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Warco GH600

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Jed Martens05/06/2019 22:30:46
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37 forum posts
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Firstly, apologies, but this is the perennial newbie "what lathe do I buy" question.

A local model engineer has helpfully dealt with my beginner's questions, and uses Colchester lathes. I'd love to have something like that, but there is no way I'd manage to get a machine that weighs over 500kg into my shed.

My short-term requirements are for turning smallish parts in stainless steel. Something that is ~600mm/2ft between centres is more than enough size-wise, and I read that low-end torque is important for threading and low-speed turning of stainless, which suggests a gear-head lathe. If this is incorrect I'd welcome someone setting my thinking straight.

Looking at new machines, the Warco GH600 looks to be the best fit. But there are no reviews that I could find, and even Warco are quite stingy with details. Does anyone have experience with this machine? There seems to be a bit of a waiting-list for it, which suggests it is popular...

I've also been keeping an eye on the used market locally. I narrowly missed out on an Emco Maximat V10p recently, which looks like a good fit for my requirements too. However, I am slightly uneasy about used machines, as I have no experience whatsoever, and probably couldn't tell an abused machine from one that was well looked after.

Andy Carruthers05/06/2019 22:39:58
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254 forum posts
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I'm sure you have seen several threads on "What lathe to buy" on this forum already

From my limited experience, it would be helpful to know the proposed use, do you intend to work on motorbikes or scale model engines for example - what do you mean by "smallish parts"?

Warco have an open day this coming weekend (I think)

Here's my thoughts on my WM180: https://www.model-engineer.co.uk/forums/postings.asp?th=141354

Edited By Andy Carruthers on 05/06/2019 22:41:09

Jed Martens05/06/2019 23:05:54
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37 forum posts
21 photos

Hi Andy, the parts are for brewery fittings and process automation (bottle filling, labelling, etc). I can't imagine needing to turn/thread anything larger than 50-60mm in diameter, but being food related all parts need to be stainless. And 600mm between centres feels like more than enough. I expect a mix of metric and imperial threading (lots of the pipe fittings are 1-2" BSP, but I use metric for my own stuff).

This is all new for me, so I might be over-complicating or under-complicating things, I'm not sure In particular, the focus on a gear-head machine constrains my options.

I'd love to go the open day, but I'm up in Scotland and it's a long way to Surrey...

Blue Heeler05/06/2019 23:48:14
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189 forum posts

Is Warco one of the most popular of the UK Chinese machinery suppliers?

not done it yet06/06/2019 05:43:02
3240 forum posts
11 photos

My Raglan 5” would seem to fit your bill for far less money. Except that I will not be selling it soon - if ever. Does all I need, within its size capability.

With infinitely variable speed over the full range, at full motor power, it is likely far better than most modern offerings in that respect, as well as in others.

brian curd06/06/2019 06:32:21
102 forum posts

Delighted with my G600. It was well worth the wait .After some minor cleaning an lubrication it is great .The gear change is all done from the double handle . It is just that , two handles to rotate one gear selector . Chuck needs to be rotated a bit to aid selection . Speed range is good .400 to 2000 rpm .Accuracy and precision are excellent as is the fit an finish .

Selection of longitudinal and cross feeds is very easy to use and much better engineered than on the 280 . In fact the whole machine seems better thought out . Friction for the dials is by sprung loaded balls , much better than the bent strips of metal on the 280 that is replaced .

The system of retaining the few change gears is much better than the 280 . Warco had to send me a selection of fixing studs to get the gears on the 280 in line. Even then I had to place plastic discs between the gears to get them to line up in a reasonable manner. No issues at all with the GH600.

Not so good bits . Well the MT3 bore in the tailstock is about 20mm shorter than a typical MT taper and not very well finished . Not a real problem, it hold things OK.

The Manual is a joke . Far worse that they usually are , It seems to be a cut an past job. Shame that most of it comes from a manual that spends its time refering to using the potentiometer to control the variable speed !!

Chris Evans 606/06/2019 09:04:56
1448 forum posts

Brian, should your post read forty to two thousand RPM ? 400 would be scary quick to thread on a manual lathe.

Jed Martens06/06/2019 09:40:03
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37 forum posts
21 photos

That's a great review, thanks Brian. I'm happy that the tailstock is MT3 - the Warco site says MT2, but I already have some MT3 tooling for the mill.

On that basis, I've put my name on the waiting list. If something appropriate pops up on the used market then I can always cancel it. I haven't come across Raglan machines so far, but looking online at the 5" model it does indeed appear to be ideal. I guess no one is selling them for a reason

Bear G 106/06/2019 10:18:37
15 forum posts

Hi Jed,

Reading your intentions you may be doing repitition work. I'd advise that you contact Warco and see if they do bed stops and multi position feed stops including for the cross slide. While not essential these make life far easier once you have them set up.

The other thing about the GH600 is that it appears to lack an emergency brake; if you are new to this it is very easy to make a mistake. Many topslides and toolposts have had arguments with the spinning chuck sometimes doing fatal damage to the machine varying from bending the headstock shafts, smashing feed gearboxes and topslides.

Strongly advise having an emergency brake!

Bear

SillyOldDuffer06/06/2019 10:26:40
4592 forum posts
980 photos
Posted by Jed Martens on 05/06/2019 23:05:54:

...

This is all new for me, so I might be over-complicating or under-complicating things, I'm not sure In particular, the focus on a gear-head machine constrains my options.

...

You don't need a gear-head machine to cut threads. Less expensive types have a selection of 'Change Wheels', ie gears of different sizes, that are set-up manually to get the ratio needed to cut the wanted thread. Might take 10 minutes to switch gears to make a different thread. The advantage of a gearbox is speed and convenience, not capability. I bought a WM280 rather than a GH600 because I didn't have space for the bigger lathe. The 280 does everything I want but I can't deny changing gears is an oily faff.

Trouble with seeing a Colchester is you've now got high expectations!

Cutting stainless can be fun, not! When you get to that stage worth asking advice on the forum if you have trouble with it.

Dave

Andrew Johnston06/06/2019 12:48:22
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4778 forum posts
538 photos

I think SoD has his underwear in a knot. surprise

A gear head lathe is one where the main spindle is driven by gears rather than a belt and pulleys. Spindle speeds are selected via different gear ratios.

A quick change gearbox to select different threads is an entirely different animal. With regards to screwcutting the OP would be advised to list the threads he would like to able to cut, along with the tpi and pitch. Some import lathes have a limited range of threads available, and BSP in particular has some odd (and prime) tpi values.

Andrew

Bazyle06/06/2019 13:29:13
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4681 forum posts
186 photos
Posted by Jed Martens on 05/06/2019 22:30:46:

I read that low-end torque is important for threading and low-speed turning of stainless, which suggests a gear-head lathe. If this is incorrect I'd welcome someone setting my thinking straight

Gear heads actually tend to have higher bottom speeds than traditional back geared belt heads (BH600) but do have potentially better torque than the electronic drive lathes at low speed where the electronic drive has been used as a cheaper option than back gear.
So a back geared belt drive is what you really want.

While learning screwcuttiing it is worth making a mandrel handle and doing it manually - with instant stop and reverse.

The GH600 is a generic Chinese 12x24, 12x36 which has been around with minor changes and lots of paint versions for about 30 years. With that info you can find about 100 reviews and videos.
However it is a big lathe by home standards. It does provide extra rigidity which is good for stainless but for items smaller than 1/2 inch not the best choice. Sure they say a big lathe can do small things etc but safety, speed of start/stop, energy consumption, cost of tooling all play a part.

brian curd06/06/2019 13:34:08
102 forum posts

Yes Chis , a typppping error . The GH600 is 40 to 2000rpm. I confirm that the tailstock on my machine is MT3 . Hence I needed to purchase some 3 to 2 sleeves

Brian

JasonB06/06/2019 16:06:58
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Posted by Bazyle on 06/06/2019 13:29:13:
ric Chinese 12x24, 12x36 which has been around with minor changes and lots of paint versions for about 30 years. With that info you can find about 100 reviews and videos.an do small things etc but safety, speed of start/stop, energy consumption, cost of tooling all play a part.

Not sure about that, its a 11x 24. I would say it's a 280/290 bed and tailstock with a geared head replacing the variable speed head. Think I would prefer the geared option over belts and back gear which saves all that faffing about with belts to change speeds.

Should have better low end torque with the gears than the vari speed machines. As Andrew says check that the pipe thread pitches are easily obtained with the supplied gears or at a pinch can be cut with the addition of readily available MOD gears. If it is anything like the 280 then the metric machine has more pipe thread pitches than the imperial though they may be a fraction of a percentage which should not matter.

There are not many reviews of the GH600 as Warco have not been selling it for long, maybe less than a year.

Edited By JasonB on 06/06/2019 16:30:02

SillyOldDuffer06/06/2019 16:17:12
4592 forum posts
980 photos
Posted by Andrew Johnston on 06/06/2019 12:48:22:

I think SoD has his underwear in a knot. surprise

...

Andrew

He's right you know...

blush

brian curd06/06/2019 16:43:33
102 forum posts

Jason

The GH600 is similar to the 280V but the bits are its not straight swaps. The bed is narrower than the wm280V ,only 150mm wide .

The Tailstock is a similar shape but the locking lever is at 90 degrees to the bed compared with the 280V where it is parallel rather like the WM80.

They clearly have a wide selection of components to choose from in the part bin.!!

Brian

brian curd06/06/2019 20:46:13
102 forum posts

Jed .I have sent you a PM

Brian

JasonB06/06/2019 20:49:55
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Thanks for the details about the bed Brian, seems odd to give you that extra torque and then bolt it to a more flexible bed?

Jed Martens06/06/2019 22:31:43
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37 forum posts
21 photos

Thanks for the comments and feedback guys, it's really appreciated.

I found an identical looking machine on a Chinese site that has some decent pictures (why Warco has only one low-res piccy is beyond me).

Here

You can read the thread pitch info...

(haven't figured out how to insert images yet)
Comparing the metric numbers to a coarse pitch table suggest that the only threads missing from M1 to M52 are M2.2 and M2.5 (0.45mm pitch), and M42 and M45 (4.5mm pitch). I can live with that :D
On the other hand, the imperial TPI doesn't look so great if you want to cut BSP threads. You can cover most the BSP range with 11, 14 and 19 TPI, none of which seems to supported... (thanks to Andrew for the heads-up on this, I wouldn't have checked otherwise)
Ian Thomson 213/06/2019 20:49:06
53 forum posts
16 photos

Is Brian the only person to have purchased one of these lathes to date?

I was hoping there would be more opinions from other owners on this thread.

- Not that I do not value your opinion Brian. I am planning to give you a call in the near future with more questions.

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