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mrbugbums

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I'm currently thinking of buying the mini lathe (link below) from BusyBee tools because I have no experience and want to get started somewhere. It's painful to think of for just another 2 grand I could get a real lathe, but on the other hand buying the small one will maybe be slightly easier and safer. maybe easier for my wife to get involved started also, its portable. easy to pass on to my son and have him get started with machining also.
Because we plan to move this summer I don't want to buy something right now that weighs a tonne just to be moved again also.

I am just a brand new beginner with no experience so any advice would be appreciated for which attachments I need to get with it to get started. I'm guessing that nothing on the small unit is compatible transferable to the real lathe which I will buy this summer.
There is a list of attachments and parts on the webpage and I don't know where to begin. I'm hoping to also practice milling with the small unit also to start learning the concept of milling. so it has an attachment they sell "milling attachment".
Is it too complicated or vague to ask you for a list of what I need to go with this so I can start turning and milling small things?

LATHE MINI 7IN. X12IN. 1/2HP CX SERIES CSA CX704

Thank-you kindly for your feedback, discouragement and encouragement: all are very welcome.
Stephan Prystanski
Ottawa, Ontario
 

HennieL

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I am just a brand new beginner with no experience so any advice would be appreciated for which attachments I need to get with it to get started. I'm guessing that nothing on the small unit is compatible transferable to the real lathe which I will buy this summer.
Looking at the list, I would suggest that you get
  • the drill chuck, and a set of drill bits. The drill bits will be usable on your future larger lathe, and thus only the chuck will be wasted.
  • The center drills will also be usable on your larger lathe in the future, and are a "must" for starting your drilling accurately.
  • the precision dial gauge set will also not be wasted, as you will be able to use them with the larger lathe as well.
You will also need some HSS tool blanks (carbide inserts will probably be a waste of money on that little lathe...) and a bench or belt grinder to sharpen them. That lathe will probably take 8mm (or 10mm at the most) sized tools.

A chip tray/pan slightly larger than the lathe (to be placed below the lathe) will help to keep all the metal chips from invading your house. Oh, and a good bright light will also be useful - a smallish LED garden spotlight will work fine.

As for the milling attachment, you will need a collet chuck to fit the mill (could come standard with the unit...), and a set of collets to fit your milling cutters - and of course some HSS-Co two-flute and four-flute cutters.

I suggest you buy the mill cutters and any other tools when you need them - this way you don't waste money buying unnecessary.

Good luck, and enjoy your new toy ;)

Hennie
 

RM-MN

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Looking at the list, I would suggest that you get
  • the drill chuck, and a set of drill bits. The drill bits will be usable on your future larger lathe, and thus only the chuck will be wasted.
  • The center drills will also be usable on your larger lathe in the future, and are a "must" for starting your drilling accurately.
  • the precision dial gauge set will also not be wasted, as you will be able to use them with the larger lathe as well.
You will also need some HSS tool blanks (carbide inserts will probably be a waste of money on that little lathe...) and a bench or belt grinder to sharpen them. That lathe will probably take 8mm (or 10mm at the most) sized tools.

A chip tray/pan slightly larger than the lathe (to be placed below the lathe) will help to keep all the metal chips from invading your house. Oh, and a good bright light will also be useful - a smallish LED garden spotlight will work fine.

As for the milling attachment, you will need a collet chuck to fit the mill (could come standard with the unit...), and a set of collets to fit your milling cutters - and of course some HSS-Co two-flute and four-flute cutters.

I suggest you buy the mill cutters and any other tools when you need them - this way you don't waste money buying unnecessary.

Good luck, and enjoy your new toy ;)

Hennie
I have the longer version of that (or very similar) lathe. The drill chuck will attach to a MT2 taper that fits the tailstock. This will fit many bigger lathes too so it won't be wasted. I use a mixture of HSS and carbide insert tool bits. The inserts are shaped correctly and cut very well. Unless you have a grinder, an hour or two to practice, and patience, skip the HSS bits. Carbide inserts have changed a lot in the last few years and the ones sized for that lathe work fine. The specifications say it takes a 5/16" tool. That is close enough to 8 mm so you can choose which way to go on those. I use a LED sewing machine light with a magnetic base. I put it on the backsplash and can position it to see whatever. I think the lathe comes with a chip pan but be aware that you will have chips going everywhere, not just in the chip pan. I have a broom dedicated to that area and need to sweep the floor every time I use the lathe.

Milling on that lathe will be painfully slow and the lathe bed isn't really rigid enough so you may have difficulty keeping any kind of accuracy. Until you clean the lathe thoroughly and tighten up the cross slide and compound you will have difficulty keeping accuracy with the lathe too. Being honest, the bed simply doesn't have enough cast iron for good stability.
 

goldstar31

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Milling on that lathe will be painfully slow and the lathe bed isn't really rigid enough so you may have difficulty keeping any kind of accuracy. Until you clean the lathe thoroughly and tighten up the cross slide and compound you will have difficulty keeping accuracy with the lathe too. Being honest, the bed simply doesn't have enough cast iron for good stability.
Well-- it all depends pm what one has-- and perhaps more importantly- how skilled one is.
Looking back over- well to 1973-ish- there were no milling machines available for the home machinist. The nearest one could get was a second hand almost knackered shapimg machine and even when 'milling machines' became available, you had to make the bloody things.
Durinmg that awfully long period from when Mr Maudsley made lathes to be pedalled, people actually became skilled at the things that are now 'Black Art' on that thing that is nailed to the wall called-- a faceplate. My Myford like all except the ML10 will accept a swing of perhaps 10 or more inches whereas a 7X lathe will swing about 7 inches. If, think about it, there was a gap in the bed on a 7X, it would be nigh impossible to actually utilise the facility because many of today's lathes- out of the Far East's lowest speeds are either 100 or a terrifying 130 RPM whilst screwcutting. Perhaps, people don't know how to screwcut anyway.
Musing further, the average lathe- all bright and shiny was actually designed BEFORE the arrival of the carbides-- and the arrival of hss tooling arrived and the designers- long gone now- designed their goods to work on home tempered high-ish carbon steel.
I'm not a heretic - I am simply old enough to have a everso long age and the memory which complements it.

The strange thing is that many, not all- who can afford it- mangle their happy hours. on a very dated and obsolete Myford.
As an idle sort of Dodo, I'm sitting with Mark 1 Quorn which I made on a decayed and almost obsolete Myford( then) and a 2007 Sieg C4---and the Sieg is unable to be able to machine it.

Dear old Proff Chaddock made his Quorn in a machine that was designed to be tredaled-- and he made a Vee 6 on it-- and the- and only then made his milling machine from a set of part machined castings. I did much the same with an even early verson- from Ned Westbury's design.
Mine was run- would you believe- was powered with a 1440rpm Quarter Hose ex- washing machine motor.
My story- remember

Regards

Norman
 

HennieL

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The drill chuck will attach to a MT2 taper that fits the tailstock. This will fit many bigger lathes too so it won't be wasted.
That would depend on the size of the "larger" lathe - most lathes in the 1 meter bed size have MT5-6 on the head, and MT3-4 on the tailstock. One could obviously use a MT2-MT3 adapter but personally I prefer to eliminate that potential "tolerance multiplier" whenever possible. I am not saying that a MT2 drill chuck will be totally wasted, though - it could quite possibly fit on the milling machine, and will likely also fit on a small pedestal drill - but in my humble opinion it will be wasted on the larger lathe...

I use a mixture of HSS and carbide insert tool bits. The inserts are shaped correctly and cut very well. Unless you have a grinder, an hour or two to practice, and patience, skip the HSS bits. Carbide inserts have changed a lot in the last few years and the ones sized for that lathe work fine.
Personally, I think that anyone who wants to use a lathe should learn the basic skill to grind his/her own tool bits. Not only will that become necessary when a "non-standard" bit is required, but it also helps one to understand how the lathe is cutting, which then helps one to figure out what went wrong if, e.g. the surface is not as smooth as expected, or the cutter just rubs and won't cut the particular metal. Using such a nonrigid little lathe one would like to get all the help one can, and a properly ground HSS-Co bit would likely take smoother, and thinner, cuts than a carbide insert, and with less stress on the lathe. Judging by Mrbugbums' previous posts, I get the idea that he is keen to learn as much as he can by using this little lathe, and it's my guess that he would thus also be keen to learn how to grind his own bits...

I use a LED sewing machine light with a magnetic base. I put it on the backsplash and can position it to see whatever.
Very good idea 👍

I think the lathe comes with a chip pan but be aware that you will have chips going everywhere, not just in the chip pan. I have a broom dedicated to that area and need to sweep the floor every time I use the lathe.
Again, I totally agree - especially when working with brass - that just gets into everything 🤬
 

aRM

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In case you're interested, I started with this little one:
View attachment 123289

before upgrading to this:

Hello there Meneer
Pray Julle Alles Welles !!!
I'm wanting a small lathe like Your COMPACT 5. However, we do have a Larger one. Would dearly love an EMCO COMPACT like Yours or even a Smaller One to start PEN Turning and maybe turn Rosary Beads etc.
Do kindly let us know if U hear or know of someone Selling one at a reasonable Price.
Thanks in advance
Kind regards
Mooi Bly !!!
aRM
 
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Jules

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I don’t want to sound negative towards little lathes but if I were in your shoes I would wait until I had moved and buy the biggest lathe and mill I could house in my workshop.
I think they are much easier to learn on.
Definitely safer.
Will produce accurate parts.
If you are lucky to get a mini lathe that was built properly then you could learn on it. Most of them are poor quality and inherently inaccurate. You are then fighting against a bad machine.
We have a saying,”A bad workman always blames his tools,” and it is often the case but that was definitely before cheap Chinese lathes were on sale. 👍
 

RM-MN

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I don’t want to sound negative towards little lathes but if I were in your shoes I would wait until I had moved and buy the biggest lathe and mill I could house in my workshop.
I think they are much easier to learn on.
Definitely safer.
Will produce accurate parts.
If you are lucky to get a mini lathe that was built properly then you could learn on it. Most of them are poor quality and inherently inaccurate. You are then fighting against a bad machine.
We have a saying,”A bad workman always blames his tools,” and it is often the case but that was definitely before cheap Chinese lathes were on sale. 👍
One of my acquantaince's good friend died suddenly and unexpectedly yesterday. Life is short and we never know when our time is up. Buy the little lathe, learn what you can on it, especially how to adjust the moving parts and what tools do what operation. Those will all translate to the bigger lathe and if the move never happens, he will have a little lathe to work with. With time learning to adjust these little lathes are capable of a lot of operations.
 

mrbugbums

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I’ve a lot of experience with my other forum. Years. 600 people sharing a wide range of opinions on various topics. I love all of them.
 

PRiggs78

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I'm currently thinking of buying the mini lathe (link below) from BusyBee tools because I have no experience and want to get started somewhere. It's painful to think of for just another 2 grand I could get a real lathe, but on the other hand buying the small one will maybe be slightly easier and safer. maybe easier for my wife to get involved started also, its portable. easy to pass on to my son and have him get started with machining also.
Because we plan to move this summer I don't want to buy something right now that weighs a tonne just to be moved again also.

I am just a brand new beginner with no experience so any advice would be appreciated for which attachments I need to get with it to get started. I'm guessing that nothing on the small unit is compatible transferable to the real lathe which I will buy this summer.
There is a list of attachments and parts on the webpage and I don't know where to begin. I'm hoping to also practice milling with the small unit also to start learning the concept of milling. so it has an attachment they sell "milling attachment".
Is it too complicated or vague to ask you for a list of what I need to go with this so I can start turning and milling small things?

LATHE MINI 7IN. X12IN. 1/2HP CX SERIES CSA CX704

Thank-you kindly for your feedback, discouragement and encouragement: all are very welcome.
Stephan Prystanski
Ottawa, Ontario
That lathe is no different than many found elsewhere for less. For example, the Harbor Freight 7x12; all of which are Asian (Chinese) made.

For the same money and awesome customer service, look into the Grizzly G0765 lathe. It is the same price and bigger at 7x14 size. I have one which I learned on and still use it regularly.

Grizzly is a U.S. company with distribution locations in the U.S.
 

mrbugbums

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right on.....Senor Priggs. i'd love to hear one or a few specific items you still like to make with the smaller one. I'll check that out right away. we used to buy things from USA and drive 100kms south of Ottawa Ogdensburg. i would need to look into recent rules. maybe with covid they don't allow cross border for non work related visits...and my passport is expired....shite
maybe they have shipping options. so complicated. and shipping fees......
any ideas?
 

PRiggs78

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right on.....Senor Priggs. i'd love to hear one or a few specific items you still like to make with the smaller one. I'll check that out right away. we used to buy things from USA and drive 100kms south of Ottawa Ogdensburg. i would need to look into recent rules. maybe with covid they don't allow cross border for non work related visits...and my passport is expired....shite
maybe they have shipping options. so complicated. and shipping fees......
any ideas?
Yes, sir. Basically use it for all small items still. For example: pistons, sleeves/liners, air rifle valves, barrel threading, etc. All things that fit that spindle bore of approx .80" (run stock through chuck). Though, have gotten bigger chucks over time in both 3 and 4 jaw configuration which allow for larger stock holding. Even have collet sets too (a must for incredible precision). Heck, those are Asian too. Purchaser a whole set on eBay for 40 bucks new.

Not all items Chinese are crud. Just look around and and you will see the same product with different label and prices all over the map.

Also, the motor is rated at 3/4 HP over the 1/2 HP you linked. Also comes with accessories to get you going.

Tip: if you call Grizzly, say you decided you do want that G0765, or anything else, ask if you can get a discount. They for sure will apply 10-20 percent coupon.

Happened every single time I ordered from them.
 

ninefinger

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You won't be crossing the border for shopping any time soon, and it won't be economical (must pay for covid test, quarantine required on return even if you just set foot across the border for 1 second)...

Living in Ottawa, I know.

As far as a lathe goes, I have a basically new 7x14 sitting under my bench, and can say that its OK, but you won't be milling with it, and it does have its limitations. I also have 2 others (another small lathe - Emco compact 5 cnc, and Standard Modern 1334)

I guess one big question is what do you want to make? and will the parts fit on the lathe?

The slightly larger lathes are not all that hard to move, and are much more capable.
The real secret to moving them is to take them apart into manageable pieces by removing the saddle, tailstock, headstock. Then you have 4 pieces that can be handled relatively easily (the bed being the 4th piece).

That way you don't need special equipment for moving the 10 to 12" swing lathes sold at Busybee etc. A Monarch 10EE is another story...

Disassembly is also recommended anyways to clean these machines up anyways when bought new, to ensure that all is ok.

And lastly - don't be tempted to get the 3-in-1 that Busybee sell. I had one and won't go into detail here but its a series of compromises that don't play well together.

So my recommendation is if you can hold out for a larger lathe then do so.
As for accessories, the most important in my opinion:
Tailstock drill chuck (get a keyless one)
Dial test indicator
independent 4 jaw chuck (assuming a 3 jaw came with the machine)
a few cutting tools (can be sourced from China for cheap, with replaceable carbide inserts) or HSS tools

Regards,
Mike
 

Henry K

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Just a few thoughts on the 7x12 Busy Bee lathe. 12 inches is between centers.
1) If you are using a lathe chuck it sticks out perhaps 2 inches beyond what a center sticks out.
2) A drill chuck will also stick out about 2 inches beyond a center point - all these are rough guesses.
3) A typical, not stub, 1/2" drill sticks out perhaps 4 inches beyond the drill chuck.

Add the dimensions above and the longest protrusion from the lathe chuck is 12" - 8" = 4"
If that is OK for you, then that is fine, but it is an unavoidable part size constraint. You may want to consider a longer bed length. Only a 4" increase in bed length actually doubles the possible length protrusion from the lathe chuck. In this comment.
Have fun machining!
 

mrbugbums

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thank you nine finger. I am seven toe. got hit by car on motorcycle at age 17, amputee... good times...:) so much more humble now....
as crazy as some readers no doubt find me...... well im just insanely passionate about everythign i do...including dreaming about getting these tools....
like i said...i'm just researching... and voila...sure enough by me posing the plan, question..idea of the minilathe...as i expected and hoped...many opinions chime it to help reason a choice.
so its a few more points in the bigger lathe side of tabulating points for and against mini vs larger.
thank you for finally answering my questions which i only recently asked busybee and here whether the bigger lathes in fact are capable of being taken apart to moveable parts.
so along your awesome exciting opinion that they can... yeah but lets take a closer look at the models....so in favor of your exciting news....yes disassembly is possible.....but...with which units? sounds like you are familiar with busybee so....should i post the link? sure why not... and i will follow up ask....can the 707 be disassembled to parts under 300lbs each? if so that is easy to move with a friend. A very good friend of mine is a professional mover. he does NOT have an elevator lift on his truck, but ramps. we have 2 upright pianos and a smaller piano.... those are insane to move but very doable placed on small things with wheels like castors etc.
i sent an email to busybee asking if the 707 can be disassembled to 300 lb parts and under. if so....then i see no reason not to get the 707. yes we want to move asap but who knows....i guess there is a slight possibility of not moving for another year.
the mini definitely has points for perhaps easier safer for my wife. but wow... reading the threads...sure makes the mini appear horribly inept.
 

Danuzzo

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Stephan, have you considered the Taig lathe and a Taig mill. These are smaller than the mini lathes. However, they are quite capable. They are quality made in USA. The telephone and email support is excellent. I liked my first Taig lathe (purchased used) so much that I ended up buying another with powerfeed. However, they do not thread. Accuracy is great; easily moved.

So, if your intent is to get a bigger lathe later, the Taig would be a great one to have initially to learn upon, and then to keep for smaller items. The mill is also very nice. You can check them out at taigtools.com. There are also various videos on Youtube.
 

HennieL

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I'm wanting a small lathe like Your COMPACT 5. However, we do have a Larger one. Would dearly love an EMCO COMPACT like Yours or even a Smaller One to start PEN Turning and maybe turn Rosary Beads etc.
Do kindly let us know if U hear or know of someone Selling one at a reasonable Price.
Hi aRM, I don't see your location in your profile - are you in South Africa? I very rarely use the little Emco these days - just too frustrating, compared to using my larger Chinese lathe, but I'm also not too keen to part with it. Send me a PM if you are from SA, and we can perhaps make a plan...
 

ninefinger

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With respect to "safer", even a mini lathe can hurt you if not paying attention or careless. Hair tied up, no loose clothing etc. Use safe work practice no matter the size. Respect the machine, it doesn't know or care if its cutting metal or you.

I would expect the 707 from Busybee will break down to parts around or below your 300lbs max. Looking at the manual shows all the separate parts (headstock, apron, bed, saddle, compound, tailstock, gearbox and feed screw, chucks, motor, etc.). Basically that is how I got my Standard Modern into my basement (and out and back to a new basement!). Headstock was strapped to a 2 wheel dolly , the bed could be lifted with 2 people, and all the other parts were liftable by one strong person or could be put on a dolly. For my machine the stand was actually the heaviest piece as it did not disassemble and was both heavy and hard to handle. Looks like the 707 doesn't have that issue.

Only issue I see with it is that the headstock doesn't appear to be set on the vee ways of the bed, meaning that realignment after reassembly is (potentially) more difficult.

Mike
 

awake

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Hi Stephan,

I know the conventional wisdom is that these small Chinese lathes are inevitably poor quality, a waste of time, etc. ... but my only experience with one is generally positive. I have a Grizzly 7 x 14, and even though I have a much larger lathe (in the 2,000 lb. vicinity), I find it useful to have this small one on hand as well. To be sure, the 7 x 14 cannot take off metal nearly as quickly as my larger lathe can, nor can it handle the larger stock very well or at all, and the lack of a quick change gear box or power cross feed is inconvenient ... and yet I still use the 7 x 14 all the time. Within its limits it is quite precise. I am sure there are lemons in the mix, but at least this one example of the breed suggests that it could be money well spent.

I will say that if you can possibly get the longer version ( x 14 rather than x 12 ), do so - when it comes to drilling stock, allowing for the length of the drill bit and the chuck, you run out of bed real quick.

One other possible (??) source - does Little Machine Shop serve your area? If so, they offer an upgraded version of the 7 x minilathes, as well as a full catalog of accessories. I don't know how they compare on price, and don't know that they are any better than the Busy Bee, but may be another option ...
 

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