Does longer lathe ways have any disadvantage

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hacklordsniper

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Ready to order my new lathe, still need to clear one detail.

Its 410 mm swing (Chinese CM6241) and can be had in 1000 and 1500 mm center distance. Until now i had 700 mm center distance and was happy with it.

I will never need long working distance as 1500 mm but im considering it because there is a tiny price difference. Is there some disadvantage in having so long ways and not needing them? Is lathe with longer ways in some way more unstable?
 

tms6401

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In my experience, the longer the better if for no other reason than "parking" tailstock. I find that quite often I wish I had just a bit longer bed. They usually do take up a wee bit more floor space, but if that is not a concern then go for it.

tms
 

hacklordsniper

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No, floor space is not of any problem. The workshop is quite small about 30 m2, but lathe has its reserved place and it does not matter will it be 50 cm longer or shorter.

The only question is are shorter ways more stiff (stronger) or is there any disadvantage i should know. This is my 4th lathe and i hope final for rest of life so want to make it "perfect buy" (if that exists)
 
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It is a chinese lathe , so do not expect it to be your last .
Think that for bout the same price you can get a real nice used ( east) european made lathe.
Even a older lathe ( like from the 60s) will last way longer than any Chinese.
 

hacklordsniper

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Hello, sorry but that is not a point of discussion. I have a nice clean new workshop and like to keep it that way and there is no place for rusty old, beaten, oil dripping iron. This is why only a brand new lathe is considered, same as other my machines. I cant see why this lathe would not be my last, it has everything i could wish for + triple the size i need. I sold my last 11X27 lathe only because i got tired of changing gears for threading and feed speeds.

Generally i have good experience with Chinese machines

You can see how it looks from the lathe part:

 

rodw

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If you have the room, get the longer one. As said, the tailstock on the bigger lathes takes up a fair bit oof room. Sometimes, I have taken mine off and mine only has a 320mm swing.

I am glad somebody has put the case for a new lathe. Every time I buy something used, there is something that is not as it seems and requires fixing or eventually I discard it in favour of a new one. I am so glad to have had my lathe from new over the last couple of years and now it is set up the way I want it. Maybe in some countries buying used is an option but it does not stack up where I live.
 

Swifty

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I'm with Rod on this one, this aversion that a lot of people have to Chinese machinery is misguided, sure the small bench top machines that are made by the thousands are often not up to scratch and need rebuilding, but the larger machines are quite OK. I have had a Chinese / Taiwanese lathe for over 10 years and it's great. My milling machine is made in Taiwan and it's as good as the Bridgeports, and it was a lot cheaper.

Unfortunately, some of our members still have the attitude that unless it's made in the country they live in, all the rest is rubbish. There is a whole other world out there and they are getting better at making things by the day.

Hacklordsniper, I googled the lathe that you are looking at, it looks like a very nice machine, as to the bed length, I can't see why the longer bed would be any problem. Invest in a machine level and set the lathe up properly, carefully checking all the way along the bed, then enjoy using your new lathe.

Paul.
 

Tin Falcon

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You could lose some stiffness on a longer bed but I think given the choice most people would go with the longer bed.
Tin
 
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a chinese looks nice when new, but what when you need parts after 20 years.
I have a 1960 Meuser lathe, so 54 years old now, got some new parts from the factory , they even restore those older lathes themself.
It cuts 250 plus diferend treads , I updated it myself with a DRO and frequentie controll unit.
I will bet a six pack that a chinese wont last that long.
just a pic ol the oil dripping rusty old iron,
this was half way the update, , now have just the controll panel of the frequenty controll , mouted next to the DRO

 

Tin Falcon

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Spinningwheels : I think you are spinning your wheels here. You are entitled to your opinion. And the other guys are entitled to theirs. The question here was about bed length . I saw no question about what lathe brand to buy or anything about old iron vs import.
So let it go.There is no need to try to get a argument or debate going about import lathes vs old domestic equipment. . This is one of those hot topics to be avoided.

Some guys like new import equipment some like old equipment . I have some of each. the best lathe is the one that is available at a price you can afford. the cheap old lathe only works if you are standing in front of the deal money in hand and have a way to get it home.
Tin
 

hacklordsniper

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Tin Falcon, that you for your support and i really have no intention to start any kind of China VS old iron. I checked old iron that is available prior to purchasing this big lathe (this is my 4 th China lathe, and i just ordered my second China milling machine).

This is "old iron" that i can buy for China machine money:





And this is a machine i can buy new for same money:



I think they are not comparable. I know i will have to debur a hole or two, tighten a screw or two, clean some casting sand... But it is nothing comparable to ~ 40 year old machine which has 40 years of machining on it, quite many abusive operators, lots of wear and that would require a year or two of work to look like a machine. I don't have resources, knowledge, time, will and tools to restore such machine and again in the end it will still be old machine. There is a high chance those Chinese model lathes will still be in production in 20 years, and if not and part is unavailable it can always be made by fellow machinists. Old iron was something in its days, but today is something else.

I really don't want to start any kind of war, but im searching only opinion on way length, not machine country of manufacture or year of production.
 

RonGinger

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I will take a shot at prolonging this old vs china topic with a recent experience. I owned and old Clausing 8513 mill for many years. This is a highly desirable old American made mill. Over the years I replaced the screws, did some scraping, even paid a pro to do some scraping. But it was still an old machine, and a few months ago I got tired of its foibles and decided to sell it. ( Truth be know I just decided I wanted a new machine)

So I bought a Grizly 0704. Yes, it had some sharp edges along the dovetails, but it has tapered gibs, a larger table, slightly more travel in all directions, and its all bright and shiny. I think I will like it more than the Clausing as I get to use it more. I paid less for it than what I sold the Clausing for.

It is true that the Chinese make some junk, but they have also learned to make very good machinery as well. Remember when made in Japan meant junk? There are some very bright people in all of the world, not just here in the US.
 

hacklordsniper

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Hello, i had this same lathe, not from Grizzly but clone (Optimum BF20L). I was quite happy with it for about 2 years and sold it now to buy much larger mill. What i missed on it is Z-axis power feed, little bit more power (i overheated the motor few times when doing 20 mm deep cuts in aluminum, but the machine is not designed for it anyway). All together i had positive experience, when recieving i disasembled to pieces and cleaned everything. Not much work except the x axis leadscrew which was covered in mix of cosmoline/grease/cast iron dust and swarf

 

Niels Abildgaard

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Why not try?

When you get your longbed lathe put a DTI from crossslide to something like you would a cutting tool and put some well defined force downward like cutting will do and se what movement.
If a shortbed gentleman does the same and results are not very different bedlength means nothing or otherwise.That would interest me very much more than the glory of old iron.n
 

rodw

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I am sure you won't find any sand in the castings of machine of that size. I couldn't. The only thing I spent some time on was to get one of the jaws in the 4 jaw chuck to spin freely. But then, after a hard workout, some swarf caused a bur in my 3 jaw which needed a quick stroke of a file to fix. My Chinese spindle has zero runout and all chucks are within normal specs.

Some of the Chinese lathes in this country have been on the market with the one distributor (that I used) for the last 10-15 years, maybe more. I have never had any problems getting parts. If not in stock locally, it is on my doorstep from interstate in 24-48 hours freight free.

So all in all, I think the Old Iron is a myth (certainly in a lot of parts of the world where used machines of any quality are like hens teeth!)

Anyway, my lathe has paid for itself making components 50% faster than my previous lathe so even if it dies totally (totally unlikely), I am not really out of pocket!
 

Brian Rupnow

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There is no downside to having the longer bed lathe, other than a bit of space. Tailstock parking is a big issue. Being able to mount the topslide at 90 degrees to the saddle is a real benefit. but if you have the short bed style you may have to set the topslide at 30 degrees simply for clearance between it and the tailstock. i say, go for the long bed.
 

GWRdriver

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"Sorry but that is not a point of discussion"

Frequently my sentiments exactly, but as for the lathe bed . . . in the USA, where then and now the live steam population contains a fair percentage of members with industrial backgrounds, and who also build in 7"+ga, the quick advice is always longer is better. When I was just coming in (early 1960s) the advice to newcomers was always to get the longest bed available.

The curious thing I observed however was that none of the old hands whose workshops I visited or was mentored in ever made use of the extra foot or two or three of bed, except as a tool or tea cup shelf. This told me that the extra long bed they said was a must-have was in fact something held over from their days at "the Works", where they might very well be called upon to turn long shafts, rather than what would be needed and used as a model engineer.

When I bought my "last" lathe (an 11" British toolroom lathe in 1984) a 500mm (short) and 750mm (standard) bed were available. I knew the 500mm bed had the potential to at some point lack sufficient center length and be a problem. On the other end of the scale, if a much longer bed, say 1000mm to 1500mm had been available I knew the probability was I would never make use of that length, so the 750mm bed was chosen and I have never regretted that choice. Not to long, not too short, it has been an ideal length for my model engineering work.
 
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Jos360

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I've owned a lathe with a 4' between centers for about 5 years. It was an old machine. I always thought it would be profitable but I've never used it. I decided to get a smaller toolroom lathe with only 3' between centers and one of the first jobs that turned up was machining a 3.5' shaft.
I got it done on the small lathe (you always will get it done) but I wish it had come up 3 weeks earlier, when I still had the big one.

My opinion: even though you hardly use it, if the price is OK and you have the room: get it.
 

hacklordsniper

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Hello,

thanks for all advices and tips. In the end i ordered longer one, at this moment i can surely say i will never need it but the price difference is so small (little bit less than 200 $ to be precise) that i decided to take it. So 410 X1500 mm is starting to be built in far China, and i need to prepare how to move in trough steps, small door and my yard a 2 ton lathe.

And to remeber i started with 140X250 mm lathe 2 years ago...
 

Roy6126

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hi I just had a quick look on the web to see what type of lathe you are considering. I until recently had a small commercial workshop with a long and a short bed version of what you are looking at. Firstly you need have no worries at all about rigidity with the longer bed and the previous comment about getting the tail stock out of the way is totally correct.
Plus if you are in my age range 60-70 yrs are you likely to live long enough to wear it out, I only sold mine because my shed workshop floor at home would not have taken the weight. They were real work horses. So if you have the room go for the longer one you never know that extra length may come in very handy one day.
Hope this helps and enjoy your new machine Roy
 
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