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Tool Talk Discussion Forum

Re: Mini-lathe and mini-mill advice?

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Author  [Modern View]

03-21-2013 09:06:01

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Hello, There are several schools of thought on this subject as you well know. I am of the opinion that a person getting into machining is much better off with a decent quality new machine than a used one he knows nothing about and comes bare (no tooling) The import will come almost ready to use and very well tooled. All you need to do is purchase inserted tool holders (and a quick change is nice) to get going doing basic turning. People who lump machines into quality using only the country of manufacture are sorrily mistaken. There are some nice machine tools being imported into this country,, along with the junk. You are wise to stay away from the combo machines! Besides the fact they are handy for nothing, most mini machines are of suspect or worse quality. Think of them like a cresent wrench, would you use one where the job must be done right and and box end was laying right beside it? Another tip for the first time lathe buyer is to carefully figure out how big you have to have and then buy one at least twice that large. Way too many people find out the hard way that you cant machine a 9"x20" shaft in a 9x20 lathe!! Another reason to go larger with a Chinese or Taiwan lathe is the quality always goes up once you get above the smallest units. The gear drive 12x36 lathes sold by Enco, Grizzly and many others are damn nice lathes by any standard. I did all my rifle chambering abd barrel work on one for 12 years. There is one smaller that is decent quality, 9x24? I think? belt drive unit, anything smaller is suspect quality. Whatever you do for a mill do not be suckered in by the low cost "mill drills" that control the height of the cutter with the quill only. You want a knee mill where the table adjusts up or down in relationship with the spindle. They make some small ones. Think about what you want a mill for and how are you going to take .003 cut when you have to move the quill?? the knee mill will allow for cuts in accurate .001 steps.

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