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Warco WM180 or Sieg SC3-400?

New Lathe

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Neil A28/08/2020 21:41:04
77 forum posts

At present I am looking to get a new small lathe and my choice is between the Warco WM180 and the Sieg SC3-400. Both would suit my needs and I don't really need anything larger now. I like the more robust build of the WM180, but I am concerned about the brushed motor that it uses.

It would seem from various posts on this forum that brushed motors are more liable to overheating and failure if used for prolonged periods, particularly at low speeds. Unfortunately these are usually quite common operating conditions when turning a component. Brushless motors don't seem to have the same problem.

There are perhaps hundreds of these machines being used without any problem at all, but we only ever hear of them when something has gone wrong. I would like to hear from anyone who use one these machines to see what their experiences have been, is the brushed motor a real problem or not. Is there a duty cycle that must be observed?

I look forward to hearing what people have to say.

Neil

Nick Clarke 328/08/2020 23:21:10
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1009 forum posts
34 photos

The problem facing you is that I doubt anyone has bought and used both of these machines as they are direct alternatives. If you do find such a person listen to them! Otherwise ignore any apocryphal gossip!

My only contribution would be to say that I have the SC3 400, bought from Arc Euro and am very happy with it, but as for the Warco I can't comment.

Edited By Nick Clarke 3 on 28/08/2020 23:23:43

HOWARDT29/08/2020 07:22:56
652 forum posts
15 photos

I have had a Sieg SC3-400 for over 4 years. In that time I have had no problems with the machine. You have to think of what the average diameter you will be cutting. I am making a 3 1/2 “ loco from stock material an at the moment just machined the smoke box ring at just over 4” in diameter. I had to turn this in stages any way with different setups and allowing the part to cool, not the motor, as I cut with carbide and no coolant. I very rarely cut for a long time on the lathe, even if I am on it all day the cutting time in a single cycle will not be long.
As Nick says you won’t find many people that have used both machines unless they returned one for some reason and bought the other.

Steve Neighbour29/08/2020 07:52:56
74 forum posts
1 photos

There are a few videos posted on youtube by folk who use a Warco 180.

One regular subscriber is 'Ades Workshop'

Adrian is very helpful and will happily reply if you message him.

Heres a link to a video of him maintaining a WM180 which I sure you will find informative

https://youtu.be/Eo3Tw4DFRwU

Steve Neighbour29/08/2020 07:53:21
74 forum posts
1 photos

There are a few videos posted on youtube by folk who use a Warco 180.

One regular subscriber is 'Ades Workshop'

Adrian is very helpful and will happily reply if you message him.

Heres a link to a video of him maintaining a WM180 which I sure you will find informative

https://youtu.be/Eo3Tw4DFRwU

not done it yet29/08/2020 08:37:40
5357 forum posts
20 photos

As Nick says you won’t find many people that have used both machines unless they returned one for some reason and bought the other.

If that were the case, I somehow doubt that the first machine would get a good review - unless there was an exceptional reason, other than fault, for that return.

Also, not average - maximum diameter is more important than the average, I would have thought? Many are happy with the 3 1/2’ myfords but I prefer my 5” centre height because I make most things in full size (12” to the foot scale).

Do obtain the full specs to compare things like spindle bore, swing over the cross slide (I think my LJ may have had more swing over the cross slide than my 5”, for instance). I don't know if the motor power of the Warco is input or output power, but Arc always quote output power - so worth checking to be sure if that concerns you.

Acccessories can make a difference, too. I don’t have a travelling steady with my lathe (I used the one with my previous lathe just once) but I do use a fixed steady quite often. Even the size of a fixed steady may need checking - I have two (one original and another (which I modified to fit my lathe) but the latter is marginally larger than the OEM item, so I’ve kept both.🙂 Availability (and cost) of a stand might also be a consideration, either at the time of purchase or later (delivery costs might be different).

But, at lthe end of the day your purchase will be a compromise. Accept it and just get turning!

Bob Stevenson29/08/2020 10:03:21
464 forum posts
7 photos

I have not used SC3-400, but I did use a Chester 'Conquest' for 10 years before changing to a WM 180 3 years ago.

 

The Conquest is also a Chinese mini-lathe,...in American parlance a 7 x 14, but made in the 'Real Bull' factory rather than Seig....in essence it's the same machine apart from possibly a brushless motor etc.

 

To cut to the chase;......I loved my Chinese mini-lathe, which I found crudely endearing!.....It was gifted to me and became my 'house lathe' on which I made most of the parts for my first clock along with lots of other small parts and items. I do also have a Colchester Master, but that's at the bottom of the garden in it's own workshop and bears no relation to this discussion which is about making clock parts late at night in a corner of my conservatory while talking to my wife as she watches TV a few feet away. As lathes go, the Chinese mini-lathe is not well designed or even particularly well thought out, and manufacture is, as I said, crude. For most of my 10 years use I was busy making stuff but did contstantly need to 'adjust and improve' the lathe to overcome it's defaults in both design and equippage. It arrived with just a small 3-jaw chuck.....I sourced a 4 jaw, of doubtful quality for quite a high price and also a very expensive face plate, also of doubtful quality from Chester. I also made up lots of other bits including travelling rest from a block of firewood using the 'design' in L.H. Sparey's excellent little book.........this to turn a clock pendulum rod.

 

Other mini-lathe improvements included removing the rubber feet and replacing with 4 inch stainless disks, which vastly reduced the instability at high turning speeds,...and removing the top-slide which vastly improved turned finish and rigidity....also made a lever for tailstock which vastly reduced use of spanner during making stuff! Lots of other little bits and bobs also vastly improved the 'user experience' during those 10 years..........However, I don't want to give you the wrong impression,..I grew to love my mini-lathe and it got me back into making things and freed my creative mind and I still think about it fondly.

 

Because of my pleasure in using the mini-lathe inside the house and late at night etc., I decided that I should replace it with a proper lathe and thus, three years ago I moved up to WM 180, which although also small, is everything that the dear mini-lathe was not and came properly supplied with good chucks, rests, tools and some fore thought of design....... All machines can be improved and this is especially true of lathes so the WM 180 is not perfect but does have a cohesiveness of design and manufacture such that it's use is straightforward and very little 'Kludging' is required. Like most Chinese machines, getting the chucks off is a PITA as this requires the removal of nuts between the chuck and headstock. if anything this is even more annoying on WM180 than on the mini-lathe....also the short bed length, while no problem for making clock bits, might present problems ot other users, especially as slides and tailstock are fairly beefy for such a small lathe. At the end of the day the WM180 is still a relatively inexpensive machine, being about a third of the price of an old well used Schaublin and with much better features, so I have absolutely no complaints thus far.....hope some of this ramble helps!

Edited By Bob Stevenson on 29/08/2020 10:06:30

SillyOldDuffer29/08/2020 11:21:27
Moderator
6655 forum posts
1499 photos
Posted by Neil A on 28/08/2020 21:41:04:

... I am concerned about the brushed motor that it uses.

It would seem from various posts on this forum that brushed motors are more liable to overheating and failure if used for prolonged periods, particularly at low speeds. Unfortunately these are usually quite common operating conditions when turning a component. Brushless motors don't seem to have the same problem.

... Is there a duty cycle that must be observed?

...

The worst possible motor to put on a lathe is the Universal AC/DC type, yet they're useful on tiny lathes spun at high speed.

Second worst motor is the AC Single Phase motor. Complicated, with run and start windings, capacitors and maybe a centrifugal switch. They vibrate, have poor starting torque, and can't be speed controlled. Their advantage is they run straight off domestic single phase electricity. Despite a shower of disadvantages, this type of motor has given satisfactory service on lathes and other tools for decades.

The first 'good' motor for a lathe is the brushed DC type. Good torque characteristics. The disadvantage is the brushes wear out, as does the commutator. Eventually. Run in 'let the tool do the work mode', brushes last a long time and are easily replaced. Same motor pushed hard by an angry gorilla in a hurry will soon burn out; the brushes overheat and the commutator and windings take a thrashing. Get the motor hot enough, and magic smoke will appear, or the controller will pop!

For many years the best motor for a lathe was a 3-phase AC motor. They are considerably simpler, more robust, smoother and more reliable than a single-phase motor. There are no brushes to wear out. And they can be speed controlled with a VFD, which also solves the problem of getting 3-phase electricity into a home-workshop.

Relative new boy on the block is the brushless DC motor. Close relatives of the AC 3-phase motor rather than a brushed DC motor. Not really DC at all - they're poly-phase motors driven by DC pulses produced by an electronic controller. They have excellent characteristics.

As a rough guide, I'd mark single phase 4/10, brushed DC 7/10, 3-phase 8/10, 3-phase+VFD 9/10, and brushless 10/10. They're all OK.

Duty cycle! An industrial machine costs between 6 and 30 times more than a hobby machine. Part of the extra cost is spent on the motor, which will be generously rated for hard continuous work in a production environment. Hobby machines are rated on the assumption that they will work relatively gently with time to cool off between cuts. It's what most amateurs do: take a few minutes setting up in the chuck, then a cut, pause to measure, then another cut or reset the job etc.

It is easy to overwork a hobby machine particularly if the operator is a bad-tempered gorilla in a hurry! (Surely not, hobbyists are all gentlefolk, striving for precision and finish, not rough hackers.)

angel

My rule of thumb is to 'let the tool do the work'. Rather than force cutters through metal I set depth of cut, feed-rate, and rpm to suit the material and the machine. By ear, the machine is run so I can hear the motor is working short of labouring. Must never sound distressed. If a lot of metal is being removed, I pause to let the motor cool down.

How much can be expected of a hobby machine depends on the model. Mini-lathes are relatively delicate. In contrast my WM280 has a fan-cooled 1500W 3-phase motor that I've never got warm. The 1100W brushed DC motor in my WM18 is more vulnerable to abuse so I take more care with it. So far no problems. Easier to damage a small machine than a big one, but never forget hobby machines are what they are.

Conclusion: if the goal is a bomb-proof motor, you need an industrial machine. Otherwise brushless and 3-phase have an edge over brushed motors, in that order but they all need to be treated with respect. As they will all do hobby jobs, I wouldn't agonise over the motor. Note the single-phase motors I consider inferior to brushed DC haven't significantly reduced the ability of Myford owners to do good work over the last 70 years.

Dave

Dave Halford29/08/2020 12:41:18
1128 forum posts
11 photos
Posted by SillyOldDuffer on 29/08/2020 11:21:27:
Posted by Neil A on 28/08/2020 21:41:04:

... I am concerned about the brushed motor that it uses.

It would seem from various posts on this forum that brushed motors are more liable to overheating and failure if used for prolonged periods, particularly at low speeds. Unfortunately these are usually quite common operating conditions when turning a component. Brushless motors don't seem to have the same problem.

... Is there a duty cycle that must be observed?

...

The worst possible motor to put on a lathe is the Universal AC/DC type, yet they're useful on tiny lathes spun at high speed.

Second worst motor is the AC Single Phase motor. Complicated, with run and start windings, capacitors and maybe a centrifugal switch. They vibrate, have poor starting torque, and can't be speed controlled. Their advantage is they run straight off domestic single phase electricity. Despite a shower of disadvantages, this type of motor has given satisfactory service on lathes and other tools for decades.

Note the single-phase motors I consider inferior to brushed DC haven't significantly reduced the ability of Myford owners to do good work over the last 70 years.

Dave

Not to be biased in any way smiley.

Part of the 'shower of disadvantages' of the AC Single Phase motor is the complete lack of a £100 speed control and power board to burn out when overloaded. Neither do they have to be started from zero rpm to prevent burn out.

You do however have to stretch the extra £200 for the WM240B It's noticeably the only little one called "Highly robust" by Warco

Can't think why with such a dire motor smiley.

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