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Another lathe question

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Dave Marsh 109/10/2020 19:26:00
3 forum posts

Evenin' all.

Wondering whether anyone can help.

I'm setting up a workshop in the garden shed, first thing I'll be buying is a lathe,

Now here's the problem. I've got really petty neighbours who are currently building a summer room at the back of their house. My shed is next to the fence and not particularly far from the summer room. I can absolutely guarantee they'll moan if I'm noisy in the shed.

I initially looked at a Seig SC3 as ARC's website goes on about the brushless motor and how quiet it is as there's no gearbox, trouble for me is that, though I've only seen photos / videos, the lathe looks a bit toy-like (it might be the colour and black plastic hand wheels).

I've just found that the Warco WM180 is back in stock which appears to have a belt drive but has a brushed motor. I've looked at the internet and the general consensus is that brush-less motors are quieter than brushed. I've also watched a few videos on Youtube, some of which show the Warco to be quiet (when free running) whilst others show it is quite noisy. SPG tools appear to have a brush-less version of the WM180 called the SP2109-11 but there's little information about it, in addition it appears to be heavier and does not come with the accessories that the Warco has.

I don't know which way to go. Can anyone tell me how noisy any of the above lathes are? Obviously it would depend on use, so for now I can only take into account noise when free running (I think).

I suppose I could insulate the shed but we intend to move house sometime next year so it'd be basically throwing money away.

Thanks in advance.


Jeff Dayman09/10/2020 20:21:34
1915 forum posts
45 photos

Re noise Dave, regardless of lathe you choose, a lot has to do with what ops you are doing. Interrupted cuts like turning square bar round at one end can be noisy, bigger parts shaped like car brake drums can make ringing noises, chatter on some cuts can make a lot of howling noise, and even brass can squeal a lot while cutting. If the neighbours are fussy all the above may cause complaints. If you are doing turning, boring , drilling , threading on relatively small free cutting steel, stainless, or cast iron parts, most lathes will not be objectionably noisy.

Maybe fit a noise absorbent ceiling tile or two between lathe and neighbours?

Or hire some contractors to run an air powered needle scaler for a day or two on some old rusty metal, then have them stop abruptly, thus becoming "the quiet neighbour with the noisy contractors - thank heavens they are finished"devil

Nigel Graham 209/10/2020 20:38:27
802 forum posts
16 photos

Is the shed an ordinary timber one?

I used one for my workshop in my previous home, but over a concrete pad, and set the lathe and milling machine on brick plinths built though holes in the wooden floor to isolate them from the shed itself.

This was as much to give the machine tools a proper, rigid foundation as noise-reduction, and a substrate of properly-laid concrete slabs may be as good.

I changed my Myford 7 and Myford milling-machine from single to three phase, and made them a great deal quieter straight away.

Clive Foster09/10/2020 21:46:34
2464 forum posts
81 photos

If you want quiet something better than a basic shed will be needed. Bespoke build time. Which may not be as much more expensive than a respectable quality shed as might be expected, especially as you will be building something better.

Clad the frame both sides with OSB trapping a layer of insulation between the sheets. I suspect that fibreglass maybe more effective at sound deadening than solid celotex et al. Usual shiplap outside.

Use domestic quality double glazed windows and glazed or half glazed door. Need all the light you can get as keeping the noise down means that you will normally be working with the door shut. Put feelers out for folk having a refurb. Perfectly satisfactory, but ageing, windows and doors are thrown away on a regualr basis. Free if you haul is best but £10 to £30 should get you a very satisfactory door, window and frames.

Make the building high enough to have a proper ceiling, at least 7 ft up, preferably 8. Again insulation above with suitable boarding for storage space. Don't forget a big hatch. If you use a metal roof insulate under it or use the combined panels. I made the mistake of using plain metal sheets and retrofitting insulation has been a bear.

My workshop (way too big to call a shed!) is built that way. Need to be doing something seriously, seriously noisy for folk outside to be aware of more than "he's in there playing. Again". For ordinary machine work visitors are likely to open the door and say "Oh, you are working."


Edited By Clive Foster on 09/10/2020 21:47:04

Frances IoM09/10/2020 21:50:22
857 forum posts
26 photos
my WM180 is quiet but I suspect that if the change gears are poorly setup it could be noisier but never really noticed the noise - - however if you want to annoy your neighbours make an outside enclosure for a cheap air compressor that way you get the benefit of the air and they get the noise
Martin Kyte09/10/2020 22:27:20
2121 forum posts
37 photos

Get some geese, they will never notice the machine noise.

Seriously lathes are actually quite quiet for the great majority of operations.

regards Martin

Nigel Graham 209/10/2020 22:32:46
802 forum posts
16 photos

Odd - I thought I'd posted a reply but it's not there so I'll try again and apologise if it appears twice!

You don't say whet type of shed you have. Mine at my previous home was a simple wooden shed which I lined etc; but I placed it on a concrete pad so I could mount the lathe and milling-machine on simple brick plinths built through holes in the floor.

If you don't have that you may be able to insert paving-slabs below the floor, well-bedded on sieved and levelled earth or sand instead.

This does two things:

- It gives the machine tools a rigid footing. Standing just on springy wood is not good for them.

- It isolates the machines from the wooden building so minimises sounding-board effects.

I also converted my machines to 3ph drives, and the noise-reduction from that was considerable! Before I erected the shed my Myford 7 was in the kitchen (solid floor) and its sheet-steel cabinet resonated very antisocially with the original 1ph motor, though I managed to deaden it a fair bit with carpet on its shelves.

Henry Artist09/10/2020 22:44:54
103 forum posts
46 photos

Welcome to the forum Dave face 1

Have your neighbours previously complained about noise you may have made when carrying out activities such as DIY? Try playing with an angle grinder and some scaffold pole in your shed for an hour or so on Sunday mornings and see what their reaction is.

There are a number of options available to you.

Move your shed so it is further away from your neighbour's summer room or build another shed.

Improve your shed - concrete base and plenty of insulation on walls and roof. Few people enjoy being in a freezing cold workshop in winter and the insulation will absorb a lot of the noise you will make.

Convince your neighbour to seriously improve the insulation of their summer room. "Y'know without proper insulation that summer room is gonna be an absolute nightmare to heat come the winter. I bet your utility bills will be astronomical! Then there's all those problems with condensation, damp, and mould... Here, have this catalogue on triple glazing."

Bob Brown 109/10/2020 23:47:27
1016 forum posts
127 photos

Sound insulation is not the same as the fluffy stuff you stick in your loft, see **LINK**

Clive Foster10/10/2020 08:24:24
2464 forum posts
81 photos
Posted by Bob Brown 1 on 09/10/2020 23:47:27:

Sound insulation is not the same as the fluffy stuff you stick in your loft, see **LINK**

True but 2" or, better, 4" of fluffy fibreglass loft insulation trapped between OSB panels is still makes a pretty good sound barrier in practice. A layer of shiplap outside makes a surprising difference too.

We got curious when building mine and did some rough, guesstimate, checks before and after cladding. I imagine all the breaks between the inside air and outside air at each material change significantly impede sound energy transmission.

The logarithmic response of ears to sound energy is what makes life difficult. Going from "a bit on the loud side" to "quite quiet at 6 ft" isn't too hard. Hafta be a l t more serious about things if looking for down to "hear a pin drop" levels. Time for the professional stuff then.


Clive Brown 110/10/2020 09:23:41
537 forum posts
18 photos

Sound-proofing in the lower frequency range requires mass, eg for machinary, material is available consisting of lead sheet, or a dense plastic barrier layer sandwiched between layers of foam. The foam helps with the higher frequencies. Will be quite spendy for a shed I'd think.

larry phelan 110/10/2020 09:29:34
867 forum posts
17 photos

I am surprised that they would complain about the noise from a lathe or a mill, it,s no worse than that from a Hi Fi unit.

How do I know ? Ask me !!

Now, someone mentioned an angle grinder, now there,s a GREAT IDEA!

How about a power washer ? [Just have to clean up these flag stones, you know should only take a few hours ]

Just as well you dont restore old motorbikes !

Brian Wood10/10/2020 09:33:20
2287 forum posts
37 photos

I would be looking a little further ahead to where you might be moving to next year and perhaps delaying your workshop construction to settlement at the next site. You might find more tolerant neighbours there, or even worse if you are unlucky!

We had good advice from an old diplomat in the village we lived in years ago which was to hire a private detective to investigate the neighbourhood for you rather than spend the money on surveys and the like

Regards Brian

David George 110/10/2020 09:35:37
1383 forum posts
448 photos

Just finnished a shed for the wife to do her stained glass work. It has a ship lap outside with a tong and grooved lining with 2 inch of sound deadening insulation and a vapour barrier. The floor is built on a concrete base and has a 3 inch solid type insulation beneath a 20mm plank floor with beams. The roof also has layers, roof felt, under felt, plank roof with vapour barrier solid insulation and tong and grooved interior. The windows are double glazed and the door has a half window and insulation covered by a ply interior. Some of her glass cutting machines are not quiet but we so far have no problems with the neighbours although they did complain about my lathe at 6.30 in the morning in the garage with not a lot of insulation. I don't start playing in the garage till at least 8.00 from now on.


SillyOldDuffer10/10/2020 09:42:04
6447 forum posts
1421 photos

Welcome to the forum Dave.

I upgraded from a brushed motor mini-lathe to a Warco WM280. The mini-lathe I judged usable inside the house, the WM280 needs to be in a workshop.

Mini-lathes typically have plastic gears which are much quieter than metal, and they aren't fitted with cooling fans. My WM280 has one continually cooling the motor, and another cooling the VFD. I could listen to the radio whilst mini-lathing, not possible on the big machine without cranking the radio up to full-volume. (I could upgrade to better fans, the computer type fan on the electronics is too cheap!)

Mini-lathes are silent until the motor is started and only slightly noisy until cutting starts. As for cutting noise, Jeff Dayman's post says it all! It depends on what you're doing. Most cutting, drilling, and boring is fairly quiet (able to listen to radio), but some operations are intrinsically loud.

Learning to drive a lathe involves making more noise than usual. Cutters chatter when the operator sets the machine up incorrectly; rpm wrong, depth-of-cut wrong, feed-rate wrong, blunt tool or difficult material. If these mistakes are made on a bell-shaped object like a brake-drum, a good deal of motor power is converted into unpleasant screeching. The operator should stop! Early efforts are more likely to be noisy than later work.

Anyone out there upgraded from a mini-lathe to a WM180, who can comment on noise? The bigger machine has noisier steel gears, but I don't know what the fans are like, or even if the lathe has any?

By the way, don't let the SC3's toy-like appearance put you off. If plastic handles get your goat, use the lathe to make replacements! (Trust me, metal handles aren't worth the bother except as a way of gaining experience.)

Although mini-lathes have shortcomings, the main problem for me was mine wasn't big enough! However, I learned all the basics from it, had fun, and used it a lot. Took a few years to realise it was too small for my ambitions, but I think 50% of what I do now could be done with a mini-lathe. I regret not keeping it occasionally because they're better for tiny work than a big machine. Reasons for upgrading apart from size:

  • Awkward Change Gear banjo compared with bigger machines.
  • Cross-slide and tool-post are lightly built, reducing rigidity.
  • No slots on the saddle making it impossible to mount a rear tool post or work on it.
  • Small dials.
  • Replacing the two-speed gear inside the headstock is a pain because bearings have to be removed. Teeth strip if you crash the tool post into the chuck. Don't ask how I know!


Bazyle10/10/2020 09:46:11
5562 forum posts
207 photos

I think George shows an important point. Don't make a noise at an unreasonable time even if you like getting up withthe larks or partying until midnight. Back a decade I used to go for a walk in a park early on Sundays but some a-hole would shatter the peace by cutting his grass at 8am. Decent people do not cut grass or equivalent noisy activity at all on Sundays or outside 9-5 on other days.

Remember if you upset people with our hobby you are not just getting yourself a bad reputation but the whole modelling fraternity.

Edited By Bazyle on 10/10/2020 09:47:40

Nigel McBurney 110/10/2020 09:54:47
761 forum posts
3 photos

I used a Myford S7 in an upstairs bedroom situated above the kitchen,no complaints ,though I did scare my wife when a large chunk of steel fell out of the bench vice.

Dave Halford10/10/2020 10:14:17
1017 forum posts
9 photos

Suspended ceiling tiles soak up a lot of noise.

Nicholas Farr10/10/2020 10:31:11
2479 forum posts
1198 photos

Hi, back in the early 80's a neighbour complained about noise to the authorities, that I was making in the evenings while doing redecorations and repair work. As I explained to the authorities that this is the only time I could do it as I was at work all day and try to get anything noisy done as early as I could and try to keep it as low as possible, they replied that they appreciate and understand that, but any noise should cease by 9.00 P.M. which I said it was normally finish before then, because my daughter was asleep. They said that any unreasonable level of noise should be avoided, but if needed, a reasonable time should be agreed upon, they did say that they get a lot of trivial noise complaints and they would be specking to them and further said they don't consider reasonable levels of noise between 7.00 A.M. and 9 P.M. to be a complaint issue overall except on Sundays. The old company I used to work for couldn't start their conveyors that run between two houses in a cutting before 7.00 A.M. on any day of the week, but they never ran on a Sunday and no maintenance was allow on those particular conveyors on a Sunday either, they have all gone now and the quarries that fed them are exhausted now.

Regards Nick.

Dave Marsh 110/10/2020 19:39:20
3 forum posts

Wow, only just logged on, it's going to take all night to read the responses, thanks very much everyone.

It's just an ordinary shed, though sold as "heavy duty", the foors quite beefy though, it's around 40mm thick. I don't really want to spend much on it as we're likely to move, the shed'll have to stay though as it's too big.

Funny thing I have been looking at workshops for the possible new place and have decided to make my own, basically I can then do what I want, I'll take note of all the comments on here.

Yes, they do complain, they had field day (or two smiley ) when I bought a wood chipper, I sold it the other week on EBay! I actually think they're a bit soft in the head, they even cut off bits of plant if they grow over the fence, I'm talking the odd leaf, not tree branches.

I'll tell them to let me know about the noise so they can see I'm being considerate, If they keep moaning I'll save the noisy work for when they have visitors!

I'm erring towards the Warco (just have to be careful not to clash with the chuck). Though I'd like something bigger fro now I've got to consider the shed floor, so I've got to keep the weight down.

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