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Yes, again...PM1440GS, PM1440BV, or 1340GT

Discussion in 'PRECISION-MATTHEWS' started by Hozzie, Jul 3, 2017.

  1. Hozzie

    Hozzie France H-M Supporter - Premium Content H-M Supporter-Premium

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    Sorry in advance for the novel. Just when I think I have my mind made up I start to over-analyze again. Seems to be a recurring theme around here :)

    I have read every thread many times between the different 1440's, China vs. Taiwan, 1340 vs .... and fully understand that Taiwan is better quality. That being said, I prefer an enclosed gear box and as a recent newbie to all of this, I believe a foot brake is almost mandatory (maybe I am overthinking that part, but it seems like a really good idea).

    The 1440GT is more than I want to spend so it isn't a considertaion. I have done the calculations a 100 times and just can't justify 10k for what I do, which is my personal gunsmithing on rimfires.

    I know the fit and finish of the Chinese lathes is much less, but I also believe they will easily do what I need them to plus much more. I do like quality and am confident I would like the 1340 the best from a build perspective (it's obvious to anyone who reads these threads), but I am hung up on not having a foot brake and somewhat the enclosed gear box, not to mention another $1400 that could go to tooling.

    There are pro's and cons for each of the other 1440's. Very similar specs overall, with a few significant ones which unfortunately don't make it easy for me to decide. The 1440's are almost exactly the same price (within $100) with DRO's, 3 Jaw Chuck, and 4 Jaw Chuck. The 1340GT is $1400 more than the other two similarly equipped.

    So my question is what would those of you that have more experience than me put the most value in for what I will be using it for.

    The 1340GT is clearly the highest quality, but lacking at least one feature I think I need. I would do 3 phase with a VFD with a POT and braking addition.

    Both 1440's show to have hardened gears, shafts, and ways. Both come with QCTP (even if it isn't great). Both have D1-5 Camlock. Both have a 2" bore which is nice, and both have cast iron base's.

    This lathe will probably get used a few times a month, not much more (at least to start). That keeps me going back to "Chinese will do everything I need it to". I want to be practical (read value) without being cheap. I am not taking on outside jobs so this isn't going to turn into a business but I do want to do quality work.

    At this point, I am leaning towards one of the 1440's simply due to the fact I think it is the best value for my intended use. As I see it.

    1440GS Pro's and cons
    Better (less change gears) gear box
    3HP motor, but only single phase (con on the single phase part)
    NSK Spindle Bearings (doesn't say on the BV, will ask Matt)
    Only 8 Speeds, some seem a bit far apart. Lowest 60 RPM
    Has a Spider (but I can easily build one for the BV)

    BV Pro's and cons
    Variable Speed with Built in VFD
    Only 2 HP
    Lowest RPM is 40
    More Change Gears

    So, am I going to be kicking myself if I don't go with the 1340? If not, which 1440 would you choose. I guess it comes down to Variable Speed vs. less change gears. Sometimes I wish I had less options. I even go back to thinking I should just get a 1236.

    I don't need a long response as I know most of this has been covered before, but if you could simply say which machine you think would be best for my intended purpose, that would be helpful.

    Thanks.
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2017
  2. mksj

    mksj Active User H-M Supporter-Premium

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    Hi Hozzie,

    Well, I think you can't go wrong with any of the choices, and I think many of us have gone through the same gyrations in out previous lathe purchases, which includes blowing out the "budget" by quite a bit. I originally was considering a smaller lathe, 1128, 1236, etc. but at the end of the day ended up with the 1340GT. I am glad I made that choice, and although sometimes I thought of something heavier/bigger, it would make no difference in the capabilities of the lathe. I went through many of the same considerations about an open gearbox, no brake, etc. that you mention about the 1340GT, at the end of the day it is not a deal breaker. The advantage of the Norton gearbox, is no change gears other than to cut metric threads, and the ability to cut just about every American thread (maybe with the exception of a few oddballs like an 11.5). Many of us put a small drip pan under the gearbox to collect the droppings, and I use a hand pump oiler to lubricate it. Noise wise I do not seem to notice, and as far as durability, they have been using the same type of gearbox on lathes for many decades which is a testament to their durability. If I did get a bigger machine down the road, I would look toward a universal type of gearbox without change gears, I believe the 1440GS gets closer to this.

    On the issue of the foot brake, I thought I really needed one, but with a VFD system, the chuck stops in about 1 second if needed. In many factory VFD lathes, the foot brake activates a limit switch which electronically brakes the lathe. Ask most people how often they use the foot brake, almost never. Now there are a few times like manually tapping a piece in the chuck, where it would be nice to have a manual foot brake to lock the chuck, but not very often. As far as emergency stop, you can connect the VFD inputs to the E-Stop to brake the lathe quickly and shut down the machine.

    They are all good choices, I have a strong preference to 3 phase VFD drives in lathes, mostly because of the flexibility of speed control, braking and few other creative features that can be built into the control system. Also from a surface finish standpoint of view (and motor longevity), 3 phase is a better route to go. As far as speed ranges, with a VFD you can always dial in the sweet spot on the fly which is a very nice feature. I often find with boring and using large drills that there is a narrow speed range that you get very nice cutting without chatter. On the speeds, to be honest I never run the lathe under 120 RPM, on threading I usually run at 250 RPM but I am using an electronic stop. When I was doing it manually I still was running at the 80-120 RPM range and I Was a neophyte at all this (still am).

    Between the 1440's that is a tough call, if I only had a choice between those two machines, I would probably go for the 1440GS. But, I would replace the motor with a 3 phase unit and add a VFD. Too bad it is not available in a 3 phase model. Please note that a 2 Hp motor is more than adequate for the type of work most hobbyist do, and a VFD can boost the motors performance (by up to 180% for short periods) so it is really not a con for the BV. I originally ran the stock 3 phase motor on my 1340GT with a VFD, it would hold its speed within 5 RPM regardless of load. I currently use an inverter 2 Hp motor, and it holds the spindle speed within 1 RPM. You will not be limited by the motor.

    All the lathes mentioned will do very fine work, and it more a limitation of the operator as opposed to the machine. The 1340GT is more like a Swiss watch as opposed to say the 1440GS/BV is more like a Timex (no offense, my wife wears one of these). The 1340GT has very light controls and operation, everything is very smooth and actually a bit tight at first. I would say it comes down to a matter of preference and machine style, you will most likely not be able to exceed the limitations of any of these machines. Other factors to consider is the total package, and what else you will be getting. When it comes to chucks, I think it is a good place to get a higher quality chuck, this may be another negative factor for the Chinese manufactured machines where you may be getting a lesser quality chuck in the package. So look for a Taiwanese (Chandox or similar), UK (PBA) or Poland (Bison) Chuck. QMT carries some of these, the Taiwanese chucks are impressive and save some $$.

    So this may help, or make your choices a bit more difficult. Whatever you decide, they are all great lathes and post sales support/warranty should be a factor when comparing different vendors.
    Mark
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2017
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  3. richl

    richl United States Active User Active Member

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    Basically you have listed everything. You can't go wrong with any of the above mentioned machines, even the 12x36 has some strong points going for it.
    The 1440gs can be converted to 3 phase and vfd, but that will add another 1k abouts...

    I'm waiting on the 1440gs, I have an older 1340 enco machine circa 2001, it's one of my project machines... it had a bit of a rough life...

    Best of luck to you.
    Rich
     
  4. Hozzie

    Hozzie France H-M Supporter - Premium Content H-M Supporter-Premium

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    Thanks Mark and Rich.

    It does help some. I think I agree that less change gears is better, so that takes out the BV. I realize I can do braking via the VFD on the 1340, but I am more thinking that if something goes boom, it is probably a lot easier to hit a foot brake than emergency stop nearer the spindle, especially if things are still spinning. I guess that mostly comes from not having a lot of time on a lathe, but that is a concern.

    I was planning to get the Taiwan 4 jaw with the GS so it would only be the 3 jaw that is not as good. By the time I would do a VFD and new motor, I am probably within $600-700 of the 1340 and it has a better 3 jaw.

    Well, at least I am narrowed down to 2 now. It's a start..ha.
     
  5. jer

    jer Active Member Active Member

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    When I started my "which 14x40 lathe" thread a few months back I settled on the GS, but Mark and Jay helped me blow my budget out of the water, but I decided on the GT. It has been quite a ride deciding on which machine, then outfitting it, then doing the VFD conversion, which is nearly done. If the GT isn't a consideration I would get the GS and be very happy, and as Mark said you can go 3Ø any time in the future.
     
  6. wrmiller

    wrmiller Chief Tinkerer H-M Supporter-Premium

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    If something goes 'boom', by the time you realize what is going on, and allow for your reaction time, that foot brake isn't going to help a bit with regard to saving a part or cutter.

    And, if you go with a electronic stop (I just finished installing Mark's super-duper control system on my 1340GT), it will stop the chuck in one second. Just a FYI, but a foot brake does NOT stop the chuck instantaneously. Under 1 second? Yes. Quick enough to save your piece or cutter? No.

    A foot brake isn't 'better' per se, it's just all they had Back in the Day. ;)
     
  7. Bob Korves

    Bob Korves H-M Supporter - Premium Content H-M Supporter-Premium

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    It sounds like you plan to work on light rimfire arms. I do not see a need for a 1440 lathe for those arms. I have a Kent KLS-1340a lathe, same as a Grizzly G9036 (and others.) I paid $3K for it with obviously no more than a few minutes of run time, essentially unused. It needed cleaning up, it had sat around for about 5 years, but has been just fine for me. It has the D1-4 spindle, which would do about anything you might want to do on light arms, and the tooling to fit it is a lot cheaper and also more available. It has a great foot brake, stops the spindle nearly instantly, 2 HP, coolant, etc. Beware the 1% solution, where you spend a LOT more to be able to accommodate that once a year or less special job or chore. Tool up for what you will be doing most of the time, the 90+% solution, and run with it.
     
  8. jbolt

    jbolt United States Active User H-M Supporter-Premium

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    I have the PM-1440GT. Had the PM-1440GS been available at the time I would have seriously considered this lathe. The cost jump from the GS to the GT is significant. I have no regrets at all with the GT as it is a fine lathe and fits most of my my needs. I do more than just gun work so a 1440 size machine was the minimum I was considering.

    Gunsmithing isn't terribly demanding work so any of the choices you listed would be fine. A lot of fine rifles have been built on 12" and smaller lathes. I think the 1440GS has a lot going for it. 3hp motor, minimal change gears, D1-5 spindle nose, 2" bore, Cast iron base, BXA QCTP, foot brake, pull out chip pan, spider, coolant system etc.

    When I was looking to replace my old lathe I had dwindled down to two choices, Griz G0709 (very similar to the PM-1440GS), PM-1440GT. The PM-1340GT was not on my list because I wanted the D1-5 spindle mount, 2" spindle bore, foot brake, pull out chip pan and coolant system. I think the D1-5 is a big improvement over the D1-4 I had on my last lathe. The 2" spindle bore also broadens the work envelope of the the machine. The pull out chip pan is so much nicer to clean up than just a chip tray. I would guess a lot of hobbyist don't use the coolant system just due to the mess factor. I didn't use mine for almost a year but once I set it up I find I use it a lot now.

    I have converted my 1440GT to a 3 hp 3 phase motor and VFD. I like the VFD for the soft start, variable speed and the FWD/REV jog. I only use the electronic braking for speeds up to 1000 rpm's when running an 8" or bigger chuck. Above that speed I have had faults on the VFD where it kicks out and the spindle freewheels. When that happens you are just along for the ride. I'm a proponent of foot brakes but I cut my teeth on lathes with foot brakes so I'm accustom to using them. You never can have too many safety options.
     
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  9. mksj

    mksj Active User H-M Supporter-Premium

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    Jbolt brings up an important point that VFDs will trip to freewheel with a large chuck at high speeds, and anything electrical is not fool proof. I use my 8" chuck under 1000 RPM, beyond that I go to my 6" or a collet chuck, so less momentum. On Bill's 1340GT he runs an 8" all the time, so he has an additional braking setting that sets the system braking to 3 seconds for high speed work. At lower speeds another setting which either gives him 1 second and or another setting which is 3 seconds but switches to 1 second for the E-Stop and proximity stop. So a system/VFD programming can be tailored to the individual needs. You need to test the braking from different speeds, and also take into account the mass of the material you are turning. A foot brake is great but you need to have used one and have that innate response to use it. If you read about most machine accidents, it is usually someone else that hits the E-Stop and shuts the machine down. Safety is always first, when one gets complacent is when you can get bit.

    Beside the machine, you need to set aside a healthy budget for the tooling. It is shocking how much everything adds up, but I try to buy once as opposed to buying poor quality that does not work well and than buying what I should have gotten in the first place.
     
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  10. MarkM

    MarkM Canada Active Member Active Member

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    It really is a hard choice choosing a lathe. I was ready to purchase the pm 1440gs but could only get one with a dro and didn't want to spend the money on the dro and didn't want to wait for another gs without the dro. It looks like a really nice machine as far as the stats go. It seems pm machines are a step above in quality and aftercare so it would be the only place I would consider to buy a Chinese machine.
    In the end I had to decide how much money I was going to spend. Way too much is my answer and it is so easy to do. I think all the machines will serve you well and you have to decide if your willing to give up a little quality for some money and longevity as well.
    I am in the middle of a purchase and getting my lathe shipped and I agree it is so hard to not go back and forth. The Pm 1236 does look like a great deal and I believe with the right tooling and three phase would be an awesome machine for the money.
    Good luck on your purchase.
     
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2017
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  11. Hozzie

    Hozzie France H-M Supporter - Premium Content H-M Supporter-Premium

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    Thanks everyone.

    As to the braking, it isn't really about saving a tool or piece I am working on, that can all be replaced. It is more about saving my delicate 290lb body from flying debris as quickly as possible in the easiest way possible (like when I hit the floor and can still hit the brake with my hand :) ) I need to ask Matt if the GS has actual brake pads similar to the Grizzly 709 which I like since it is a true mechanical stop.

    I believe I am going to go with the GS. I can always switch to 3 phase later and add a VFD. If I am thinking correctly, I would then have the ability to have VFD braking as well as the conventional brake as backup (if it does have pads). That would be the best of both worlds for me. In reality, the 1236 is probably big enough for anything I would ever do, but by the time I upgrade it, I am not that far from the 1440GS. I would just as soon have the extra weight and few other items like the built in spider. I will be get getting the Taiwanese 4 Jaw with it and I can get a better 3 jaw later.

    I know the 1340 is a better built machine, but I honestly don't think at my level of experience that the GS will hinder me in any way.
     
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2017
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  12. jbolt

    jbolt United States Active User H-M Supporter-Premium

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    I have my PM-1440GT setup to do both electronic and mechanical braking. It requires changing out the foot switch to a two pole NC/NO switch. When the foot brake is depressed one pole opens the run contractor and the other signals the VFD to freewheel.
     
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  13. jbolt

    jbolt United States Active User H-M Supporter-Premium

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    I also have mine setup for two speed braking. What I have found with my VFD setup is at high speed I have to set the VFD braking to 6 seconds or it will fault. I prefer that anyway since it is easier on the gears. Typically anything I do at or near the top speed of the machine is very small in diameter or is for polishing. It is the latter where I will stop the machine, switch to high gear and forget to switch the brake mode resulting in a fault when I turn off the spindle. My normal use of the foot brake at high speed is to tap the pedal to set the VFD to freewheel and then drag the brake to stop the machine. The VFD does essentially the same thing when set to the proper mode. There have been times when I have mistakenly grabbed the half nut lever instead of the feed lever where my brain locked up because the wrong thing was happening and I hesitated disengaging the half nut. Stomping the foot brake is a reflexive reaction for me since it was how I was taught and am accustom to using.
     
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  14. MarkM

    MarkM Canada Active Member Active Member

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    The Gs looks to be a very unique machine. It has it's own attributes and still interests me thinking I have moved on and went with something else. Looking forward to see what you think.
    For me a brake has to be one of those one hundred percent things that has to be there for sure and the factory brake pedal allows best access. Say your down the other end with the steady rest. More than likely if by chance it's you that needs it you know it's a mechanical setup and it will be there if you take care of your machine. Right now this is how I feel. As a go to item a brake setup can't be beat and even for production work it can work all day. I am trying to learn more about vfd's and maybe you it could be used with the pedal as well. If it fault's once that's enough reason for me. Vfd's do seem impressive though!
     
  15. Chipper5783

    Chipper5783 Active User H-M Supporter-Premium

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    Quality is never a bad thing (is the 1340 higher quality?). I am generally in the camp that says you should buy a machine that is a bit larger than what you think you'll need (given any physical constraints that are absolute show stoppers - such as power, physical space, access). For example, if you think a 10" lathe will do everything you could imagine, then get a 12" (so long as there are no show stoppers).

    However, if you come across a real high class machine comes along - give it some very serious thought, regardless of the size. If a nice condition, cheap: HVLH, HVLH clone, Chipmaster, anything S&B, . . . . and so on came my way, I'd be all over it. You can't hold your breath on that (I waited 10 years for my S&B) - but I already had a decent machine so the breath holding really wasn't very difficult. The point being, quality is always a good thing.

    Okay, you are not talking about anything real high class. You are looking at good practical machines, which is exactly what I did. My first lathe (see "decent machine") above is nothing very special, just a good practical machine, along similar lines to what you are looking at. My encouragement is that you avoid the lowest priced item available to you. If you go up one step, you will soon forget the pain of having picked up slightly less capacity per dollar invested. If you start with a bit nicer lathe and look after it, then it will always be a bit nicer lathe. Sure, over the years you may well acquire other machines, but a nice lathe will always be useful (yes, even if you have several others as well).

    Thank you for sharing the struggle of your decision. This is a fantastic activity to get involved in. Welcome, David Craig
     
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  16. MarkM

    MarkM Canada Active Member Active Member

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    When I was looking for a lathe that still isn't here yet and hope I don't have to go back to trying to choose. I started with a budget in my head and by the time I was ready I realized in ten years or so that difference in purchase price won't mean anything and I stopped comparing with the price being so important. Don't get me wrong I don't have money to burn but I would suggest it be more important to get what you want and be satisfied.
    Each machine has it's own features that make it have it's own character. The gs has a great thread and feed box which is unique to this one machine at this price point along with the other features like the 2 inch bore. You get a lot of lathe here.
    Many have been satisfied with there chucks after some tuning and it is a purchase that can be done down the rd. after you have had some time with the machine if you feel the need.
    Go back to what you want and what is acceptable as far as quality. The internet has too many opinions and I am one of those that can say it is only what I have read and Lord knows it's hard to decide without seeing it in person.
    A lot of pro gunsmiths seem to be using the Chinese machines. Not all day production and budget wise it seems to fit there needs.
     
  17. Hozzie

    Hozzie France H-M Supporter - Premium Content H-M Supporter-Premium

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    Well, the deed is done. A GS is bought and paid for. I will take some pics and video when I get it since there isn't a lot out there on it just yet. It will be a few weeks as Matt has to get them in and I will be out of town just after that. Nice to have something to look forward to.

    Thanks again everyone for the input.
     
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  18. MarkM

    MarkM Canada Active Member Active Member

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    Congratulation! I looked awful hard for some reviews and could only find it's clones like the Grizzly g0709 but and the gs I think is in another league with it's cast vs. steel stand, the 2 inch bore, a few other things however it is the only one mentioned with the NSK Japanese spindle bearings. Looking forward to your reviews. Nice looking too!
     
  19. Hozzie

    Hozzie France H-M Supporter - Premium Content H-M Supporter-Premium

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    Thanks Mark. Grizzly does state that their spindle bearing are NSK also in the specs so I did actually do a bit of comparison. I agree the cast stand, bore size, factory DRO installed (at least for me I didn't want to mess with it ), and probably most importantly the 3 year warranty made the difference for me. The Grizzly is about $500 cheaper, but I expect a bit better overall quality from Matt's machines. Time will tell.
     
  20. jer

    jer Active Member Active Member

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    Congrats. I'm glad you decided on the GS. It sounds like a great lathe. I just about ordered one too, before I went crazy, with some help form a few friends ready to help me blow my budget too. I really want to hear your impressions and a full review when you can. It sounds like a great machine.
     

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