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questions about tools, lathes, shop presses, shops and things...

Discussion in 'The Tool Shed' started by jjlaughner, Aug 6, 2004.

  1. jjlaughner

    jjlaughner 3/4 ton status

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    OK, so I'm bobbing around pirate and I'm noticing several people have lathes. If you have a lathe... WHY? What all do you use it for and ballpark prices for good used lathes.

    Furthermore, I need a good heavy shop press thats not a Harbor frieght narrow A frame type. Something with an adjustable base.

    What kind and size of shops do you have? What do you wish you had and why or what do you not like and why not?

    Currently we have a 3 car attached garage and 1 car detached and between my parts and things from college when I moved home, left over stuff from remodling houses and general packrat items we dont have room to work inside on a vehicle. SO, we are building a shop that will be WORK and storage (for the campers, boat, project vehicles) only.

    Post up some pics!

    Here's a couple of my work area cleaned up...
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    [​IMG]

    Lets see pics of your shops/garages /forums/images/graemlins/waytogo.gif
     
  2. 84gmcjimmy

    84gmcjimmy 1 ton status

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    when you have a mill and a lathe, you can make all your parts, the only thing you would be lacking is the skill on how to make them.
     
  3. sickquad

    sickquad 1/2 ton status

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    Lathes and mills are big money. Best bet is to buy used. There are companys out there that buy out shops which go out of business. They in turn clean up the machinery and sell them pretty cheap.

    Tooling for lathes and mills gets real expensive so you would want to buy as much of the setup as you could from a used dealer. Such as vices, chucks, tool holders and cutting tools.

    I'm pretty sure you're looking at least over $5000 each for a mill and a lathe in good shape. As far as a press, a good used one is usually around $1000.

    Around here we have a want advertiser magazine that sells used stuff. There are always several out of work of retired machinists selling there entire boxes of tools for somewhat cheap.

    -Chris
     
  4. cybrfire

    cybrfire 1 ton status Vendor GMOTM Winner

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    You can usually pick up a pretty decent shop press for around the 200 mark. Not as heavy duty as some but for 99.9% of the stuff we do it will work. If you don't like those you could also build one. Doubt you could do it any cheaper though. I had thought about doing this several times and may still end up doing it but I've never wrote down the parts on my "LIST" so I've probably missed good deals alot of times already.
     
  5. Stomper

    Stomper ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ GMOTM Winner

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    Also, getting a industrial size lathe or mill, they will most likely be 3 phase either 220, 440, 660 or?? You will need a inverter/converter??? for home use. And I'd agree with the $5000 mark for something of good size and decent quality and non cnc, unless if it is OLD, very old. I've been thinking for a while about getting a lathe and mill but when I've got a shop full of them at work it's hard to part with the needed funds.
     
  6. sickquad

    sickquad 1/2 ton status

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    Having access at work is so key, I don't know if I could ever work somewhere that didn't allow home jobs.

    Now, that I think about it, you might be able to get away with something that is in less than perfect condition for home use. Maybe figure out how to rebuild these things yourself? I have seen very old mills and lathes rebuilt that run as good as a new machine. I have no idea what goes into this though.

    -Chris
     
  7. highrider_44s

    highrider_44s 1/2 ton status

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    the bigger the shop the better /forums/images/graemlins/peace.gif
    the more tools the better /forums/images/graemlins/peace.gif
    if i had money i'd have everything /forums/images/graemlins/rotfl.gif /forums/images/graemlins/rotfl.gif /forums/images/graemlins/rotfl.gif
     
  8. dksac2

    dksac2 Registered Member

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    Depending on what you are going to turn on a lathe, you can get by with spending about $2500. for a new 36" Grizzly lathe. It comes with 3 and 4 jaw checks, live center and some tooling. It is not as heavy as some of the older American brands, but does nice work. They are heavy, so putting one in the basement would be a task. Used machines are getting cheaper as more and more companys are going to CNC machines. The table top mills do a fairly good job, but if you can find a knee type, they are easier to use when you have to change set ups and offer less vibration. If I could only have one, for automotive work, I would take a mill. I have both, and use them often. They are really handy for fabricating parts, doing repairs, making modifications, as well as custom parts. If you need a lathe for making small parts, the 10" and 12 " lathes from china do a pretty good job. Harbor frieght has them for $370. to $500. Check out www.mini-lathe.com.(for some reason the link from this page isn't working, just type in the address on your brouser and it will come up). Another site for machine work is www.practicalmachinist.com.
    www.americangunsmith.com offers machine shop course for lathe and mill on video. They are not cheap, but the vidios are good. Another good way to learn machine work is to find out if your local high schhol or Jr College offers machine shop courses thru adult ed. Many do, and the cost is low.
    John K
     
  9. mofugly13

    mofugly13 1 ton bucket of rust Premium Member

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    I scored a used Sheldon 11" lathe on craigslist for $400! The deals are out there you just have to be diligent. I'm looking for a good milling machine next. Lathes are the best. One of the greatest features of a lathes it's ability to make threads, internal, external, single, double, quadruple start! What have I done with my lathe? I turned my D70 hubs down to accept a disc brake rotor. I use it to ream tapers for tre's/dle's. Checked for bent axleshafts. I made a tool for removing the carrier bearings on D60 and D70 differentials, tool costs $350 to buy. That's just the stuff I've done chevy-wise. I have used it endlessly as an amature gunsmith. Need a punch? make one. Need to thread the ends of your drag link 7/8-18, do it on the lathe. What about the other side with the left hand thread? Do that on the lathe as well. Make large diameter things into small diameter things. Every time my lathe has gotten me over that "brick wall" we all hit during a project, I am grateful. If I could have just a lathe or milling machine, I'll take the lathe, as it can be set up to do limited milling operations. As you can tell I love my lathe. If yer looking to setup your shop with a lathe, do lots of research on what features you want. A quick change gear box is extremely handy, though not necessary. Get one with as big a swing as you need. My 11" swing won't hold a 8-lug D44 rotor. If you are buying a lathe, the more tooling that comes with it, the better. I spent $400 on my lathe, and about another $1200 on tooling over the years, and I still don't have all the tooling I would like.

    In addition to the sites dksac2 posted, there are:

    http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net/ubbs/Ultimate.cgi

    this site is one of my favorites, I find the guys more helpful than the practical machinist site.

    If you are looking to buy tooling try Enco, I think they are affiliated with MSC, they have all the same type of stuff. If you go to their site www.use-enco.com and sign up for the monthly flyer. They give free UPS shipping on orders of $50 or more. Very nice when you purchase a 30 pound chuck.


    If you are in the market for a lathe, the new Grizzly's are good, but they're still made in taiwan, and the fit and finish reflects the price, but there are a lot of basement engineers turning out excellent work on these machines. Best bet are estate sales, and craigslist. Like I said, my Sheldon was a STEAL at $400. Good names of older american iron are:
    South Bend (their 9 and 10 inch lathes are the most popular/available)
    Atlas/Craftsman (Atlas made lathes for Craftsman for a while)
    Sheldon/Cincinatti
    Logan
    Myford(these are English lathes, but still very good)
    Hardinge
    Monarch
    Cincinatti
    LeBlonde

    The monarch lathes are HEAVY!, some of the BEST machines out there.

    When I bought my lathe, I really didn't know what I was looking for, I happened to get very lucky with what I got. Some nice features to look for are:
    Quick change gearbox for threadcutting (makes swithching from one thread pitch to the next as easy as moving a few levers, instead of disassembling the gear train and changing gears yourself)
    Roller bearings in the spindle, better than the oil impregnated bronze ones
    Biggest 'hole through spindle" you can find. 1 1/2" is pretty good
    Reversing motor controls
    Back gear, this is like low range for your lathe, for HEAVY cuts, or when you need the spindle speed as low as possible for threading to a shoulder.
    Quick change tool post


    Keep in mind I am an amature machinist, in no way do I consider myself fit to stand in the shadow of a real manual machinist, but I am big on lathes, and can answer almost any manual lathe question you have.
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2006
  10. rdn2blazer

    rdn2blazer 1 ton status Premium Member

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    why you would want a mill and a lathe:

    DSCN0146.JPG

    DSCN0684.JPG

    DSCN0057.JPG

    DSCN0821.JPG

    DSCN0550.JPG
     
  11. rdn2blazer

    rdn2blazer 1 ton status Premium Member

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    cause you could make ANYTHING you want.
     
  12. perp

    perp 1/2 ton status

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    this may soud like a noob question, but I just want be sure I understand what I am looking at while shopping for a Mill and Lathe.
    when either machine is described in terms of say 9" x 20", the numbers represent the actual table size? how does this work with the lathe, is it 9" diameter by 20" long stock capacity? thanks in advance for the education. any pitfalls to look out for when shopping too would help. i am going to look at old stuff (70's,80') hopefully in good serviceable shape
     
  13. rdn2blazer

    rdn2blazer 1 ton status Premium Member

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    yes a lathe is by swing over the bed and the size of material generally between centers, or cut length capacity. a mill is table size and axis travel. the X axis is has a direct coralation to table size. the bigger the table the more X axis travel it has. generally 48 in. is you basic X table size width, this is NOT your travel amount though. they do make them larger too. I would buy atleast a 52 in. as far as the mill goes. as far as a lathe well what ever you might think you will need and what you can afford. the bigger the better.

    I have an 11 X 24 lathe that will do alot but it is small for me, atleast compared to what I use at work. but its what I can afford.

    when you go to buy a mill or lathe make sure it is hooked up, DO NOT! buy one that you cant run. you need to be able to lister to the motor run, and run it through its full rpm range in hi and lo gears. obviously it should sound smooth with out rattling or any god awful noise. if it has power feed on any axis turn on the feed and listen for the same good/bad noises. look for pulsing, it should feed smooth. look for back lash in the hand dials. look for wear in the ways. if there are no more scraping on the ways or only scraping at the ende of the travel, there is alot of wear in the middle of the table and ways in the middle.

    if there is alot of tool marks from endmills or drilled holes it was NOT treated well at all and is probably beat to hell and back. if you have a mag base and a .0005 tenth indicator take it and check the spindle for play side to side it should be nothing with the spindle out an inch or two to just a tenth or two at full stroke.

    check to see if you can put the spindle in neutral. the spindal should be free to spin by hand easy. if you cant get it in neutral no matter what ask the seller to do it. if he cant and comes up with some excuse as to why but makes it sound like it no big deal he is lying through his teeth. if it wont go into neutral its because the motor has been ground a million times and the pin that engages hi/lo is worn out or broke and will just barly engage hi/lo.

    this is from when someone goes from usually lo gear to hi gear and does not fully engage the gears then clicks the start switch on and it slips out of gear and because of the spring tension on the hi/lo selector handle it is trying to engage while the gears are grinding like crazy on each other. this happens from rookie machinist that dont know what the f**k they are doing.

    with a lathe, take a good precision V block that will fit on the way that is 45 degree's. in others words if the raised 45 deg way is say 1 in high your V block V depth needs to be 3/4 in max. if there is no wear there should be no rattle of the V block. check the ways where the saddle or carage works right at the chuch. this is where you will see the most wear, as you go back towards the tail stock you will see there is less and less rattle with the V block. usually about 3/4 back you will have none or very very little rattle. it should seat together perfectly. use you mag base and indicator and check the amount of rattle. if you get .050 of rattle this means that each side of the way is worn .025, thats alot of wear. it does not mean that you cant cut good parts on a lathe worn like this but if you can find a better one for the same or less move on.

    if you can chuck a piece of aluminum up and do a turn pass on it this will tell you how much wear is in it too. do a light cut pass so you dont deflect the material at all and use a piece that is stout enough not to deflect, say 1 in dia minimum, and dont stick it out but say 3 in max from the chuck or collet. then check for taper with a mic. a badly worn machine will have bad taper in just a few inches. if so pass on it. there is alot more to buying machines that I could go on and on with but this is the basic's that will get you past the badly worn machines hopefully, good luck.
     
  14. perp

    perp 1/2 ton status

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    Thanks , I am going to have to print this out and take it with me so i do not forget any of it.
     
  15. mofugly13

    mofugly13 1 ton bucket of rust Premium Member

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  16. perp

    perp 1/2 ton status

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    I have kinda kept my eyes open and Have seen a few mills and lathes, but they have been very old and beat, stored outside sometimes and none where available to here run so far. kinda as just a curiousity, what do you guys think about the Jet line of lathes and mills, seem pretty cheap in price but i am afraid that means they're chinese junk. any opinions or experiences here?
    like this model here http://www.digital-calipers.com/jet/gh1340w.html and similar mills too. i would rather keep looking or save up more money than to buy crap, so sound let me hear what you got to say.

    Doug
     

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