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Buying a lathe

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Richard Hed

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Since I have one of the crappiest lathes ever made, an Enco 9-20, and it is very sloppy and does not do left hand threads (which is a big reason I bought a lathe), I am looking to buy a better lathe in the 4-5000$ range. I would say the only thing good about an Enco of this size is that any lathe is better than nothing.

I have my eye on the Grizzly G4003G, however, I browsed the Chinese stuff in "Made in China" and Alibaba and have found numerous lathes that do the same as the Grizz. We all know that the Grizz stuff is just a way for Chinese stuff to sell more easily in the USA, and that Grizz has a pretty decent reputation for fixing bad equipment that gets to the customers, but the Chinese direct sales lathes are significantly lower price even after shipping, so I am wondering if anyone can suggest a decent lathe to buy. I am so suspicious of these companies that they will not support their products and that they might have generally poor quality stuff. One can never know what each company is like. There are SCORES of these companies in China making machine lathes and mills--which ones make good stuff?

In another year or so, I will likely be looking for a small mill also. Due to the corona virus (this years horror story to keep us entertained, or under control or believing in aliens or for some agency of the government to get more $$ out of the taxpayer or whatever), I thimk the price of everything just might drop a bit. Any suggestions?
 

David Morrow

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Have you considered a Myford Super 7 ? Extremely well made and thousands of them still floating around out there. Good user base and parts available. I bought a barely used older model for $2500 US about 10 years ago.
 

tornitore45

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For left hand threading you can try fitting an idler gear.
I have a G4000 from Grizzly/Sieg if I am not wrong is a copy of the Enco 9/20
It was crappy when I bought it but after several modification and my own learning is actually "turning" out decent work. Decent enough to mage several working engines. I must say that one of us (me or the lathe) is getting smarter, better, more accurate and less prone to screw up as time pass.

The mist essential Modifications: Tumbler and a 4 bolts compound lock down, all others were to make live easier but did not change the basic capabilities.

On the other hand if you have the room the G4003G will probably make you very happy going from a hobby lathe to areal lathe.
 

Richard Hed

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Have you considered a Myford Super 7 ? Extremely well made and thousands of them still floating around out there. Good user base and parts available. I bought a barely used older model for $2500 US about 10 years ago.
I didn't consider it because I thot the shipping cost would be outrageous. I am looking for a 1 meter (40") between centers, machine with 13 or 14" swing. I've heard nothing but good things about the myford and I know there are a few in the US. So is the Super 7 in that category?
 

Richard Hed

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For left hand threading you can try fitting an idler gear.
I have a G4000 from Grizzly/Sieg if I am not wrong is a copy of the Enco 9/20
It was crappy when I bought it but after several modification and my own learning is actually "turning" out decent work. Decent enough to mage several working engines. I must say that one of us (me or the lathe) is getting smarter, better, more accurate and less prone to screw up as time pass.

The mist essential Modifications: Tumbler and a 4 bolts compound lock down, all others were to make live easier but did not change the basic capabilities.

On the other hand if you have the room the G4003G will probably make you very happy going from a hobby lathe to areal lathe.
Yes, I do not want a hobby lathe. Always something that is missing or too small. I am used to using much larger lathes from work and I know what they are capable of. It was terribly difficult for me to go to an enco toy. I considered putting an idler in it for LH threads, but as long as I am not needing the thread immediately (use the correct stuff when yhou have, it, that is, LH taps and dies) but the enco makes terrible threads and I have to be SUPER careful making any threads at all -- mostly because the slowest it turns is 100rpm. Outside threads are not so bad but I had to make a hand-wheel to turn internal threads by hand. Works OK, not the best but still works.

Yes, I too am getting better with the enco toy but it still lacks so much. One of my biggest complaints about it is that the tail stock only comes out 1-1/2"--BAH. I know people have built new tail stocks and it most likely wold not be too difficult but if I am getting a REAL lathe, why bother?
 

David Morrow

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I didn't consider it because I thot the shipping cost would be outrageous. I am looking for a 1 meter (40") between centers, machine with 13 or 14" swing. I've heard nothing but good things about the myford and I know there are a few in the US. So is the Super 7 in that category?
14" Swing ? No, I'd say not even close.

Before I bought mine I would troll Craigslist from Bellingham down to Seattle ( I live in Vancouver, BC ) and came across them occasionally. Even across the border, a commercial carrier could deliver these days.
 

Richard Hed

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14" Swing ? No, I'd say not even close.

Before I bought mine I would troll Craigslist from Bellingham down to Seattle ( I live in Vancouver, BC ) and came across them occasionally. Even across the border, a commercial carrier could deliver these days.
Bolton has a model that is 3600USD but I thimk they are not really high qualilty--do not know for sure, but the reviews indicate so. Grizzly has a 12X36 (G4003G) that I would trust more because Griz has a reputation of taking care of problems nearly immediately but the cost is a bit more 4000usd. The Bolton model is known for leaking oil. I'll look into craigslist --have been looking on ebay.
 

SmithDoor

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I look at Grizzly and Enco is about the same.

Look at the tooling as in tapper attachment, capacity of steady rest and follower rest. These items just can not be found after market and is made for your lathe.

Chucks and tool post are after market can purchase later from others.

Dave

Since I have one of the crappiest lathes ever made, an Enco 9-20, and it is very sloppy and does not do left hand threads (which is a big reason I bought a lathe), I am looking to buy a better lathe in the 4-5000$ range. I would say the only thing good about an Enco of this size is that any lathe is better than nothing.

I have my eye on the Grizzly G4003G, however, I browsed the Chinese stuff in "Made in China" and Alibaba and have found numerous lathes that do the same as the Grizz. We all know that the Grizz stuff is just a way for Chinese stuff to sell more easily in the USA, and that Grizz has a pretty decent reputation for fixing bad equipment that gets to the customers, but the Chinese direct sales lathes are significantly lower price even after shipping, so I am wondering if anyone can suggest a decent lathe to buy. I am so suspicious of these companies that they will not support their products and that they might have generally poor quality stuff. One can never know what each company is like. There are SCORES of these companies in China making machine lathes and mills--which ones make good stuff?

In another year or so, I will likely be looking for a small mill also. Due to the corona virus (this years horror story to keep us entertained, or under control or believing in aliens or for some agency of the government to get more $$ out of the taxpayer or whatever), I thimk the price of everything just might drop a bit. Any suggestions?
 

goldstar31

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Initially, Myford 'made' long bed lathes. Again, the new Myford firm which took over will either sell reconditioned Super7's and also sell what are essentially new lathes-----all at a horrendous price.
You could be thinking of £8000 excluding anything.

Maybe a fairly new Super 7 with gear box and power cross feed--------as a tax free investment or something to enjoy - rather like having a Rolls Royce or a vintage Mercedes Sports car- which once the normal depreciation applies actually increase in price.

Surprisingly, original Myford ML7's were- wait for it-- £25 with a motor and faceplate etc.
One of my friends got one as an appr entice- now in his mid seventies- is still enjoying it.
He used to make precision instruments= perhaps he he w as and is a clever investor.
He's still got a couple of classic Triumph cars and classic sailing dinghies.


His wife - following what my late wife did- collects musical instruments. Come to think of it, there are a lot of nice old 'dragons' doing such things.
Worth a thought or two
 

Charles Lamont

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A Super 7 is 7" swing (fancy that!) x 20" between centres. For the size and money you are talking about, I would be look for a good second hand machine. In the UK probably a Colchester.
 

almega

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In the size and price range you are looking, have you considered looking for a used older lathe that would be significantly more massive and may even come with some tooling? I have not seen a decent new lathe in that size for less than $5-7000USD and even at that price those may be suspect. I do know someone who has the Grizzly G0709 gunsmithing lathe and he is happy with it and says he has had no problems with his. Those are currently running about $5800USD plus $300 shipping.
 

dazz

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Hi
This is the classic choice between new unworn crap and high quality but worn out machine tools. There is no right answer. My approach is to search for years to find that rare example of a low use, high quality, older machine with known providence.

My latest purchase was a Deckel mill clone that I missed out buying 8 years ago but when it came back onto the market about 2 years ago, I got it. It came with the original purchase receipts and inspection certificates. It cost way too much but I know I will be able to sell it for a good price.

Dazz
 

ajholmz

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RH
As always price is what you pay - value is what you get.
An old lathe with good accuracy ridgity and visual appeal is going to be a better investment even if you've got to spend a few dollars pounds on some repairs.
I agree with Goldstar - what are you going to enjoy using most? - you know the man said "I drive a Rolls Royce 'cause its good for my voice"
As JM Keynes said - "In the long run we are all dead" and your relatives probably wont care what they're flogging off once you peg it.
Bonz
 

Richard Hed

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Hi
This is the classic choice between new unworn crap and high quality but worn out machine tools. There is no right answer. My approach is to search for years to find that rare example of a low use, high quality, older machine with known providence.

My latest purchase was a Deckel mill clone that I missed out buying 8 years ago but when it came back onto the market about 2 years ago, I got it. It came with the original purchase receipts and inspection certificates. It cost way too much but I know I will be able to sell it for a good price.

Dazz
Yes, it is a dilemma. But I can predict the future: I will buy a new piece of crap, then won't have the $$ the next week when a great, used, still in great shape, lathe comes available.
 

Richard Hed

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Initially, Myford 'made' long bed lathes. Again, the new Myford firm which took over will either sell reconditioned Super7's and also sell what are essentially new lathes-----all at a horrendous price.
You could be thinking of £8000 excluding anything.

Maybe a fairly new Super 7 with gear box and power cross feed--------as a tax free investment or something to enjoy - rather like having a Rolls Royce or a vintage Mercedes Sports car- which once the normal depreciation applies actually increase in price.

Surprisingly, original Myford ML7's were- wait for it-- £25 with a motor and faceplate etc.
One of my friends got one as an appr entice- now in his mid seventies- is still enjoying it.
He used to make precision instruments= perhaps he he w as and is a clever investor.
He's still got a couple of classic Triumph cars and classic sailing dinghies.


His wife - following what my late wife did- collects musical instruments. Come to think of it, there are a lot of nice old 'dragons' doing such things.
Worth a thought or two
Well, the pound was MUCH stronger 60 years ago. I thimk it was about 5$ to the pound, and even the $$ was stronger then. What can one buy with a $ today? not much--a lb of decent bread is 5$--when I was a kid (last week), a lb of poisonous white bread (you couldn't even FIND Jewish rye, or Russian rye) was 25c. The number one grain in the world, of course, is rice. So in North America and Europe, wheat, and in the rest of the world, rice, is the staple which money must be compared to. So 25lb from a long time ago may well be the same worth as 1-2000$ today.
 

goldstar31

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Well, the pound was MUCH stronger 60 years ago. I thimk it was about 5$ to the pound, and even the $$ was stronger then. What can one buy with a $ today? not much--a lb of decent bread is 5$--when I was a kid (last week), a lb of poisonous white bread (you couldn't even FIND Jewish rye, or Russian rye) was 25c. The number one grain in the world, of course, is rice. So in North America and Europe, wheat, and in the rest of the world, rice, is the staple which money must be compared to. So 25lb from a long time ago may well be the same worth as 1-2000$ today.
Tjere is only one thing that comes down-- and that is rain:)

I was forced to study Communism as I lived only a couple of miles from 'Little Moscow' and my education was sufficient - to go down the local coal mine at 14.
I'm a bit like my drinking partner who is half Chinese and was born in the streets that were part of Liverpool's dock area. His brother in law came from China in a tramp steamer that the Japanese wouldn't waste a torpedo on. He was an apprentice ship's cook with a £10 note in his hand and a future to be a millionaire. I grew and sold spinach as a boy in the local market. Hoorah for Hitler.
With the money from our little garden, it paid for a an education that I hadn't had previously.

Don't tell me about being hard up. I wore clogs and when my shirt collar was too frayed, my mother cut the tail off and made a new collar and any old bit of material replaced it. I was dining last night with a millionaire and his wife- you know the sort of thing with best French wines and 100 year old malt whisky.
His wife couldn't afford the school fees- and wanted to be a hairdresser.

And as for my children- and selling my workshop for scrap? Do you seriously believe what I went through that I wouldn't tell them 'the real facts of life'?
My daughter is having a break as a consultant dentist at their weekend cottage by the sea whilst my son is driving up to the UK from his holiday home in the Dordogne in France.
Meantime, he is watching the prices rise on a classic Lotus and the Mrc in my garage.

Little wonder I become somewhat testy when I read some of the moans which sadly are becoming more and more prevalent here.
Not just my account of things- a lot of us came from \the wrong side of the tracks' except we were too poor to have tracks
 
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Richard Hed

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Tjere is only one thing that comes down-- and that is rain:)

I was forced to study Communism as I lived only a couple of miles from 'Little Moscow' and my education was sufficient - to go down the local coal mine at 14.
I'm a bit like my drinking partner who is half Chinese and was born in the streets that were part of Liverpool's dock area. His brother in law came from China in a tramp steamer that the Japanese wouldn't waste a torpedo on. He was an apprentice ship's cook with a £10 note in his hand and a future to be a millionaire. I grew and sold spinach as a boy in the local market. Hoorah for Hitler.
With the money from our little garden, it paid for a an education that I hadn't had previously.

Don't tell me about being hard up. I wore clogs and when my shirt collar was too frayed, my mother cut the tail off and made a new collar and any old bit of material replaced it. I was dining last night with a millionaire and his wife- you know the sort of thing with best French wines and 100 year old malt whisky.
His wife couldn't afford the school fees- and wanted to be a hairdresser.

And as for my children- and selling my workshop for scrap? Do you seriously believe what I went through that I wouldn't tell them 'the real facts of life'?
My daughter is having a break as a consultant dentist at their weekend cottage by the sea whilst my son is driving up to the UK from his holiday home in the Dordogne in France.
Meantime, he is watching the prices rise on a classic Lotus and the Mrc in my garage.

Little wonder I become somewhat testy when I read some of the moans which sadly are becoming more and more prevalent here.
Not just my account of things- a lot of us came from \the wrong side of the tracks' except we were too poor to have tracks
I understand what you're saying, but not the point as to how it is relevant to what I had to say. This was not a 'moan' at all. It's a statement about inflation, war and food prices.
 

haakonpe

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Although I'm 55, and have played with mechanical stuff all my life, I'm fairly new to the machining world.

My first lathe and mill I got from my 92 year old neighbor when he moved out. He gave me his lathe (South Bend heavy 10) and I bought his mill (and Enco labeled Rong-Fu 30). Once I got them into my shop, I must have spent 40+ hours cleaning and adjusting the best I could. What I found out was that my deal, wasn't the real deal that I thought it was. The wear in the lathe ways made it impossible to make straight cuts. The mill was better maintained, but there were issues of repeatability that were real frustrating as well. After my initial learning, and tinkering, and fixing etc.... I decided to buy new. After looking at quite a few name brands (Grizzly, Jet, Baileigh and Precision Matthews) I settled on Precision Matthews. They had been in business long enough that I was comfortable that they'd be around a while, and they had a good reputation for service. 4 years after I bought my lathe from them, I also bought a knee mill from them as well.

Going with new equipment was a bit of a luxury. After tinkering around with the old used stuff that would NEVER be able to hold the tolerances I wanted to hold, it's nice to work on the projects I want to do rather than working on the tooling itself. If you buy a "T" version of any of their products, it's 100% made in Taiwan - not China - and it's high quality stuff. FWIW, I bought a 1340GT Lathe and a 935TS mill. No regrets whatsoever on either purchase.

Best of luck
 

Bsl

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I have a Southbend 9x30 A that I would let go. It has been sitting for a few years and has some surface rust. I am north of Seattle.
 

dnalot

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I bought the Grizzly 4003g lathe several years ago and have been very happy with it. I use it daily and have had no issues. I would recommend replacing the light bulb on the lamp with an led bulb to avoid burning the back of your hand. And replace the oil, theirs looks like a mixture of Bat blood and bug spit.

Mark T
 

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