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Help me choose a lathe to suit my hobby

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Gordon Tarling14/09/2017 10:56:14
162 forum posts
4 photos

Andrew - I got my Emco from Ebay. There, I said the word and the sky hasn't fallen in yet! smiley

The Sherline is a capable little lathe, but I found it's better to stick to turning non ferrous materials on it. Many of the major parts on it are aluminium and this compromises its rigidity. I also found prices in this country to be somewhat expensive, so having a good friend living in the USA might be very helpful.

MW14/09/2017 13:08:15
2050 forum posts
51 photos
Posted by Gordon Tarling on 14/09/2017 10:56:14:

The Sherline is a capable little lathe, but I found it's better to stick to turning non ferrous materials on it. Many of the major parts on it are aluminium and this compromises its rigidity. I also found prices in this country to be somewhat expensive, so having a good friend living in the USA might be very helpful.

The body of my lathe bed and stand seems to be some kind of steel, this also applies to the z axis of the mill. The cross slide/headstock etc.. are all adonized aluminium, i'm not sure what grade of aluminium it is. I think they use these extrusions to limit the amount of machining that is needed.

The postal and import charges are the economy killer, if you take those out of it, it is actually quite reasonable to buy. I will consider upgrading the motor to a 400W brushless on mine, at some point.

Like most of these budget/hobby lathes the actual construction of them is great, but the motor provided can bring the whole thing down a grade. 

Michael W

Edited By Michael-w on 14/09/2017 13:09:28

Microbike14/09/2017 20:08:50
34 forum posts
17 photos

Hello Dave

I wasn't mislead at all but instead found you post very informative and have copied the information for future reference. It would certainly seem that the modern mini lathe is much better than they were 10 years ago.

Once I buy my lathe I will be sure to post on the forum and share the experience .



Microbike14/09/2017 20:18:22
34 forum posts
17 photos

Hello Nick. G

I am sure the lathe I buy will be fine but not perfect for every requirement. While it is true that for the model bikes I will be working on plastic, Teflon, brass and aluminium, I do still intend to make a number of tools, real bike parts ( I had to have some aluminim bushes made when I was restoring my Moto Guzzi Le Mans III (See below the finished project). I think this is what makes my requirement a bit complex.


A Sherline mill is perfect for the 1/6 scale bikes but might not be suitable for some other tool projects I have in mind. Therefore at the end of the day I may well end up with 2 mill and 2 lathes.



Microbike14/09/2017 20:33:10
34 forum posts
17 photos

Hello Gordon

Emco lathe on eBay - you certainly braver than me. Bought a few parts for my Le Mans on ebay though as the factory doesn't make many parts anymorefor the older bikes.

I think the Sherline will be ideally suited for turning model bolts, exhaust cans, fork sliders and the like because the parts are very small and well suited to a smaller machine which the missus might allow me to use in the house

I still think as has been suggested before on this thread that I might be better suited with two lathes eg a Sherline lathe for the bike model parts and a WARCO VM280 lathe instead of investing in the much larger WARCO gear head lathe I was originally considering.

I think I am going to start off with a small mill either the Sherline 5000 or the SIEG SX1LP Mill and see how it goes before moving on to the lathe. Milling is my most pressing need at the moment since using the mill to remove the moulded bolt heads is going to be more effective, faster and more accurate than my current hand held pin vice



Microbike14/09/2017 20:41:40
34 forum posts
17 photos

Hello Michael

Do you have a Sherline mill? How do you like it? The UK supplier for Sherline is Millhill in Essex and the basic mill is the Sherline 5000 for £707.00 while the SIEG SX1LP is £600.00 A so not much in it when it comes to price

The Sherline is smaller but I think will be better suited because of its smaller size. I will try and see both before I buy. I am bound to see the SIEG products at the Midlands model show and take a bike ride out to Essex to see the Sherline mill. For the bike model parts which apart from rims are very small the Sherline motor should be okay?

I would be pleased to hear of your experiences with the Sherline mill - would you recommend it?



Robin Graham15/09/2017 00:21:10
669 forum posts
151 photos

There have been a couple of disparaging remarks made about Proxxon lathes - by NickG and more lately by Gordon Tarling who says:

" Before I bought a lathe, I considered many different makes and concluded that Proxxon lathes are really glorified, overpriced toys that IMHO aren't capable of any serious work."

I have actually owned and used a Proxxon PD400 for maybe 10 years. The reason I spent the money was that it was my first lathe and I was nervous about going for a Chinese minilathe for the same reasons as many other first time buyers - you read reviews on the internet, hear horror stories, and think 'Gawd, I don't want to be faced with fixing a machine I don't really understand when I haven't even the skill to use it to do what it's supposed to do yet'. The musical instrument analogy is apposite and informed my thinking at the time. I'd been struggling with learning the Irish pipes after buying a £500 set - months in and I could just about do a scale and a few twiddles. Six months later later my £2k set arrived from Ireland - "Begob and begorrah" I said to myself (as one does) when I'd strapped myself into the beast 'this is the man" - I was nailing a tune, perhaps not to 5 microns but within half an inch or two at least within a fortnight. So that's why I bought the Proxxon.

Is it capable of serious work? Yes, within its capacity, and very accurate it is too - you get a a precision Rohm 3-jaw and a Rohm tailstock chuck in the package. Is it better made than a Sieg minilathe? Yes. Is it value for money - no I'd say. It served my purpose, but I'd certainly go for a minilathe and save myself £s if I had my time again, knowing what I know now.

Sláinte, Rob

Circlip15/09/2017 09:33:23
1035 forum posts

Emco Maximat V10 came in handy at lunchtimes when making bits for my MK1 L/M. Brembo's chromed pistons were replaced with half a dozen Stainless versions as were ALL screws, bolts and washers with SS versions. As the satellite location of the company where I worked were being re-located, the lathe I'd used was purchased from them and a later purchase of the vertical head from another source has kept me happy for thirty years.

Regards Ian.

Mike E.16/09/2017 18:22:42
196 forum posts
1 photos
Posted by Nick_G on 10/09/2017 20:05:20:
Posted by Michael Gilligan on 10/09/2017 19:55:02:


You better believe it, Nick

I wonder what it will end up going for.? (providing it makes it's reserve)


A couple of days ago, the price climbed to stupid money, £ 2500., and then for some unknown reason ( and I have a good idea why, lol.  after the auction ended, its quickly relisted for a buy it now price at the same amount; yeah, stupid money.

michael cole16/09/2017 20:33:43
163 forum posts

For the small stuff and your price point you really need to look at a Cowells ME90.

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