Beginner lathe?

Discussion in 'Gun Project Questions & Gunsmithing' started by mram10, Oct 1, 2017.

  1. mram10

    mram10 Silver $$ Contributor

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    Looking to get a cheap new 12 36 lathe. Want to spend less than $4k. I know it makes some grit their teeth but it is for hobbies and a couple rifle builds. Located in sw Idaho. Thanks
     
  2. Someoldguy

    Someoldguy

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    You're gonna get 10 guys who want to 'throw you under the bus' for every guy who says 'have fun'. I'm in the 'have fun' camp.

    Have you already found one, or are you still looking?
     
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  3. carlsbad

    carlsbad Details matter. Silver $$ Contributor

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    I learned on a chinese lathe. You'll experience a lot of problems and solving them will make you understand the principles behind the tool and make you a better machinist. You'll probably end up taking most of it apart, cleaning it, and replacing a lot of fasteners with higher quality threads. If you're the kind of guy that solves you own problems, and you're not in a hurry, you'll be proud of what you accomplish. If you're the kind of guy who spends hours on the phone telling the manufacturer that his equipment isn't working for you, then save yourself the headache.

    If you can get the gibs seated right (I didn't say "adjusted" right), then the lathe will likely serve you well. Most chinese lathes are limited in rigidity by their too tall/too narrow compound slide so don't expect to be peeling off .125" indigo blue ribbons. You'll be making more passes.

    One bit of advice is get one with a slow speed for threading while you're learning. 60 is better than 80. sharp HSS generally works better for slow speeds than carbide.

    --Jerry
     
  4. msinc

    msinc

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    I am another one that says "have fun"!!!! I will go one step further and say, whoever don't like it needs to go home and look at their own lathe. Grizzly, Enco, Jet are all in the price range and contrary to the "infinite wisdom" of some will work just fine with a little TLC. You could probably scare up an old Southbend with all the attachments for that amount too.
     
  5. TRA

    TRA Silver $$ Contributor

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    If I were you, I'd go to Grizzly and choose a "TAIWAN" made lathe. Believe it or not China and Taiwan are not in the same league when it comes to machinery. Grizzly states the country of origin for most all of their machinery. Unless you can locate an antique South Bend that's all the rage, you will find what will suit you very well from Grizzley. For your, needs I would not waste my time looking for a worn out antique.

    BTW, Buy the book. It will be the best 15.00 you will ever spend on your lathe.

    And of course, have fun......even if it is a waste of good shootin cash.
     
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  6. mram10

    mram10 Silver $$ Contributor

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    Thanks for the input guys. I appreciate it. I am in it for fun and learning. Maybe upgrade down the road. I am leaning toward a grizzly 12-36 type. Where is the best place to get one?
     
  7. Toolbreaker

    Toolbreaker Gold $$ Contributor

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    When you decide on a lathe and narrow down the retailers that sell the lathe you're interested in, get hold of each retailer and find out which freight companies that they recommend/use for shipping, and the cost of the freight. Ask them about how they handle damage claims caused from transit. The cost & service provided by one shipper may offset a slightly higher retailer price, and you definitely want to make sure that your lathe makes it to you in one piece.
     
  8. mram10

    mram10 Silver $$ Contributor

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    Good advice. Looking at jet 1340 or grizzly 4003g or 750g.
     
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  9. DaveTooley

    DaveTooley Silver $$ Contributor

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    Do have fun. The money, if that's what you're looking for, will be a long ways down the road. After 35 years I'm still having fun. Just leveled and wired up the machines in the new shop yesterday. The money's not bad now but I enjoy the work and more importantly providing a service for my customers.

    Don't rule out used lathes. Probably not many near you but take some time to look around. It's part of the education process.
     
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  10. TRA

    TRA Silver $$ Contributor

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    If you get down to the shipping, of course get their quote, and Go online with FreightCenter and FreightQuote. use one that qffers about 1-2 dozen choices. I f you need tailgate service, be sure to tell them and be prepared to pay a bit extra.

    If you are adventurous there's always Uship?
     
  11. Papa Charlie

    Papa Charlie

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    Jet and Grizzly both make good lathes. As stated earlier, you will have to play with them a bit and get them adjusted correctly. This takes a little time and patience. But I have found that most equipment does, especially when it has been shipped and relocated.
    One thing to keep in mind is that the lathe is the first expense. You will also need attachments.
    Be sure that you purchase a lathe that has the correct voltage and phase for your shop. I have had friends that purchased great lathes at auction, only to realized after they were home they were 3 phase units and required a phase inverter.
    By the way, another source for lathes is auctions, if you have the time to look. They are also a lot of fun. http://murphyauction.com you can sign up for their emails for free, some auctions are online and others you have to be there. They conduct liquidation sales everywhere including Washington, Idaho and Oregon. You may be able to get a nicer unit with accessories or pick up the accessories for what ever lathe you get through their auctions. There was huge machine shop that was liquidated earlier this year in Idaho. One of the auctions I attended here in the Puget Sound had a beautiful Jet that would have been perfect, if a little above the home shop level. Went for about 3/4 of your budget. I wish I had a place for it or I would have picked it up.
     
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  12. Ggmac

    Ggmac

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    I've got a couple of lathes and one I go to first is the grizzly 12x36 .
    It's accurate if set up correctly ( like any lathe ) parts are available , and has some good features .
     
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  13. Intheshop

    Intheshop

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    Random thoughts here....

    Buy used,sell used is a bonafied method for building a collection of equipment.Especially if you figure there's a larger,better pce in your future.Oh,you'll make a mistake here and there but,by and large,you get in and out with minimal loss of $$$.

    Start NOW,getting your ducks in a row WRT electricity,space,and all the little things that go along with bringing a pce into your shop.A horse stall mat to stand on for instance.How to deal with stock inventory.Safety items.What are you gonna tell the wife? when tracking razor sharp chips stuck to your shoes across "her" kitchen floor.

    New,"may" = a kit.As posted above,price point new lathes have pretty cheesy nut/bolt items.

    Network;find folks that have a pce(lathe,mill,whatever) and politely ask if they could help or show you around their equipment.

    Start thinking about rigging.Lathes in the class you're referring to are NOTORIOUSLY top heavy.Learn to assess the rigging needs of not only the pce,but future use of these items.1/2 dz 1 1/2" pipe rollers can move almost anything but,you may have other methods more accessible?Straps,chain falls,tow motors,etc.A rollback car hauler can take a pce and put it into a garage very effectively.It's not a race,slow and steady with a few friends (save the pizza and beer till after the work is done) watching for safety.

    Have fun.And pay no attention to folks yapping about "heck,I got a 15x50 XYZ machine for 500$"......it's a location and networking thing.We're in a dry area here in the Va mnts.....but within a 3-4 hr drive can find pretty much anything.
     
  14. Wirelessguy2005

    Wirelessguy2005 Silver $$ Contributor

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    I highly recommend the Precision Matthew's machines, the quality is good and the warranty/service is excellent. Here is the machine I am currently using:
    http://www.precisionmatthews.com/shop/pm-1340gt/
    It's a little more money than your target price but its made in Taiwan and you will most likely never outgrow this machine, buy once cry once is how I look at it.
     
  15. Daveinjax

    Daveinjax Silver $$ Contributor

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    There's a bunch of lathes and mills being auctioned off in California all the time. Not too far maybe. Bidspotter.com.
     
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  16. savagedasher

    savagedasher Gold $$ Contributor

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    Good lathe and it is already set up for doing gun smith work . Larry
     
  17. paperpuncher

    paperpuncher Silver $$ Contributor

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  18. Papa Charlie

    Papa Charlie

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  19. Shawnba67

    Shawnba67 Silver $$ Contributor

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    I bought a used Sheldon for 1k i probly have 3k in tooling at this point that will be a huge portion of your semi initial expense. For gunsmithing make sure the headstock is big enough to fit a barrel through.
     
  20. mram10

    mram10 Silver $$ Contributor

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    Thanks guys. No time to reply to all, but thanks. I actually called about the Seattle lathe. Scratch and dent, but guy doesn't ship. I'll keep looking at the avenues you've listed. Keep the advice coming.
     

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