a mini lathe

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Rasper
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a mini lathe

Post by Rasper » Thu Oct 07, 2021 3:51 pm

I have been shopping for a mini lathe, 5 x 12 inch or thereabouts.All I can find are the Unimat, made in Austria, (tiny) and numerous iterations of what look like the same Chinese junk with different labels The Unimat gets mixed reviews from machinists, and the Chinese junk is just that: Chinese junk.

I find old ads for the Atlas, made in Kalamazoo, but they appear to be long gone.

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Are there any decent lathes being made now?

Richard

cae2100
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Re: a mini lathe

Post by cae2100 » Fri Oct 08, 2021 1:34 am

I dont think there really is any new lathes out there that are any good tbh. From what Ive seen, all of the import stuff is not even lathes, they're just a kit of parts that are crappily thrown together to get you somewhere close to running. If it were me, I'd keep an eye on local auction sites and estate sales and just find an old one tbh. I just picked up a 6x18" atlas lathe as a project lathe/restoration project, which is the model newer than the one in that picture at one, so I know they're out there.

Also, the taig, unimat, and all of those are honestly way too small to really do much with, and really lack the rigidity of a real lathe tbh.

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Jammer
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Re: a mini lathe

Post by Jammer » Fri Oct 08, 2021 8:14 am

I bought the Southbend 9 inch lathe at an auction, cleaned it up and bought a few things for it to run. It was great but not very small. If it didn't have the 48 in bed I probably would have kept it. Craftsman made a small benchtop lathe but it was more like a toy. Not sure how small you want to go but Jewelry supplies probably have a well built small lathe.
If the women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy. :)

Rasper
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Re: a mini lathe

Post by Rasper » Sun Oct 10, 2021 3:06 pm

I have found something that looks promising. It is not Chinese.

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They have an impressive catalog, a great number of instructional videos, and a good manual. The basic eight inch model costs $624 USD and the seventeen inch model costs $728.

Take a look here:

https://www.sherline.com/product-catego ... ed-lathes/

cae2100
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Re: a mini lathe

Post by cae2100 » Mon Oct 11, 2021 12:03 am

Yea, sherline lathes are quite tiny for what most people would want, I think they're just really for people wanting to do really small model engines and such, but from everything Ive seen, they really have some pretty high quality standards. Ive seen a few of thier mini lathes, but they use extruded aluminum beds for some reason, but with stuff that small, I dont think there's much to flex anyhow. A friend of mine went to thier manufacturing plant a few years ago when she was in california and got some video of the quality of stuff, and for the small lathe chucks and small stuff like that, that video really sold me on sherline stuff.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5hlwY4XcNzM

I know you dont watch videos, but I figured I'd toss it up in case you were curious of the quality from a 3rd party source.

For the lathe bed length, you can never have enough length when you have a metal lathe because when you have the workpiece sticking out of the chuck, plus the tailstock length, plus a drill chuck, and a drill bit, that space doesnt ever seem to be enough. I know a friend with a 7x10, and he's always having trouble trying to drill stuff on his because the drill chuck and drills plus everything else, there's just not enough room on the lathe to drill the stuff.

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Harry
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Re: a mini lathe

Post by Harry » Mon Oct 11, 2021 9:57 am

I have a basket case old Atlas I had hoped to restore one day, it is a lathe, not a mini.

Not sure what you are wanting to work with but for softer materials the cheap chinese ones will do fine. The large chinese lathes arent that bad, not anything like old school American made hardware but capable, of course a large lathe means more money. I spent about 3 grand on mine and it has done every job I have tossed at it.

Of course I am no machinist and my opinion can be easily impressed so ymmv.
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