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Why no small high-quality lathes?

bobshobby

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I think you might be reading a bit more into my post than I intended. What I'm interested in here are two questions: Are PM machines made by Weiss, and whether Weiss is going to increase their
presence in the US market. The fact that I copied something from their website doesn't mean I believe everything they say. I'm not that naive. I'm also aware of the pitfalls of buying
products from China, which was a major factor in my decision to buy a Logan rather than a Chinese machine, and the reason I almost never buy Chinese tools.
What does appear to be true is that they have a dealer here in the US: http://www.dropros.com, and unless their website is wrong, they have some sort of office in Florida. I've also gotten the impression that people who have bought PM machines are pretty happy with their quality. If they are, in fact, Weiss machines, and Weiss expands their presence in the US, that would provide an alternative to Jet, Grizzly etc. which I think would be of interest here
on the forum.
Weiss machines are Chinese not Taiwanese, they may be involved with the Chinese made PM machines I don't know. however the better quality PM machines such as the well known Pm 1340 that are made in Taiwan are made in the same factory as Liang Dei machines. I'm not sure if Liang Dei has any direct presence in US but they do appear to be available in Canada.
 

Cheeseking

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Wow I can't believe this thread is still going 5 years later. [emoji57][emoji50]. It began and still is as a very legitimate query however after seeing so many good reasonable options suggested and cast aside its fairly certain we will look until eternity and not find one that checks every single box on an extremely long list of requirements. It's economics pure and simple.
I do understand the frustration tho. I had a somewhat similar list when I was in the market looking and thank my lucky stars the day I found and purchased my baby 11"x30 colchester. My next choice would probably be the used HLVH or the Taiwanese variant PM.
Keith I know you said space was limited but seriously, if you cannot squeeze out a 3x5 space by removing a toolbox, drill press some other misc junk it must be a closet workspace were talking about. Assuming you are still looking do you have a list of 2 or 3 potential candidates that come close??
Other than its not new and the 27"x 62" footprint, it meets every other requirement so I still say you should keep an eye out for one of these[emoji4]
 

bobshobby

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Wow I can't believe this thread is still going 5 years later. [emoji57][emoji50]. It began and still is as a very legitimate query however after seeing so many good reasonable options suggested and cast aside its fairly certain we will look until eternity and not find one that checks every single box on an extremely long list of requirements. It's economics pure and simple.
I do understand the frustration tho. I had a somewhat similar list when I was in the market looking and thank my lucky stars the day I found and purchased my baby 11"x30 colchester. My next choice would probably be the used HLVH or the Taiwanese variant PM.
Keith I know you said space was limited but seriously, if you cannot squeeze out a 3x5 space by removing a toolbox, drill press some other misc junk it must be a closet workspace were talking about. Assuming you are still looking do you have a list of 2 or 3 potential candidates that come close??
Other than its not new and the 27"x 62" footprint, it meets every other requirement so I still say you should keep an eye out for one of these[emoji4]
 

BROCKWOOD

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I heard custom stand & came running. Look for an old restaurant selling off equipment. The back kitchen tables can withstand a 1000 pounds easy. These days they are stainless steel to boot. The legs on mine are 1.250" pipe & 2" angle for the substructure = good to go!
 

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bobshobby

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I was told by a forum member that Eisen carries the Liang Dei, you may be able to order 1216, or a 1224 through them. In one of the thread the OP mentioned that Liang Dei makes the PMxxxxGT series. Not positive about the connection, but it kind of looks that way judging by the pictures.

http://www.liangdei.com.tw/product-detail-1162806.html
Eisen and Pm are just two of many marketing groups that simply rebadge the Liang Dei products. They order them in in sufficient quantity that they can specify some cosmetic changes, but they are the same machines. The disadvantage to this process is that they usually only carry a few specific models rather than the full range. I was able to get my LD1216GH only because the dealer I bought it from sells the LD badged machines therefore can get any model they want.
 

Superburban

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Eisen and Pm are just two of many marketing groups that simply rebadge the Liang Dei products. They order them in in sufficient quantity that they can specify some cosmetic changes, but they are the same machines. The disadvantage to this process is that they usually only carry a few specific models rather than the full range. I was able to get my LD1216GH only because the dealer I bought it from sells the LD badged machines therefore can get any model they want.
But in quantity, they can get them made to what ever specs they want (within reason), So just because they look the same, they could be different creatures. Just look at all the differences between the various roung fu style mill drills. (3 speed, 6 speed, 12 speed, 3 phase, single phase, table size, spindle, power down feed, instant reverse, to name a few). Or the differences between the grizzly, and Shop Fox gunsmith lathes.
 

Wreck™Wreck

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Are people still wondering why there is no manufacturer making small high quality lathes that no hobbyist will ever buy?

The mind reels so carry on.
 
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rick9345

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A true Hobbyist would never consider "Quality" and the dollars involved. The hobbyist only shops cheap $$'s.:confused::tranquility:
A meaningful saying "If one has gotta ask,one cannot afford it"
 
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Wreck™Wreck

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A true Hobbyist would never consider "Quality" and the dollars involved. The hobbyist only shops cheap $$'s.:confused::tranquility:
A meaningful saying "If one has gotta ask,one cannot afford it"
True enough.
Several years ago I made a sort of list, what is a hobby machinist looking for in a lathe? I was thinking about building a small lathe for this market.

Variable speed, sub .001" accuracy and repeatability, inch and metric threading, DRO, nicely painted (this appears to be important), 220VAC single phase power, less then 1000 LB's,, spindle brake, micrometer carriage stop, on and on.

All at a price point of $5000.00 or less. This is not going to happen any time soon in the US.
The Asian made machines are the best bang for the buck without question.
 

4gsr

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True enough.
Several years ago I made a sort of list, what is a hobby machinist looking for in a lathe? I was thinking about building a small lathe for this market.

Variable speed, sub .001" accuracy and repeatability, inch and metric threading, DRO, nicely painted (this appears to be important), 220VAC single phase power, less then 1000 LB's,, spindle brake, micrometer carriage stop, on and on.

All at a price point of $5000.00 or less. This is not going to happen any time soon in the US.
The Asian made machines are the best bang for the buck without question.
Wreck, Add one more requirement. Must have a 5C collet taper cut in the spindle without the need for an adapter.
 

bobshobby

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Wreck, Add one more requirement. Must have a 5C collet taper cut in the spindle without the need for an adapter.
I dispute that a true hobbyist would never consider quality and the cost. I think many of us do. I appreciate that are those who cannot afford it and also those who for their own satisfaction would rather buy an old machine for it's history, and do it up.

A fairly decent lathe can be had for $5k or less, especially if you look at the Taiwanese machines currently available. I have looked very hard at the chinese ones available here in down under, and I wouldn't waste my money, sure if you just look at the specs, they have extra bells and whistles, but what's the point when you have dismantle the machine and fully rebuild it before you can use it.

Variable speed, particularly if it's single Ph, and DRO are not necessary in my book. Better than .001" accuracy and repeatability are very important. inch and metric threading, Also important. Spindle brake Yeh maybe.
Micrometer carriage stop, etc. etc. I consider these items as optional extras, I think many hobbiests like to make their own.

The 5C collet I prefer a 5mt with draw bar, much easier to get an assortment of tooling, and generally cheaper. All of my tooling is 5mt. If fact I don't think I've ever seen a 5c collet except in catalogs, perhaps it's an American thing.

All of the above can be had for $5K or less here and I'm sure in the US also, look for quality, but just avoid going fancy. It's like a lot of things, people will pay for a look rather than a spec.
 

4gsr

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...................All of the above can be had for $5K or less here and I'm sure in the US also, look for quality, but just avoid going fancy. It's like a lot of things, people will pay for a look rather than a spec.
I must be the only one that looks at specs of an lathe.:(
I will say, looks is just as important, too. I came very close to buying a Smithy Granite 1324 lathe back when they came out nearly 20 years ago. The one thing that stopped me was the small hole in the spindle. If you can't get a 5C collet setup in the spindle, what good is it to buy in my opinion? It would have been very easy to design the Smithy with 5C collet ability, rather it would be integral to the spindle or a 5MT adapter used. I'm not a big fan of the 5C collet chuck that mounts on the spindle be used on the Smithy, you loose distance between centers and support to the work that your working.
Ok, I'll quit ranting now.
 

Cadillac STS

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220VAC single phase power, less then 1000 LB's,, spindle brake, micrometer carriage stop, on and on.

For a hobby specific machine why the 220 volt supply? Seems like an integrated 2-3 HP D/C motor like a treadmill motor and controller would be best and on 120 volt. Also an integrated RPM/Surface speed meter for infinitely variable speed.
 

Cadillac STS

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Cadillac STS

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The price of the Wabeco is high for a hobby tool. But low for a high precision tool. They have about the same working window as the highly prized Monarch 10EE lathe. The Monarch 10EE is 10 times the cost of the Wabeco D6000E new and at least twice the price for a used one.
 

MSD0

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The price of the Wabeco is high for a hobby tool. But low for a high precision tool. They have about the same working window as the highly prized Monarch 10EE lathe. The Monarch 10EE is 10 times the cost of the Wabeco D6000E new and at least twice the price for a used one.
I was considering the Wabeco but ended up getting the PM1127 due to the difference in cost. I imagine the fit and finish of the Wabeco is a lot nicer, but I haven't had any problems with the PM.
 

bobshobby

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A true Hobbyist:),Cost before quality.
Unfortunately for most of us that is the way it has to be, yet I find many who can afford better, but still buy the cheapest they can find and complain about the faults.

I like to buy the best I can afford, leaving out the bells and whistles, like DRO, and CNC. I don't consider them hobby essentials, ok a DRO can be useful on a machine that is old and worn out, or even just badly calibrated, but CNC, are you a machinist or a programmer?
 

bobshobby

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I currently have an old Jet 9x20 that needs replacing. My problem is that I have very little room in my shop, so I am limited to a 9x, 10x, or maybe 11x24. 12x is just too large, as is x36.

The problem is that I can't find a quality full-featured lathe in that size range. The Chinese lathes I can find are generally in the $1,000 range for a 9x to the $1,600 range for an 11x. But these are not quality or full-featured lathes. Usually no VFD, usually a combo threading/turning lead screw, often no reverse power carriage feed, usually no power cross feed, usually limited thread pitches, usually no Cam Lock chuck, often too slow of a top speed (1,500 RPM or less), usually too fast of minimum turning feed rate, never a brake, ..., etc.

The closest thing I've found to approximately what I'm looking for is the Southbend 8K (8x18) (South Bend Lathe Co.) for about $3,000. But it is a step down in size from what I want, and I'd rather stay at 9x or go a step up.

The next closest thing I've found is the Precision Mathews PM1127VF-LB (PM1127VF Lathe). But it has some threading weirdnesses, is hard to get, and has a bit too large of a footprint for my space.

I want a new lathe, not a used lathe or old-style lathe. I'm willing to pay in the range of $3,500 for a 9x and $5,000 for an 11x, i.e., two to three times the price of standard Chinese lathes from Grizzly/Enco/Jet ...

Does no such thing exist, or have I just not found it? I find it hard to believe there is no market for such a machine.

Any pointers to a new, small, high-quality, full-featured lathe would be appreciated. Or even confirmation that none exist would help.

Thanks, Keith
They are out there but can be hard to find, many importers only bring in selected models but if you contact the makers in Taiwan you will find they do make them. You'll just have to import one direct, or find an importer who will get you one, that is what I had to do..
 

MSD0

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A true Hobbyist:),Cost before quality.
When the difference in price is $3K for the PM with every option (DRO, 5C collet chuck, stand, etc.) vs $10K for a similarly configured Wabeco, I can live with a machine that's a little rough around the edges. At the end of the day, I don't think you could tell the difference between a part made on the PM vs the Wabeco.
 

bobshobby

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When the difference in price is $3K for the PM with every option (DRO, 5C collet chuck, stand, etc.) vs $10K for a similarly configured Wabeco, I can live with a machine that's a little rough around the edges. At the end of the day, I don't think you could tell the difference between a part made on the PM vs the Wabeco.
That may be true, I'm fairly certain that the Pm for $3k would be made in china. The Pm machines made in Taiwan start at around $5k and are at least 2 to 3 times the quality of the chinese ones. The Wabeco is, I believe made in Germany, definitely chalk and cheese. I'm surprised the price difference isn't even bigger. The Wabeco would have to be 5 times better, at only 3.3 times the price, bargain. I would scrimp and save, beg even borrow if that was my choice. However at the end of the day, the choice is always personal, and each to their own.
 

BROCKWOOD

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I've heard it said the Asian machines should be considered a kit to modify & improve upon almost upon receiving it. But that is precisely what it took to get my foot in the door. Didn't hurt that much of my learning has been in making parts for my purchase. I'm just thankful that instead of settling for a bench top mill, I was able to get the combo. Lathe is so much more needed than I could have guessed. Since splitting out the power on the lathe & mill portions of the combo, I have auto feed on the mill! Yes, they are on separate dedicated breakers! Electrical safety is important too.
Get what you can afford & make it work! Would not be hear without the desire to make chips!
 

bobshobby

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I've heard it said the Asian machines should be considered a kit to modify & improve upon almost upon receiving it. But that is precisely what it took to get my foot in the door. Didn't hurt that much of my learning has been in making parts for my purchase. I'm just thankful that instead of settling for a bench top mill, I was able to get the combo. Lathe is so much more needed than I could have guessed. Since splitting out the power on the lathe & mill portions of the combo, I have auto feed on the mill! Yes, they are on separate dedicated breakers! Electrical safety is important too.
Get what you can afford & make it work! Would not be hear without the desire to make chips!
I like that "A kit to modify and improve". I don't have a problem with modifying and improving. I just would not be happy with having to strip down and rebuild a brand new machine because it was so badly built. Yes I know not all Asian machines are quite that bad, but far too many are. Having said that the Japanese, Korean (Sth) and Taiwanese machines are definatley worth looking at. Their build quality is usually quite good.
 

ben_r_

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Wow, long running thread here. I have kinda been stuck in this same boat trying to figure out what I wanted to go with for my first lathe. I've got size constraints in what I can fit in my shop and certainly cost constraints, and what I'm thinking about using it for typically wouldn't be very large parts at all. Probably all well under 12" in length.

Started off thinking I wanted to go with a Sherline lathe, but that seemed like I'd outgrow it quickly being that Id like to work with stainless. Then I thought the LMS 3540 or Weiss WBL210V would be the best of the chinese offerings in my size/application. I guess the Precision Mathews PM-1022V or PM-1127VF and the South Bend SB1001 would be somewhere after that. Then I found Wabeco (specifically the D4000E) and so far those seem to be unrivaled in terms of build quality and not being made in china, but they are sooo much more than I was hoping to spend. It doesn't look like anyone in the US sells the D2000 or D2400 Wabeco and I'm not even sure those do enough/have enough features.

So I've sat here stuck in between the <$1000 - <$6000 gap that seems to exist if you don't want to go with Grizzly/Jet/Weiss/LMS or any of the other chinese rebranded options. Tough market.
 
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wrmiller

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I owned the SB1001 lathe and the stupidest thing I ever did was sell it to a friend in need of a lathe. Been trying to buy it back ever since, but he isn't cooperating. :(

I own a larger lathe now, but that little SB was very accurate and rigid for it's size. Great for making small parts, which I do quite often.
 

cjtoombs

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I owned the SB1001 lathe and the stupidest thing I ever did was sell it to a friend in need of a lathe. Been trying to buy it back ever since, but he isn't cooperating. :(

I own a larger lathe now, but that little SB was very accurate and rigid for it's size. Great for making small parts, which I do quite often.
I think the SB1001 illustrates the answer to this thread quite well. I looked at it and thought that it was a very nicely made little lathe with a lot of details that you don't get on a typical Chinese lathe of that size, like good finish and nice handles. I expected that given that attention to detail it would make a very nice hobby lathe. But it was priced way higher than the similar sized competition and didn't have a QCGB (although in that size range, the QCGB on it's competitors wasn't much). And it didn't last long. It seemed like it was on the clearance block not much more than a year after it's introduction and has now been completely discontinued. I expect that most people just getting into this hobby think, hey the swing and between centers specs are the same, why pay more? I think it takes years of experience and exposure to higher quality tools before people will realize that the higher quality tool would have served them better. By then, they are already getting by on the cheap one, and there isn't one available anyway for that very reason. Hope you find another SB1001.
 

wrmiller

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The same folks that judge everything by swing and between centers would have missed the extra mass in the carriage and the very wide bed. Like I said, very rigid. And very accurate. Made for very good finish cuts in pretty much any material I worked with.

Many people will sometimes chase the lowest price point, sometimes stupidly so. I have had the conversation with my son about why I spend $3k on a computer when he can spend $800. A few years later he is looking for another. Mine are typically good for 6-10 years, depending on what major changes occur during that time frame.

I've had folks tell me I was stupid (in so many words) for spending the money on a Taiwan 1340 lathe. Several have come back asking for recommendations for a new lathe after realizing the one they bought won't live up to their expectations.

Such is life. ;)