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Perfect Entry Level Lathe???

 
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  #8  
Old 01-29-2011, 11:56 AM
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Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: South Texas
Posts: 55
Re: Perfect Entry Level Lathe???

Quote:
Originally Posted by J E Custom View Post
...As I said I ended up buying 3 lathes before I found one that could do 99% of all barrel jobs...".
Not to rub salt in your wounds after "experimenting" on 3 lathes, but if you shared how much money you spent just to get each unit up to your specs to do what you wished could possibly drive home the importance of buying once.

That number times 3 would give me the heebie-geebies...

I am NOT trying to get into a "who's got the best lathe" discussion...they all look great to me...and I would want to own this one...if I had somewhere to put it...and more money than Carlos Slim...

Nevertheless, thinking back when I was tooling up my ______ lathe, I spend gobs and gobs of money on eBay, MSC, McMaster's, ENCO, Travers, Techni-Tool, probably a horrible drug habit would have been less costly (including rehab w/out health insurance)...but IT WAS REALLY FUN!!!!!
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  #9  
Old 01-29-2011, 06:50 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Sonoma County, CA
Posts: 824
Re: Perfect Entry Level Lathe???

I don't know a thing about lathes but remember a post earlier this year on this same topic. Here is one they were talking quite a bit about and a link to the original thread.

G4003G Gunsmith's Bench Top Lathe with Stand

What lathe to buy
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  #10  
Old 01-30-2011, 12:53 AM
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Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Texas
Posts: 5,446
Re: Perfect Entry Level Lathe???

Quote:
Originally Posted by blackbrush View Post
Not to rub salt in your wounds after "experimenting" on 3 lathes, but if you shared how much money you spent just to get each unit up to your specs to do what you wished could possibly drive home the importance of buying once.

That number times 3 would give me the heebie-geebies...

I am NOT trying to get into a "who's got the best lathe" discussion...they all look great to me...and I would want to own this one...if I had somewhere to put it...and more money than Carlos Slim...

Nevertheless, thinking back when I was tooling up my ______ lathe, I spend gobs and gobs of money on eBay, MSC, McMaster's, ENCO, Travers, Techni-Tool, probably a horrible drug habit would have been less costly (including rehab w/out health insurance)...but IT WAS REALLY FUN!!!!!
No problem , Like most I started doing it as a hobby and it grew and grew as I learned more.

The first lathe was a great little South bend with a 30 " bed and a 1 1/4" spindle and It was to
small to get a barrel tenon in it without turning it down .060 . (No big deal but I hated to take
any material off just to make it fit in my spindle). Also I could not place a normal length barrel
In it and work the hole length without setting up to work on each end separately Twice the setup
time and twice the chance of making an error. ( This lathe was a great little and cost me $450.00
at the time, Used.

The next lathe was a Lam with a 36" bed and a 1 5/8" spindle and worked better but like the
South Bend was a little light and still to short to work a full blank (28") without two setups.
this one cost $1700.oo dollars and was better, except the threading leavers/setting was the
old style calipers just like the south bend.They were both under powered and even light cuts
slowed them down.

So after using a much larger lathe from another member. I realized that I was spending to
much time working within the limits of my Lam, I decided to look for a lathe with all the
features that I needed at a cost I could afford. Some of the features that I decided not to
compromise on was a = larger spindle (2"), at least 3 Horse Power, 42 to 48" bed and a gear
head threading feature that would cut Standard Inch threads and Metric . with a taper bar for
cutting tapers/contours. and at least a 10" chuck. they ranged any where from $4000.oo
up. and I found one that was what I felt I needed at the time for $5400.oo and killed the
lathe account I had saved.

I found several that were $8000.oo that were recomended and I lusted after them but I had to come down to reality and bought one I could afford at the time ( 7 or 8 years ago).

I tried to make do with a small inexpensive lath and if I had known then what I know now
I would have gotten an even better lathe than I have now (They were much cheaper 20 to
25 years ago) and spent my money on tooling (The realy expensive stuff).

I would have loved to have the lathe that RoyB posted on back when I started but Now I
know that I would eventually decide to go larger for a all round machine.

Everyone's needs are different and I recommend that anyone thinking about getting into gunsmithing
think about what they need depending what they want to do and and do it one time.

You can't buy a lathe to big but you can buy one to small and make it hard on your self.

This is just my opinion for what it's worth.

J E CUSTOM
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  #11  
Old 01-30-2011, 07:59 AM
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Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 61
Re: Perfect Entry Level Lathe???

"You can't buy a lathe to big"


I disagree completely. I've tried working barrels on huge lathes with headstocks that were over 30" long. VERY difficult to chamber through the headstock. I nearly sold my JET to replace with a "much better lathe" and then at the last moment I realized that any barrel under 26" would not span the six jaw chuck and the spider........Deal Breaker for me. I hate dealing with a steady rest for chambering.

And many of these "BIG" lathes have 3ph 440V motors. Requires a small fortune in rewiring your small home shop or getting involved in phase converters, VFDs etc. Way more than most home smiths bargained for.

The big machines are completely none forgiving for operator errors. Run a gear driven, 5hp lathe's carriage into the headstock under power feed or bite off more than you should have with that parting tool and see what happens. They don't simply stall or have the belts slip. They break things........ sometimes in spectacular fashion.
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