By continuing to use this site, you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more
Forum sponsored by:
Forum sponsored by Allendale Jan 24th

Which lathe

Choosing the right lathe

All Topics | Latest Posts

Search for:  in Thread Title in  
Paul Williams 3817/09/2020 20:57:08
13 forum posts

looking to buy my first lathe, after some deliberation I have ruled out the older myfords etc basically due to the fact I haven’t the knowledge to know if I am buying a good en or something worn out. So thought I’d go with a modern lathe from Chester or warco.

im leaning towards Chester as it is local to me where as warco is a good 4 hours away, and thinking if I have a problem at least I can visit Chester. Anyone else agree or is warco a better choice?

i am looking at the Chester DB10 super lathe for size and cost, which from what I can see is a good all rounder.BUT doesn’t do imperial threads? But not sure how often imperial threads would be needed? Any thoughts anyone.

warco equivalent say they do both metric and imperial, but no power cross feed and have newer larger brushless motors. Considering they are the same machine the Chester DB10 seems to be lacking compared to the warco.

any thoughts greatly appreciated

not done it yet18/09/2020 08:46:14
5379 forum posts
20 photos

Are you sure that imperial threads cannot be cut? My lathe has an imperial lead screw but I can cut most metric threads to a very close approximation, as needed. Maybe Arceurotrade is not out of you ‘travel range’?

I've purchased Items (not major ones, like machines) from all three, but my usual ‘go to’ supplier is Arc.

Chris Evans 618/09/2020 08:58:17
1820 forum posts

Welcome along to the forum Paul. Before jumping in for your lathe purchase have you got a firm idea of what you will want to make on it ? I am not a model maker, old motorcycles are my interest so my priorities differ. I think your decision to go for a new lathe is sound, Myford lathes are very capable but a lot of old worn out ones now given the possible age of some of them.

Bazyle18/09/2020 09:23:40
5695 forum posts
208 photos

This isn't to do with the capability of the lathe so much as just what the vendor chooses to put in the advert. Most of the new lathes that look nearly identical except for the paint are from the same factory with only very small differences specified by the importer to save money. The advertisers are really really bad at using the internet to provide details of their products and seem to use their mother or a secretary with no engineering knowledge to put up the web pages. So dig deeper, as you are doing by posting here.
There have been hundreds of posts on here about these lathes under all of their different guises so use the search feature to look for threads about lathe choice and beginner advice.

You mentioned power cross feed. The equivalent of electric windows on a car so nice to have but way down the list of necessary features.

One thing they can put in the specifications in a deliberately confusing way is screwcutting. ALL lathes can be made to cut both metric and imperial feed. ALL of them. The difference is how easy it is to select and whether you need to buy a few extra gears. Some adverts list both as though it is just the flick of a switch which it isn't (for lathes costing less than £3k) but it takes a few minutes to change the gears. If they list it they have provided the extra gears. If they don't list it it is a toss up whether they left the infomation out of the advert or didn't provide the extra gears.

Mike Poole18/09/2020 09:29:39
2845 forum posts
67 photos

The Chester version will cut imperial threads and metric, the manual is available **LINK** the gear train will need to be changed to swap from metric to imperial. Both machines have power crossfeed.


Edited By Mike Poole on 18/09/2020 09:39:27

SillyOldDuffer18/09/2020 10:01:22
6678 forum posts
1500 photos

As you've spotted the lathes sold by Chester and Warco are similar! The machines they sell all cover ranges of metric and imperial threads. The difference is in the leadscrew - basically, Metric machines cut accurate metric threads and approximate imperial, while imperial machines approximate metric. In both cases the approximations are good, but there may be odd gaps. Reasons for going imperial: you think in imperial, or already have a lot of imperial tooling, or intend to model or mend older imperial machines. (Many examples.) Go metric if you think in metric (young person or scientific background), or are into modern machines or experimentation. In practice both systems have to be accommodated, but it's good tactics to tool up for the major player in your workshop.

Chris asks if you have a firm idea of what the lathe will be used for? Imperial vs metric is one consideration, the size and type of work is another. The DB10 is too big for clockmaking and too small for threading scaffolding! It is a good size for most general-purpose hobby work, but I think motorcycle repairs would push it. Apart from small precision work, a good rule of thumb is to buy the biggest machine you can accommodate simply because small machines can't do big work. I dithered for far too long before spending money. My interests are general purpose experimental, and for that almost any machine will do. I started with a mini-lathe and learned an enormous amount from it. They have several shortcomings, chiefly it was too small for about 20% of what I was doing. Although my second lathe purchase was much more intelligent, I don't regret the mini-lathe at all. It got me going rather than flapping around catalogues and confusing advice.

Anyway, this picture of the DB10 headstock shows the change gear setting chart stuck on the end cover. Three sections to the chart: top one is the feed-rate gear options, and the two below are tables of Imperial and Metric threads.



Howard Lewis18/09/2020 10:16:23
4136 forum posts
3 photos

Which lathe you choose is governed by a variety of factors, particular to the individual concerned.

(Not necessarily in this order of importance to every purchaser )

1 What is it going to used to make?

2 How much space is available?

3 The budget

4 "Must have" features, as opposed to "Nice to have"

5 Not to mention transporting from delivery point to final installation.

(Moving a 300Kg machine, some distance over soft, possibly sloping, ground, and installing it, can be quite an undertaking.)

My already at least secondhand Myford ML7 eventually went because of the frustration with the small bore of the 2MT Headstock.

Its larger new Chinese successor had features that the Myford ML7 lacked. ( Larger bore Headstock, VFD, PCF., Power feed shaft separate from the Leadscrew,.

I had been going to buy the latest Myford Super 7 Sigma, but for the same specification ( Chucks, Steadies, Norton gearbox etc) it would cost at least four times as much as the eventual purchase, and could not have PCF which I was keen to have.

Effectively, although dual dialled, it was a Metric machine;, but is capable of cutting a greater variety of Imperial threads than Metric!



Nicholas Wheeler 118/09/2020 10:48:40
446 forum posts
25 photos

I've had the Warco equivalent for 6 years, and think it's an excellent machine for a cramped workshop. I'm not a 'model engineer' so the lathe is used for making mechanical parts and tooling(mostly cars, but I've done some plane work too), general repairs around the house and whatever else comes my way like making a new head bolt for a bell that only just fit in the machine:


screwcutting both M20 threads was easy. Much of my work is for cars, so is fairly chunky bits of steel which requires a reasonable amount of power to do the job in a reasonable amount of time, and is the real reason I upgraded from a mini-lathe. Other important factors in that decision were the decent for the size spindle bore and the power cross-feed. Variable speed is also essential in my opinion. The only motorcycle work you will struggle with would be forks simply because they're too big to fit. The gearbox isn't for screwcutting unfortunately, but it does provide reverse and a range of three speeds for the feeds which depend on the change gears fitted. They are quite noisy!

I bought it at one of the exhibitions, and decided on the Warco because their display machines were better finished, and the staff actually seemed interested in making the sale - the discussion covered what I wanted it for, what I already had and the inclusion of tooling useful to me extra chuck backplates and a couple more QC toolholders.

It's a heavy but manageable two-man lift, which might be important to you; mine had to be carried down steps and through the workshop. It lives on a bench, and isn't bolted down because of the cupboard door next to the gear cover.

I'd happily buy another, and wish I had enough room to similarly upgrade my min-mill

Mick B118/09/2020 11:04:57
1801 forum posts
91 photos
Posted by Bazyle on 18/09/2020 09:23:40:


You mentioned power cross feed. The equivalent of electric windows on a car so nice to have but way down the list of necessary features.


Just taking up on this point alone. If you're wanting to do milling in the lathe, power cross feed is much higher up the list of priorities, for both step-milling and flycutting flats. Similarly, it's seriously useful if you're facing largish diameters that are important engineering-wise or cosmetically.

not done it yet18/09/2020 11:30:29
5379 forum posts
20 photos

I agree with Bazyle re advertising content - but I am a cynic and would suggest a lot is hype and some is carefully selected to deceive. One example might be the advertised power of the machine. Some quote gross power input and some quote nett power output. Obviously not the same!

Howard Lewis18/09/2020 12:16:13
4136 forum posts
3 photos

Yes, some suppliers quote power but only Input, where others quote Output, which is more important,, because that is where the metal gets cut Caveat Emptor and all that! Do your homework thoroughly first.


Paul Williams 3818/09/2020 16:51:05
13 forum posts

Hi everyone, I am new to the group.

thankyou for all your replies and thoughts they have been extremely helpful.

I am currently renovating an old motorbike which has been converted to a chopper. So I am hoping to make some items for that, also like to build some small working models. So guess I am after an all rounder, yes think metric is the way to go for me but like to have the option of imperial threading if needed.

chester db10 super lathe is the biggest I can really go for size and cost, and they do interest free credit, warco seem a bit dearer all round.

Yeh I do agree the adverts on sites can be selective with the truth and details can be wrong, it’s an expensive purchase so will spend some time searching the forums.

i think I’m going for the metric db10 super lathe by Chester,

Thanks again everyone

Mick B118/09/2020 17:08:19
1801 forum posts
91 photos

I'd say the DB10 super looks a good choice - it has many close similarities to the Warco WM250V that I have (and am happy with), and I suspect it's made in the same factory. Good general-purpose lathe for model and smaller full-size engineering, rigid enough to do some milling too with a good vertical slide.

Nick Clarke 318/09/2020 17:13:36
1014 forum posts
36 photos

Many of the machines are clones of each other and come from a couple of factories out east.

Once you have decided on the specification to suit you (and taken advice from here amongst other places!) The differences are a few quid here and there and do you have confidence in the supplier. My first machine came from a supplier (not Chester) that got good reviews and was close to where my daughter was at Uni so I could drop in while visiting her. A stupid reason perhaps, but otherwise it was difficult to decide between any of the big names.

I have never regretted it, and have bought a second machine and quite a few bits and pieces from the same place, but the first step was what got me there and the advice I got when things went wrong because of my own stupid fault was superb.

So if Chester rings all the right bells for you, even if someone elsewhere has had an issue, go for it.

Edited By Nick Clarke 3 on 18/09/2020 17:15:01

Gray18/09/2020 17:31:03
1040 forum posts
13 photos

I'm a fan of Warco lathes, having owned 3, 2 of which still reside in my workshop, A WM250V and a GH1330, and wish I had kept the other one as well.

I have also owned 2 lathes from Chester and quite honestly would not have another one.

One significant difference between the DB10 and the Warco 250V (similar sized machines), is that the Chester appears to still use a DC motor and the quoted power of 750W from reading the manual suggests this is the input power rather than the true output power of the motor.

Warco use a 3 phase induction motor with a very good quality inverter drive to allow use from standard 240v single phase domestic supply.

Although a bit more expensive, my personal choice would be Warco.

Although they are showing currently as out of stock of the 250v, have a look at their used machines as they have a couple of WM250V in their listing for similar money to the Chester. I have bought second hand from Warco in the past and not had any issues. They also give a 6 months warranty on current machines.


John Smith 1318/09/2020 17:32:13
5 forum posts

I live in the USA and bought the Grizzly version of the Chester lathe DB10. To date I have been very happy with the choice - my only complaint is that I was too cheap to spend the extra for the variable speed model. Many times I would like to change speeds particularly if facing across a large diameter but just need to pick one speed that is too fast on the perimeter and too slow at the center. I don't miss not having the the power cross feed but then I don't do too many facing cuts. I had a hobbymat lathe and a Warco combination lathe/mill when i lived in the UK and ALL of my new machines needed adjustment to get the best out of them. My view is that you get a lot of machine for the money and both Warco and Chester provide good back up for their products. As an aside if the leadscrew drive gear train include a 127 tooth gear you will be able to cut either metric or imperial threads accurately.

Enjoy your new purchase and practice on some simple turning jobs before doing anything critical. There a lot of how to videos on youtube and large number of helpful people on this forum to help you sort out ant problems that you may have.


Paul Williams 3818/09/2020 18:35:39
13 forum posts

Thanks everyone, I know it’s a lot of personal choice and experiences, If warco was local I think I would go for one of those, but price is creeping up. There is a big jump cost wise fr9m the DB8 to db10 then to warco 250v. .

will do some more research and no doubt I will be picking your brains more 👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻

Chris Evans 619/09/2020 10:13:18
1820 forum posts

Think about the spindle bore size if you are a motorcycle tinkerer like me. My bikes are pre war girder fork jobs but at times I do other folks stuff and need to put front fork stanchions in the lathe. Most are 35mm and upwards. Enjoy whichever lathe you choose and let us know how you get on. Chris.

Howard Lewis19/09/2020 12:17:36
4136 forum posts
3 photos

As Chris says, include mandrel bore in your considerations. It can be VERY frustrating to have job that needs a mandrel just the next MT size up.

The odd job will crop up needing a 4MT and you have a 3MT; and then you grit your teeth and say "Oh dear me" or something like that!

If it's big, you don't have to use all of it, but if it's small it won't fit at all!


Paul Williams 3819/09/2020 18:32:16
13 forum posts

Hhhhmmmmm lots to think about, thanks everyone

All Topics | Latest Posts

Please login to post a reply.

Magazine Locator

Want the latest issue of Model Engineer or Model Engineers' Workshop? Use our magazine locator links to find your nearest stockist!

Find Model Engineer & Model Engineers' Workshop

Support Our Partners
Eccentric July 5 2018
Eccentric Engineering
Subscription Offer

Latest "For Sale" Ads
Latest "Wanted" Ads
Get In Touch!

Do you want to contact the Model Engineer and Model Engineers' Workshop team?

You can contact us by phone, mail or email about the magazines including becoming a contributor, submitting reader's letters or making queries about articles. You can also get in touch about this website, advertising or other general issues.

Click THIS LINK for full contact details.

For subscription issues please see THIS LINK.

Digital Back Issues

Social Media online

'Like' us on Facebook
Follow us on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter
 Twitter Logo

Pin us on Pinterest