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Chinese 7x10 lathe

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Ian Bradley 730/03/2019 13:53:19
4 forum posts

I'm a retired toolmaker and this is my first posting on this sight, I would love to buy a lathe for model making but it must be small and fit in a box room in my home. I'm aware that most of you will say buy a British machine secondhand but size and price are a problem, I notice that these Chinese lathes are rated at 220volts so will these run on a 240volt system. Sorry but electrics I'm a complete numpty. Thanks in advance. Ian.

Robert Atkinson 230/03/2019 15:15:12
644 forum posts
16 photos

any lathe sold by a reputable UK supplier will run fine on 240V. The whole 220V / 230V / 240V thing is a standardisation kludge. Europe used to specify 220V with a +- tolerance, UK was 240V with a +- tolerence. To harnonise we agreed on 230V with a tolerance that encompassed both 220V and 240V. A lot of Far Eastern kit still lists 220V but modern electrical equipment is very tolerant of supply voltage. As a ex tool mker I'm sure you appreciate the tolerence thing.

Robert G8RPI

Edited By Robert Atkinson 2 on 30/03/2019 15:15:40

Mick B130/03/2019 15:23:48
1576 forum posts
84 photos
Posted by Ian Bradley 7 on 30/03/2019 13:53:19:

I'm a retired toolmaker and this is my first posting on this sight, I would love to buy a lathe for model making but it must be small and fit in a box room in my home. I'm aware that most of you will say buy a British machine secondhand but size and price are a problem, I notice that these Chinese lathes are rated at 220volts so will these run on a 240volt system. Sorry but electrics I'm a complete numpty. Thanks in advance. Ian.

Not necessarily. Some of us have run a S/H British machine for years, then replaced it with new Chinese and been very happy with the outcome. It remains to be seen whether the Far Eastern machines will exhibit the extreme longevity of some Brit kit - but in my case, although I use the machine most days, I'm already satisfied it'll likely be an issue for my heirs and successors to debate, not me!


Ian Johnson 130/03/2019 15:23:58
264 forum posts
81 photos

Hi Ian I've had my Mini Lathe for many years now and haven't broken it yet, despite regular use and doing some relatively heavy machining on it. It's a Warco version, 240V (with a British plug), with a very good USA made variable speed main circuit board, although I don't think they supply this model now. And as the name implies it is a small lathe with a saddle, top slide, cross slide, tail stock etc. It has 300mm between centres, a newer model comes with 350mm between centres and a larger 3 jaw chuck. Digital dials are available too.

You may need to improve the fit and finish of the gibs and maybe scrape the saddle onto the bed, but they are really good little lathes, and light enough for one person to pick up and carry into a garage or box room. Even though I would like a bigger lathe, for the size of my models and garage space it is an ideal lathe. Don't expect it to be a tool room quality lathe though!


magpie30/03/2019 17:06:20
456 forum posts
80 photos

I am a volunteer at Crewe Men in Sheds whose job it is to keep an eye on new chaps, and help them to learn new skills. Some years ago the shed bought a mini lathe from Arc Euro for the blokes to learn metal turning, it's mostly woodwork at the shed. The lathe has had the kind of treatment that would make a skilled toolmaker weep, but to my great surprise it is still in good working order and more than capable of turning out good work by the less "ham fisted" members of the shed.


Steve Neighbour30/03/2019 18:18:17
43 forum posts
1 photos

To try and shed some light (no pun intended) on the electricity voltage discussion, the UK electricity voltage was 'harmonised' in 2003 at 230 volts (415 / 3 phase) but the UK regulated supply can run at +10% / -6% (of 230V)

Therefore the 'actual' measured supply in a domestic property could be anywhere between 216 and 253, so quite a wide range in reality !

The only real downside if your own supply was on the lower end of the scale would be a very small reduction in a lathe motor performance, but I doubt you would actually notice this when using the lathe (or mill)

Neil Wyatt30/03/2019 23:49:07
17896 forum posts
706 photos
77 articles

I would think twice about the 7x10 variants.

Once you fit a chuck there is surprisingly little capacity.

I would recommend a minimum of a 7x12 which will give you a lot more room than you might expect.


Chris Trice31/03/2019 00:22:39
1362 forum posts
9 photos

Advice for buying a lathe always used to be to buy the biggest you could afford that will fit because you will invariably have things you want to turn that are frustratingly just too large for what you bought. It is also better to have a lathe with power available when a job is demanding on the machine rather than buying one that constantly struggles even when turning average jobs.

Hopper31/03/2019 07:00:49
4530 forum posts
94 photos

At which stage you might as well go for a "full sized" 7 x 14 mini lathe. They will handle a surprising range of jobs for something so compact.

JasonB31/03/2019 07:56:14
18117 forum posts
1996 photos
1 articles

Why stop at 14"?

A 400mm (16" ) SC3 will give you even more to play with, sold as needing an input voltage of 220 -240V and has 230V label on the motor.

EDIT, just had a look at the usual suspects selling Mini lathes and can't actually see any that sell then as 220V, several as 230V, one at 240V plus the 220-240V as mentioned above so not sure where the original worries stem from unless the OP has been looking at US sites.

Edited By JasonB on 31/03/2019 08:39:04

Ron Laden31/03/2019 08:31:27
1926 forum posts
369 photos

Ian, I know all about small workshops with not much space and if as you say your workshop will be a small box room then a mini lathe would be a good choice. As Jason mentioned the Sieg SC3 is a 400mm machine plus it comes with a 500 watt brushless motor which is something I would definitely go for in a mini lathe. There are other mini lathes of course but I see ARC have a current reduced price of £650 incl VAT which is very good.

Edited By Ron Laden on 31/03/2019 08:31:55

Edited By Ron Laden on 31/03/2019 08:32:19

Edited By Ron Laden on 31/03/2019 08:32:43

Former Member31/03/2019 08:55:48

[This posting has been removed]

john carruthers31/03/2019 09:44:50
604 forum posts
176 photos

+1 for the 16" sc3.

Neil Wyatt31/03/2019 12:31:14
17896 forum posts
706 photos
77 articles

Just to explain, the between centres distance is measured with a plain centre in the headstock and tailstock and the tailstock moved all the way to the right and the barrel wound right in.

Adding a chuck removes 2" plus, you often need to extend the tailstock by up to 2" to reach over the cross slide and also the leadscrew bracket means you can't wind the cross slide up to the very end of the bed.

So with 10" between centres, you may only find you have 6 - 7" usable length for many jobs, and even then you may need to adjust the top slide back and forth to reach all of this.

The jump from 10 to 12" gives a big increase in usability (perhaps as much as 33% extra usable length between centres) for only a very small increase in footprint (25" to 27".

Bed length plays a very small part in overall price compared to other features, so I would say go for the longest you can afford and fit in the space available.


Ian Bradley 702/04/2019 13:40:03
4 forum posts

Thank for all your replies guys you put my mind at rest. Now I have seen 7 x 12 and 7 x 14 on Ebay from the Czech republic, is this a risky purchase ? where did you guys source your lathes ? Ian.

Frances IoM02/04/2019 14:07:05
763 forum posts
26 photos
who pays for a return to sender if faulty ?

personally if you are around Manchester/Liverpool call in at Chester tools, in Midlands ARC-euro, in SW London area Warco or look at Axminster who have a few branches - all are usually happy to show you their wares - buying from a supplier in UK makes resolving any problems considerably easier
Former Member02/04/2019 14:57:49

[This posting has been removed]

john fletcher 102/04/2019 15:48:08
585 forum posts

Regarding buying a lathe in Czech and the difference in price, compared to prices in UK. it is easy possible to drive to Prague and back in a week and visit a beautiful country, have a holiday, sample the beers and maybe come home with a bargain lathe. But of course one has to factor in pass port, fuel and channel ferry charges. I think you had better be quick as we might be going it alone any time now. John

SillyOldDuffer02/04/2019 15:58:11
5781 forum posts
1230 photos
Posted by Ian Bradley 7 on 02/04/2019 13:40:03:

Thank for all your replies guys you put my mind at rest. Now I have seen 7 x 12 and 7 x 14 on Ebay from the Czech republic, is this a risky purchase ? where did you guys source your lathes ? Ian.

Just now is a bad time to buy from any member of the European Union, Iceland, Lichtenstein, or Norway.

The UK voted to leave the EU in June 2106 and is committed to exit in 10 days time. Unfortunately Parliament is struggling to agree terms and there is currently no agreement - all the exit options have been rejected.

This may result in a 'No Deal Exit' on the 12th. If 'No Deal' is executed, then all current trade arrangements with the EU become undefined. This effects consumer protection, payments and liability for tax. With one exception, which has been firmly rejected, the other options are unclear too.

At present the government cannot provide any detail, rather it puts the onus on purchasers to check: government advice can be read in a few minutes here. At the moment buying from a clearly British supplier is much less risky.

The problem is uncertainty - no-one knows what the rules are. Uncomfortably, whilst the relationship with the EU is getting most attention, 34 of 40 other international trade arrangements have also failed to agree on time.

Europeans and other nations wishing to buy British Goods and Services face a mirror image of the same issues.

In any case I'd advise against buying cheap lathes direct from the Far East or any vendor without a track record, here or in Europe. Yes you can save money, but if you happen to get a dud from a fly-by-night, all the advantages of buying locally under UK Consumer Law from a seller with a valued reputation are missing. You're on your own, and a cross-border dispute will be worse until the practical consequences of Brexit are nailed down.

Most of my stuff came from Warco and ArcEuro.


Edited By SillyOldDuffer on 02/04/2019 16:00:11

Barrie Lever02/04/2019 16:24:32
574 forum posts
56 photos

Dave SOD

Are you able to tell me the difference between trading with a vendor in the EU post Brexit and trading with a vendor in the USA for example?

I just don't see that there is any difference but I have not done my homework on the details.

Life will go on.

I think it would be unwise to buy a cheap Chinese lathe from a source slightly cheaper than the UK suppliers, the risk matrix does not look good for small savings on what is already a small amount of money.


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