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Why do people buy massive lathes for their home shop?

Big sized lathes are not so good for making .020 or .050 diameter half inch long parts but it can be done.
Small lathes can not make big and long parts no matter how hard one wants to try.
Real big lathes are massive brutes and do not have enough RPM but one can tame them.

One wants a lathe just big enough to do what you need but what is that?
Sure as shit a job will come that needs a inch or so in diameter or length above the lathe I have.
Perhaps one needs more than one of these in size and they could share tooling but given only one choice I will go with swing and length.
I will fight the small parts as needed. They are steel/cast/aluminum in a machine shop and will surrender to me.
Bob
 
Really like that Weiler. Did you need to buy from Europe ? The new Weiler and the rebuilt lathes from Ruemema keep drawing my attention. Dave

Monarch Lathes Home | Monarch Lathes are the distributor for Weiler in USA, I bought it from them...the Weilers do ship from germany after sale. You can also buy a new or a refurbished 10EE from them for even more money :) I went with the Weiler because it has more modern features than the 10EEs, including some nice electronic aids and 100% computer control of speeds and feeds (not CNC) with infinite variability and also electronic stops, and even aids for threading (infinite variety of threads).
 
As already stated, "massive lathe" is relative. When I got my first lathe, a south bend 9, I thought that was hot stuff. Within a year I was coveting much larger machines.

One wants a lathe just big enough to do what you need but what is that?
Sure as shit a job will come that needs a inch or so in diameter or length above the lathe I have.
Perhaps one needs more than one of these and they could share tooling.
Bob

I am going with this philosophy now, the little guy is a Monarch 10 EE, moving to a Warner Swasey #3, to a Millport 18x 60 (Tiawan) to a 20 x 72 Pacemaker. The mass of the Pacemaker is more than double that of the Millport. I want them screwed on tight when I stand in front of the Pacemaker. Of course the shop is a lot bigger now also. Unfortunately, there is not that much tool sharing between them Bob!
 
Older generations clearly have quite a lot of money. This stuff is pure fantasy for most younger people.
 
Older generations clearly have quite a lot of money. This stuff is pure fantasy for most younger people.
??? After working at a serious job for 20 to 40 years, you better have accumulated "quite a lot of money" too. What do you expect to live on after you are too old or too disabled to work? I can assure you, the older generations did not start out with "quite a lot of money".

I will readily concede the stagnation of real wages over the last several decades, the growth of the no-security gig economy, the hollowing out of American manufacturing, a ludicrous increase in the cost of housing, and a steady increase in the cost of living over the same period. But you know, my parents told me in the 1960's that "Things just aren't as good as they used to be. Use to be that a kid could make decent money at cutting grass, running errands, bagging groceries. But now what isn't outright prohibited by law isn't worth doing for a kid." So each generation has its own challenges to deal with. It's not like every machinist over 60 was born with pot of money and a golden micrometer.
 
A 16, a 13 and a bench lathe. along with a turret and Horizontal mill (add in a press drill and grinder or two. and you might have an enjoyable home shop.

Much less, one really can not do much at all on less making their own tooling to fill in a splash article in HSM. ;-)
 
Why do people by giant pick ups to drive to work? Why do people buy king size beds? The luxury of a skoosh more room(an old advertising slogan) a 13 or 14X40 lathe is on the small side for a general purpose lathe. There are plenty of 15~20" swing lathes with 30" beds that are not much larger footprint than a 13X40. As mentioned a longer bed has a lot of versatility, I do understand the space limitations of a small space.

When I worked out of my garage in Woodland Hills I had a Monarch 10EE and Kearney& Trecker 2H horizontal mill, a DoAll 1612 bandsaw a, Delta 15" drill press, a BurrKing 760, a Delta Disc/belt sander, 6" bench grinder, Miller Dynasty 300, #2 arbor press, 5HP vertical compressor and, 2 work benches. A large rolling tool chest several machinist wood tool chests, a welding table AND I parked two car in there most nights.

This was an 18x26' garage with HVAC, water heater and washer/dryer that live there as well. I could have has a larger lathe if I needed it, it all come down to planning with small spaces. I couldn't work with the machines when cars were in the garage but I had most of what I needed. I didn't need a larger lathe at the time, if I did I could have fit a 15~20" swing 30~48" lathe in there.

Personally I think a lot of folks in small shops/garages are more in awe of the weight than size of a lot of the bigger machines. My K&T mill was no bigger than a Bridgeport but weighs twice what a Bridgeport weighs. My 10EE was about the same size as a South Bend Heavy 10 or Short 13 but almost three times a heavy. I lived on a hill and the driveway sloped down almost from the garage door, moving equipment was always an adventure. The flip open door was too low for any local forklifts to enter so a pallet jack and come alongs were the order of the day. My band saw was too tall to fit under the door, had to lay it down to get in, that is a 2000 pound saw.

Size is relative, to watch maker a 13X40 is huge, to a small engine or auto repair shop it may be the perfect size? A hydraulic shop or shaft shop may need a 180" bed? Just because you work in that envelop doesn't make it ideal, we all have limitations. Do what you can in house and sub out the stuff that you can't. I made a 60" blender blade, I couldn't grind the edge so I farmed it out. There is no shame in not having every tool for any conceivable job you may have. That said, don't limit yourself by some arbitrary notion of this is too big from the peanut gallery.

Steve
 
The wife and I have not fallen for the "King size bed" theme. we stick to the standard double. It does make buying sheets a bit more of an effort, but it makes finding my bride under the sheets so much easier .

such a confined space!
 
Sometimes you need a "massive" lathe because how are you gonna do this on some dinky little 9"-er ?


Don't suppose anyone can remember a link posted about 10 years ago about an old guy in NZ who built either a radial or rotary aircraft engine - maybe at lesser scale? He made it entirely on a big old worn out lathe which he modified to accomplish all operations required. Thought it might have been Troup or Peter S....nothing obvious seems to come up whenever I've looked previously.
 
Don't suppose anyone can remember a link posted about 10 years ago about an old guy in NZ who built either a radial or rotary aircraft engine - maybe at lesser scale? He made it entirely on a big old worn out lathe which he modified to accomplish all operations required. Thought it might have been Troup or Peter S....nothing obvious seems to come up whenever I've looked previously.

I recalled that link. He started with a 250cc Czech Jawa motorcycle. The tank and headlight cover was distinctive. That was some amazing machining.

Another such "home shop machinist" is Allen Millyard from the UK. He does some amazing things in his garage.


Millyard Kawasaki Z 2300 V12 motorcycle - How its made - YouTube


The Flying Millyard 5 Litre V Twin - Part 1 - YouTube
 
In the case of machine tools, size really does matter.

Back in the day I bought my present 1760 engin lathe thinking with its 27" swing in the gap I'd never need to rent time on the ancient 32" Stratford lathe in Gig Harbor Machine Works. Wrong. Word spread and my second or third job was a 30' flywheel off a fishing boat diesel that needed its pilot bore bushed.

If your workload is clock parts and only clock parts, your machine tools should be selected accordingly. Automotive, and electric motor work bigger, heavy equipment and small craft, bigger yet, etc. I was filling the niche when two old timer machine shops owners retired.

The local water department superintendent nagged me to get a vertical boring mill large enough to service his pumps and valves but that was far too big and too speculative a capital investment for me to swing.

So the answer to your question is: Why? It depends.
 
In the case of machine tools, size really does matter.

Back in the day I bought my present 1760 engin lathe thinking with its 27" swing in the gap I'd never need to rent time on the ancient 32" Stratford lathe in Gig Harbor Machine Works. Wrong. Word spread and my second or third job was a 30' flywheel off a fishing boat diesel that needed its pilot bore bushed.

If your workload is clock parts and only clock parts, your machine tools should be selected accordingly. Automotive, and electric motor work bigger, heavy equipment and small craft, bigger yet, etc. I was filling the niche when two old timer machine shops owners retired.

The local water department superintendent nagged me to get a vertical boring mill large enough to service his pumps and valves but that was far too big and too speculative a capital investment for me to swing.

So the answer to your question is: Why? It depends.

Good to see you posting again Forrest.
 
Older generations clearly have quite a lot of money. This stuff is pure fantasy for most younger people.

The older generations don't have a lot of tattoos either.
I don't know what those things cost but I've seen a lot of young men with enough ink in their bodies to pay for a pretty decent lathe.
Being an old fuddy duddy myself I also sometimes wonder how young folks "investments" are doing. Is the ROI on those tatts paying well? How liquid are they? (No pun intended) Can you sell them some day? Are they appreciating in value?
That is not to say people can't do as they wish mind you. But if the younger generations want to be in a position to have 'lots of money'or things when they are old they need to get past their nihilism and learn a little pragmatism - like we did when we were young.
 
In the case of machine tools, size really does matter.

Back in the day I bought my present 1760 engin lathe thinking with its 27" swing in the gap I'd never need to rent time on the ancient 32" Stratford lathe in Gig Harbor Machine Works. Wrong. Word spread and my second or third job was a 30' flywheel off a fishing boat diesel that needed its pilot bore bushed....

I am on my fourth 12 x 36 lathe since 1965, always the biggest one in my shop. The third one had a removable gap, but I can't recall ever using it. About 45 years ago, someone asked me to do something to the pilot bearing bore in an engine flywheel that was too big for my lathe. I have forgotten most of the details, but I know I did the flywheel job with a boring head on my Rockwell vertical mill with the ram pulled out beyond the normal position.

I also used my big lathe as a boring mill by replacing the original cross slide with a T-slotted table and making an adjustable boring bar held between the headstock and tailstock. That was to line bore the crankshaft bearing seats on a couple of one-cylinder engines.

You use what you have or buy more tools, always a welcome alternative.

Larry
 
Every time I meet a poor person - EVERY TIME - they have plenty of tattoos, piercings, beer, cigarettes and they all seem to know where to get dope.
 








 
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