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Best metal lathe for a rookie?

South Bend 10L lathe, nine inch too small, 10K just a large 9 inch lathe.
The 10L takes 5C collets and has a large spindle hole, very useful!
I bought mine fifty years ago, still use it and love it.
Small imported lathes weak and wimpy, don't waste your time and money.
If you need a drill press look for Delta or Delta-Rockwell, small imported
drill presses are a joke.
Ok I was looking at an old Logan $500 Small machine. Should I just say fuck this whole idea?
 
Well, kind of. You offered 0 insight as to what your work envelope may be, so I offered you an EXCELLENT old do-it-all machine...but it does weigh about 7000lbs and needs 30a of 240 3ph.

I don't what you mean by 'weapons' but generally speaking, any level of working on guns requires both lathe and mill at a minimum. Cannons maybe could be turn work only.

Got a similar vintage Monarch that's probably right about what you're looking for. 3hp motor, but already converted to run 230v via VFD. ~3500lbs so your skidloader can sling it around. Fun WWII era machine that's pretty well tooled.
😅 how much for the monarch? I just got 1000lb welding table. I thought that was heavy. What are we looking at for dimensions?
 
Drill presses don't like side loads. The chuck likes to drop off the taper.
Ya I figured. I was thinking something with a huge spindle but I figured I'm dreaming. I wouldn't be taking off a lot of material. I'd be shaving 1/64 off a pipe ex in plumbing terms
 
Ya I figured. I was thinking something with a huge spindle but I figured I'm dreaming. I wouldn't be taking off a lot of material. I'd be shaving 1/64 off a pipe ex in plumbing terms
1. Drill press spindles tend to be loose and have high runout. This means crap bits regardless of depth as well as broken tools, even with a perfect setup.
2. They don’t have a draw bar on the tooling. This means that side loads, and sometimes not even heavy ones, like to make chucks fall off of arbors and arbors fall out of spindles, to the permanent damage of both. You’ll get away with it a decent portion of the time on light stuff, but the one time you don’t will permanently goober the machine and you won’t get away with it at all after that.
3. Also, as you mentioned, the entire setup on a drill press is flexible and not suited for this.

Sometimes you can get away with putting really small parts in a a mill spindle, tooling in a vise, and using it like a reversed vertical lathe. It’s a PITA and still not a proper lathe, even with all of the extra robustness of a mill, which is specifically designed for side loads.
 
I hear what you're saying dad but I work 80 hours a week and when I slow down I just want to make parts etc for my hobby. I'll try and learn the trade in a few years. Just want to be able to make things I want. I hear what you're saying about being dangerous. Iv always respected tools and never got hurt. I have a lot of common sense but I have 0 clue about a lathe. If you think it could be that dangerous maybe I'll wait. Just looking for a little guidance but iv used almost every tool made. I also know this is a whole different animal. I don't know if you're a dick or a good guy giving good advice. Either way I appreciate your time.
He’s being a good guy. The most dangerous tool in the wood shop is usually the table saw, it likes to munch on fingers. A lathe in comparison will have less accidents, but much more severe ones when it does. They like to munch on people, not just their fingers, and tend to do it in a less surgical more bludgeoning to catastrophic effect kind of way.
 
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Consider..... (A) Budget ...(B) What you want to do with it /size of work.....(C) Where are you going to put it.....(D) How will you get into that location?............all lathes are somewhat heavy .
I have all that covered but wanted to spend $500-$1000. Nothing in particular I want to make. More want to learn about the machine and the trade and make a few things as needed. Everyone is just fucking with me but I'll read and watch videos for hours before I do something new. Taught myself HVAC in 80 hours reading and videos. I'm sure I can shave a couple thousands off a bolt without killing myself. After listening to Everyone ill probably say fuck it for now. I'm a plumber but I wire my boilers could build and wire a house and roof and side it everything to code. I think I could learn the basics of machine to be able to fuck around. I'll never be good with math or have the skills you assholes have. Just thought it would be a fun machine to learn and fuck around with.i know all you guys hate Plumbers. Should have thought about my screen name .either way your time is greatly appreciated
 
😅😅 you guys are having fun aren't ya?
It's always fun to go shopping when someone else is spending the money. But no, I was being serious. Not sure how to take your response.
Granted, it was a few years ago, but I picked up my M250 from government surplus for under $900 with buyer fees. Came with a 3 jaw, 4 jaw, faceplate, travelling rest, all the change gears and two steadies. Other than a busted handle, a light that needed repairing, and a dusting of rust that needed to be cleaned off, it was in pretty good shape. No tooling with it. Mind you I did take my time looking, but deals are out there. It wasn't a screaming good deal, but I was looking for the dual inch/metric, so that limited things, plus it was 15 minutes away.
 
I have all that covered but wanted to spend $500-$1000. Nothing in particular I want to make. More want to learn about the machine and the trade and make a few things as needed. Everyone is just fucking with me but I'll read and watch videos for hours before I do something new. Taught myself HVAC in 80 hours reading and videos. I'm sure I can shave a couple thousands off a bolt without killing myself. After listening to Everyone ill probably say fuck it for now. I'm a plumber but I wire my boilers could build and wire a house and roof and side it everything to code. I think I could learn the basics of machine to be able to fuck around. I'll never be good with math or have the skills you assholes have. Just thought it would be a fun machine to learn and fuck around with.i know all you guys hate Plumbers. Should have thought about my screen name .either way your time is greatly appreciated

It's not the moniker that's catching you grief. It's the *many* repeated posts like yours that have come before. The little machines are fine for shaving a little off a bolt or small little projects. A Logan would be fine for that type of thing. Stay away from the Franken-Drillpress. And remember, it only takes once for a bigger lathe to kill you. No exaggeration. You get caught up good, it's very short odds that you're going to be getting a second chance.
 
I have all that covered but wanted to spend $500-$1000. Nothing in particular I want to make. More want to learn about the machine and the trade and make a few things as needed.

The $500 Logan might be a good choice to start with but it depends on its condition which is pretty much all-important. Badly worn ways and/or fucked spindle means you'll never get decent work out of it.

Nobody is really fucking with you, lathes are expensive. You first need to decide what your maximum work piece is, then size the lathe to handle that, then look at how much that'll cost. IF you can't afford it, then you need to reduce your work piece size expectation. There's no real way around this.

Then there's the fact that you'll double or triple your investment unless you get very lucky by the time you buy the tooling you need to do decent work. Only way around that is judicious shopping on the used hobbyist machinery sites.

A lot of us have been through this. It costs what it costs. Higher precision and bigger work pieces, money goes up exponentially not linearly, except maybe basic machine cost. Bigger lathes are often cheaper than smaller ones because they're fucking heavy, hard to move and require 3 phase power.

Have fun. Don't get caught in the rotating bits.

PDW
 
I hear what you're saying dad but I work 80 hours a week and when I slow down I just want to make parts etc for my hobby. I'll try and learn the trade in a few years. Just want to be able to make things I want. I hear what you're saying about being dangerous. Iv always respected tools and never got hurt. I have a lot of common sense but I have 0 clue about a lathe. If you think it could be that dangerous maybe I'll wait. Just looking for a little guidance but iv used almost every tool made. I also know this is a whole different animal. I don't know if you're a dick or a good guy giving good advice. Either way I appreciate your time.
I was being cute but the advice is sincere. They can truly hurt you.
It's rather gory but take the time to look up lathe accidents.

With that said any loose clothing, jewelry, hair can get caught by a turning spindle And pull you in. Gloves are the worst, never wear gloves when operating a lathe.
There is much more but research can give you a lot of insight.
 
What about a logan $500
I bought my South Bend 9 inch for $250. I probably have close to $1000 in it now after buying a few parts, rebuild kit, and tooling. If you don't get a lot of tooling with a lathe you will likely spend more than the cost of the lathe.

I don't like using my SB. It's slow and heavily worn. I have a 14 inch Clausing that is far better, but a lot more complex and expensive to restore.
 
I bought my South Bend 9 inch for $250. I probably have close to $1000 in it now after buying a few parts, rebuild kit, and tooling. If you don't get a lot of tooling with a lathe you will likely spend more than the cost of the lathe.

I don't like using my SB. It's slow and heavily worn. I have a 14 inch Clausing that is far better, but a lot more complex and expensive to restore.

My SB is the same. There is a world of difference running a good lathe compared to a worn out light weight lathe.

The best lathe you can afford. Crappy machines will make you think you cannot do the work.

^^^This right here is the right answer. Unfortunately someone who is new to machine tools will not understand just how profoundly true it is.
 
I hear what you're saying dad but I work 80 hours a week and when I slow down I just want to make parts etc for my hobby. I'll try and learn the trade in a few years. Just want to be able to make things I want. I hear what you're saying about being dangerous. Iv always respected tools and never got hurt. I have a lot of common sense but I have 0 clue about a lathe. If you think it could be that dangerous maybe I'll wait. Just looking for a little guidance but iv used almost every tool made. I also know this is a whole different animal. I don't know if you're a dick or a good guy giving good advice. Either way I appreciate your time.

You don't necessarily need formal training, you do want a good machine though. People spend $10k on a dirtbike, $20k on a Rzr, $100k on a camper all for hobbies.

A good lathe is going to run you $5k or more. Getting into one for less than that is like pulling a boat out of an overgrown field; you never really end up with what you're looking for. Of course there are exceptions, but you are gambling of you don't know what you're looking at.
 








 
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