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Buying a 1st lathe, presented with a few options

Aviator97

Plastic
Joined
Mar 20, 2024
Location
Croatia
Greetings everyone,

After finding tons of excuses not to throughout the years (mostly money) I am finally succumbing to my decade long desire to own a metal lathe.

I have been in research mode for about a month now, mostly trying to find out what not to buy, otherwise a chinese lathe would probably be on its way from Amazon.

Basically, I understand I can either go with a new chinese lathe, or a used European produced lathe. I wilk start out by saying that even though I find old iron very attractive, I am open minded to both possibioities.

So these are my options currently:

A) Vevor or similar Chinese 8x16 - I would personally like to skip the cheapest 7x14 lathe. Just heard too many bad feedbacks. I am not the kind of person to search for a cheapest possible solution in order to sacrifice quality. I value my nerves nowadays.

B) Ferm MD 350/ MD 500 - tbh I am not completely sure where they come from, but they seem to be built sturdier than the chinese lathes. Prices range from 700 to 1200 euro. I am a bit put off by 375W motor, but I guess its not too big of a problem to upgrade that

C) Myford lathe - 1000 -1200 euro, The small one, with, I guess, 5 inch swing. There may be need for some work to be done on it. I have heard good things about myford lathes, no.1 reason why I consider it.

D) OLD W.A. Richter lathes - 500 to 1000 euro - now I dont know how many of you heard about these, but they seem to be anout 100 years old. Some were foot operated, and later fitted with electric motors. These are larger than those I previously mentioned, some look really good (refurbished), are fitted with gearboxes, some are not, so I guess some may be capable of thread cutting, but bare bone ones aren't.
---> These seem very attractive due to capacity, swing over bed seems to be in the 10-12 inch range and distance between centers 24 inch+

Its a lengthy post, but I thought best to lay out all the options I am thinking of. Important things to mention are:
Budget: around 1000 euro. I may be able to increase that by 20-30% if its a really good buy, but thats about it.

What I would use it for: Small engine parts, pulleys, reduction drives, tool parts, spindles, inserts etc. Also small engines, steam, gas turbines etc. So as you can see, nothing particularly large, however the idea of more capacity is appealing. Maybe gear cutting. May add a milling attachment later on.


I hope we will be able to shed some light on the matter, as most are about 2 hour drive from me, hence I wanted to find out more information 1st. I appreciate any help from experienced folks.
 
Do you need to cut Metric/English threads? What about the big old Soviet made lathes, Too big?
Budget: you will probably spend as much for the tooling as the lathe. Buying a used lathe without tooling included can be a good deal. Ask about any spare chucks, gears, cutters, bits of raw stock If you buy used.
See link below for good lathe references from Tony in the UK. lots of free information to read and he sells some manuals
Bill D

specific lathes you mentioned:
 
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Try find a soviet era Stanko in good condition they are excellent machines and you'll never look back. Graziano are italian and really good. Smaller than the Stanko. Myford is really a hobby machine.
 
What about an older Emco maximat lathe?

Are they of any higher quality than the Ferm lathes, ie. worth the extra price?


I realize I may not be content with my purchase eventually, so resale value is of concern too.

@Bill D yes unfortunately, such a machine would be too big. I intwnd to place my lathe on the attic(i have lots of room started to build another workshop there) as its much drier and want all the more expensive equipment there.
The Old Richter lathes I listed would be the biggest I would go for.

Example: https://www.willhaben.at/iad/kaufen...bauer-drehbank-frequenz-umrichter-1345719259/
 
The problem with the Emco and Myford is that they have a cult following. This causes a feeding frenzy which drives up prices.

The Ferm looks really small and hobby like.
 
Ferm seems similar to chinese lathes, only heavier. It is 8x14. There is also 8x20 available.

I ll probably go take a look at it if its still available as its in my home town anyway.

The vintage Richter is 11x16ish according to the owner. No leadscrew, no thread cutting therefore.

There are also some with the leadscrew and automatic feed available, but havent heard from the owners yet.


I guess I am kinda narrowing it down a bit.

Like I said, I really want to simply dip my feet and proceed from there. It wont be the end of the world if I decide to sell, in case I find it inadequate. I dont find it very likely I will make the absolute right choice for everything I intend to do right at the start.
 
"I dont find it very likely I will make the absolute right choice for everything I intend to do right at the start."

Words to live by...
Johnny
 
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There is always a chance of finding a Rolls Royce lathe collecting dust somewhere. There size would be good for the OP's use. I do not think any left the town they were made in.
BilL D
 
Aviator97: You will find that once you have a lathe (any lathe), more lathes will be available for your picking.
I compliment your English grammar, very good. I wish you good luck.
JC
 
What about an older Emco maximat lathe?

Are they of any higher quality than the Ferm lathes, ie. worth the extra price?


I realize I may not be content with my purchase eventually, so resale value is of concern too.

@Bill D yes unfortunately, such a machine would be too big. I intwnd to place my lathe on the attic(i have lots of room started to build another workshop there) as its much drier and want all the more expensive equipment there.
The Old Richter lathes I listed would be the biggest I would go for.

Example: https://www.willhaben.at/iad/kaufen...bauer-drehbank-frequenz-umrichter-1345719259/

An Emco Compact 8/10 or Maximat V10 (better) would be a good fit, I too have a Super 11 but that might be out of your budget (for now, lol)


There's a pretty active .io group: https://groups.io/g/emcoV10lathe/topics

This V10 with a milling attachment plus all the accessories just sold for US$4000 over here:


If you can go a little higher a Super 11 with the D1-4 spindle is fantastic, 5C collets are perfect if a lot of your work is 1" and under. Had mine about 10 yrs now, added a DRO and have most of the accessories.

Drehbank.JPG
 
@Doozer

I think I saw an old Weiler (16 inch distance between centers) somewhere going for 800, an old model without a leadscrew.

If in similar condition, would it be worth the higher price compared to the Richter?
 
@Doozer

I think I saw an old Weiler (16 inch distance between centers) somewhere going for 800, an old model without a leadscrew.

If in similar condition, would it be worth the higher price compared to the Richter?
I don't know anything about prices.
I did date a woman from Croatia once.
She was the most beautiful woman I have ever met.
Sadly, I offended her by offering to pay her apartment
rent, as she was without a job at the time. That really
made her mad, and she never spoke to me again.
Ahh, life is a journey.

-Doozer
 
"Be VERY careful my friend, you are about to embark on a very dangerous path. It may be cheaper if you pick up a drug habit. I had the same problem you did 4 years ago and now I own three lathes. "

Amateur. =)
 








 
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