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Super Mini Lathe belt problem

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Haggerleases15/06/2019 22:37:47
90 forum posts

I thank you all for your candid and reasonable arguments. I'm not a total 'noob' as the millenials call it, I have experienced good lathes in years past, Boxfords at school, Colchesters on the YTS, I've used linishers, grinders, cast things in sand, welded, brazed and soldered, all in the 80's and 90's as a young protozoa, just before these machines became landfill, but having to resort to a Chinese machine is painful. I am learning about the economics of mass production though this forum, and very interesting it is too.

It's a strange hobby. The price of entry is very high unless you're sat on a fat pension, are already wealthy, or are lucky. For the average working Joe in 2019, you're stuck with older lathes worn as smooth as an ocean pebble, or Chinese machinery, the produce of a dreadful communist regime. I know a lot of the things in my house are Chinese, but when it comes to a Lathe, the thing Percival Marshall said you build your entire workshop around, then I'd rather just buy good hand tools, and struggle, than support somewhere that hurts and oppresses my fellow human beings for the sake of a hobby.

Edited By Haggerleases on 15/06/2019 22:39:06

Haggerleases15/06/2019 22:48:06
90 forum posts

I'm going to cop some flak for this, but buying a reasonably 'big ticket' item like a Chinese lathe, smacks to me of another example of the 'baby boomers' and yes, successive generations too, selling the world down the river for their own brief amusement (again).

I've been on the Warco site, The Axminster site, and so on, and my finger has hovered over the 'buy' button many times, but I just can't bring myself to do it.

...Ducking and covering.

Ian Skeldon 215/06/2019 23:25:43
366 forum posts
29 photos
Posted by Haggerleases on 15/06/2019 22:48:06:

I'm going to cop some flak for this, but buying a reasonably 'big ticket' item like a Chinese lathe, smacks to me of another example of the 'baby boomers' and yes, successive generations too, selling the world down the river for their own brief amusement (again).

I've been on the Warco site, The Axminster site, and so on, and my finger has hovered over the 'buy' button many times, but I just can't bring myself to do it.

...Ducking and covering.

So don't press the buy button, nobody really gives a damn what you buy, it's your hard earned money, go out and get the best British lathe you can afford if that's what your personal choice is. I hope your driving around in a British made car, hopefully with enough space for you and that chip your carrying around.

Robin Graham16/06/2019 02:12:51
545 forum posts
124 photos
Posted by Haggerleases on 15/06/2019 22:48:06:

I'm going to cop some flak for this, but buying a reasonably 'big ticket' item like a Chinese lathe, smacks to me of another example of the 'baby boomers' and yes, successive generations too, selling the world down the river for their own brief amusement (again).

I've been on the Warco site, The Axminster site, and so on, and my finger has hovered over the 'buy' button many times, but I just can't bring myself to do it.

...Ducking and covering.

No flak from me, but some confusion. When I was researching a first lathe purchase (13-14 years ago I think) there was a lot of stuff on t'internet about Far Eastern machines being a 'kit of parts'. I think it is generally accepted that things have moved on since then and that the manufacturers have responded by improving quality control. In your comment about the OP's particular and unusual problem you seem to have characterised the whole machine as 'a pile of crap' on the basis of the fault. However Warco acknowledged the problem and responded promptly with a replacement and the problem is resolved. It shouldn't have happened. But...

Scared by the reputation of far Eastern machines I bought a Proxxon PD400 which has about the same capacity /weight as a Far Eastern minilathe. About four times the price (around 2500 including 4-jaw and steadies) at the time, but I was paying for out-of the-box European (Austrian) quality. Couldn't get the gib on the cross slide right, I put it down to stupidity /inexperience, Eventually I tracked it down to a bent cross-slide feed screw. Proxxon's UK agent promptly replaced it with another bent screw, then another. I gave up and made a straight one myself. Since when it's been a lovely (if overpriced) little lathe. The rest of it is fine. So it isn't just Far Eastern manufacturers who make mistakes.

My 'biggest ticket' workshop purchase so far has been a 3000 GBP 12x36 Far Eastern gear head lathe - it's as accurate as the Proxxon I am grieved to say. But much bigger! Over the years I have pushed much more than that into the Far Eastern economy by buying low ticket items I suspect.

I'm confused because I don't understand if your reluctance to hit 'buy' is because you  think you'll get a 'pile of crap' from Warco or others (unlikely) or you have difficulties with supporting the economy of a country with a political system which you don't like. In the latter case it's possibly not an appropriate subject for this forum.

Robin.

 

 

Edited By Robin Graham on 16/06/2019 02:15:44

Edited By Robin Graham on 16/06/2019 02:19:05

Ron Laden16/06/2019 08:09:24
1101 forum posts
171 photos

Sounds as if you received great after sales support from Warco Andrew, from what I,ve seen and heard on here Warco do offer great service and support as do ARC.

When funds allow, which they dont at the moment I will no doubt be going to Warco for a new lathe, I want to size up from the small mini lathe to a WM250 or maybe WM280 if I can run to it. Unless I,m missing something Warco seem to be the only UK supplier which offer a good range of sizes going up from the mini and supplied with a good set of accessories included in the price.

Glad your machine is fixed.

Edited By Ron Laden on 16/06/2019 08:10:18

SillyOldDuffer16/06/2019 10:55:42
4405 forum posts
957 photos
Posted by Haggerleases on 15/06/2019 22:37:47:

I thank you all for your candid and reasonable arguments. I'm not a total 'noob' as the millenials call it, I have experienced good lathes in years past, Boxfords at school, Colchesters on the YTS, I've used linishers, grinders, cast things in sand, welded, brazed and soldered, all in the 80's and 90's as a young protozoa, just before these machines became landfill, but having to resort to a Chinese machine is painful. I am learning about the economics of mass production though this forum, and very interesting it is too.

...

For the average working Joe in 2019, you're stuck with older lathes worn as smooth as an ocean pebble, or Chinese machinery, the produce of a dreadful communist regime.

...

I think this underlines my earlier advice that Chinese Lathes are not for you! Those who've experienced professional lathes in good condition in the past often have unrealistic expectations of Hobby machines. It's because someone else paid for those Boxfords and Colchesters and no-one told the youngsters how much they cost. (I've met gentlemen retired after a lifetime's experience who had no idea how much their employers machines cost!)

If you want a new professional quality machine tool they are seriously expensive.

But, hurrah, you're NOT "stuck with older lathes worn as smooth as an ocean pebble". You have to be careful what you buy but there are still plenty of older lathes available in good condition at the moment.

Back in the day, second-hand lathes were very dodgy indeed. Operators paid piece-work rates would thrash tools mercilessly. Many manufacturers kept lathes until they were 'Beyond Economic Repair', meaning shot bearings, severe bed-wear, broken gearbox or other expensive nasty. Not unusual for new lathes to start in the tool-room, then slightly worn, move to production, then to rough work out back, including being used as an anvil. Things changed in favour of the hobbyists. Large numbers of manual machines have been displaced by CNC long before they were worn-out. Educational machines are often 'as new'.

Surplus machines can be an absolute bargain, once out-of-the-question expensive they can be had for sensible money. The main difficulties are: making sure it's in good condition, size and weight, transporting it, and the eye-watering cost of new spare parts. 3-phase is no longer a major problem.

What's sad for amateurs is I can't see any way that we will get our hands on high-end modern equipment. Chaps who think the world has forgotten how to make quality tools should take a close look at Machine Centres; fully enclosed simultaneous 5 to 11 axis CNC automatics, motors 10 to 60kW at 20000rpm or more, and bells and whistles galore. One I looked at quoted a maximum axis run-out of 0.02mm, which didn't impress until I spotted it was 1metre out from the chuck! Cost is a slight problem, found one advertised second-hand recently for £600,000. Even if it was given away I couldn't accommodate one: too big, too much electricity, too expensive to transport and requires professional installation. Not for hobbyists unless super-rich!

At the other end of the scale, lathes don't need to be fantastically well-made or in superb condition to do good work. Operator skill can compensate for many shortcomings. There's a lot of fun to be had from even the wartiest mini-lathe, just don't expect it to be the Jewel in the Crown.

Dave

Dave Halford16/06/2019 12:19:48
399 forum posts
3 photos

Interesting how the pro chinese/secondhand stuff is worn out does not extend to cars, and else 3/4 of this forum would be driving new MG

SillyOldDuffer16/06/2019 13:06:01
4405 forum posts
957 photos
Posted by Dave Halford on 16/06/2019 12:19:48:

Interesting how the pro chinese/secondhand stuff is worn out does not extend to cars, and else 3/4 of this forum would be driving new MG

Not sure Lathes and second-hand cars follow exactly the same rules. The modern motor car is a miracle of value for money, mainly because sales are huge and there is fierce competition. Most second-hand cars have a relatively easy life and can be expected to last at least 100,000 miles with a 15 year working life. Far more miles and years if you keep them properly maintained and are prepared to spend more than a new one costs on repairs. A good proportion are well-maintained ex-fleet cars, being sold because fleets don't like repairing older cars. Some finance deals put relatively new cars back on the market.

In addition, buying second-hand from a business is reasonably well-protected and you can also insure against problems. Reputable businesses, DVLA & Insurance Company record sharing, and the MOT filter out most of the junk, stolen, cut-and-shut, and refurbished write-offs. Most of these protections don't apply to second-hand machine tools.

You have to be careful buying second-hand cars privately or at auction. Ex-driving school, ex-caravan haulers, boy racer cars, rebuilds, worn-out, never had an oil-change... Helps considerably to know what to look for!

Dave

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