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K: Tools Do I need a metal turning lathe?

danno

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
Hi
I’m currently trying to make some sort of workshop out of my single garage. Got 3 bikes including a C Rapide.
I had to sell a rather dated pillar drill, a wood turning lathe and a large free standing circular saw
due to house move.
Now sort of starting again as regards useful machines an I’m down to an electric grinder
and free standing disc/belt sander.
Have managed so far without a metal turning lathe but I do need another drill or mill drill.
There’s quite a few hobby type machines that would fit the bill and a fairly small footprint is important.
Someone suggested that the Clarke CL500M lathe and mill drill from Machine Mart is good value and would save getting seperate machines. Could just about accommodate one.
Otherwise just a hobby mill drill would do as I’ll have a solid bench and vice for basic thread tapping and general use.
I guess many Vin owners are kitted out with lathes.
Any ideas appreciated.
 

ClassicBiker

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
Lathes are indispensable in my opinion. Couldn't live without one truthfully.

We are pretty sure the lathe and the A twin were both made the same year 1939! And before anyone yells at me the lathe has a clutch drive so sometimes the key gets left in the chuck.......View attachment 36175
When I was in High School if my metal shop teacher, Mr. Thomas Peters, noticed a student leave a chuck key in any machine, he would take the key, walk out to the football field and throw the key as far as he could. Then he would return to the shop, take the offending student out to the edge of the field and tell him not to return to class until the key was found. Failure to return to class with the key after three days meant a failure for that semester. If he didn't catch you before you started the machine and the key went flying, well that was a instant failure for the semester. Mr. Peters explained all this in the first week of class so you had plenty of time to look for a new elective. Failing a semester in the first year meant you couldn't get a co-op position during your senior year. Failing more than a single class in any semester or failing more than one semester of a year long class meant repeating that year of high school. With that hanging over your head you become conscious of where the chuck key is at, better to forget where you put it on the bench than have is tossed into a field or fly across the shop. Mr. Peters would let us make all sorts of mistakes, get away with all sorts of things, but that was the unforgivable sin. It didn't matter if it was a key in a drill chuck in a tail stock, same rule applied.
 

Bobv07662

Active Website User
VOC Member
A small hobbyist lathe will not scratch your itch for long. Bite the bullet and do whatever it takes to make room for at least a tool room lathe, you'll never regret it.
 

Cyborg

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
I have a South Bend 9A and constantly wishing I had something larger with more grunt. It gets used a fair amount and don’t know how I survived without one. The more basket cases you have the more it’s used.

7C3AA0D7-BBB7-4531-9CBD-B362EA247584.jpeg
 

brian gains

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
in the last couple of weeks there was a Myford/Boxford offered on either VMCC site or here for a very reasonable price, subject to condition.
Yes. 3 jaw chuck lathes just make round stock smaller with the option of it being bored. But having recently returned to using a lathe since school all I can say is it as obsessively engrossing as a 'new' motorcycle and with more available add on bits of kit than a Harley. That is all apart from mastering tool grinding, turning and feed speeds.
You find you consider every potential part purchase ; could I make that, how many set up operations?
Next stop a milling attachment.
Never an idle moment, what lock down?.
 

Chris Launders

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
I have a 1919 Hendey 8ft lathe, bough it from a local scrap yard nearly 40 years ago, I've done everything from 1/4"studs to machining a pair of JAP V-twin crankcases from new castings on it, never used the thread cutting though as the lead screw is damaged (never got round to fixing it) which is a shame really as it has a gearbox that will give 1-1/2 to 80 TPI. Couldn't do a fraction of the things I have without it.
It all depends on what you want to be doing.
 

mercurycrest

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
I didn't bring my Logan lathe when we moved to Wales and I miss it everyday. So far, I haven't bought a lathe because of limited space. The ones that fit are all crap with even crappier motors, drives, etc.. The Clatk actually has a capacitor start motor and a belt drive! The only thing I wonder about is the flat ways. You'll need to get every accessory listed for it and then some. Like Brian said:"You find you consider every potential part purchase ; could I make that, how many set up operations?" Damn, It Looks Good.... I want one!
 

Black Flash

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
Danno,

Jack Barker told me about 30 years ago that no man should be without a lathe. HE WAS RIGHT!
I first bought a small Emco lathe which soon turned out to be too small.
Years alter I had the chance to buy a squarehead Colchester Student, best thing I ever bought as it easily cuts imperial and metric threads. I use it at least once a week and I simply couldn't be without a lathe now, not for bikes only but for many other jobs around the house, garden, cars etc..

Go for the right size from a start, another lesson from Peter Volkers : They are never too big, they are always to small. I got the 25 inch version and it's ok for me, I would have preferred the 40 inches, but I simply didn't have the space.

Bernd
 

Dave61

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
Hi
I’m currently trying to make some sort of workshop out of my single garage. Got 3 bikes including a C Rapide.
I had to sell a rather dated pillar drill, a wood turning lathe and a large free standing circular saw
due to house move.
Now sort of starting again as regards useful machines an I’m down to an electric grinder
and free standing disc/belt sander.
Have managed so far without a metal turning lathe but I do need another drill or mill drill.
There’s quite a few hobby type machines that would fit the bill and a fairly small footprint is important.
Someone suggested that the Clarke CL500M lathe and mill drill from Machine Mart is good value and would save getting seperate machines. Could just about accommodate one.
Otherwise just a hobby mill drill would do as I’ll have a solid bench and vice for basic thread tapping and general use.
I guess many Vin owners are kitted out with lathes.
Any ideas appreciated.
Danno,
Like Stu said once you've got one you'll wonder how you managed without one.
I've only got a 8x16 hobby lathe from Armadeal last year but they don't seem to have them anymore.
Arceurotrade have the Sieg lathes & are considerably cheaper than the same machines Axminster sell.
I like old machinery as they are more robust, I'm a Joiner & my workshop has predominantly old machines, but I don't know enough about old metal lathes to make a good choice for a home workshop.
All I can add is buy the biggest you can afford & allow for buying tooling & accessories & a brushless motor is preferable.
Cheers
Dave
 

danno

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
It all depends on what you want to be doing.
I need to look into what a lathe can do but at least would like to make up studs,
bolts, clean up threads (although I have tins and tins of imperial taps and dies).
I’m not sure but on the odd occasion I’ve needed a particular bolt.
Years ago, someone from the VOC kindly made up a couple of longer tank bolts
for the headstock on my Rapide.
The threads in the frame weren’t gripping. £10.00, job done.
Other than that, I haven’t felt that it’s a ‘must have’.
Any specialist parts I usually buy.

The Clark CL500M might be limited but the size is the max I could possibly go with
single garage and three bikes. Would need to extent garage back for a larger one.
Not sure whether a seperate drill/mill would be better than integrated but I’m really
limited for space.
https://www.machinemart.co.uk/p/cl500m-metal-lathemill-drill/

The CL300M is more manageable. Surely would be better than nothing.
https://www.machinemart.co.uk/p/cl300m-metal-lathe/

Anything I can’t do, I’d take somewhere or have made up.
Not sure if ‘hobby lathes’ are a modern thing but I can’t have anything bigger.
Also gearbox, power, RPM, belt drive I’m not too clear about.
 

Black Flash

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
Danno,

Just another suggestion before you buy a lathe. Now that everything is moving towards CNC machinery, second hand lathes tend to be around in good numbers to choose from. Beware of buying rebranded chinese stuff, they are cheap for a reason, usually they are quite light from their castings and tend to vibrate much more than an old sturdy built lathe.
Have a look at lathes.co.uk the website will give you tons of informations regarding all kind of lathes and is sorted my manufacturers. You can learn a lot about the lathes that are up for offers in the second hand market from this website.
Personally I would rather buy a 25 year old second hand machine than a new machine with chinese origin.

Bernd
 

danno

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
Danno,

Just another suggestion before you buy a lathe. Now that everything is moving towards CNC machinery, second hand lathes tend to be around in good numbers to choose from. Beware of buying rebranded chinese stuff, they are cheap for a reason, usually they are quite light from their castings and tend to vibrate much more than an old sturdy built lathe.
Have a look at lathes.co.uk the website will give you tons of informations regarding all kind of lathes and is sorted my manufacturers. You can learn a lot about the lathes that are up for offers in the second hand market from this website.
Personally I would rather buy a 25 year old second hand machine than a new machine with chinese origin.

Bernd
Thanks. Will check that out.
£1378.00 for the CL500M is quite a lot but I suppose it’s cheap for a new lathe compared to a better quality new equivalent.
I suppose I’m tempted by ease of purchase, delivery, warranty etc.
 

mercurycrest

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
I need to look into what a lathe can do but at least would like to make up studs,
bolts, clean up threads (although I have tins and tins of imperial taps and dies).
I’m not sure but on the odd occasion I’ve needed a particular bolt.
Years ago, someone from the VOC kindly made up a couple of longer tank bolts
for the headstock on my Rapide.
The threads in the frame weren’t gripping. £10.00, job done.
Other than that, I haven’t felt that it’s a ‘must have’.
Any specialist parts I usually buy.

The Clark CL500M might be limited but the size is the max I could possibly go with
single garage and three bikes. Would need to extent garage back for a larger one.
Not sure whether a seperate drill/mill would be better than integrated but I’m really
limited for space.
https://www.machinemart.co.uk/p/cl500m-metal-lathemill-drill/

The CL300M is more manageable. Surely would be better than nothing.
https://www.machinemart.co.uk/p/cl300m-metal-lathe/

Anything I can’t do, I’d take somewhere or have made up.
Not sure if ‘hobby lathes’ are a modern thing but I can’t have anything bigger.
Also gearbox, power, RPM, belt drive I’m not too clear about.
Hi Danno,
Watch this, you'll learn a lot you need to know about small lathes:
Cheers, John
 

oexing

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
Problem with "good old lathes" is the weight. To be open, you don´t really want that in our cases as you´d plan to carry it somewhere without good access for transport machinery. And another point, most times the motor is in the base - extra weight - so no way to just place the lathe on a bench for saving space for other stuff. I got three Chinese lathes, all new , one from Taiwan , 1984, when Red China was not as active like today. Small lathes can be a nuisance as handles may be too close to each other when you have to do hand feed - most of the time really , do try each candidate for size and operation - might come a bit frustrating ergonomically. You just have to look at ALL items on the machine for choosing a decent type there are many versions of almost identic types. And really , some finishes are not all that elegant or perfect - but then, what´s your needs from it today ? The Myfords are a religion, not an argument, compared to what you get from China, no way I´d want to have antiques , had them when I was a lot younger. A Colchester is great, Weiler too, but weight is prohibitive for many. But be prepared with old, worn machinery, you´d start another restauration with it while still busy enough with your bikes - would not want this.
For deciding, I´d want a gear type lathe, an extra frequency converter hooked on it too, in combination definitely ! That saves you from endless gear changes in between, just needed for high torque cases like big drills or parting off and big work pieces. A fixed belt drive type , no gear box, variable speed motor type would NOT be my choice really , no guts at very low speeds, imagine thread cutting - no way. A large through hole in the spindle is nice to have, Camlock quick change spindle head certainly, these traditional old huge threaded flanges antediluvian - no way . Induction hardened vee-bedways a must - and so on, an extra forum discussion possibly . . .

Vic
P1060824.JPG
 
Last edited:

Dave61

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
Thanks. Will check that out.
£1378.00 for the CL500M is quite a lot but I suppose it’s cheap for a new lathe compared to a better quality new equivalent.
I suppose I’m tempted by ease of purchase, delivery, warranty etc.
Danno,
Have a look at
All the mini lathes seem to be made in China but the ones supplied by Arceurotrade have got quite a reasonable reputation & the company seem quite good if you look on any of the model Engineering forums.
A friend has the SC6 & it seems far more robust then mine.
Cheers
Dave
 

stu spalding

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
I agree with Bernd, but if you do go for an older machine you ought to have a fully sorted engineer with you to take a look at it. When I started I didn't know an end mill from a slot drill but my CL500M has allowed me to teach myself a lot without too much hassle, (and a little help from my friends). Cheers, Stu.
 

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