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Member postings for Jonathan Covell

Here is a list of all the postings Jonathan Covell has made in our forums. Click on a thread name to jump to the thread.

Thread: Hello :)
23/11/2020 14:52:35
Posted by SillyOldDuffer on 22/11/2020 17:11:50:

Dig around enough on the forum and you'll find several posts from me regretting the time I wasted dithering about which lathe to buy. Unless you have an unusual requirement, I suggest just buying one! Tonight.

New hobby lathes will be a bit rough. Buy from a British seller and they will back you up if you happen to get an actual lemon.

I bought a Warco WM280, which is bigger than a Myford. The WM250 is smallest member of the same family and a considerable improvement on a mini-lathe. Rather similar machines are sold by a number of vendors. You can agonise endlessly about the minor differences between them, but seller support is more important than the kit.

Many prefer second-hand western machines but they're second-hand. Condition is everything. As a beginner I was nervous of buying second-hand partly because of a bad experience in my youth, fortunately wasting time and petrol rather than money. After a couple of years mini-latheing I was more competent about what to look for, good and bad.

My mini-lathe wasn't ideal but it got me started without breaking the bank and I had a lot of fun and interest with it.

Thank you. This is more the advice I need.
I was a photographer for 5 years as a side earner (weddings/events etc.) and developed the hindsight for "what I wish I just got at the start". If anyone got in to it and was wanting to be even semi-pro, from experience I'd be like "Good condition second hand 5DIV or III and a 35mm sigma and an 85mm". Would have saved me a lot of money, trail and error and I'd have ended up with a camera and lens combo for 99% of my work ha.

Looking at the Warco's they look a lot more professional compared to the "Chinese imports". I see they have a "mini-lathe" that they have metal gearing for and a brushless motor. It seems for the extra 50% in price, getting metal gearing, 100mm 'chuck', plastic chuck/face guard (if that is what it is called), alu handwheels and a 12 month warranty is probably already worth the extra if I have £700 already saved.
Warco Mini Lathe - £675 vs £460 for "CJ18A"

I mean I'd love a W250 or even a W280 but the cost and my experience I feel I could be getting way in over my head very soon.

I guess something like the "Warco Mini" with its 350mm between centres and the upgrades from Warco would keep me entertained for some years while I saved up for something like a second hand W280 in the longer term?

If there were a W250 second hand in good condition for ~£7-800 then that would be ideal ha. I mean I will watch this and see what it goes for as a "baseline" to what I could spend if I want something better in a year or so...
Ebay - W250

Thanks for the help .

23/11/2020 14:27:54
Posted by Howard Lewis on 22/11/2020 16:59:57:

As already said, what you want to make / repair will have a great influence on which lathe you need.

As examples, you can't skim brake discs on a mini lathe, but you would not want to make parts for a watch on a machine capable of swinging something 18" in diameter.

Also where do you plan to have your workshop?

Hey thanks. Yeah I can see me mainly making smaller items. So far it was thinking bits like chess pieces (brass/alu/steel/bronze?), small engineering items like bushings and threaded engineering pieces and maybe bits like custom kitchen items.
I wasn't planning on say bike forks or anything of that size.

As far as "the workshop" I have the back of a double garage. I have another side room with shelving off the side of the garage where I can store tools, leaving the main area left for the existing bench and vise (~ 6ftx3ft). I have quite a lot of basic tools and a few power tools (plane sander/mouse sander/dewalt drill/circular saw/jig saw).

So I don't think I'd get away with anything more than a "7x16" ish sized lathe bed. I have space next to the main workbench that could maybe fit that with a bench under it to store stock/tools.
I am looking in future at say a bench-top drill press as well (maybe up to a 14mm?). Not really looked far in to that at the moment.

23/11/2020 13:55:18
Posted by Bazyle on 22/11/2020 14:32:37:

Has your software interest steered you towards or away from CNC type thoughts?

I know of the grbl opensource project but with it being in C/++ I couldn't really do a meaningful PR unless I really spent some time reading all the wonderful work they've done. I would of course love to maybe one day have enough knowledge of it to maybe try do some PRs to fix simple issues etc.

As far as venturing in to CNC I was at one point looking at building a wood CNC machine.

It is on the to-do list and would probably be easier as a first venture (especially after building a 3D printer) and the software is similar I guess (being grbl based).

My thought was buying a router off fleabay and simply using that with enough hose clips to secure it (till I made something better). I do have a plunge router but I'd rather keep that separate from any Frankenstine creation I make. I am sure I've seen cheap makita second hand 800W+ working routers on fleabay and marketplace to experiment with and I am sure it would be a better designed

The frame is where I'd spend most time (and maybe most money?). I don't know if I'd just buy the expensive extrusion stuff and use the hardware that seems to be quite common, or make some type of wood/aluminium mixed frame to cut down on costs and later regret it. We will see.

22/11/2020 10:48:45


I am Jonathan, a software dev (java/spring/reactjs/android) based in West Yorkshire.

Just signed up as I have been generally thinking of getting some form of lathe after doing the whole "If you are still wanting something a year after you initially thought about it". So I have saved up some budget a month for a lathe over the year ( is the my big spend hobby money fund I guess) with about a £700 budget to date.

I mainly tinker with code but have also designed and had my own PCBs fabricated (for various daft things like binary clocks / ESP32 based home automation and IR voting systems) and the Chinese DIY 3D printer my brother got me for Christmas a few years a go is about the level of engineering in the physical world I do.

I will be lurking around as I have read hours worth of "this lathe that lathe" and watched about 9000 hours on "The CJ18A and other chinese cheap lathe" videos on YouTube and probably now more confused about making the "right" choice from the get go.

Thank you .

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