Since you folks have helped to cultivate me into a "tool junkie", I have
the following question. Which, if any, of the metal lathes/mills on
the following page would you buy, and why (what would you make?)? I
assume at the very least one could make some cool drawer pulls, though I
think that it would be difficult to justify ownership on that.
I made a center punch and a screwdriver handle on one in h.s.
So just barely knowing how to use a lathe, I haven't much of a clue
what to do with a mill. I'm interested though. A hadtobe "50 year old"
beautiful metal lathe sold for auction here for about $400 last week.
Probably weighed 1 T or more. If I had the means to get it home I would
have made a bid. I made an extra trip back to the auction that day just
to see it go. I think the brand name label started with a 'K' and it
definitely said "Cincinnatti and Indianapolis" underneath the brand
name. It's gone. Just the leftover ramblings of a tool junkie... : )
To be honest Bill, I think you have to have some sort of idea of what you
need to make before deciding on the size of your lathe. It also depends on
the size of your shop and your wallet. It is generally agreed by metal
workers that if possible you should get separate lathe and mill, not a
combo, for all sorts of reasons.
Around a year ago I bought a lathe similar in size to the G8688 and I am
pleased with it but have had no-where near the amount of time I would like
to spend on it.
So far, apart from pure exercises in turning, I have made new swivel feet
for some old "G" cramps, a replacement swivel for an adjustable spotlight
(I lengthened it at the same time) which is over the vice end of my bench
and a bit of turning for a friend.
I don't have a wood lathe so I also bought the wood turning rest, which
comes with a drive dog, and there are many plastics which can be machined
There are two main manufacturers of these lathes in China, Sieg and Red
Bull. They are pretty well identical and are said to be derived from an
original Russian design. They are imported by various companies who put
their own badge on them and, depending on the precision you require, need
a certain amount of work to "get right".
Do allow in your budget for the tooling you will need, which can amount to
a sizable amount.
I recommend subscribing to
Where you will find a great deal of help and useful advice.
Done. Thank you for your post!
Being familiar with the difference between wood and metal, I also
subscribed to rec.crafts.metalworking newsgroup right after I sent my
post last night (thanks Joe). I saw some Wrecker's names there too! :)
I've enjoyed following several of your posts there.
I thought it was worth reporting that they appear to have a more
difficult time staying on topic in that newsgroup then we do here in the
Wreck! : )
By the way, I ran across a seemingly "great" book yesterday, "Modern
Toolmaking Methods", by Franklin T. Jones, 1915. It's available for free
download via Google (books). I think it transcends woodworking or
metalworking. I'll leave it to someone who's actually read it to comment
further if they want to. It left me with a "I wish I had found this
sooner" sort of feeling.
FYI, I noticed that the author also has published a number of related books.
Having spent a bit more time with the book, I mentioned, I was curious
whether it has been succeeded by a more modern one that someone might
After looking around a while, you will see that the most informative books
on machine work were written before the mid 1900's. When I was in tech
school for machine work, some of the books we used (in particular the math
book), were written in the early 1900's. The school had them reprinted. Even
the Machinery's Handbook has gotten less and less informative over the
years. My 21st edition is the one still in my toolbox, published in 1980.
Shows you where this trade has gone when a 30 year old engineering book is
better than a new one.
I looked at the link and the Grizzlys were sorted by price. So
determine your budget and see f you can live with whatever. I bought a
Birmingham 13 X 40 about 4 years ago. Been pleased with it. Went
through billsmachineshop.com I think it is. What made the final
determination was the space I had for it and I did want the 40" center
As another said allow for tooling. I probably have spent $1000.00 for
tooling. I did luck out and got a real load of stuff at an auction.
Have sold what I did not need for almost the $1000.00 I paid for
I looked at your lathe. Very nice! I've got a lot to learn. I found
someone as work who is willing to give me a short lesson. Basicially, I
learned about a project he had, and I asked if I could watch! : )
At an estate sale, I ran across a collection of a few DOZEN 3/8" tool
bits mostly ground to various shapes, some unground, and quite a few
pieces of cylindrical stock (probably steel, too hard?).
Might this be worth collecting for use on a mini-lathe later? Browsing
at Amazon, it appears that the cutting bits go for less than I might
have guessed--but maybe I'm comparing apples and oranges. Bits like this
aren't too big for use on a mini-lathe, are they? I think they are
surely old (but no rust). Think they are worth chasing down? I will
try unless you talk me out of it! : )
Of course, I'm the same person who was (almost "out of his mind")
seriously considering buying a 50 year old metalworking lathe a few
weeks ago. After doing a little research, I now realize that would
probably have been a mistake--surely well-worn and "impossible" to get
parts for. A mini-lathe would probably serve me fine, with probably a
lot less headaches! There are some "one of a kind" parts I would like
to craft for a 19th-century style banjo.
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