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Lathe question...

drsamm

Plastic
Joined
Oct 19, 2011
Location
Georgia, USA
I've been registered on this site for a few years now and have really enjoyed reading posts regarding good machinery, fabrication techniques and many other things. I've never posted here but now want to get some expert advice on a question regarding lathes. I am experienced at most kinds of fabrication - cutting, drilling, welding, bending/shaping, etc., but have recently gotten the bug to get a lathe. Nothing too big in size, just want something that is heavy duty and accurate. I've been looking on sites everywhere and have found a few that are of interest. To be clear, I have never operated one and know very little about them but I believe I could catch on pretty quickly. My question is: What exactly is a "turret lathe" and how does it differ ( in general function) from a "regular" type lathe with a conventional tail stock? The ones I've seen pictures of, simply have a fixture in the place of a regular tail stock that obviously can be spun to utilize different tools. This appears to me to be a good set up for not having to constantly change tools for a given operation. Am I wrong or am I just not seeing it correctly? Is the turret lathe less accurate than one with a regular tail stock, since the turret can be moved in a circle? Is one better than the other in regard to beginning with and learning proficiency? From my reading on this site, it's abundantly obvious that there are people here who machine for a living and are light years ahead of what I could even hope to be with all of this, so I'm a little hesitant to pose such elementary questions, but then I know of no other way to learn from those who are expert at this. Would be interested in any and all advice and general thoughts on my question...also, if I have posted in the wrong area, please over look the mistake. It looked like the most likely place to post...
Thank you, Don M.
 
Turret machines usually have a hexagonal indexable turret in place of a toolpost, tools can be set up in each position to perform a function then rotated to the next position to do whatever’s next, eg, face, reduce OD (usually roller box tool,) centre drill, drill tap then a rear parting tool can clip the part off.
They can be very accurate, tiny Swiss machines working to tenths, most every turret machine out there now will be worn out, I don’t think anyone even makes them anymore, cnc is faster and more accurate.
You need a hell of a pile of tooling as well as the lathe, bloody useless for one off parts and a pain in the arse to set up, plus you need a lot of inspection, maybe 100% if the machine is old and cranky (all the ones I’ve been around were,)
A good quality centre or engine lathe is what you want unless your churning out somthing non critical like pins for farm gate hinges, get somthing common, clausing Colchester or the like, otherwise the thing to make things is the thing your making things for, can be a bit daunting but it’s completely compulsive btw
Mark
 
Thanks for the replies so far...I am however, still a bit confused. I thought that the turret was in the place of the tail stock, not the tool holder. The picture of the one that caught my attention actually shows a tool holder in place with the turret to the right. Can one position of the turret not serve the function of a tail stock, possibly holding a center for turning something? I'm probably way off base here, but I just don't get it...
 
Thanks for the replies so far...I am however, still a bit confused. I thought that the turret was in the place of the tail stock, not the tool holder. The picture of the one that caught my attention actually shows a tool holder in place with the turret to the right. Can one position of the turret not serve the function of a tail stock, possibly holding a center for turning something? I'm probably way off base here, but I just don't get it...

Some turret lathes have qty (2) turrets, one on the cross slide (a sq. one) and then one on the right end (in place of the tailstock) with 5 or 6 tools.

As an aside, try hitting return once-in-a-while.
Your first post I didn't even read thru very much, as it's all rammed together.
 
A Turret lathe with putting a center on one station and a chuck in another can do some engine lathe functions.
Some turret lathes do not have thread gears so one might need to buy a die for each desired thread

The compound commonly missing on a turret and provided on an engine lathe makes short angle turning and threading at 30* possible.

Old dog nailed it that the turret lathe is good for running a production run with a very short time between each operation because the turret swings to the next needed tool.,,So it is like a manually operated screw machine.

The engine lathe is much of a do-anything lathe with the ability to change threads but often requires a too change for each operation.

A patternmaker's lathe is another design with having less feature than an engine lathe.

Sometimes an engine lathe can be fitted with a turret, yes it need be made for the lathe brand. It is not very common to find a lathe with having a turret.

Guess you need to decide if you want to run a production part or just run one and few ups with your lathe.
 
OK, thanks to all for the replies. I'm not looking to produce anything other than parts or threading that I would be doing for myself and personal projects - no business ventures or anything like that. Anyway, from what I'm seeing here, it appears that a turret lathe would not be for me. I do however have one more question...can a turret lathe be fitted with a tail stock from the same manufacturer as the lathe itself? And if so, would it require some special fitting or bedding in? (for lack of a better term)
As far as hitting the return key every once in a while, I have no idea what that's about. Many posts I see are identical to mine - lots of sentences in a paragraph form. Also see many that are a line or two separated by spaces like double spacing. Maybe this is what is being referred to. Anyway, I can't imagine what difference it could make...I can read mine fine as well as those of others. Don't see any of them rammed together to make them unreadable...
 
I don't think a turret lathe would be your best choice. They are usually used for parts that need multiple tail stock operations like center drill, drill, then ream a hole. For onesys and twosys you are much better off with an engine lathe.
 
Here find a turret made for a common lathe, a south bend heavy ten. it would not fit perfectly because of some wear to its bottom side. similarly, a tail bought for a turret lathe would not fit exactly perfect on a turret lathe.

South Bend Heavy 10 Lathe Bed Turret - tools - by owner - sale

If you wanted to make perhaps a small steam engine a thread cutting engine lathe with having a mill vise attachment could likely produce that project, with making almost all the parts from one-ups to few-up parts needed. . Having a 4jaw chuck for the lathe and having a drill press and a bench grinder would be handy.
Plus layout tools, tool bits, drills, taps, boring bar, end mills, measuring tools, hand tools, design plans and part prints, some study time on how to run a lathe.
Yes, a tool room lathe is much like an engine lathe.

Here find types of lathes at a pre-apprentice level.
Capstan and Turret Lathe Machine | The Engineers Post

If your project was making 1,000 or 10,000 cylinder blocks for a small steam engine then a turret or captain lathe might better fit that need. for example, each next turret station (of 6 tool stations) might spot the bore, drill 1,2,3 different cylinders bore rough sized, boring bar or ream the bore to finish size, bevel the bore,
 
A torrent lathe can be very handy as far as getting things done. It can have a variety of tools constantly ready to do work. They can be expensive to tool up for sure. One can add up the cost of them and determine what is best.

A CNC will keep various standard turning and boring tools in place in designated pockets which rarely change very often. Manually loading each individual tool to complete a part is fine if one wants to do it.

I would be inclined to use a turret lathe myself and of course they are great for production and a CNC is also. A turret lathe gives more ready to run options I will describe the regularly used tools which stay ready to go as true set up spinning capacity.
 
I've been registered on this site for a few years now and have really enjoyed reading posts regarding good machinery, fabrication techniques and many other things. I've never posted here but now want to get some expert advice on a question regarding lathes. I am experienced at most kinds of fabrication - cutting, drilling, welding, bending/shaping, etc., but have recently gotten the bug to get a lathe. Nothing too big in size, just want something that is heavy duty and accurate. I've been looking on sites everywhere and have found a few that are of interest. To be clear, I have never operated one and know very little about them but I believe I could catch on pretty quickly. My question is: What exactly is a "turret lathe" and how does it differ ( in general function) from a "regular" type lathe with a conventional tail stock? The ones I've seen pictures of, simply have a fixture in the place of a regular tail stock that obviously can be spun to utilize different tools. This appears to me to be a good set up for not having to constantly change tools for a given operation. Am I wrong or am I just not seeing it correctly? Is the turret lathe less accurate than one with a regular tail stock, since the turret can be moved in a circle? Is one better than the other in regard to beginning with and learning proficiency? From my reading on this site, it's abundantly obvious that there are people here who machine for a living and are light years ahead of what I could even hope to be with all of this, so I'm a little hesitant to pose such elementary questions, but then I know of no other way to learn from those who are expert at this. Would be interested in any and all advice and general thoughts on my question...also, if I have posted in the wrong area, please over look the mistake. It looked like the most likely place to post...
Thank you, Don M.

I don't think the others are really telling you what you want to know. Like you said a turret can just be something that takes the place of a tail stock, I have both a tail stock and a turret for my 12x36 Clausing, and it is a general purpose lathe suitable most all work. What you want to make sure of is that you get a lathe with gears and a lead screw for threading. Some specialty lathes, often called Second Operation lathes do not have provisions for threading. Some of those also might have a turret but no tail stock. The turret allows switching tools quickly for production work of quickly making multiple copies of the same part. Not something you are likely to do at home.

What you want is a general purpose lathe with gearing and a lead screw and a tail stock. Cheaper general purpose lathes have gears you must move around for different thread pitches. A PITA. Better lathes have a gear box where you only need to move levers to change thread pitch. What lathe to buy greatly depends on your budget and materials you want to work with. Even small lathes can reasonably handle small pieces of brass, aluminum, and plastics. When you want to cut steel, especially hard stuff, a small lathe will chatter and may or may not do the job even if you go slowly. There is no substitute for mass to smoothly cut steel so bigger heavier lathes are what you want.
 
OK, thanks to all for the replies. I'm not looking to produce anything other than parts or threading that I would be doing for myself and personal projects - no business ventures or anything like that. Anyway, from what I'm seeing here, it appears that a turret lathe would not be for me. I do however have one more question...can a turret lathe be fitted with a tail stock from the same manufacturer as the lathe itself? And if so, would it require some special fitting or bedding in? (for lack of a better term)
As far as hitting the return key every once in a while, I have no idea what that's about. Many posts I see are identical to mine - lots of sentences in a paragraph form. Also see many that are a line or two separated by spaces like double spacing. Maybe this is what is being referred to. Anyway, I can't imagine what difference it could make...I can read mine fine as well as those of others. Don't see any of them rammed together to make them unreadable...

Run-together posts are easier to read, not harder ... than those with whitespace.

We just skip the whole f**king thing.

Then move-on to another thread.

Where's the problem in THAT?
 
Turret lathes are built to speed up production.

Engine lathes are built to be pretty general.

The turret uses specific bulky expensive/hard to find tooling

The engine dont.

99.9% of turret lathes are bought and setup for FACTORY work so they are worked TOO DEATH.

Turret lathes are rather old as cnc has really made them largely Obsolete.

Manual engine lathes still largely exist and have many uses in modern job shops.

In order to speed up production the turret lathe dropped the screw cutting abilities and that turned into its own stand-alone machine, the screw cutting machine.

Your not going to find a turret lathe in great condition nor are they really useful in the prototype/general Purpose walk of life.

Besides a lot of the older turret lathes got treated more like construction equipment then precision iron.

And you wasn’t being attacked over the suggestion to space your paragraphs out, not all of us do it, however not all of us see the best anymore either.

It helps you get more feedback as well, after all a man can’t help you if he can’t read your questions.

OH! And before I end this, lathes wear into themselves and the tailstock/turret (and other components) tend to develop a mated match. Swapping a turret over to a tailstock can be done but ask yourself “how much meat is left on the bone”
Good luck!
 
1) you are novice machinist. Do not buy a turret lathe.

2) watch local listings and seek a machine you can inspect in person.

3) puchase a machine sized for the projects you anticipate.

4) expect to spend about as much as the machine itself costs, for tooling it up.
 
1) you are novice machinist. Do not buy a turret lathe.

2) watch local listings and seek a machine you can inspect in person.

3) puchase a machine sized for the projects you anticipate.

4) expect to spend about as much as the machine itself costs, for tooling it up.

Ooohh looky ...nicely composed, with spaces... a right, proper posting.
 
You buy a turret lathe when you find one that seems to work and it is cheap. You sell a turret lathe when you cannot seem to get to do most or all projects you need it for, and you need the space for a standard lathe.
 
Find someone close by who is a hobbyist with a decent general purpose lathe and have them give you lessons. I have in the past given individuals lessons in the basics to get them started.

Many areas have machining oriented clubs that could help. Consider taking basic machining courses at a technical college.

What part of Georgia ar you in? Someone on the Forum may be able to help or make recommendations. Try the Home Shop Machinist’s Forum.
 
Ooohh looky ...nicely composed, with spaces... a right, proper posting.

'nuther 30 year, Owd Jim might even figger oot how to not attribute quotes to all the wrong folks? Unless DJT outlives him?

Now THERE's a definition of "justice"

Jim planning a cremation.. so DJT gets all burnt-up .. where he is trapped in "TDS leased" quarters inside Jim's HEAD!

Some fools just WILL do the damndest things for "revenge", won't they?

Just have a look at what they bought an election for!!

Must have hated the whole dam' universe to run that pack of nincom-shites into public orifice!

:(
 
termite, going for the drunk hick in he barn talk again! He is actually trying to portray himself as a regular guy, but it is all fake.
Now termite, tell us all about the Monarch 10ee lathes you have, the ones that never have ran!
What is so amazing about you, is by pure bullshit you have dominated a professional machinist forum, and chased away professionals like the tech from Monarch with your garbage about using junk drives on the machines.
Thanks to you, no professionals will post on the Monarch forum regarding the fantastic Monarch ee! That is quite an accomplishment for a troll with no actual machining experience.
I like to watch a bully like you whine! I watched you bully many of this forum, I didnt say anything, thinking they should stick up for themselves because its a tough business.
Then, termite, you won the shit lottery, you picked on me, a person that wont back down from a bulling, lying piece of shit like you. You won "the shit lottery" with me, you stupid fuck face!
Its a tough business termite, and do do not have what it takes to be successful at any phase of metal working, you are nothing but a cyber bully and a total fake, show one photo of anything you have done in the years you have trolled this forum "the termite fake machinist, and professional Rooster Fish.....
The termite, calls me a drug addict, a criminal, and more just because I call him out as the troll he is. Then this ass clown claims he is cop, another lie.
One thing true about the termite, if you cross him he will retaliate, he will try every trick he can, using his access to the forums tools through a couple of moderators here, In short, he will attempt to damage you business, and do anything to keep posting bullshit every day on this forum, he does nothing else.
I am the only one that says anything, but many agree.
 








 
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