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Upgrade from SC3 lathe

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Ian Thomson 211/11/2018 22:09:47
20 forum posts

Sorry - but another "which lathe?" thread....

I has a Seig SC3 for a few years. I learnt a lot with it, but found it too small.

Machining steel was slow, and although I was able to achieve accurate results, the top slide was always a source of frustration. I was forever adjusting gibs.

The plan was to upgrade to a short bed metric Boxford AUD, but these seem to be in short supply. I am also concerned that I am no expert, so could end up with a lemon.

After visiting the Warco stand at the midlands show this year, I come away very impressed with the WM250V. More than my budget, but felt very solid and with a 3 phase motor. Unfortunately Warco have significantly hiked the price this weekend. I wish I had spend more time there looking at the smaller WM240B now.

Looking around again I see that Arc have the SC4 on offer. Is this a significant upgrade from the SC3? Information is limited, but It appears that they have metal gears and tapered bearings. Do they have the rigidity to machine steel? Will I be forever fiddling with the cross slide to maintain accuracy? Do they need a lot of work before they can be used (like the SC3).

I would be grateful to hear of peoples' experiences (good and bad) with both the WM240B and the SC4 from Arc.

Thanks.

Edited By JasonB on 12/11/2018 06:57:25

Farmboy12/11/2018 10:27:27
108 forum posts
8 photos

I'm probably the least 'expert' here, but I bought a SIEG C4 from Axminster a few years ago, which is the non-electronic version of the SC4. However it is still the same basic machine, and I have found it very robust. Mine needed a good clean down to remove the packing grease, but everything worked fine from the start with no 'fettling'. A few test cuts proved it was accurate in turning parallel and facing, within the limits of my DTI and micrometer.

It is quite a heavy lump and definitely not a one-man lift . . . well, maybe when I was a lot younger dont know

Mine did have an unusual problem in that the wrong leadscrew had been fitted: L/H thread instead of R/H. This caused a few headscratchings until the light dawned, and it was replaced under warranty. They did offer to replace the lathe but as I had got it all cleaned and set up I opted for the parts only, plus a hefty discount on my next purchase!

With ARC's reputation for customer service I would have no qualms about buying an SC4, if I was in the market for another one. Sadly, I've had too little free time to make the most of this one so far in my "retirement"

Mike.

Neil Wyatt13/11/2018 19:14:19
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Posted by Ian Thomson 2 on 11/11/2018 22:09:47:

Looking around again I see that Arc have the SC4 on offer. Is this a significant upgrade from the SC3? Information is limited, but It appears that they have metal gears and tapered bearings. Do they have the rigidity to machine steel? Will I be forever fiddling with the cross slide to maintain accuracy? Do they need a lot of work before they can be used (like the SC3).

Well I have been using an Arc SC4 for over a year now. Size wise it's about the same weight and capacity and a S7, but with 4" centre height but no gap bed.

I honestly wouldn't swap it. It has a couple of quirks, but so does every machine.

It benefits from a little setting up but that's true of every lathe - anyone who thinks you can plonk a lathe down on a bench and expect it to give it's best without checking the gibs etc. is deluding themselves. That said, the SC4 being bigger and more rigid is less demanding on the setting up. Like the SC3, you need to set the locknuts right to make sure things stay in adjustment. Also it has lots of oiling points which help reduce wear and keep things in tune.

I've never had any problems machining steel on a CL300M (which is a more primitive mini lathe than an SC3), mine will manage a 3mm cut. The SC4 will happily take silly deep cuts in steel.

I can report my leadscrew turns the right way!

Neil

Joseph Noci 113/11/2018 19:29:25
453 forum posts
812 photos
Posted by Neil Wyatt on 13/11/2018 19:14:19:
Posted by Ian Thomson 2 on 11/11/2018 22:09:47:

..........

It benefits from a little setting up but that's true of every lathe - anyone who thinks you can plonk a lathe down on a bench and expect it to give it's best without checking the gibs etc. is deluding themselves.

Neil

Mmm, bit of a broad statement Neil...Perhaps you may qualify that for us?sad

Certainly not with an EMCO 14D...face 23

Joe

wheeltapper13/11/2018 19:43:40
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418 forum posts
98 photos

I have the Chester version of this lathe and am happy with it .

to see what can be done with this lathe go on Youtube and search for "Clickspring"

he's an Australian guy and I wish I could make my lathe do what his does.

his channel is well worth watching.

Roy.

Jon13/11/2018 19:59:34
972 forum posts
46 photos

Wish i could say the same, bought a Chester one for late night light work. It wouldnt turn the skin off rice pudding depite two new US boards and a repair.
Apart from that extremely flimsy.

Ian Thomson 213/11/2018 21:37:18
20 forum posts

Thanks for responses. I have seen the clickspring video.

With these recommendations I am planning a trip to Leicester tomorrow to see a SC4 in the flesh.

I am surprised there are no Warco owners praising their machines. They did look to be well built.

Edited By Ian Thomson 2 on 13/11/2018 21:37:42

Farmboy13/11/2018 23:03:30
108 forum posts
8 photos

Posted by Neil Wyatt on 13/11/2018 19:14:19:

... I can report my leadscrew turns the right way!

Neil

It wasn't just that the leadscrew was L/H threaded, I could have lived with that since the lathe has a forward/reverse gearbox, but . . . the half-nut was R/H thread crook . . . didn't make for very good engagement when power-feeding!

I came to the conclusion that the step-pulley driven C4B that I have used R/H and the electronic control SC4 version used L/H threads, and somebody must have picked the wrong one. Axminster took a bit of convincing at first, but after a chat on the phone they were very helpful, and replaced the leadscrew and half-nut, and provided a hefty discount on my next order as compensation for my trouble. Another firm with excellent customer service.

I was actually surprised by how good the C4 was for the price. Now I just need to find more time to 'play' teeth 2

Mike.

mechman4813/11/2018 23:22:13
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2296 forum posts
387 photos

…. 'I am surprised there are no Warco owners praising their machines. They did look to be well built'

I have a WM250VF + a WM16 mill & am highly satisfied with both machines to date... both bought from the Harrogate mod' exhib' back in 2012. They both do what I give them to do without complaint, mind you I know their limitations so don't flog 'em.

Happy now … devil

George.

Neil Wyatt14/11/2018 09:35:14
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Posted by Joseph Noci 1 on 13/11/2018 19:29:25:
Posted by Neil Wyatt on 13/11/2018 19:14:19:
Posted by Ian Thomson 2 on 11/11/2018 22:09:47:

..........

It benefits from a little setting up but that's true of every lathe - anyone who thinks you can plonk a lathe down on a bench and expect it to give it's best without checking the gibs etc. is deluding themselves.

Neil

Mmm, bit of a broad statement Neil...Perhaps you may qualify that for us?sad

Certainly not with an EMCO 14D...face 23

Joe

A machine gets set up and tested on a test rig in a factory.

It may then travel half way around the world in a container, sit in storage for months or years, before being transported carefully to someone's workshop. It is then set up on a bench with no particular specification in uncontrolled temperature conditions.

If it is in perfect alignment and adjustment, that is more likely to be luck than quality production...

Neil

Martin Whittle14/11/2018 09:46:19
72 forum posts
5 photos
Posted by mechman48 on 13/11/2018 23:22:13:

…. 'I am surprised there are no Warco owners praising their machines. They did look to be well built'

I have a WM250VF + a WM16 mill & am highly satisfied with both machines to date... both bought from the Harrogate mod' exhib' back in 2012. They both do what I give them to do without complaint, mind you I know their limitations so don't flog 'em.

Happy now … devil

George.

+1

I also have a WM250VF and WM16, and am happy with them.

Martin

Ketan Swali14/11/2018 09:46:46
1075 forum posts
87 photos
Posted by Jon on 13/11/2018 19:59:34:

Wish i could say the same, bought a Chester one for late night light work. It wouldnt turn the skin off rice pudding depite two new US boards and a repair.
Apart from that extremely flimsy.

Jon,

Is it possible you are mistaking the C4/SC4 with some other machine from Chester?... The reason I ask is that SIEG have never offered or supplied any machines with US control boards.

I am aware that Chester had some problems including torque issues with the first batch of SC4s back when they were first introduced around 2011~12, but I believe they were returned back to SIEG.There have been no torque issues there after.

Ketan at ARC

Joseph Noci 114/11/2018 10:12:45
453 forum posts
812 photos

A machine gets set up and tested on a test rig in a factory.

It may then travel half way around the world in a container, sit in storage for months or years, before being transported carefully to someone's workshop. It is then set up on a bench with no particular specification in uncontrolled temperature conditions.

If it is in perfect alignment and adjustment, that is more likely to be luck than quality production...

Neil

I suppose you may be correct, but I suspect it has a lot to due with the quality of the machine, and hence what it costs? Without trying to harp..My Emco 14D is by all counts a 'smallish' machine - It is the successor to the older Emco Super 11, so maybe in the Wabeco D6000, or between the Warco 1236 and 1230 models.

It was verified in the Emco factory before shipping to Namibia - a 2 month Sea journey, and then by road to me. An Emco rep was present for commissioning and performed the same verification as done at factory - NO noticeable change at all...37 measurements done..

I can post the Emco check sheets if anyone is interested, but the measurements are extensive - Runout on spindle internal, external and flat face ( all less than 0.0018mm!) Runout of test bar in chuck, including longitudinal runout from left to right ( ie, saddle moved from left to right with dial on bar) - less than 0.0022mm!, etc...They also measure the twist in the slide by attaching a DTI, and applying a set load on the slide, first at one end, then the other, and measure DTI deflection...

I realise that if you pay 50,000 or 80,000 Pounds for a machine , this level of return may be expected, but the 14D was WELL below that price - below 18,000 Pounds - which is 'only' 4 or so times the above mentioned Warco models.

I believe you get what you pay for in most cases..And I know one cannot compare a European made machine to one made in China, but by the same token, then,

It benefits from a little setting up but that's true of every lathe - anyone who thinks you can plonk a lathe down on a bench and expect it to give it's best without checking the gibs etc. is deluding themselves.

is really only applicable to a certain range of lathe or to a certain supply base, or maybe , more to the point, to a 'cheap' lathe as opposed to an inexpensive lathe..

Pedantic, I know, but...

I'll now do as that other fellow and get my coat..

Joe

Ian S C14/11/2018 10:16:27
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7262 forum posts
227 photos

Perhaps the boards were US, as in un - serviceable, not US as in USA.

Ian S C

Ketan Swali14/11/2018 10:26:53
1075 forum posts
87 photos
Posted by Ian S C on 14/11/2018 10:16:27:

Perhaps the boards were US, as in un - serviceable, not US as in USA.

Ian S C

Ahh, possible.

The first batch in 2011~12 did have issues, and the machine - SC4 - was exclusive to Chester at that time, and ARC didn't want to sell it at that time.

Ketan at ARC.

 

Edited By Ketan Swali on 14/11/2018 10:33:02

Ketan Swali14/11/2018 10:32:27
1075 forum posts
87 photos

Sorry, duplicated edit.

 

Edited By Ketan Swali on 14/11/2018 10:33:42

Neil Wyatt14/11/2018 12:35:56
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Posted by Joseph Noci 1 on 14/11/2018 10:12:45:

I realise that if you pay 50,000 or 80,000 Pounds for a machine , this level of return may be expected, but the 14D was WELL below that price - below 18,000 Pounds - which is 'only' 4 or so times the above mentioned Warco models.

Well £18K is about 15 times the price of an SC4...

To be honest, I had to make very few adjustments to the SC4, just adjusting the cross-slide gibs a, tailstock and some minor tweaks to the top-slide.

It may well be that when you pay more for your lathe than a new car, you do get out of the box perfection, but I have no experience of such machines, and the presence of an Emco rep suggests that even they expected to have to make a few adjustments.

To be honest, I had to make very few adjustments to the SC4, just adjusting the cross-slide gibs a, tailstock and some minor tweaks to the top-slide. But it is important to appreciate that, whoever the seller is, most hobby lathes are not going to be perfectly set up out of the box and giving people unrealistic expectations can create disappointment and even lead to returns of machines that are perfectly good.

There's also personal preference - setup of things like gibs, especially, may differ depending on a person's approach to machining and the type of work they carry out. Fred may want a silky smooth action, but Ted wants to take huge cuts without any sign of chatter.

Neil

JasonB14/11/2018 13:10:14
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Ketan, I think Jon was talking about the Chester version of the 240 not the SX4

Ian, I think most people go for the 250 over the 240 hence less owners to reply.

Joseph, the Emco is not a benchtop lathe which is what Neil was referring to.

Edited By JasonB on 14/11/2018 13:11:44

Joseph Noci 114/11/2018 14:18:02
453 forum posts
812 photos

Jason,

I understood Neil meant 'bench-top' as that is what he seemed to plonk the lathe down onto..But the Emco 14D can be got with or without a steel stand, so it too could be plonked on a bench? In fact all older Emco's up to/ excluding the V13 were 'bench-top' and the new models up to 14D are too..

Not really the forum for it, but - the Emco rep was not there to setup the lathe, but to verify it for acceptance..He had only test mandrels and measuring equipment with him - nary an allen key or wrench...

Anyway, all I was getting at is that the statement needed some qualification - Cheap, Chinese lathes maybe yes, but not ALL lathes..the original post did not specifically say benchtop lathes, nor hobby lathes...

Joe

Edited By Joseph Noci 1 on 14/11/2018 14:22:57

Edited By Joseph Noci 1 on 14/11/2018 14:25:36

Gas_mantle.14/11/2018 17:38:28
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356 forum posts
269 photos

I have a DB10 which is basically a Chester version of WM250 with a powered crossfeed and I can't fault it. I keep meaning to write an in depth review of my machine as when I upgraded there was lots of info about the mini lathe but very little about the 250 class of machine.

Edited By Gas_mantle. on 14/11/2018 17:41:17

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