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

Buying a new Lathe....Asian?

All Topics | Latest Posts

Search for:  in Thread Title in  
Matt Stevens 130/09/2020 18:01:39
75 forum posts
6 photos

Hi All,

I currently own and use a 1939 Southbend Model C lathe (9" between centers). It certainly has its limitations in that it works only with change gears (messy and a pain), no powered cross feed, no variable speed, not overly versatile to mount anything else other than the compound slide etc. On top of this....it is old and likely worn and not as rigid as it could be.... maybe i can use a slightly bigger machine too?!

So before i approach the wife for scolding/funding, i need to have an idea on what to look at. There has always been debate about Chinese imports and quality.....but then there is some very good quality items from China and improvements made in recent years. Its also true to say you get what you pay for yadda yadda.

There is a lot of what looks like the same machines with different brands stamped on. I suspect the castings might come from the same original supplier, but the spindle bearing and other parts may differ and there may lie the big quality differences..... SO......what should i be looking at? I am based in Canada, a sucker for a bargin but also don't want to buy something i will regret. Anyone want to give me some experiences of what to look at and what not?

Thanks

Chris Evans 630/09/2020 18:30:48
avatar
1747 forum posts

Most  Asian import machines should be a lot better than a well worn old industrial machine. I had a South Bend "Heavy Ten" for 45 years, then needing a bigger machine on retirement bought a used Taiwanese 14"x40" lathe. It is a 1998 machine and given no major problems apart from when I made a new cross slide plus screw and nut. Main reason was to beef it up a bit and incorporate tee slots on the slide. I think you may struggle to find a budget lathe that will cut a good range of threads without change gears. Good luck with the search.

Edited By Chris Evans 6 on 30/09/2020 18:35:01

Tony Pratt 130/09/2020 18:32:41
1234 forum posts
5 photos

The best advice I can give is buy from a reputable established dealer & in the UK I always use a credit card for purchases over £100 to give extra security if anything 'goes wrong', who are the m/c tool dealers you will be looking at?

Tony

Dave Halford30/09/2020 18:46:53
938 forum posts
9 photos

Rockwell Delta 10" with 54 threads from the gearbox or 11" with the same.

No gears to change just Varispeed belts

Matt Stevens 130/09/2020 18:59:50
75 forum posts
6 photos
Posted by Tony Pratt 1 on 30/09/2020 18:32:41:

The best advice I can give is buy from a reputable established dealer & in the UK I always use a credit card for purchases over £100 to give extra security if anything 'goes wrong', who are the m/c tool dealers you will be looking at?

Tony

So common brands over here in Canada are King Canada, Busy Bee Tools (Cheap), Grizzly is just over the border in the US..... really not sure.

I have seen alot of positive feedback for Precision Matthews machines. I don't know if they are locally available to me or not.....

Bill Dawes30/09/2020 19:49:24
363 forum posts

All I can say Matt is that a few years ago I bought a Warco 290V lathe, power feeds and variable speed control, not had any problems, I love it. Made in China and there are many other branded suppliers that are based on the same machine, Grizzly rings a bell with me, I think I remember googling something and Grizzly came up as a brand based on a Chinese generic machine.

Chinese stuff was a bye word for rubbish many years ago but these days China has many high tech factories, how much quality branded stuff, Apple, Microsoft, Nikon Sony etc is made in China, a lot. (I remember when Japanese stuff was laughed at.)

Bill D.

Tony Pratt 130/09/2020 19:58:51
1234 forum posts
5 photos

Matt, as you say most of the Chinese lathes are going to be very similar in appearance that is why you need a reputable dealer for back up, the devils in the detail. I have a Warco 290v which replaced my old Myford Super 7, it's certainly rough around the edges but boy does it shift metal & a high specification! Grizzly has been around for years so must be doing something right & I have seen various good reports of Precision Mathews. You have the perennial problem of new Asian vs used USA/European lathes, who knows what is best, good luck.

Tony

Ketan Swali30/09/2020 20:07:47
1298 forum posts
105 photos
Posted by Matt Stevens 1 on 30/09/2020 18:59:50:
Posted by Tony Pratt 1 on 30/09/2020 18:32:41:

The best advice I can give is buy from a reputable established dealer & in the UK I always use a credit card for purchases over £100 to give extra security if anything 'goes wrong', who are the m/c tool dealers you will be looking at?

Tony

So common brands over here in Canada are King Canada, Busy Bee Tools (Cheap), Grizzly is just over the border in the US..... really not sure.

I have seen alot of positive feedback for Precision Matthews machines. I don't know if they are locally available to me or not.....

Busy Bee owner and Grizzly owner are related... I think brothers. Both have same surname : Balolia. I have met a Craftex inspector who was carrying out an inspection on some machines for Busy Bee in a SIEG Factory during one of my visits. They work independently from each other, even though they both buy from same factories for certain products... but not all.

Ketan at ARC

Steve Neighbour30/09/2020 20:13:11
65 forum posts
1 photos

Hi Matt,

I would suggest you look for a site on YouTube called 'blondie hacks'

This is really a very good to watch site and the woman uses a Precision Mathew's machine which you'll you'll recognise as a Asian import clinen probably made by Weiss.

She has a upload on the machine with all the pros & cons.

Mick B130/09/2020 20:58:57
1731 forum posts
91 photos
Posted by Bill Dawes on 30/09/2020 19:49:24:

All I can say Matt is that a few years ago I bought a Warco 290V lathe, power feeds and variable speed control, not had any problems, I love it. Made in China and there are many other branded suppliers that are based on the same machine, Grizzly rings a bell with me, I think I remember googling something and Grizzly came up as a brand based on a Chinese generic machine.

Chinese stuff was a bye word for rubbish many years ago but these days China has many high tech factories, how much quality branded stuff, Apple, Microsoft, Nikon Sony etc is made in China, a lot. (I remember when Japanese stuff was laughed at.)

Bill D.

I use a Warco WM250V from the same stable and I think the same. It's very capable, versatile when used with a vertical slide, can work to a few tenths with care and has proved completely reliable, any issues having been user-inflicted and user-fixable.

Matt Stevens 130/09/2020 21:09:13
75 forum posts
6 photos

I think the Warco WM250V is essentially the same machine as the Precision Matthews one...

https://www.precisionmatthews.com/shop/pm-1022v-pm-1030v/

Mick B130/09/2020 22:09:40
1731 forum posts
91 photos
Posted by Matt Stevens 1 on 30/09/2020 21:09:13:

I think the Warco WM250V is essentially the same machine as the Precision Matthews one...

https://www.precisionmatthews.com/shop/pm-1022v-pm-1030v/

It does look extremely similar (apart from the paint job), but it has quick-change chuck and toolpost, which my WM250V doesn't. Both of these might be advantageous - my 3-jaw chuck runs true within about 0.0006" (six tenths) on ground bar, which makes me reluctant to change chucks for fear of getting dust or grit in the register!

Hopper30/09/2020 23:08:14
avatar
4804 forum posts
105 photos

If I lived in North America I would look for a newer less worn South Bend or similar with QC gearbox. Plenty around in the US but don't know about Canada.

Jeff Dayman01/10/2020 00:33:20
1896 forum posts
45 photos

I'm also in Canada Matt. I have seen some Busy Bee lathes that were not bad at all but also some that were absolute rubbish with multiple major defects. Also not sure about today, but years ago they would deliver to the front of your house, but would not help you get it off the truck or into your garage. Major aggravation when that happened. King have imported some good tools, my King floor mount drill press is excellent, but I lucked out - when I was looking for one, I tested the spindle play in each one in-store, and found about 6 units that had 1/16" or more of play with the quill down. I found one that had essentially no play and took that home. You have to be careful. KBC tools may be a better place to look for Asian lathes, they stand by what they sell and if you buy one there and have any problems they will try and make it right, in my experience. BB not so much.

If you see any Standard Modern brand lathes in Kijiji etc they are worth a look, they were built well and made in Toronto. As good as or better than South Bend. If you could find a more modern South Bend with lower wear than your older one, and a QC gearbag, that would be a good choice in my opinion. I also have an older SB lathe but I really like mine. Good luck in your search.

Howard Lewis01/10/2020 13:48:12
3615 forum posts
2 photos

Being UK based do not know what offerings are available in Canada.

Chines lathes seem to be imported by various suppliers, painted in a colour scheme, and a package chosen by the importer.

My lathe is 17 years old, an Engineers Tool Room BL12 -24. The same machine in slightly different guises was offered in the UK by Warco as the BH 600 (with the longer bed version as BH900 ) or the Chester Craftsman.

These have Norton gear boxes, and a separate shaft for the power traverses, and induction hardened beds. So represent reasonable quality. Problems have been minor, or a larger ones of my own making.

They have been replaced by gear head versions, and now variable speeds are the norm.

If you research offerings to the North American market, you will probably find a number of "lookalikes" of any machine that seems to be a possibility. The differences are likely to be colour scheme, specification of the package, price and warranty.

When you take a fancy to a machine, ask for opinions / experiences from owners, but do not be surprised to get some detractors as well as recommendations.

Howard

Neil Wyatt01/10/2020 15:15:56
avatar
Moderator
18240 forum posts
714 photos
77 articles

I would just add to be aware that the factories generally supply the machines to distributors with custom specifications (not just the colour/stickers!)

Best to look carefully at the specs and compare those as well as price and be aware that you are also paying for the seller to provide decent customer service and hold stocks of spares and accessories.

Neil

Matt Stevens 102/10/2020 02:18:30
75 forum posts
6 photos

Thankyou everyone for your thoughts.....it may be a little while till i upgrade due to funds and ....ahem.....convincing the wife etc.

I will keep you all informed and perhaps post what i am looking at for comments.

P.S. The Blondihacks youtube video was very useful!

Ronnie Zownir02/10/2020 18:59:24
6 forum posts

One thing to consider is the quality of the cast iron used to produce the machines coming out of China and whether it's been properly normalized/stabilized. A machine made from poor iron eventually reflects the quality of the base material. The owner of one of the machinery manufacturers my company deals with said they use cast iron from Taiwan for their budget line of screw machines because they do it right there. So, if you go down this path, lean toward a Taiwanese product, like Jet. The small extra money you spend on one from them is the price of certainty of not encountering basic trouble you cannot fix.

If you live in a part of Canada that has (or had) a decent concentration of manufacturing, refurbished machinery may be another choice. Oftentimes, a refurbished vintage machine from North America or Europe is superior to anything you can buy new today.

Check out the tour that the owner of Suburban Tool did at one of these facilities for its YouTube channel:

Edited By Ronnie Zownir on 02/10/2020 19:02:19

Edited By Ronnie Zownir on 02/10/2020 19:04:10

Bazyle02/10/2020 23:27:05
avatar
5479 forum posts
206 photos

The lathe Howard mentions is also the Grizzly G9249. The particular point to note is that it has a Norton QCGB. None of the more recent knob based QCGB versions have the full range of a Norton. They are a compromise to add a few metric thread options to cater for the world market and leave out a few of the imperials. The spec still says something like "100 imperial and 70 metric threads" without mentioning how many gears you have to fiddle with so get the manual and read it carefully.

Oily Rag04/10/2020 12:11:26
avatar
161 forum posts
77 photos

Matt,

One lathe I would look at in North America is the 'new' South Bend Heavy 10. Sold by Grizzly I think the designation is SB 1007; this machine is, as I understand it, based on the Emco Maximat Super11 which was one of the finest mid size lathes produced in Europe up until 1996. The production of the heavy castings is, I believe, done in Taiwan (quality of cast iron is superior there) and also machined over there before assembly of major components back in the US. I have a ex-colleague who now works in a motorsport shop in Az. who recommends this machine as being in the true heritage of the 'old' SB Heavy 10 but that it is a far more capable machine than the 'old' SB.

The sad fact is that these days no one in Europe or NA can do commercial casting of iron due to the prescriptive emissions regulations and energy costs, unless it is on a mass production schedule; although the US does have the advantage of cheap raw energy in the fracked gas available there. Sorry, may have transgressed the No Politics directive there!!!

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
cowells
Eccentric July 5 2018
emcomachinetools
EngineDIY
ChesterUK
Warco
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