What lathe to buy

Chas1

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Joined
Feb 15, 2009
Messages
3,557
Impressive, effective and simple although coming up with the idea was pretty smart. Thanks for responding and once again great pic.
 

blackbrush

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Apr 3, 2008
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55
Location
South Texas
Fitch,

I am NOT being a wisenheimer...but YOU are darn great!

You obviously have special smithing and machining talents coupled with truckloads of knowledge and imagination.

And to top all of this off, you have exacting skills in photography.

I wish to thank you for taking the time to share what you have to offer.

Wally
 

foreign

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Joined
Jun 26, 2008
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424
Location
christchurch, nz
Fitch.... thank you. im looking into lathes at the moment and just found this page. Had to bookmark it since it has so many key points. thank you so much for taking the time, you have answered so many key questions i had. if there is any more knowledge you have to impart I would greatly appreciate it, as i know others would too.
cheers mate
rob
 

jarnold37

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Dec 21, 2010
Messages
82
I got impatient with the long time frame with gunsmithing and jumped right in and bought a cheap Grizzly lathe-with little or no machining skills. This bug bit me hard, and I could not get enough. I purchased a 12-36 benchtop machine and learned as I went. Tried chambering out on the bed with steady rest and soon went to chamber through headstock. If you use this method, you may not be able to stick barrel out back end of spindle to use a cat head support(four set screws in very end of spindle to act like 4 jaw chuck). Also through headstock method works best if you have your lathe trued up-which can be a nightmare-dont listen to the manuals and turn a bar at each end and measure each diameter- hrs and hrs of frustration-use centering indicator indicated in your chuck and run around 60deg center-left and right is adj. with set screws-up and down-a machine shop to grind your tailstock plate-mine was 2 and 7tenths high. I could go on and on but to answer your question--here goes- I got rid of my Grizzly for several reasons. One was it had an oddball spindle thread-hard to buy a good 6 jaw chuck. Also it chattered. A real nightmare when reaming a chamber. Machine was light-chattered in backgear-chatter is something to avoid. Lastly-my spindle bore was less than 1"1/2 and started chambering 1.5" barrels. Ended up with 14-40 Nardini. Has common chuck mount(most machines do)with big enough hole through headstock. If you chamber between centers out on bed, dont need a bigger machine or spindle-but through headstock is rigid setup and if you true your tailstock will produce good chambers. I think a 14-40 machine with single phase (any bigger and comes 3 phase) with 1"9/16 spindle hole is ideal. A 15-50 machine is better yet but much costlier and 3 phase. Heavier the machine, generally the more rigidity.
 

asa

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Joined
Jul 19, 2006
Messages
75
I just purchashed Grizzlys medium size gunsmith lathe a 14" x 40" model number G0709, I have not hooked it up yet but have looked it over pretty good seems to be decent for the price. I talked with lots of people before I purchased and most said if you could find a mint european lathe that would be the way to go the big thing is finding one in good shape also most are 3phase so you need a convertor. They also said for the home hobbyist it is probaly better to buy a new lathe that has not been abused. thanks
 

jarnold37

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Dec 21, 2010
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82
Hello, I purchased my lathe from Production Tool Supply www.pts-tools.com MSC also sold Nardini as did other tool supply outfits. Don't know if they still sell them or not. They really do seem to be well made. They are made in Brazil. Have had mine forabout 10 years, think it was about 12k dollars. Alot of money for someone like myself- just for hobby-but I do not regret it. MSC sells a 15-50 that is a Colchester copy called Vectrax I believe. Alvin Davidson (made many benchrest products-many of Sinclairs products) told me his favorite machine was his colchester 15-50 and chambered through headstock-even with 30" barrels wouldnt stick out back of spindle so he cut bushing to slide over barrel and in spindle with set screw out of alum or delrin. that is method I use. If you want to talk to someone very knowledgeable about Nardini etc. call Clay Spencer @ Spencer rifle barrels. Hope I was some help
 

Fitch

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Aug 5, 2009
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478
Location
Carlisle, PA
Thanks for all the advice I hope to have one soon I may be getting south bend 10 if we can get together on the price
There are 2 South Bend 10" lathes. The one you want for gunsmithing is known as the Heavy 10. It has a 1-3/8" hole through the spindle. The other one has too small a spindle hole to do barrels through the headstock.

Fitch
 

Trickymissfit

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Jun 11, 2010
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4,148
Location
greenwood, IN
something that seems to be amissing in this thread is that there are actually two lathes built by most of the better manufacturers. One is known as a "roughing" and the other goes by either "finish" or "precision." If the lathe is not labled as one of the latter names it is of roughing quality. That's not bad in most ways, but the spindle line is different and the fits are different.

Another thing of interest is the actual spindle itself. If the back face of the spindle is threaded, they make tools that thread onto the spindle. There are even chuck adapters that mount on the rear of the spindle. Another neat little item is a hub that goes back there for pulsating coolant. Nothing I've ever seen blows chips out of a hole better than this setup
gary
 

BOBCAT SNIPER

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Mar 4, 2010
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648
Location
Hampton AR
Good thins to no I almost drove 30 hours to get south bend lathe and found out it was not heavy thank so I'm on the look again thanks every body for the great info I'm starting to get inpatient I want a lathe soon !!
 

Trickymissfit

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Jun 11, 2010
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4,148
Location
greenwood, IN
Good thins to no I almost drove 30 hours to get south bend lathe and found out it was not heavy thank so I'm on the look again thanks every body for the great info I'm starting to get inpatient I want a lathe soon !!
here's something to think about before you plunk down a wad of change. The actual weight of the machine is very important. You buy a really heavy lathe (like a 14" x 54 Monarch) and set it in a typical garage floor that is three to four inches thick. Machine just moves all over the place. A South Bend will want at least 4 inches of dense concrete (unless you opt for the bench lathe).

Secondly 90% of all engine lathes are never setup right from the start. The the guy cusses the manufacturer when he's the problem

Thirdly (and this is extremely criticle) is getting the machine correctly aligned and strait. 90% of the folks can't do it, and half of the other 10% only half way do it. I don't care if you spend $250K or $250 dollars this is important (also makes the machine run better and last much longer).

There is a way to cheat with the foundation, but it's not cheap. A lathe must have holes in the concrete for lag bolts and set on steel pads that are at least 3/8" thick. Otherwise you can't make it cut strait and it will never stay level.

all I'm trying to say is to start out right, and you rid yourself of a lot of problems.
gary
 

BOBCAT SNIPER

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Mar 4, 2010
Messages
648
Location
Hampton AR
Thanks trickymisfit I will make sure I do that we are going to build shop at my ranch so I will have the slab beefed up and will get u to talk me thue it LOL
 

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