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post #21 of 29 (permalink) Old 03-13-2016, 10:39 PM
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That lathe must be the big sibling to mine! It's also a McDougall, but 20x46.

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The Baby Brother!!!!!
They made a whole range of bed lengths.


Living the dream,......one bushel at a time.
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post #22 of 29 (permalink) Old 03-14-2016, 09:27 PM
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I have two lathes, both flat belt drive's in that ww two eara, one is my main lathe and its roughly 18x60 and the other one is an old gap bed railroad lathe that will swing four feet in the gap and has a sliding bed to do up to eight feet in length.


If your only going to have one lathe, figure out what size of stuff your wanting to do, mainly what the through hole is in size for shafts, if your going to do flywheels, a face plate is a perk, you'll need both a three jaw and four jaw chucks, tool holders and boring bars and indexible carbide cutters. I'll go along with the tooling is more valuable than the lathe itself.


Depending on if you have a gear box drive or flat belt drive, v belts or however its driven, just change out the three phase motors for single phase, its what I did on both of my lathes.


Before buying any lathe, check the spindle wear and I'd want to put the largest faceplate on it, and use a dial indicator and see if it spins true.


If you don't get the steady rest, and live center holder with the lathe don't buy it, to find the one that fits it later is a long and costly job to get what you want, hence the reason the tooling is more valuable than the lathe itself.


Myself I'd not really want a smaller lathe than say 16x60, as for the imports, the less digital and electronic the better, none would be best of all, to repair and keep all that electronics going is royal pain and major expense, keep it simple and any lathe will give you years of trouble free service. The toughest part of any lathe is getting to learn how to use it and what it can do for you. I also have a milling attachment for my lathe, don't use it much anymore now that I have two mills, but if you don't have any mill, its sure handy. Best of luck on your search

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post #23 of 29 (permalink) Old 03-14-2016, 10:30 PM
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If you don't get the steady rest, and live center holder with the lathe don't buy it, to find the one that fits it later is a long and costly job to get what you want, hence the reason the tooling is more valuable than the lathe itself.
Hello Terracefarmer
It's always nice to be able to buy a lathe that is complete, but if the lathe itself was nice & the price was right, I wouldn't say that not getting a steady rest with it would be a deal breaker. A lot of guys have built their own steady rests when 1 didn't come with their lathe.



I didn't get 1 with my lathe & I was going to build 1, but 1 of my suppliers had an extra brand new 1 kicking around that he sold to me real cheap.



Of course I had to modify the bottom of it to fit the bed of my lathe. I cut off the base of it & machined a V into a plate for the bottom. I also machined the clamp on the bottom to fit my lathe.



I use a 5/8" bolt & nut to clamp it to the lathe bed.



I drilled & tapped 4 holes into the steady rest & used counterbored socket cap screws to mount the new base plate to it.
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post #24 of 29 (permalink) Old 03-15-2016, 01:45 PM
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I'll agree with you anything can be built, but for the first time lathe buyer, I'd still recommend not buying a lathe that wasn't complete, a new lathe owner has enough of a learning curve the way it is, no need to discourage anyone from the git go with added complications and needing to put together a lathe package from scratch on top of the not exactly knowing what's all needed in the first place.


I stumbled into my first lathe, a county shop was selling it off at auction and I knew the guy who ran it, he was the only one in the shop to know anything about the lathe, let alone how to use it. I talked to the operator ahead of time and he told me, if I was interested in it, and would actually use it, he'd make sure it was complete with all the tooling there was for it. I got everything they had for one price.


Fast forward a couple decades to last year, a local machine shop was selling out, they had four lathes they sold on auction, I also knew the guy who ran them and talked to him ahead of time, he told to not bid on any of them, turns out the flunky auctioneer that was conducting the sale got everything screwed up and only the person who ran the machines knew about it, they mismatched parts, components, change gears, taper attachments and nothing was even close to being partially complete, and nothing matched anything.


Turns out another shop bought one of the newer lathes, but now can't cut any threads, none of the speed change sprockets are even matched for the lathe, the taper attachment isn't complete and nobody knows where the parts are even at or what box of junk any of the speed change gears and metric gears were even in on the sale, the chucks don't match the spindles, didn't get the correct chuck wrenches, the live centers don't match the lathe, nor do any of the rest of the tooling, there were junk chucks sold on the sale but the auctioneer got them mixed up as well, the good new one's sold as junk and the junk one's went with the lathes and the list is endless as to the mistakes made. The new owner of one lathe who's also a young guy who didn't know exactly what he was buying is now facing the reality, he owns a very large paperweight that will cost him far more than its worth to even attempt to find the components that match it so he can even turn it on or chuck anything in it, I'm thinking there will be a lawsuit over it before its done, it was an internet auction and when the public viewed everything, they were all complete, when the auction was over and they went to pick up the items, most never noticed things didn't match or were incomplete till they got them home. The upside is, the new owner now has dozens of spare parts for milling machines, junked out lathes from a half century ago, change gears and metric gears for lathes traded thirty years ago on the one's sold at auction and list is endless.


If your new to lathes, take someone along who's run one, knows something about them and go look and run whatever your wanting to buy, verify things are complete and matched to the lathe your buying, check everything out and change gears and make sure they are matched to the lathe and fit, try all the chucks out and make sure they hold a shaft tight, run the lathe and check for play and accuracy, if you don't know how to do this, fess up and admit it, and get help when looking, there is no shame in not knowing, the shame comes from getting took on a pile of junk, we all learn as we go and continue to learn till we die.


Age of a lathe means little to me, condition and access to all the tooling means far more than age or brand and that depends on where in the world your located as well.


If your not buying a lathe that's complete, make sure beforehand its new enough you can buy what you need to match it, like everyone else in the world, when you need it, you need it now, not doing the scavenger hunt and wait a few years till you find that metric change gear so you can cut that metric thread you need today, cause the part is on backorder for six months and you need the machine tomorrow, and the guy uptown is backed up till the first of the month to do it for you. Or maybe that's just how my life works and nobody else's does. Anyhow best of luck and shop smart and be informed before you buy as best as you can and oh yea buyer beware on used anything.


By the way Mcatshf, nice job on the fitting of components to your lathe.
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post #25 of 29 (permalink) Old 03-15-2016, 10:17 PM
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Hello Fergy
Don't be afraid of buying a 3 phase machine, you can always run a rotary phase converter. If you plan on buying a lathe of some size, chances are that it will be 3 phase. 3 phase motors are cheaper to buy than a single phase of the same HP. Rotary phase converters are relatively cheap, simple devices. Heck, many (with a little electrical savvy) have built their own for their home shops. Keep an eye out for the volts though too. A lot of bigger machines will be wired for more than 220 volts. But again, not the end of the world. A guy can run a step down transformer, just adds extra cost though. I had a guy that used to own an electrical shop build me a rotary phase converter out of a 3 phase motor that I provided him with. Then I already had it for when I bought my milling machine & bandsaw, which are also 3 phase.
You can also put a VFD on it, run single phase into the drive, and 3phase out. Get the added benefit, of having additional speed control. Will need a constant torque drive, such as the Square D Altivar 71.
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post #26 of 29 (permalink) Old 03-15-2016, 10:23 PM
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Youtube University! And a thousand more like it. If anyone wants to learn anything nowadays, there is no shortage of incredible information.

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post #27 of 29 (permalink) Old 03-15-2016, 10:39 PM
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Without a lathe you could never spend a sunday afternoon doing this....

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post #28 of 29 (permalink) Old 03-16-2016, 12:08 AM
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You can also put a VFD on it, run single phase into the drive, and 3phase out. Get the added benefit, of having additional speed control. Will need a constant torque drive, such as the Square D Altivar 71.
Hello NCRC5315
With my lathe having a variable speed drive on it (DC motor driven), all I needed was to create the 3 phase power from single phase. I guess that I thought everybody's lathe had variable speed on it. I know, probably 99.99% don't, & yes, they would benefit from it.

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Last edited by MCatSHF; 03-16-2016 at 05:08 PM. Reason: Typo.
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post #29 of 29 (permalink) Unread 03-07-2019, 07:43 PM
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Keep an eye on Kijiji and auction sites, it took me 2yrs to find one for the price I wanted to pay. Now I have two and a standing offer on a third one, lol. I have no idea how to utilize even 10% of the machines capability, they are fun to work with and learning a new skill is rewarding. The first serious job with mine was a special bolt for the combine that was going to be 3days getting to me. I had the machine running overnight and finished up harvest the day before the rain started, paid for itself right there.

The older made in Taiwan machines seem reliable, my main one is a 13x40 house of tools model. The second is a war vintage Atlas 6x18.
Which lathe do you find you use the most? I have zero experience with lathes, but I think I would like one in the shop. Curious if a rookie should start with a small one? Any specific jobs that you commonly use the smaller one for?
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