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K: Tools Do I need a metal turning lathe?

danno

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.
Thanks.
Will probably go for a new one.
Just wondering if you find the drill to be sufficient for most work.
I’m used to a big old 1940’s one with a large table and plenty of room around it.
Had to sell unfortunately. Powerful though.
 

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stu spalding

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
Thanks.
Will probably go for a new one.
Just wondering if you find the drill to be sufficient for most work.
I’m used to big old 1940’s one with a large table and plenty of room around it.
Had to sell unfortunately. Powerful though.
It's good enough for all the Vincent work I do, I suppose it depends what you're used to, I've never had a job on my bike that beat it. Cheers Stu.
 

Mike 40M

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
One thing lacking on almost all low cost import lathes is the ability to cut (single point) British Standard threads. Especially 1/4 BSF and most BSC (cycle threads) which are both 26 tpi. So making them, you'll have to use taps and dies.
 

Marcus Bowden

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
Starting work as a fitter / turner apprentice and using the skills endlessly at sea, saving the company a lot of $'s (American they were) and still enjoy the creativity of the beast as it's the daddy of all machines, having five machines at my disposal ( all chuck out's from a factory Harvey bought, the Myford Super 7 "B"is the handiest one as it's got a wonderful selection of attachments and 3 phase put into the house in 1991. How people manage without them I do not know.
bananaman.
 

Bill Thomas

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
Lathes worry me, Along with everything else :D .
I can still see Smithy, Ron's mate, Trying to hold himself away from the Lathe,
While His big floppy Jumper was being wrapped around something and pulling Him closer !!.
Ron and me were in the shed, And I think Ron got to the switch,
Smithy had to use two hands to hold himself away !!.
That and leaving the Key in the Chuck, Not good ideas .
 

Glenliman

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
This 1944 Monarch is a treat to operate. Prior to getting the Monarch I used a Taiwan copy of a Southbend. I still use this lathe for some things.
It's a very nice little lathe with DRO and quick change. It can do quite a lot, but the Monarch has spoiled me. The reversing lead screw makes threading very easy and fast. It's not difficult to cut perfect threads on this machine.Screenshot_20181228-082237.png
One other big difference between these lathes is the cut finish quality. With weight comes rigidity.
Everything coming off the Monarch looks like a mirror.
 

danno

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
One thing lacking on almost all low cost import lathes is the ability to cut (single point) British Standard threads. Especially 1/4 BSF and most BSC (cycle threads) which are both 26 tpi. So making them, you'll have to use taps and dies.
Thanks, useful to know.
I guess the RPM isn’t low enough. Thought maybe a lathe could lessen the need
for the numerous taps and dies I have.
Just looking at the manual of the Clarke CL300M, it mentions imperial thread cutting and includes 26tpi.
 
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A_HRD

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
You can use your taps and dies in the lathe to cut threads in/on your workpiece - at the lowest speed setting and with your favourite greasy lubricant. Great for making studs or nuts....
Peter B
 

mercurycrest

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
Thanks, useful to know.
I guess the RPM isn’t low enough. Thought maybe a lathe could lessen the need
for the numerous taps and dies I have.
Just looking at the manual of the Clarke CL300M, it mentions imperial thread cutting and includes 26tpi.
It's nowhere near the machine the Clarke CL500M like Stu has. The 300M has the useless for a lathe DC brushless motor and an electronic speed control that won't handle the low speed power you need and want even with taps and dies. You'll play hell cutting threads with it.
 

danno

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
It's nowhere near the machine the Clarke CL500M like Stu has. The 300M has the useless for a lathe DC brushless motor and an electronic speed control that won't handle the low speed power you need and want even with taps and dies. You'll play hell cutting threads with it.
Thanks.
Helps narrow it down.
Judging by the weight of this one, It’ll have the same:

I was chatting to a guy last year who has the same BMW as me and he was suprised I didn’t have a lathe, being a Vincent owner.
Got me thinking that one would be useful.
I really like the compact size of the CL300M and could easily get a seperate
hobby mill and mount in on another bench.
I’m designing one to mount an electric grinder, vice and a hobby mill.

Looks like a small lathe though with no grunt would quickly fall short. The Sieg mentioned earlier is a possibility as a stand-alone.
 

Glenliman

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
Thanks, useful to know.
I guess the RPM isn’t low enough. Thought maybe a lathe could lessen the need
for the numerous taps and dies I have.
Just looking at the manual of the Clarke CL300M, it mentions imperial thread cutting and includes 26tpi.

This is a Taiwan built lathe and it has a pretty decent selection of TPI, 40 pitches in Imperial thread. It also has metric gears which can be installed to cut 40 pitches in metric thread.
All in all its a very decent little lathe. It was given to me by a good friend. He inherited it with his business, but none of his workers would use it as it cut on a unintentional taper, about 15 thou per foot. They preferred to use a larger Eastern European lathe that ran close to true.
One phone call to Dan Smith and some over the phone instructions on lathe setup sorted out the taper problem on this TIDA lathe.
Later on I found the operating manual at back of the lower cabinet. The manual gave virtually the same setup instructions as Dan provided.
I guess no one ever read the manual nor did they go thru the steps for setup. End result the lathe is as new.
My friend tried to use this lathe as trade in on a milling machine, however the machine tool dealer only offered a couple of hundred dollars for it.
He kindly dropped it off at my shop rather than let it go cheap to the dealer. I added the DRO and quick change tool post.

So I would not turn my nose up at an import lathe, especially the Taiwan machines, they aren't half bad. It's way nicer than any of the lathes we had in the High School metal work shop. And we had to fight to get use of those junkers!

Ive machined 3/8 wide x 3/8" deep bullnose cuts 2" apart on 2" Dia 304 ss shafting pairs 4 feet long on this little lathe. That's 48 bullnose cuts per shaft pair and about three 5 gallon pails full of SS shavings.
It did a fine job, but took two full days.
The Monarch did the same job in 4 hrs.
But the little lathe will get you there eventually, just as long as the item falls within the capacity.
For small jobs, making spacers, bushings etc either the big machine or small machine will do it with ease.

GlenIMG_20200731_135057.jpg

IMG_20200731_135141.jpg
 
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Chris Launders

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
Ah, the best sort of lathe, a free one, You would think.
As well as my large Hendey I have a Myford MF42 I was given fairly recently, unfortunately the head bearing and shaft were worn and this model was only made briefly in 1942, and there are NO spares, so I've had the shaft hard chromed and ground and made a new bush but I still have too much deflection when cutting, just another job to sort out.
In my opinion get the best and biggest you can afford, it will be worth it. I wish I had a more modern one every time I use mine.
 

vibrac

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
I would love a DRO on my big Harrison (I say big but it has a very small through bore and chuck)
When doing the British bikes I take the dimension in imperial convert it to metric on my measuring stick set it to zero and work my way down on the metric dials a DRO would be a blessing but when I looked some time ago it was not cheap. You may ask why an old boy like me has a metric lathe ... dont look a gift horse in the mouth
PS: I can recommend old R as a general turning lubricant.
 
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danno

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
Thanks for the replies and help so far.
It will have to be a Clark CL500M or stand alone equivalent. Would need to search quite hard to find an old but gold one that that’s no bigger.
I don’t even know what I’ll make on it. The Rapide’s restored albeit a few things
that need sorting.
Just nice to have and be able to turn up stuff.
 

Robert Watson

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
My retirement present to myself was Accurite DRO's for the lathe and the mill. Never go back......

As for price, If I had to replace these today I would seriously look at these (I know Chinese is not a favourite source for anything these days)

The prices are for the box and the scales range from about 50 - 125 US$ each.

the last Accurite scale I replaced was over $400!!
 

Jim Bush

Active Website User
VOC Member
I started out with a 70's Boxford AUD school lathe bought at auction - it was very useful and I learnt the art of thread cutting. I soon found there was not a lot of rigidity for larger pieces. My machinist friend hooked me up a import lathe 12"x40" with metric/imperial thread cutting, proper Cdn electrics, and a DRO (digital readout). The DRO is so vital to making things accurate and repeatable. The next BIG spend is tooling... quick change tool posts/holders - I have 10 holders set up with my favourite cutters. I have moved to Carbide inserts - which frankly are still a little marginal on a manual lathe. Get the feed and speed right and you make chips - but 80% of time things aren't optimal and you get long strings which can be a danger. Capabilities of odd thread sizes like BSP 19 tpi and 26" BSF mean you have the option of make it now or wait 3 weeks for the postman to deliver. Go big & heavy, get serious, spend the money. Happiness is a bin full of swarf.
 

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Cyborg

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
I still haven’t mastered the feed and speed, but have managed to keep the bleeding to a minimum. Must get some of those inserts for threading. One of my first scary jobs. Pressure was on to get it right. Inter cam box with a knackered cam tunnel.

The problem with lathes and mills is the endless quest to buy all the necessary attachments. DRO was the best thing ever invented. Especially for Newbies with clapped out machines.

7A8D73EB-6574-4511-A37F-FC083D566559.jpeg26F76BC6-E9B8-41C9-9361-97EF2CEE431F.jpeg
 

brian gains

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
Lathes.co.uk is where i started getting rehedukted regarding lathes, also has classifieds. It may also confirm what you don't want.
 

danno

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
Go big & heavy, get serious, spend the money.
Ideally yes, space considering. Clarke CL500M = big, heavy and quite expensive.
I’m completely new to lathes. Used to have a large home made wood turning one at previous house.
Didn’t do much on it though.

If I got down to two bikes I could maybe accommodate a larger one. The Clarke is a good compromise.
Good to know a VOC member has one too.
 

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