMS King-China is a notch below the aforementioned vendors.

Some other considerations to hep melt your credit card (but for all the right reasons!)

- Consider a DRO. Sometimes the vendors can pass on savings & do the mounting & bracketry before delivering & might end up as same/lower cost when you factor buying it separately & the 'joy' of doing it yourself. Once that heavy muther machine is in place, you either need a way to get in behind it for certain mounting, or made provisions so you can move around a bit to accommodate. DRO's make machining so much more enjoyable. They save time, reduces boo-boos & mitigate some of the dial quality & any backlash issues on lesser machines. I ran my lathe & mill both ways & I would really miss my DRO now.

- if you are contemplating doing taper turning (ie. requiring a taper attachment) I suspect you have to make that decision now. Retrofitting them is a PITA & not cost effective. At least that was the case on my King 14x40 & I think that still holds true today, but check. Its not just a bolt-on thing, the cross slide & leadscrew assembly is different. There are days I wish I sprung for it, but those were my budget realities at the time.

-220 wasn't a big deal, just money & an electrician. If you are like most of us metalheads, the family might grow one day with mill, TIG welder... heck even hobby compressors are coming that way now.

Good luck with your journey & keep us posted!


petertha, thanks for taking the time to comment and give me feedback on your experiences.

Sometimes what doesn't work or what you would have done differently helps confirm my direction or helps justify the additional cost outlay.

I usually don't do this much research when buying equipment or toys but I'm enjoying the journey and info I'm gathering as I'll need to know most of this anyway.

I also don't usually have a set budget either, as the right equipment costs what it costs, I try to keep costs in the background until I figure out who I'm buying from and which level of equipment is recommended.

Once all that's figured out I can then see if it makes sense financially.

I'd rather have something on my wish list than a reminder on how not to buy. I've done it enough times to know the feeling unfortunately.

I have chosen QMT as the company I will purchase from it's just a matter of making the right choice on the machines.

I hear you on KMS as a vendor, we buy a lot of tools and equipment from them, we have 12 trucks on the road and a lot of our tools come from them, but I have had some very frustrating experiences with their customer service and repair dept. lately.

I will still shop at KMS but I'm not buying my lathe and mill from them.

I d0 have 220 in the garage and my compressor is 220, which I was able to borrow the 220 from an unused hot water heater in the mechanical room (had both NG and Electric HW heaters) but I don't have any 220 where I need it.

The actual electrical work is not the a big deal, as I can do all the work myself as I renovated/flipped houses for 20 years, it's just that I'm really fussy about the way it's installed at my house and wouldn't let just anyone install additional services.

Pretty sure I've eliminated the smaller machines as an option so looks like I'll have some wiring to do in my future, also pretty sure I'll go with 3 phase motors and VFDs as well based on the majority of posts here.
Fortunate to have a Kiwi guy from my Classic MC Club who is familiar with them and would be willing to help with setup.

Hawkeye, I spoke with Twisted Twin at coffee this morning, he confirmed all same info here, go with 220VAC, VFD and bigger is better.

Cheers,

David