Thread: Advice Sought for Lathe
As I'm getting dangerously close to producing stuff with my CNC Router, the other machine I'm looking at getting is a lathe.
My requirements are not that clear, but I guess I'll have a budget of circa £1K and Single Phase ideally (although I guess I could use a VFD for a 3 phase, as I have a spare 2.2Kw that normally goes with a spindle). The machine needs to be fairly compact and I have a decent square section steel workbench, so something with an overall length of ~1metre.
Materials will be up to occasional stainless steel, but more regularly probably mild steel and some aluminium.
I have had a look at the Sieg Super C6, which seems to fit the bill, but opinions welcome.
I started off powering my lathe (Colchester student) with the 2.2kW VFD from my CNC router. Just put the right settings in and it'll be fine, up to 2.2kW of course.
If you have reasonably easy access to the workshop from the road, then definately consider getting a second hand lathe which is bigger than the C6. So log as the bed and bearings are in good condition, it doesn't really matter if it's quite old - mine is about 45 years old and it's still easy to make accurate parts with it:
You'll get so much more for your money if you get a second hand lathe. Bear in mind they can be very heavy. Something like a Colchester student (or "cholesterol student" if you believe the spelling checker in chrome!), harrisson M250/M350 would comfortably cut the materials you need, but there are plenty of other examples. They're maybe a bit bigger than you're thinking, but the difference in how well they cut compared to what you'd get for £1k new (i.e. 'toy' lathe like the C6 or myford) is pretty indisputable. Just look on eBay for items nearby...
Having said that, even with a small lathe you can, up to a point, make reasonably large accurate parts so long as you're patient. e.g. I several years ago I made the front two of these wheel rims on a Sieg C3 lathe which only had an 80mm chuck. The fun bit was milling the hexagons without CNC. The other two I did more recently with the Colchester lathe in a fraction of the time.
Last edited by Jonathan; 04-10-2013 at 01:22 PM.
What size of things would you like to turn?
That is probably a bigger deciding factor.
I reckon I'll be turning and threading mostly sub 20mm round bars, but do have the need on some pieces I'm making of boring into stock at 20-25mm and about 80-100mm deep. The latter operations won't be into stainless but possibly mild steels.
Oh and also some gear cutting possibly, so a divider plate will be a likely future add-on.
Have a look @ The Emco V10-P in the classifieds and see if it's been sold, these are a nice piece of kit and it comes with a milling head, i have the Emcomat 7 and it has given me good service over the last 36 years, i do gear cutting on mine.
New, the Clarke CL430 has 25mm through hole.
I've had a CL500 for nearly ten years now, which is the 430 with a milling head, but the milling head was only ever on it for a few weeks, and it's done well in the time I've had it.
I spent some time comparing various new lathes earlier this year, and the Clarke was the only one in it's size range that came with a 25mm through hole, everything else was only 20mm.
Second hand, you will pay a premium for smaller lathes, but you've got to be wary of what you're buying.
Colchester Bantam may be more suited to your space requirements than a Student.
Boxford xUDs (I can never remember what the first letters mean!), Harrisons are good makes.
Other option is check out Warco/Chester to see what sits in yoru size range and see if any are available secondhand on the usual places.
Googling lathes seems to bring up the same brands, so the additional makes above are very useful. I'll throw some saved searches out on ebay and keep an eye out.
Still mulling over a lathe purchase, but the requirement has now some urgency (i.e. this week) as I have secured orders for some parts to do on it (6082 aluminium stuff).
The order has given me some more concrete requirements and a question that needs answering - when someone is quoting a 4 or 6" chuck are they referring to the size of the chuck or the diameter of the workpiece it will hold? Reason I ask is I have a need to turn down some 88.9mm (3.5") rounds to around 70mm dia. with an 85mm dia. flange, so the chuck will need to hold those. Hopefully that will narrow down my search, but I'm thinking of new and obviously somewhere with stock, rather than 2nd hand.
Thanks in advance as ever.
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