1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. ATTENTION FORUM MEMBERS!

    Guest, if you have not yet updated your forum bookmark to a secure log in connection, please delete your unsecure book and add the following secure bookmark: https://www.aawforum.org/community/index.php

    You can dismiss this notice by clicking the X in the upper right of the notice box.

    Dismiss Notice

Metal Lathe help.

Discussion in 'Woodturning Discussion Forum' started by Glenn Lefley, Oct 11, 2020.

  1. Glenn Lefley

    Glenn Lefley

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2017
    Messages:
    483
    Location (City & State):
    Invermere, British Columbia
    I am looking for a metal lathe whereby I can do threaded items and other metal things for jigs etc I have dreamt up to use in conjunction with my wood lathe. Any one have input on a small or used type of lathe worth buying to do such things. It won’t be used all the time, but precision would be very important. All advice welcome. This is not a want ad , I’m looking for advice on a brand I might look at or features you may think I will need in a metal lathe.
     
  2. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2005
    Messages:
    11,245
    Location (City & State):
    Dalworthington Gardens, TX
    Home Page:
    I can't answer any of your questions, but I am interested in what people recommend.
     
  3. Dennis Weiner

    Dennis Weiner

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2012
    Messages:
    179
    Location (City & State):
    New City, NY
    You can begin getting information at littlemachineshop.com or if you want to go bigger then perhaps a company like Smithy.com
    Both companies provide support and guidance for beginners.
    I have not made the leap yet, but have been thinking about it for a while.
     
    Tom Albrecht likes this.
  4. Doug Rasmussen

    Doug Rasmussen

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2015
    Messages:
    365
    Location (City & State):
    Seattle, WA
    Looking back at my experiences in buying tools that I have little knowledge of or experience with I have a tendency to buy on price. When I learn more about the tools my purchases are based mostly on quality. I try to justify the initial based-on-price purchase mistakes as tuition, but I still regret the wasted money.

    From Glenn's post the use would be "threaded items and other metal things" where "precision would be very important". Take something as conceptually simple as a 1"-8 male spindle thread in steel. In the final passes of cutting that thread the cutting tool will be taking a cut with a 1/8" contact depth. Anything less than a rigid, substantial machine is not going to do it accurately without "catches" and chatter. And, it's even worse for a female thread of that size.

    IMO, the choices of what to buy comes down to a used lathe not made in the third world or a lathe along the lines of what Grizzly and others sell starting around $2500 USD. I'm not recommending Grizzly, it's just there aren't many other choices since basically all manual lathes are only being made in the third world now.
     
  5. Dean

    Dean

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2010
    Messages:
    77
    Location (City & State):
    Waco, TX
    If you look around you can find some older lathes for the money. I have a friend that has a very old southbend lathe with about a 7 inch swing he picked up for 400.00 with a ton of tooling. Other than that some of the grizzlies are made good enough to do what you want. This being said, a lot of large thread work is just what Doug said, heavy cuts but it can be done with a .001 pass at a time. Slow? Yes but it can be done. I have also found that a few grooves left on a thread can be quickly smoothed with some India stones. I make handle adapters, mill various bushings and little stuff on my friends lathe and it really does just fine.
    If I when wanting to buy more modern stuff I would look for a grizzly used.
    Currently I find the best solution is having a friend that has one, show up chat a bit drop off a 6 of adult beverages to his refrigerator and make what you need with the help of your friend. If there is a tooling item you need just buy it and leave him with it, he’ll appreciate it.
     
    odie likes this.
  6. odie

    odie

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2006
    Messages:
    5,348
    Location (City & State):
    Panning for Montana gold, with Betsy, the mule!
    I have seen some older quality metal lathes on Craigs List, from time to time.

    -----odie-----
     
  7. Perry Hilbert

    Perry Hilbert

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2017
    Messages:
    290
    Location (City & State):
    Windsor, Pennsylvania
    Dunlap/Rockwell once sold some "crossover lathes" that had a metal lathe tool holder and cross slide saddle to fit the wood lathe. . Although not as precise, a two way adjustable drill press vice can be mounted to a lathe bed for some really elementary machining. Hardly for threading though Smaller old Dunlaps and Craftsman lathes come up on CL and FB market place that can thread I got a two way drill press vice for some simple metal shaping, but found the small parts I want easier to do by using a file free hand with the stock mounted in the chuck of my drill press. the wood lathe is simply too high in rpms..
     
  8. Don Wattenhofer

    Don Wattenhofer

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2018
    Messages:
    629
    Location (City & State):
    Ponsford, MN
    I bought a well used US made Lablond Regal 13" lathe for about $2000.00 in 1995 from a machine rebuilder who did not think it was worth rebuilding. The lathe is not up to the precision standards of the of machinists but it is more than good enough for anything I want to do. The first thing I used it for was to make an adapter to accept the 1 1/4" - 8 thread on my wood turning chucks and then mounting a trim router on the cross slide.
    101_1340.JPG This photo shows the thread cutting being done on the lid for an urn similar to my avatar (note: The original photo showed a lot more however I had to crop it to make it small enough to load to the forum). On the left of the photo the adapter is barely visible and on the right is the angle plate that I used to mount the router to the cross slide. This lathe has settable thread pitch from 4 per inch up to the hundreds, however on wood 16 pitch is the maximum with 11 pitch used the most.
    In addition to the previously mentioned sources try online machinery auctions that often have lathes, however the price may get high.
     
  9. Glenn Lefley

    Glenn Lefley

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2017
    Messages:
    483
    Location (City & State):
    Invermere, British Columbia
    That would be the best answer. But I don’t even know anyone with a wood lathe in my area let alone a metal lathe. And if I showed up at the local machine shop it would take a lot more than 6 beers! But great idea. Maybe I need to ask on our local buy and swap or something. Might just make a new friend.
     
  10. Glenn Lefley

    Glenn Lefley

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2017
    Messages:
    483
    Location (City & State):
    Invermere, British Columbia
    I use an app called resize image it does not crop anything just somehow makes file smaller. You still have whole picture . 9FA8ED3C-6582-4CB3-B7BA-A872A9380C38.png
     
  11. Glenn Lefley

    Glenn Lefley

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2017
    Messages:
    483
    Location (City & State):
    Invermere, British Columbia
    I did not think of auctions. I live beside Calgary. 3 hour drive. Oil prices have died so there arc a lot of people outta work. Might be a good idea to find an equipment auction. I just don’t need another 2,000 lb piece of equipment in shop. Or do I?
     
  12. Don Wattenhofer

    Don Wattenhofer

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2018
    Messages:
    629
    Location (City & State):
    Ponsford, MN
    I have one of those Rockwell slides but I never use it for metal work but I have adapted routers to it for fluting etc. on the wood lathe.
     
  13. Karl Best

    Karl Best

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2020
    Messages:
    23
    Location (City & State):
    Boyertown, Pennsylvania
    +1 on LittleMachineShop.com. Before getting into wood turning a year ago I had a lathe and mill that I got from them. I was very impressed by the quality of the mill; the lathe was also good but I wasn't quite so impressed with the accuracy. These are made in the same Chinese factory as the Grizzly and Harbor Freight brands, but to better specs. Of course you can get better quality stuff by buying a full size, American made equipment from decades past, but they're not always easy to find and they're big, heavy, and difficult to move. The LMS stuff is meant for placement on the workbench. Just as in wood turning, there's a big difference in a 7" lathe and full size, but for building jigs for wood turning they may be big enough. And as with wood turning, buying the equipment is just the start -- you'll spend just as much again on the tooling.
     
  14. Dean Center

    Dean Center

    Joined:
    May 4, 2010
    Messages:
    1,025
    Location (City & State):
    Bozeman, MT
    The craigslist for Spokane, WA lists several lathes. One is up north of Coeur d'Alene, ID. Oops, just remembered the border is still closed. Surely, getting a metal lathe would be an 'essential' reason for crossing. Wenatchee, WA had a couple, too, one about half way between Wenatchee and Penticton.
     
  15. Joe Kaufman

    Joe Kaufman

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2009
    Messages:
    48
    Look at the features of a https://www.grizzly.com/products/South-Bend-Heavy-10-10-x-30-Gearhead-Lathe/SB1007. Used lathe equivalent would be a Enco Maximat V10 or Super 11. They are expensive for a reason, inherent accuracy and features costs $'s. There are "Tool Room Lathes" but they tend to be tool specialized and used are generally well worn. If you want accurate threading capability that would rule out lower cost used lathes that use the lead screw to power the carriage and cross slide. If you are satisfied with your wood lathe and tools think about what you have spent and multiply that by a factor of 4 for a metal lathe and some tooling. There was a Maximat Super 11 with cabinet and vertical milling head on Craigslist 3 years ago, locally, for 1,800$. The last new price for the Super 11 was >10K a few years ago. Super deals occasionally happen but you need to be ready.
     
    Bill Boehme likes this.
  16. Joe Breslawski

    Joe Breslawski

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2020
    Messages:
    3
    Location (City & State):
    Calgary
    Hi,
    I've owned about 14 different metal lathes over the years. The one that I have at this time is a South Bend 10" heavy. Don't be in a rush to by a lathe. Watch Kijiji they come up. Do you need just Imperial or both Metric and Imperial? If both you will need to get a modern lathe. I personally don't like the Chinese Stuff! Try and find the older American or British built tools. My garage has a Bridgeport Mill, South Bend Heavy 10 Lathe and Swedish Shaper at this time .

    Here is a sample of one that I would stay away from:
    https://www.kijiji.ca/v-tool-other/markham-york-region/southbend-26t-lathe-for-sale/1528722745
    Were made in Taiwan

    These are great and go for cheap - the Power is the Issue 3 Phase. My friend has one that he imported from the States put a Phase converter (Toshiba 3 phase converter) on the unit and loves it! So don't be afraid of importing an lathe from the States - we have used Yellow Freight and they are great and priced right!
    https://www.ebay.ca/itm/Hardinge-Pr...848091?hash=item3660b7205b:g:8ZwAAOSwZrBei0Tc

    Here is one that I would buy for about $2200- $2500 and pay the 500 bucks to get it shipped to BC:
    https://www.kijiji.ca/v-power-tool/city-of-toronto/metal-lathe-le-blonde/1527852420

    Cheers
    Joe B
    Calgary AB
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2020
  17. Don Wattenhofer

    Don Wattenhofer

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2018
    Messages:
    629
    Location (City & State):
    Ponsford, MN
    The 3 phase power requirement is only a minor problem, OK maybe $400.oo for a VFD similar to the ones that come on the newer wood turning lathes. The Lablond lathe and Bridgeport mill that I have both came with 3 phase motors and I equipped them and other pieces of machinery that I have with Variable Frequency Drives. The VFD has other advantages such as acceleration deceleration, variable speed and will operate from a 230 volt single phase line.
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2020
    Joe Breslawski likes this.
  18. RichColvin

    RichColvin

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2016
    Messages:
    435
    Location (City & State):
    Dublin, OH
    Home Page:
    I purchased a Grizzly G0765. It is a re-branded Sieg lathe made in China. That same company makes them for many companies, and there are a few sizes. This was a good decision at the time as I had to put it into my basement and it being bench-topped was key.

    The issues with the Sieg lathes are:
    1. The drive gears are plastic. You will eventually replace them as you will crash the machine one too many times and your gears will break apart. (I can send pics if you’d like)
    2. The transmission gears are plastic. You will eventually replace them as you will also break these apart. Little Machine Shop makes a nice set of replacement metal ones. (When you replace them, go ahead and replace the ball bearings with roller bearings.)
    3. You will get really good at tuning up your cross slide. It is nowhere near the quality of a Hardinge.
    But, it is a good price. So, if you don’t mind maintaining your machine, it works.

    Now that my shop is a separate building, if I had to do it again, I would go with a used floor-mounted model. Or, I’d go with a better quality bench-top lathe (e.g., something like Jet or LittleMachineShop’s HiTorque).

    I can also say that adding a metal lathe to your shop is a great idea if you can afford it. There are always items I find useful to make on it. That can be parts or part of my artwork.

    But one caution: Do consider the total cost. This includes the costs for
    • Tooling
    • Quick change tool post (to replace the tool post holder) and tool holders
    • Good 3-jaw chuck with self-centering jaws (like on a wood lathe)
    • Good 4-jaw chuck with independent jaws
    • Dial indicator and other measuring tools
    Kind regards,
    Rich
     
    Dennis Weiner likes this.
  19. Larry Copas

    Larry Copas

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2015
    Messages:
    78
    Location (City & State):
    Springdale, Arkansas
    Home Page:
    Probably the most popular small metal lathe ever made was the South Bend 9". They came in three styles but the best was the model "A" because it had a quick change gear box. They are easy to run, can do fairly precision work, and lots of parts on ebay. I think a quick change gear box is essential on any lathe.

    This is my South Bend that I restored. I have a three jaw, four jaw, and a collet chuck for it.

    SB model a.jpg

    Most often I find the spindle hole is the most limiting factor as its only 3/4". I also have a larger 12" Logan lathe for heavier work.
     
  20. john lucas

    john lucas AAW Forum Expert

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2004
    Messages:
    7,316
    Location (City & State):
    Cookeville TN USA
    Jet sells a good small metal.lathe. I had one of the mini chinese lathes. They arent very good although this wasnt one of the ones sold by littlemachineshop. I also own a Smith. I havent tried threading on it yet because you have to change all the gears in the back manually to do it. It alsondoesnt have a way to index the threads making it really difficult to cut a thread up to a shoulder. To do that you have to turn the cutter upside down and cut in reverse from the backside of the lathe.
     
  21. Mike Johnson

    Mike Johnson

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2016
    Messages:
    1,873
    Location (City & State):
    Nebraska
    Depending on the metal and diameter of turnings, the older heavy cast iron lathes were built like tanks and run forever. You will want a metal lathe with a quick change gearbox if you plan on threading a fair amount of the time. The lathes that use change gears will slow your progress if you plan on turning different threads. You can usually find an older South Bend or Logan lathe and replace a few items on them to get them back into running condition and good tolerance. Many of renewable parts are still available for these older machines and the bearings can be easily replaced if needed. There are plenty of videos on YouTube that show the process in working on these older machines. The newer small economy lathes in the market use plastic gears and the light weight machines do not handle turning hard steel or larger metal turnings very well. Craigslist is a good place to find a used metal lathe, look each day and call right away when you see the one you want, some people buy these machines quickly and tear them down, paint them, and replace the renewable parts and bearings and flip them for good money. Estate sales are another good place to find used machines, sometimes you can get lucky and get a package deal on the lathe & tooling. The tooling for a metal lathe is where the dollars add up quickly.
     
  22. Dean

    Dean

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2010
    Messages:
    77
    Location (City & State):
    Waco, TX
    Very nice lathe Larry, this is the same one my buddy has but yours looks a lot nicer. Nice restoration.
     
  23. Glenn Lefley

    Glenn Lefley

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2017
    Messages:
    483
    Location (City & State):
    Invermere, British Columbia
    Now that’s the lathe I’d like. Very nice!
     
  24. Tom De Winter

    Tom De Winter

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2020
    Messages:
    44
    Location (City & State):
    Quad Cities, IL
    I was in the hunt for a lathe a couple decades ago. Advice I got was to find American Iron and skip the imports. However used American made lathes can have ways worn badly enough to need resurfacing (scraping). It was beyond my expertise to quickly evaluate and to correct the problems if I found them after the purchase.

    I decided on a new Jet gear head, gap bed, model GBH-1340 and have been very happy with it. I'm a self-taught amateur machinist and have sometimes have been limited by my abilities but not the lathe capabilities. It's turned many parts for my camera repair and musical instrument repair businesses as well as hobby interests. Many of them very tiny by most standards.
    The addition of a 2 axis DRO a few years ago made it easier for me to hold tight tolerances.
     
    RichColvin likes this.
  25. john lucas

    john lucas AAW Forum Expert

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2004
    Messages:
    7,316
    Location (City & State):
    Cookeville TN USA
    Tom. Jamie Donaldson and I were both trained as camera.repairmen.
     
  26. Mike Brazeau

    Mike Brazeau

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2006
    Messages:
    240
    Location (City & State):
    Freelton, ON
    Home Page:
  27. Dean Center

    Dean Center

    Joined:
    May 4, 2010
    Messages:
    1,025
    Location (City & State):
    Bozeman, MT
    Glenn, the lathe in North Idaho is a South Bend, maybe like Larry's. 381 km per Google Maps.
    Here's the 'before' picture:
    [​IMG]
     
  28. Tom De Winter

    Tom De Winter

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2020
    Messages:
    44
    Location (City & State):
    Quad Cities, IL
  29. john lucas

    john lucas AAW Forum Expert

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2004
    Messages:
    7,316
    Location (City & State):
    Cookeville TN USA
    Jamie was trained by the Army and did repairs when he wasn't actually fighting in Vietnam. I worked as a sales clerk in a camera store and repaired a fair number of cameras before I left. About the time I thought about trying to open my own business everything went electronic. I found myself working for Zerox instead and only did repair on the side. When I started working for Tenn. Tech University as a photographer I maintained all of our processing equipment and on rare occasions did a camera repair but all of that died when things went digital.
     
    Tom De Winter likes this.
  30. Joe Breslawski

    Joe Breslawski

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2020
    Messages:
    3
    Location (City & State):
    Calgary
  31. Glenn Lefley

    Glenn Lefley

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2017
    Messages:
    483
    Location (City & State):
    Invermere, British Columbia
  32. Joe Breslawski

    Joe Breslawski

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2020
    Messages:
    3
    Location (City & State):
    Calgary
    Well like myself you are not going to find a SouthBend in your town! You are going to have pay for shipping!

    Oops Looked at the pictures They have Bubbied the belting - Chains' are not to be used ! oops.jpeg
     

Share This Page