Downsizing to a smaller lathe

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We will be moving to a retirement property soon and I am considering a miniature machine shop in a corner of the residence. No room for my present metal shop machines. In the eternal quest for a smaller lathe I came across this one from Little Machine Shop

HiTorque 8.5x20 Bench Lathe, Deluxe 7550 - LittleMachineShop.com

It is their version of a Sieg SC4. Seems to have some quality to it as opposed to the plastic miniature lathes everybody sells. It even offers power cross feed and has a 1.3 hp motor. Unfortunately it only comes with a three jaw chuck. All the usual accessories ( face plate, steady rests, 4 jaw chuck ) have to be purchased in an accessory kit for extra money. It's an expensive little item, but then I shouldn't be trying to locate a quality small lathe if I am going to complain about the price.

Anybody ever used one of these? Am I off base trying to buy a small lathe? Should I just tell the wife that the new place has to have room for a full machine shop? Would anyone like to bury the body if I do that?

DonM
 

RM-MN

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Just for comparison.

 

lee webster

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I think Andrew Whale of 'Learning turning metal' on youtube uses one of these lathes. Could be worth you having a look.
 

Richard Hed

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We will be moving to a retirement property soon and I am considering a miniature machine shop in a corner of the residence. No room for my present metal shop machines. In the eternal quest for a smaller lathe I came across this one from Little Machine Shop

HiTorque 8.5x20 Bench Lathe, Deluxe 7550 - LittleMachineShop.com

It is their version of a Sieg SC4. Seems to have some quality to it as opposed to the plastic miniature lathes everybody sells. It even offers power cross feed and has a 1.3 hp motor. Unfortunately it only comes with a three jaw chuck. All the usual accessories ( face plate, steady rests, 4 jaw chuck ) have to be purchased in an accessory kit for extra money. It's an expensive little item, but then I shouldn't be trying to locate a quality small lathe if I am going to complain about the price.

Anybody ever used one of these? Am I off base trying to buy a small lathe? Should I just tell the wife that the new place has to have room for a full machine shop? Would anyone like to bury the body if I do that?

DonM
Do as I did. When the little wifey complained about me kikking her out of the bedroom so the lathe could go in her spot, I was forced to put her on a chain at the dog house. She barks and howls a lot. In this extremely cold weather I considered putting a heater out in the doghouse just to kee0p her water from freezing.
 

Richard Hed

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Before getting any small lathe, chek to see if it will do left hand threads if you will ever be needing that functions. My experience is if they donot explicitly say "LH threads", then they won't do it. Of course you can always build a reversing idler. I bought an Enco and didn't notice this feature--I needed tht feature and kikt by own a$$ two months later when I found Grizz had the same sized lathe for a few bucks less and WITH LH thtreads.
 

ajoeiam

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We will be moving to a retirement property soon and I am considering a miniature machine shop in a corner of the residence. No room for my present metal shop machines. In the eternal quest for a smaller lathe I came across this one from Little Machine Shop

HiTorque 8.5x20 Bench Lathe, Deluxe 7550 - LittleMachineShop.com

It is their version of a Sieg SC4. Seems to have some quality to it as opposed to the plastic miniature lathes everybody sells. It even offers power cross feed and has a 1.3 hp motor. Unfortunately it only comes with a three jaw chuck. All the usual accessories ( face plate, steady rests, 4 jaw chuck ) have to be purchased in an accessory kit for extra money. It's an expensive little item, but then I shouldn't be trying to locate a quality small lathe if I am going to complain about the price.

Anybody ever used one of these? Am I off base trying to buy a small lathe? Should I just tell the wife that the new place has to have room for a full machine shop? Would anyone like to bury the body if I do that?

DonM
At the risk of sounding like I do know what I'm doing - - - -

If you haven't yet bought the property - - - options
1. find a property that has a 2 car garage option (use the 2nd space better get 3 car option and use 2 - - live large)
2. if you won't be driving (doubtful in NA) add a garage
3. check your property regs and if allowed buy a 20' container, insulate finish and install shop
(challenging but doable)
if you have bought the property - - -
1. expand the garage
2. add a garage (see previous #2)
3. see previous #3

now if you've already committed to an apartment then your options shrank.
1. go ahead with buying everything smaller and hopefully you will be allowed some space
(wouldn't be my preferred solution!)
2. some properties have storage rooms for rent
there you go - - - move your stuff
3. find commercial storage in close proximity (easy walking)
move your stuff

Dunno - - - but - - - hopefully the ideas might be useful!

(I started the wife on a number of hobbies - - - - long before retirement.
I try not to mutter too much at the yarn stash that is threatening to overflow a couple rooms (LOL).
I'm not planning on leaving this property until I really can't get around and then I think I might be ready to give up all my toys.
(that's a very long list already and not getting any shorter - - - lol)
Then swmbo isn't qutie so tough to deal with.)

If I bury you - - - - do I get your toys? (LOL)
 

ShopShoe

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Those that know of Clickspring may be able to confirm or deny my belief that he uses one of those 8.5 inch lathes alongside a smaller one: Extreme quality and detail work using mostly brass.

I have considered one of those myself, but I really want "More." Meanwhile I still have my 7x lathe and have started a "house shop" with smaller machines.

I think it's a sign of the times that rising prices on everything has partly resulted in the accessories that come with machines to be reduced in order to advertise a lower price.

I am NOT affiliated with LMS, but I have been satisfied with all the interactions and purchases I have done with them. I would consider their lathe. In all fairness, I am also NOT afiliated with Grizzly, but I would consider their version if they offered a more completely accessorized package that seemed a workable deal for me. I have had good experiences working with knowledgeable staff from both companies.

--

I think I am going to be in your shoes in the future, and I am working through what I may end up with: thus the house shop in process:

Here are some of my thoughts: Larger capacity means larger and heavier projects and larger and heavier raw materials so downsizing means accross the board. I will have to reduce the scope of what I do to avoid materials that many will consider too dangerous to keep inside. I will have to arrange my shop and storage areas so "the people" can coexist with them in the house. Smaller also means maybe I can have a work area that can be covered or screened from view so that partially completed work can be left set up.

Only you can decide what you want to do and then plan to work within those ideas.

Let us know how things work out....


--ShopShoe
 

Bentwings

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We will be moving to a retirement property soon and I am considering a miniature machine shop in a corner of the residence. No room for my present metal shop machines. In the eternal quest for a smaller lathe I came across this one from Little Machine Shop

HiTorque 8.5x20 Bench Lathe, Deluxe 7550 - LittleMachineShop.com

It is their version of a Sieg SC4. Seems to have some quality to it as opposed to the plastic miniature lathes everybody sells. It even offers power cross feed and has a 1.3 hp motor. Unfortunately it only comes with a three jaw chuck. All the usual accessories ( face plate, steady rests, 4 jaw chuck ) have to be purchased in an accessory kit for extra money. It's an expensive little item, but then I shouldn't be trying to locate a quality small lathe if I am going to complain about the price.

Anybody ever used one of these? Am I off base trying to buy a small lathe? Should I just tell the wife that the new place has to have room for a full machine shop? Would anyone like to bury the body if I do that?

DonM
don’t forget the weight issue for each machine there are roll around frames but I suspect leveling an issue we have a grizzly 10 x 22 but it has the optional 3 phase converter motor this is a unique thing not often noted ours has the vFD . This little lathe has rediculous power with digital rpm and single from . The big issue is that it does not have reverse on the lead screw this means cutting toward the chuck I was taught not to do this also means no left hand threads very rare the G 602 version has an online conversion to reverse the lead screw. Or variant has a completely different gear train so that doesn’t work there are work around but for now we just live with it. Explore how the machines operate. Grizzly does have manuals on line so you can look at them many small machines don’t have this. I woul not hesitate to contact suppliers with a list of questions also consider any optional base. If you have limited space it may be hard to build a base. That usually takes its own machines. Maybe a friend could help you out there. We had to use a cherry picker to lift this thing. The mill was even heavier. I didn’t have much input or we would have got other construction on the mill. It has too many travel limitations. Just adding a rotary table make height problems. I’d say get as much power as you can. If you get into any tough materials like 4130 or 4150 even some tool steels can be a struggle with some dart machines our little cut off band saw has. Hard time with tough stuff. It’s hard to use cutting oil without a mess we do use a saw wax from the weld shop that really helps.
Byron
 

ChazzC

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Those that know of Clickspring may be able to confirm or deny my belief that he uses one of those 8.5 inch lathes alongside a smaller one: Extreme quality and detail work using mostly brass.

I have considered one of those myself, but I really want "More." Meanwhile I still have my 7x lathe and have started a "house shop" with smaller machines.

I think it's a sign of the times that rising prices on everything has partly resulted in the accessories that come with machines to be reduced in order to advertise a lower price.

I am NOT affiliated with LMS, but I have been satisfied with all the interactions and purchases I have done with them. I would consider their lathe. In all fairness, I am also NOT afiliated with Grizzly, but I would consider their version if they offered a more completely accessorized package that seemed a workable deal for me. I have had good experiences working with knowledgeable staff from both companies.

--

I think I am going to be in your shoes in the future, and I am working through what I may end up with: thus the house shop in process:

Here are some of my thoughts: Larger capacity means larger and heavier projects and larger and heavier raw materials so downsizing means accross the board. I will have to reduce the scope of what I do to avoid materials that many will consider too dangerous to keep inside. I will have to arrange my shop and storage areas so "the people" can coexist with them in the house. Smaller also means maybe I can have a work area that can be covered or screened from view so that partially completed work can be left set up.

Only you can decide what you want to do and then plan to work within those ideas.

Let us know how things work out....


--ShopShoe


Don,

I am also not affiliated with LMS, but have one of their mini-mills and over the last few years have gotten to know the folks out there pretty well. They are good, honest people, and SIEG machines made to their spec are good quality and good value. I have a very small basement shop (25' x 14', but 70% is taken up by heating & cooling plant, water heater, dehumidifier, access alleys and storage, so my work area is more like 9' x 12', which includes benches & machines), so I opted for mini-machines (7 x16 lathe & LMS 3990 mill) rather than bench-size: as much as I often wish I had the bench-size versions (8.5 x 20 lathe & large bench mill) to have a little more capacity and rigidity, I just don't have the space and the weights would have meant significant disassembly/re-assembly in order to move them into place (plus double the investment).

Good luck with the move and enjoy your new shop!


Charlie
 

Bentwings

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Don,

I am also not affiliated with LMS, but have one of their mini-mills and over the last few years have gotten to know the folks out there pretty well. They are good, honest people, and SIEG machines made to their spec are good quality and good value. I have a very small basement shop (25' x 14', but 70% is taken up by heating & cooling plant, water heater, dehumidifier, access alleys and storage, so my work area is more like 9' x 12', which includes benches & machines), so I opted for mini-machines (7 x16 lathe & LMS 3990 mill) rather than bench-size: as much as I often wish I had the bench-size versions (8.5 x 20 lathe & large bench mill) to have a little more capacity and rigidity, I just don't have the space and the weights would have meant significant disassembly/re-assembly in order to move them into place (plus double the investment).

Good luck with the move and enjoy your new shop!


Charlie
I’m not aligned with anyone either. One device we talked about for a long time was a tool grinder you can not go so long with just a bench grinder and bless you have a variety of wheels you just can only do so much some guys are realy creative with them however . We finally got one and it has changed about everything . I lik to hone my high speed stuff especially for soft materials but even tough stuff I still get clean finishes. Carbide does well on some things but do remember it is sintered so what looks like a razor edge doesn’t really last long. They are good for relatively heavy cuts. The grizzly can realy power through with the 3 phase motor. We have a collection of end mills already. We have a quick change tool post and quite a pile of holders now. We finally got a full set of collets for the mill so it works it pretty well. The rotary table has been on order for 3 months and still don’t have it the old one is worn out. I saw a micro cnc machine last night but I just can’t shake that many dollars out. Eyes are bigger than pocket book. LOL
Byron
 

Eccentric

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I own one of these LMS 8.5" X 20 Deluxe lathes and am very happy with it. This model has the DROs which are very nice. It is a small lathe and it is not as ridgid as a larger lathe, of course. The compound is not real ridgid and I often will remove it and bolt my tool post to the cross slide with an adapter plate. I also find myself running slower with smaller cuts to eliminate the chatter on precision passes. It has plenty of power for all types of materials, tool steel, stainless steel, 1144, cast iron. If you are willining to understand and live with the limitations of a lathe this size, the Little Machine Shop Deluxe Bench top lathe is a good choice. The folks at LMS are awesome and have been very accomodating and helpful over the years.
 

SmithDoor

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I know downsizing the lathe and mill.
So now I have a bench mill and a SB 9

Dave

We will be moving to a retirement property soon and I am considering a miniature machine shop in a corner of the residence. No room for my present metal shop machines. In the eternal quest for a smaller lathe I came across this one from Little Machine Shop

HiTorque 8.5x20 Bench Lathe, Deluxe 7550 - LittleMachineShop.com

It is their version of a Sieg SC4. Seems to have some quality to it as opposed to the plastic miniature lathes everybody sells. It even offers power cross feed and has a 1.3 hp motor. Unfortunately it only comes with a three jaw chuck. All the usual accessories ( face plate, steady rests, 4 jaw chuck ) have to be purchased in an accessory kit for extra money. It's an expensive little item, but then I shouldn't be trying to locate a quality small lathe if I am going to complain about the price.

Anybody ever used one of these? Am I off base trying to buy a small lathe? Should I just tell the wife that the new place has to have room for a full machine shop? Would anyone like to bury the body if I do that?

DonM
 
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I have an 8" x 16" with variable speed 750W PM DC motor.
Great when over 300rpm, but limited time below that before the over-temp system cuts-in. (I have added an extra fan in the motor chamber, but not sure it is very effective!). Also, below 200rpm it is sadly lacking in torque. Therefore I struggle with cast iron over 2" diameter. Knocking the hard black iron off a cast lump (2" dia) recently took an age... but at 1 1/2" the core grey iron was good for 300rpm and 0.010" cuts at the slowest longitudinal feed rate... But when retired we have the time to not need to rush things. It is a good occupation on a wet afternoon... (My bench tools consume hours, without achieving a great deal!).
So your "high torque!" machine sounds better... Maybe the 1000 Watt (1.34 HP) brushless DC drive will be superior at low speeds? - Does anyone know? - It may be a worthwhile conversion for my lathe? (Why don't lathe suppliers give torque, versus speed, material cutting rates, etc. in their specs?)

K2
 

Niterate

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Those that know of Clickspring may be able to confirm or deny my belief that he uses one of those 8.5 inch lathes alongside a smaller one: Extreme quality and detail work using mostly brass.
.. I like Chris's vids very much, the red one's the Seig C4 which he laments that it's not a hardend bed, the other a Sherline which he uses the motor of, on occasion mounted to the cross slide to drive profile cutters for gear teeth, using a stepper on the rear to index the gear being cut in spindle. The (blue, newer?) third one I'm unsure. But yes a very cluey fellow indeed.

I do miss his longer format vids, like the first channel, the short's are ok but lack the commentary which I find intstructive.
 
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Henry K

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One option I would like to mention is renting a 1 or 2 car garage in the neighborhood and putting in some insulation and a heater. About 1967-8, while studying for my BSIE engineering degree, I worked part time for a machinist who was getting all the aerospace jobs he could handle in a rented 2 car garage. He was doing jobs for Link, Kearfott, and Bendix who were big guys in the aerospace field. He even installed a toilet (a "camping toilet" will do for a hobby shop). I am actually thinking of doing this in a few years when I will "have" to move closer to my 2 daughters.
 

hanermo3

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Fwiw..
I changed my original motor to an ac servo drive (2.5kW continuous) with 1:3 HTD 8/30 belt drive.

There is about 30x more torque at all speeds, including 1 rpm or less, and the benefit is immense, incredible, outstanding.
I never ever thought that the torque would matter, but it really really does.

I tried a DC drive before, as a shop-built servo. Ok, as a servo, but so-so otherwise.
Sparks, noisy, wear, heats, not so much torque.

On the VMC originally with a bridgeport M head of 2/3 HP, 3-phase, I now have a VFD+3 phase motor at 1:1.3 rpm increase.
So I can run the ISO30 spindle at 8000 rpm at need.
Because 3-phase motors are really cheap, I went with 2.5 kW. 180€.
This has lots of torque, given that I work in steel, and typically 10-12 mm cutters or less.

In theory, according to the manufacturers, I will be able to rigid tap in steel with the VFD (with an encoder).

hth

So your "high torque!" machine sounds better... Maybe the 1000 Watt (1.34 HP) brushless DC drive will be superior at low speeds? - Does anyone know? - It may be a worthwhile conversion for my lathe? (Why don't lathe suppliers give torque, versus speed, material cutting rates, etc. in their specs?)

K2
 

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