Originally Posted by lazylabs
I posted a while ago aobut trying to go CNC. I have finally moved and had to get rid of my leblond in the process. I am now starting the lathe shopping process again. I am thinking about going with the hybrid CNC teach like a TL1/2 or harrison alpha previously recommended. If I can't find a good used one of those I might have to just go back with a manual lathe.
So in the time since I last asked how many guys have tried the types of lathes I mentioned above?
What are your experiences with the various imports?
If this gets a rant on U.S. vs imports I will just delete the thread. I will stipulate that with a time machine of the correct carrying capacity I would go back 40 years and buy an awesome U.S. steel eating monster.
Southwest Trac makes one, and somebody makes one that uses the Prototrac box. I have not seen this conversion in person. But hear it works well. The Southwest machines are fair. Accuarcey is not all that bad, but are not what I'd call overbuilt in anyway. A hard wreck gets expensive. Their chucking system sucks, and recommend buying the optional stuff. If you can find a nice used Clausing, you way ahead in the game. My favorite hand lathe right now is the Colechester. A very well made English built lathe that is surprisingly accurate. If you find a used one, these machines rebuild well.
I agree with you and the time machine! I'd buy a solid state Monarch Series EE with the ten inch chuck, or a tool room grade Monarch hydraulic. Be set for life!
I'd also look for a K&T MM600 machine center, and cut a new action in about thirty minutes everytime I hit cycle start!
By the way the first hand lathe that I ever seriously ran was an American. Not a bad machine. But a few months later I got sent to the tool room. Being the bottom of the totem pole I of course got the lathe that nobody would run! I ended up with a genuine "war finish" LeBlond hand lathe. Nobody ran it much; if at all. Reason why was that the frame was a special casting made for a woman to run! It sat lower to the floor than the other lathes (probably six to eight inches). The Tail stock took some getting used to as it worked backwards. I had no problem holding one thousandth or less with it. The old men I worked with came over to see how I was doing and had a good laugh about it (I had no problems with the low profile). Then the next day they showed up with tools and touched up the compound and the cross slide gibs, and took all the back lash out the lead screws. The old lathe ran like a top, and I was easily holding sizes that the other guys over there thought were impossible on that machine. The following weekend the guy I worked for sent his painters over and had the machine completely repainted in a light grey color (it was actually a funky looking green). It was like getting a brand new machine!