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My new lathe a Warco 918

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Ron Laden04/07/2019 08:47:37
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1211 forum posts
198 photos

I have been wanting to move up to a larger lathe for some time and if I could afford a new one (which I cant) I would go for a Warco WM280.

So I have had to go for a used machine and I have bought a Warco 918, its 21 years old but I,m quite ok with that. One owner from new and in very good condition, its had a number of quality mods/additions and also converted to 3 phase/VFD drive. It also comes with a wealth of tooling which is a real bonus, cant wait to collect it on Monday.

Will post some pics once I have it home.

Ron

Plasma04/07/2019 09:36:41
326 forum posts
41 photos

Nice one Ron,

I started out with a warco and managed very well using it to renovate a Raglan 5inch.

The inverter drive sounds good as I have a newton Tesla unit on a smart and brown model L and it's a real boon.

Regards Mick

Vic04/07/2019 10:00:08
2173 forum posts
10 photos

The 918/920 lathes come with a Norton thread cutting gearbox don’t they? Something most other lathes of a similar size don’t have. I had the option of a 920 or a BV20 lathe, the BV20 that I eventually bought has a six speed gearbox rather than slipping belts on the 920. I very rarely cut threads on a lathe so it was a good choice for me. Sounds like you’ve made a good choice though Ron, especially as it’s got a variable drive. Does the WM280 have a thread cutting gearbox?

Russell Eberhardt04/07/2019 10:07:49
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2465 forum posts
83 photos

Well done. I had the Chester version of the 918 for a few years and found it to be a very good machine. The only downside I found was the high minimum speed so the VFD is well worthwhile.

Russell

Ron Laden04/07/2019 10:24:36
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1211 forum posts
198 photos

Thanks guys,

Yes the lathe does have a thread cutting gearbox and going by a picture the spindle speed range is 100-1800 but that was before the VFD so it will be interesting to find what the speed range is now.

I know nothing about 3 phase/VFD only to say that the VFD is a Jaguar - Cub.

Ron

SillyOldDuffer04/07/2019 10:33:31
4535 forum posts
971 photos

Like to see a full report on you have Ron. There's a body of opinion that believes Far Eastern lathes won't last, and you have a real older model to explore. Others point out Far Eastern lathes lack refinement and have room for improvement. Sounds as if your purchase has been upgraded by someone who got on with it. What's been done to improve and maintain the machine is interesting, whether the previous owner added features or corrected faults.

I bought a WM280 about 5 years ago half expecting it to wear out quickly or that I'd find it's limitations annoying and want to upgrade to a Western lathe. Not so, no sign of wear, and - so far - it's done everything I want. But that's just my limited experience, the more dispassionate reports from other users of Chinese kit the better.

Dave

Edited By SillyOldDuffer on 04/07/2019 10:35:31

Ron Laden04/07/2019 10:46:22
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1211 forum posts
198 photos
Posted by SillyOldDuffer on 04/07/2019 10:33:31:

Like to see a full report on you have Ron. There's a body of opinion that believes Far Eastern lathes won't last, and you have a real older model to explore. Others point out Far Eastern lathes lack refinement and have room for improvement. Sounds as if your purchase has been upgraded by someone who got on with it. What's been done to improve and maintain the machine is interesting, whether the previous owner added features or corrected faults.

I bought a WM280 about 5 years ago half expecting it to wear out quickly or that I'd find it's limitations annoying and want to upgrade to a Western lathe. Not so, no sign of wear, and - so far - it's done everything I want. But that's just my limited experience, the more dispassionate reports from other users of Chinese kit the better.

Dave

Edited By SillyOldDuffer on 04/07/2019 10:35:31

Hi Dave,

I collect the lathe on Monday so I will ask about the mods/improvements and why.

Adam (the seller) said the lathe is very good indeed and for instance the lathe bed he said is excellent so after 21 years that has to be a good sign.

I think I remember Jason saying his WM280 is over 10 years old and still going strong.

Will let you know.

Ron

Hopper04/07/2019 11:09:01
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3651 forum posts
72 photos
Posted by SillyOldDuffer on 04/07/2019 10:33:31:

Like to see a full report on you have Ron. There's a body of opinion that believes Far Eastern lathes won't last, and you have a real older model to explore.

It's only 20 years old. Almost new.

My Drummond was already that old when I was born. And it spent WW2 making aircraft parts, so saw more than typical model engineer use.

That's lasting that is...

laugh

Adam Phillips04/07/2019 11:14:52
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45 forum posts

Hi Ron. There is a lot of information on the yarhoo 920 forum that I found very good. If you google 9x20 lathe or youtube there are hundreds of posts. Stephan gotteswinter on youtube did an amazing job on a very similar lathe about 3 years ago

Best Adam

Vic04/07/2019 18:52:21
2173 forum posts
10 photos
Posted by Ron Laden on 04/07/2019 10:24:36:

Thanks guys,

Yes the lathe does have a thread cutting gearbox and going by a picture the spindle speed range is 100-1800 but that was before the VFD so it will be interesting to find what the speed range is now.

I know nothing about 3 phase/VFD only to say that the VFD is a Jaguar - Cub.

Ron

If it still has the original pulleys you may have low, medium and high speed ranges. My wood turning lathe has this as standard but I generally leave it in the middle range.

Chester still sell the 920 and it’s hard to beat for its size if you intend to cut a lot of different threads on the Lathe.

**LINK**

Ron Laden04/07/2019 19:09:10
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1211 forum posts
198 photos

Hi Vic,

Just checked the photos and yes it still has 3 pulleys and I see the belt on the middle one, Adam did say with the VFD he seldom changes pulleys.

Ron

Nick Clarke 304/07/2019 20:45:59
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334 forum posts
8 photos

Posted by Hopper on 04/07/2019 11:09:01:

It's only 20 years old. Almost new.

My Drummond was already that old when I was born. And it spent WW2 making aircraft parts, so saw more than typical model engineer use.

That's lasting that is...

laugh

A callow youth I suspect! My Drummond.was 12 years old when my Dad was born - and I'm no spring chicken either - mind you at present it is under the bench awaiting the fitting of a replacement saddle that amazingly I found on *Bay.

Lathejack05/07/2019 12:49:48
237 forum posts
289 photos

I have always had a soft spot for the Far Eastern made 918 and 920 lathes, they have been produced for many years and offered by many suppliers with some examples being quite well made. Early version were made in Taiwan, but I'm not sure if yours at 21 years old is made in Taiwan or China.

The 918 was based on the earlier Austrian made versions of the Emco Compact 8 lathe, in Emco language Compact means basic. So when I was a lad I was always impressed with the 918's addition of a Norton type quick change screwcutting gearbox with 9 feed rates with a row of 9 little cup oilers sat on top.

Plus the 918 also has a longitudinal power feed built into the apron, so you can quickly flick from a fine feed to a thread pitch and back again, and only need to engage the leadscrew thread for screw cutting.

Edited By Lathejack on 05/07/2019 12:50:44

Edited By Lathejack on 05/07/2019 12:51:44

Edited By Lathejack on 05/07/2019 12:53:23

Nick Clarke 305/07/2019 13:10:28
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334 forum posts
8 photos

Deeply envious Ron -

When I wanted to upgrade my lathe earlier this year the Chester version of the 920 was my first choice, but it was out of stock and no delivery date was set, it was really too big for my workshop and something else I use would have had to go (ditch the drill press and just use the miller for example) and the price premium over the SC2 I finally decided on, which is large enough for my present needs, finally tipped me towards that.

Enjoy,

Nick

Nick Clarke 305/07/2019 17:46:38
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334 forum posts
8 photos

Sorry typo - should read SC3

Ron Laden07/07/2019 08:15:17
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1211 forum posts
198 photos

Thanks guys,

Very early start in the morning, 400 miles round trip to Buckinghamshire to collect but I,m sure it will be worth it.

Ron

Ron Laden09/07/2019 10:39:12
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1211 forum posts
198 photos

Well it was a long day yesterday, 400 miles to collect the lathe and we wont talk about the M5 & M4 roadworks.....

Anyway the lathe is home, in the shop and on the bench though I have to fit the tray and riser blocks. For 21 years it is in really good condition, the bed is like new and it runs very nicely indeed, also very quiet with the VFD drive. I am going to need a few days to run through it all but it will be interesting to see how an older "Chinese" machine has stood the test of time but first impressions are really good.

The lathe comes with a lot of tooling (picture below) including a Burnerd 6 inch 4 jaw which is in great condition so thats a bonus.

The lathe and tooling cost the price of a standard mini lathe, which I think is a real bargain.

dsc06742.jpg

dsc06740.jpg

Nicholas Farr09/07/2019 10:46:13
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1911 forum posts
920 photos

Hi Ron, looks a nice buy you have there.

Regards Nick.

mechman4809/07/2019 10:50:00
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2426 forum posts
372 photos

WOW! surprise looks like you got one hell of a buy there Ron, especially with all those accessories; I like the look of the compound slide spindle extension, would be interested to know what other mods have been done. Well spotted Ron.

George.

Ron Laden09/07/2019 11:17:52
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1211 forum posts
198 photos

Thanks guys,

George, there are a few mods I will let you know once I check through it all.

To be honest when I phoned having seen the ad in classified I couldnt believe it was still for sale, I think the ad was 5 weeks old. Maybe not many would consider an old machine, unless its British of course devil but anyway I,m glad they didnt.

Ron

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