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Chinese Lathes

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Blue Heeler08/05/2019 01:26:10
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189 forum posts

Chinese lathes, let me say up front that I am a self taught backyard metal basher.

I've had my Chinese lathe now for six years (Sieg C6 10x22) and most days I do at least a couple of hours of work on it.

I looked for ages here in Australia for a Myford, Boxford, Southbend and every one that I came across was clapped out and had parts missing and the owners were still asking big $$$ for them.

I spent some time doing some things to the lathe to make it nicer to use. Its accurate, dependable and a joy to use. I know a lot of people are wary of Chinese machinery, but for the price its hard to go past them. Unless you can find an elderly gent getting out of the hobby and are able to purchase a nice used Australian, US or British made lathe, what real choice do we have otherwise if we want to start turning?

I would give my C6 a 5 out of 5 star rating and my Sieg Mini Mill a 4 out of 5 stars.

Here's a link to my Youtube channel showing some mods I did 4 years ago -

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5glxMpnOq_E&t=11s

 

Edited By Jim Dobson 1 on 08/05/2019 01:27:18

XD 35108/05/2019 04:55:04
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1314 forum posts
111 photos

Hi Jim,

I think a lot of people think that they need this type of lathe or that to fit in or that it will make them a better machinist , unfortunately neither are true ! Sure if someone offers you a boxford or myford etc that you know is in good condition you would be silly to say no wouldn’t you ? I have had three Hare and forbes lathes and two mills - none have given me any real problems and at worst maybe a blown motor capacitor or broken switch .

Added my subs to your channel , looks like some interesting engines on there !

Where in OZ are you ? After seeing the videos on lake conjola i would guess NSW ? Im in Sydney .

Ian

Blue Heeler08/05/2019 05:21:42
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189 forum posts

G'day Ian,

I've lived at LC for the last 35 years, Thanks for subscribing, appreciated.

My first lathe was an AL50 from H&F that a friend begged off me when he moved out West and I bought the Sieg C6 from H&F.

After around 4 months the motor stopped working in forwards, they overnighted capacitators to me, but it didn't fix the problem. Two day later someone from H&F made the 6+ hour return drive down to LC with a new motor and spent 4+ hours installing it and going completely over the lathe. That's just incredible service.

What lathe and mill do you own now Ian?

XD 35108/05/2019 06:34:02
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1314 forum posts
111 photos

I had the same lathe ! I recently sold it to my nephew along with my X2 mill so his young bloke can play on it and over the fifteen years i owned it i replaced the motor caps , half nuts , fitted a nvr switch and maybe two belts - not bad for a little Chinese machine that copped some serious punishment !

wow it probably would have been cheaper for them to just send a new motor to you but to spend another four hours going over your lathe is exceptional service ! I have been buying tools from them for 35 yrs and haven’t had to return anything yet !

Last time i was in Conjola was about two years ago and at Christmas time - it was packed out ! I used to have a van at Ulladulla and dropped in to conjola every so often - usually looking for bait . Fantastic part of the Nsw south coast !

Ian

Lathejack08/05/2019 09:50:48
240 forum posts
300 photos

Well despite having serious faults with my Chinese lathe purchased new around 15 years ago, I really like Chinese lathes. Thank heavens they bother to make all the lathes and other equipment they do, we can now all afford to have a dabble in machine tools, and with all new stuff as well. They make a machine for all circumstances, so if you live in a flat on a tight budget there is a lathe and mill to suit you...great!

Ok, there may still be some faulty or shoddy stuff turning up now and again, but overall I think it's mostly pretty good gear that does its job.

 My Chinese lathe and Taiwanese milling machine now blend in nicely with the British machinery I have in my workshop, all doing what they are supposed to in perfect harmony. 

Edited By Lathejack on 08/05/2019 09:54:01

mechman4808/05/2019 16:15:05
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2432 forum posts
372 photos

I have always hankered after a Myford Super 7b for years but considering the silly money that is asked I never got round to getting one so ended up with a Warco 250V-F lathe & WM16 mill for the price of a super 7b, I bought both at the Harrogate exhib' back in 2012 & cannot really complain about either, any initial issues were promptly dealt with by Warco so it's a thumbs up for their after sales service from me. To quote an old cliché 'you don't get a Rolls Royce for mini price' but for the hobbyist they do what you give 'em to do & as long as you know their capabilities there's nowt wrong with them... you pays your money etc.

George.

Neil Wyatt08/05/2019 16:31:22
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Moderator
16436 forum posts
685 photos
74 articles

Very happy with the SC4.

It's not what you've got it's what you do with it that counts

Neil

SillyOldDuffer08/05/2019 18:01:23
4597 forum posts
987 photos

My workshop is almost entirely Chinese, which confirms my level of customer satisfaction. But if star ratings are being awarded Far Eastern machines face stiff competition. I suggest if one of the Toolroom lathes like a DSG deserves 5*, then a good Boxford, Colchester or similar would get 4*. And, although a Myford Super 7 in top condition is inferior to anything in the Boxford and up class, it is undoubtedly better finished than Chinese hobby machines, and surely deserves 3 stars.

So compared with the best £athes available I'd only give my lathe 2 stars: it's a hobby lathe. That said, despite a few warts, it does everything I want and it was fully 5* value for money.

In my book a 1* lathe would be one too small, badly worn, or missing basic features. Even so, a lot can still be done with them. Any lathe is better than no lathe, which is more than can be said of wives!

Dave

mechman4808/05/2019 19:33:47
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2432 forum posts
372 photos

…. Any lathe is better than no lathe, which is more than can be said of wives!

Careful Dave; you can quite easily dig yourself into a hole with that one... devil

George.

Andrew Johnston08/05/2019 22:05:49
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4780 forum posts
538 photos
Posted by SillyOldDuffer on 08/05/2019 18:01:23:
Any lathe is better than no lathe, which is more than can be said of wives!

Darn right!

Lathes don't get jealous if you've got another one, or more, on the side

Lathes don't moan if you ignore them for a period

Lathes don't complain if they don't get serviced as often as they should

Lathes don't get headaches

Lathes are ready to perform immediately after power on

Lathes don't go on shopping sprees, but love it when you buy accessories

Lathes don't get pregnant

Andrew

Robin Graham09/05/2019 00:26:37
577 forum posts
126 photos
Posted by Andrew Johnston on 08/05/2019 22:05:49:
Posted by SillyOldDuffer on 08/05/2019 18:01:23:
 
Any lathe is better than no lathe, which is more than can be said of wives!

Darn right!

Lathes don't get jealous if you've got another one, or more, on the side.

...

Andrew

Cripes. You've never seen how Lola and Huian glare at each other across my workshop Andrew. Lathes,  like ships, are somehow female.

More on topic- I've not had any insurmountable problems with Chinese machine tools, I can turn/mill as close as I need - even unto tenths of a thou. When I was working the main guy in the machine shop had 'his' lathe - which was no doubt a good British one, but he wouldn't let anyone else touch it. He had a relationship with the machine, they got on together and understood each other's quirks,..

Robin.

 

Edited By Robin Graham on 09/05/2019 00:37:00

Blue Heeler09/05/2019 00:41:33
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189 forum posts
Posted by Neil Wyatt on 08/05/2019 16:31:22:

Very happy with the SC4.

It's not what you've got it's what you do with it that counts

Neil

Very true Neil, just think of the level of work that was turned out using treadle lathes in dim lighting conditions. Those blokes would have been delighted with the cheapest of Chinese lathes and a bright light!

not done it yet09/05/2019 03:01:52
3246 forum posts
11 photos
Posted by SillyOldDuffer on 08/05/2019 18:01:23:

My workshop is almost entirely Chinese, which confirms my level of customer satisfaction.

........

Dave

Mine is almost entirely UK manufacture (bandsaw is not, but still not chinese, I believe). Does what I need (and likely a lot more) yet cost a good deal less than new chinese (and far less than what I consider as inferior - most myfords). I am very happy with my machines and they should all last me out - and the next user, too!

I don’t have ‘customer satisfaction’ really. The companies have not been trading for nearly 50 years! I bought mine after inspection, so any faults would be down to me - but the machines are of recognised good quality.

Perko709/05/2019 06:59:59
278 forum posts
23 photos

I would give my C6 a 5 out of 5 star rating

Edited By Jim Dobson 1 on 08/05/2019 01:27:18

I also have a Sieg C6 purchased new from Ausee at Christmas 2016 and have had very few problems and it has done everything asked of it. The only downsides compared with my other lathe (a 1929 3.5" Ideal) are the lack of back-gear, lack of a handwheel on the leadscrew, and lack of lever-locking tailstock but those are relatively minor disadvantages. As a similar self-taught (late in life) swarf-maker I'm more than happy with it.

Blue Heeler09/05/2019 07:19:37
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189 forum posts

Cheers Perko.

One thing I don't understand with the Chinese lathes is that on most of the belt drive (not sure on the electric drive ones) is that the slowest speed for threading is around 150 rpm. Now I use dies for all of my threading needs for model and toy steam engines so its not an issue for me, but why don't these have a slower possible rpm by adding another two different sized pulleys?

JasonB09/05/2019 07:32:07
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16045 forum posts
1684 photos
1 articles

Really depends on which far eastern machine you are buying my variable speed lathe has two belted speed ranges 50-950 and 100-1900, same with my mill which has two gear options.

Michael Gilligan09/05/2019 07:37:04
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13823 forum posts
603 photos
Posted by Jim Dobson 1 on 09/05/2019 07:19:37:

... its not an issue for me, but why don't these have a slower possible rpm by adding another two different sized pulleys?

.

I think it's down to 'cost of manufacturing' vs 'perceived value'

The target market places more value on various other features of the spec.

... Things are made to best fit a price-point.

MichaelG.

SillyOldDuffer09/05/2019 10:32:41
4597 forum posts
987 photos
Posted by JasonB on 09/05/2019 07:32:07:

Really depends on which far eastern machine you are buying my variable speed lathe has two belted speed ranges 50-950 and 100-1900, same with my mill which has two gear options.

I happen to have a later model of Jason's machine and found its been usefully improved. The speed range is now 30-450 and 150-2500. It's good to have 30rpm available, but 450rpm (good for large diameter work) is too slow for much of what I do. Every silver lining has a cloud - I probably have to change belts more often than Jason!

It's a very curious thing but - despite my lathe being better than Jason's - his machine works faster, produces a better finish, and everything it makes is the right size. Clearly his old lathe makes fewer mistakes than my new one. I'd like to blame my relative failure on the poor quality of my machine. Actually most of my problems are caused by the operator...

Dave

brian curd09/05/2019 10:45:44
102 forum posts

Delighted with my latest Chinese lathe ,a GH600 from Warco. . Delivery was delayed through no fault of Warco ( I suggested to Roger Warren that they give them more oars for the boat ) Speed range is 2000 rpm down to 45 rpm. Build quality is good with less evidence of filler on the castings than my previous lathe. . Accuracy is excellent and I am prepared to put up with the bolt on chuck fiddle The only mod I have made is to fit some decent handles to replace the …… originals .How long will it last ? I don't know, but certainly longer then me by which time how many people will want to use a manual lathe ? Looking at the age profile of those attending the exhibitions, not many .

Brian

Jon09/05/2019 13:24:47
988 forum posts
46 photos

Only ever had the one foreign/asian, a repair followed by two new US circuit boards still couldnt do a thing with it except power a small 1" flap wheel. Duly got rid of with grease still on it.

15 years on still got the British iron, difference is it lasts.

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