mini lathe suggestions

Discussion in 'Reloading Forum (All Calibers)' started by master_photog, Jan 13, 2018.

  1. PatMiles

    PatMiles Gold $$ Contributor

    Joined:
    Feb 29, 2016
    Messages:
    880
    Master-photog,
    I'm sure you realize that what any of the folks who have replied to your query, pro or con, should have no bearing on your decision regarding a mini-lathe. If using one makes your life easier, go for it.
    As Eric Cortina explained in his YouTube video, your post #14, a mini lathe can make life easier and faster when it comes to case prep. In case you are wondering about Eric, he is a very well known and respected shooter and reloader, do a Google search for him.
    Every situation is different as yours is with hands that hurt afterwards. Given that, I would say go for it, just buy a quality machine. Cheap junk will just cause headaches down the road.
     
    earlcurtis67 likes this.
  2. master_photog

    master_photog

    Joined:
    May 8, 2013
    Messages:
    60
    I’m with you Pat, the decision will ultimately be mine and the reason for the post was to try and acquire a general consensus on whether it’s worth it or not.

    Posting this to experienced individuals in seeking advice has proven to work previously. I’m certain that the feedback I get on this endeavor will also be useful in my decision.



     
  3. Twoboxer

    Twoboxer Silver $$ Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2014
    Messages:
    360
    Case prep centers are great (at least for me, I use one), but they are single-use tools . . . only good for case prep.

    Watching the videos of the mini-lathe doing the same work, it seems there's a longer setup time with SOME reduction of hand use during SOME operations.

    I keep wanting a mini-lathe . . . right up to the point where I am honest and remind myself that I will not learn how to do that "other work" a min-lathe is good at :)

    Moving on now to 3D printers . . .
     
  4. SDWhirlwind

    SDWhirlwind Gold $$ Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2006
    Messages:
    501
    I had a brain storm about 10yrs back that I needed a smaller lathe for 'all the 'little' things!!!!! So the Cummins tool truck came around and I got a good deal I thought on their 7x12 or 14, whichever it was. I was surprised at how quiet and smooth the motor was. Rest of it was kinda crappy and cheezy I thought. Tool post had 4 positions but you needed to shim up/raise 1/4" etc HSS bits. I honestly don't know if it was designed for 1/2" or what? Never used it a lot for cutting. Everything else was plastic or crude, such as threading gears, carriage crank. Metal on carriage rack(can't remember proper term) tail stock and bed very porus. Took carriage completely off and used some lapping compound on bed which did help travel a bit. Worked ok for aluminum, brass, delrin and under 1" steel.

    Was real nice for holding primer pocket tools, flash hole deburring tool and regular deburring tool for neck but you had to run all for inside then reverse deburring tool and run all outside. Run it fairly slow and you could set there and do 1K cases in pretty good time despite handling them twice like deburring after trimming. So usefull but I didn't have bench space so had to dig it out from underneath bench whenever I needed it. It weighed about 50lbs IIRC. For the $350 cash I pd for it was a lot of money just setting around. Finally sold it 2yrs ago for $50 more than I pd for it due to inflation and such.lol

    The Cummins is same except for color and price of others such as Grizzly, Shop Mate?, Harbor Freight, Enco and several more. Same machine just different color and maybe an extra piece of something. I had a real nice Craftsman 6x18 which was much more refined with everything built nicer and operating easier. Sadly I sold it when I had to quit work and at the time had no place to set it up and use it. If I had to buy another small lathe I would either find another like it or spend the extra money and search for a good used Emco Compact 5 or similar or Parazzi, something NOT chicom made. The Cummins, Grizzly cheapy ones are made just so they can be called a "lathe" and that is about it!!! Kinda expensive for a motor to turn something around. At least my 2 cents worth. Like other things my 2 happiest days was the day I bought it and the day I sold it for a profit if I don't figure in interest on my investment.lol
     
  5. Lapua40X

    Lapua40X California Hunter Education Instructor Silver $$ Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2012
    Messages:
    1,809
    Whatever you select, if it won't cut threads you don't want it; IMO.
    Just my two cents.
     
    JSH, chop house and earlcurtis67 like this.
  6. Bamban

    Bamban Silver $$ Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2010
    Messages:
    293
    Another good use for a mini lathe. Using a 21st Century Neck Turner clamped in the 3 jaw chuck, makes neck turning a little quicker. I am running a Melonited turning mandrel. I can literally run without lube if I wanted to. Keep the RPM down and don't dwell in the cutter too long ia the key.

    The flash hole de-burring tool spinning in the 3J works real well too.

    Watch "Driving the neck turner" on YouTube
     
    USMCDOC likes this.
  7. Intheshop

    Intheshop Silver $$ Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2016
    Messages:
    580
    We aren't hurting for lathes/equipment here so,it's interesting that when reading your OP.....I went "shopping" for bench lathes.Buying equipment gets considerably easier,the more you do it....doh.High on my list is what it will sell for if it needs to go,or if a profit can be realized (not "flipping").

    There's some nice pcs out there.I'd prolly get one with it's own "bench".Taking up existing space on a bench simply invites junk around and on the lathe.I'd go a touch bigger than true bench lathes....but not by much.And positively,it needs to handle threading as posted above.Look for used "gateway" lathes.These are just a little small for barrel work,and other chores.Guys find them cheap/used,then realize they "ain't" big enough and pass them on.Then buy something,barely big enough to do the job?

    I'd jump in the truck today and think nothing of driving 8-10 hrs one way to pick up a pce of iron.Good luck with your project.
     
  8. Bamban

    Bamban Silver $$ Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2010
    Messages:
    293
    If you can find an 80s vintage Jet belt drive 10x24 in fairly good shape, it would be about the best compromise for a small lathe. The bore is big enough to chamber contoued AR barrels through the headstock, between 2 spiders. I get the blanks from Shilen at 1.03x. The 1024 is dedicated for 223 chambering, I have the compound set all the time for taper boring 223 chamber, and so not to disturb the compound angle, I just thread with the cross slide. The little guy handles threading with cross slide with no drama.

    And you can still use it for brass work using a 4J or 3J chuck.


    Here is how these little jewels look, never mind the add ons, they are just convenience items.

    Resized_20180116_070008.jpeg


    Between spiders is very short.

    Resized_20180116_070630.jpeg
     
    USMCDOC and Intheshop like this.
  9. Intheshop

    Intheshop Silver $$ Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2016
    Messages:
    580
    I've got a 6x18 Atlas,sq way lathe bed that was bought for the price of a case of beer.Sold the parts off that I didn't need,got my beer money back......

    It's now used as a hillbilly " bench center" fixture for several things.Stand alone or throw it up on the mill.It's one of our nicest fixturing pcs.
     
    Bamban likes this.
  10. USMCDOC

    USMCDOC Silver $$ Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2016
    Messages:
    1,619
    20180115_121651[1].jpg
    I am using this one right now..
     
    rangertim and Bamban like this.
  11. danny

    danny

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2016
    Messages:
    482
    I use my Harbor Freight Mini Lathe for case prep., but do not like doing so. I am doing it out of necessity because my cordless screwdriver batteries started dying and are hard to find and expensive, and I am too cheap to buy the Hornady case prep tool right now when I have the lathe. The lathe is much slower because, as it is a DC Variable drive, to start it, you must make sure that the speed control is down at zero, then you flip the on switch to on, then you set your speed. To turn it off, you lower the speed control to zero, then shut the power off. With the cordless screwdrivers or case prep tools, you just flick a switch or press a trigger.

    Danny
     
  12. Steve Ladino

    Steve Ladino Silver $$ Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2013
    Messages:
    745
    I believe Hornady and RCBS and maybe Lyman make a decent case prep machine that does what you need done. Although it might be fun to make case chucking tooling for a mini.
     
  13. akajun

    akajun

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2013
    Messages:
    437
    After watching that Eric cortina video, nothing he did required a lathe, he was just using it as power unit for hand tooling. Nothing he was using required the accuracy in the bearings of an engine lathe. Also there where a few things he did that were flatly unsafe and even a tiny lathe like that can take off a finger .
    To be honest he could have done everything faster by using a drill press and a Forster case holder and that is something most people have.

    If you gotta spend money , then buy a giraud trimmer and a case prep center.
    FWIW I have a full machine shop, I’d still do all that by hand or on a drill press.
     
    damoncali, milanuk and danny like this.
  14. milanuk

    milanuk Team Savage Gold $$ Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2004
    Messages:
    2,873
    Funny you should mention that...

    Someone told me about that setup years ago. Got most of the parts, including the volley base with the locator rod. Kinda talked myself out of it after seeing how coarse the adjustments were on the Forster neck turner compared to say, my K&M. It'd probably work just fine with my K&M, but I'd need a custom mandrel with a long tail shank to grip in the chuck.

    More recently (last week?) someone sent me a pic where they'd taken a 21st Century case lathe and turned it 90 degrees on end and mounted it to the drill press table, using the chuck to drive it and the quill to run it in and out. Seemed like a pretty awesome idea!
     
  15. Bamban

    Bamban Silver $$ Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2010
    Messages:
    293
    DT
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2018
  16. master_photog

    master_photog

    Joined:
    May 8, 2013
    Messages:
    60
    This is what I've come across so far at a local surplus store. Would any of these be potential candidates for - flash hole uniforming, primer pocket cleaning, in/outside neck deburring? Or, would these be more trouble than they are worth in trying to find attachment and mounting options to work with these lathes?

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  17. USMCDOC

    USMCDOC Silver $$ Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2016
    Messages:
    1,619
    Of the the ones you have posted.. i would get this one, the others are primarily wood lathes
     
  18. damoncali

    damoncali Gold $$ Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2011
    Messages:
    2,108
    Grizzly also makes a tiny 4x8 lathe that might do the trick. I have that Grizzly 7x12. It’s a tough but capable machine and it’s one of dozens on the market just like it. You can turn 1” 416 stainless on it. Plenty of power for case operations. Heck, you could make cases with it if you know what you’re doing (something I dont recommend unless you are *sure* you know precisely what you’re doing).

    Edit: it’s actually a 4x6. Might be too short for some case operations. But it’s small and cheap. http://www.grizzly.com/products/4-x...BwE&utm_campaign=zPage&utm_source=grizzly.com
     
  19. JRS

    JRS Gold $$ Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2008
    Messages:
    6,636
    Benchrite Case Prep Lathe.
     
  20. Lapua40X

    Lapua40X California Hunter Education Instructor Silver $$ Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2012
    Messages:
    1,809
     

Share This Page