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New member from Essex

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Martin Watson 101/01/2021 19:02:45
31 forum posts
2 photos

Hi...newbie from machining experience but always woodworked for a hobby...looking to get into hobby machining and hopefully going to buy my first lathe springtime...probably got a budget of up to £1500 so I'll be shopping in that end of the market...

Chris Evans 601/01/2021 19:20:53
1863 forum posts

Welcome along to the forum. Any ideas re what you would like to make ?

Martin Watson 101/01/2021 19:28:08
31 forum posts
2 photos

Hi Chris...after no doubt making a lot of dwarf I'm thinking along the lines of pens and chess pieces maybe...nothing too first at least...

old mart01/01/2021 20:18:46
2670 forum posts
176 photos

Welcome, Martin, you will have to factor in slightly bigger work now, so that in the near future you don't regret getting too small a machine. The space available is an important factor.

I like the look of the Warco WM240B lathe, I wonder if the other members would recommend it?

Edited By old mart on 01/01/2021 20:25:30

Martin Watson 101/01/2021 20:21:49
31 forum posts
2 photos
Posted by old mart on 01/01/2021 20:18:46:

Welcome, Martin, you will have to factor in slightly bigger work now, so that in the near future you don't regret getting too small a machine. The space available is an important factor.

Thanks and that's one of my considerations so hopefully my research will prevent that...but then at some point I have to draw a line as my workshop is only so big and I've got a few toys if i had a bigger

Howard Lewis02/01/2021 12:38:25
4413 forum posts
4 photos

FWIW, once you have an idea of what you think that you will want to make, it will give you an idea of the size of the lathe that you need. Then buy one size larger, for when your horizons expand along with your skills and confidence, you will need it.

Obvioiusly budget and space (and location of the workshop ) will determine what you buy.

A noisy 300 Kg machine is not ideal to install up two flights of stairs in a flat with thin walls!

If you feel, inclined to buy second, or more, hand, take someone experienced with you to see and check the machine. You will receive conflicting advice about old British machines vs Chinese. Both can be good and well equipped, or both can be worn rubbish! If the machine is less than perfect remember "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" Illadvised "adjustments" or "repairs" can do more damage than good! Seek advice, preferably face to face.

Every machine will have backlash, 3 jaw chucks very rarely hold work absolutely concentric. Perfection in a hobby machine is unattainable. Hobby machines are built down to a price, not to an industrial quality level.

It is said many times that you can do small work on a big lathe, but the other way round is a lot more difficult, if not impossible.

You can turn M3 screws on a machine able to swing 300 mm,600, but you can't skim a 300 mm brake disc on a mini lathe!

As a newcomer I would suggest some reading, to learn the basic principles of metal turning and tool grinding, before buying a machine.

A set of Zeus charts will be a very useful reference . I still use mine regularly, bought in 1958!

One of the standard books on turning is L H Sparey's "The Amateur's Lathe" Old but the basics still apply..

Ian Bradley's "The Amateur's workshop" is a useful guide for work in addition to turning.

Harold H has written a book on lathework, and Neil Wyatt and Dave Fenner have each written a book on the mini lathel

I find Tubal Cain's "Model Engineers Handbook" an extremely useful reference book, for all manner of details.

These books will guide, advise, teach you the basics, prevent you making mistakes or having problems, and answer lots of questions almost before you feel the need to ask them.

When you have gained skill and confidence, you can expand your library to cover such things as Drills and drilling, using Taps and Dies, Screwcutting, or Gear Cutting if you wish to progress to such things.

If you try to bite off more than you can chew you will become disillusioned, when you have problems.

Find a Model Engineering Club near you and join. Hopefully, before too long you will be able to get advice, help and/or demonstrations face to face, along with meeting other enthusiasts.

Once you have a machine, you can become familiar with it, and learn, by making small accessories, such as a Tap Wrench, Die Holders, a Centre Height Gauge, or a Mandrel Handle. Not only will you learn, as you make them, but such things will be useful in the future.

Hope all these ramblings will be of help.



Brian H02/01/2021 12:54:52
2032 forum posts
111 photos

Hello Martin and welcome.


Martin Watson 102/01/2021 12:56:18
31 forum posts
2 photos

Hi Howard...many thanks...

So far I've got a couple of David fenner books, a stan Bray book and a harold hall book...all in the workshop practice series and they seem decent on first glance...

My workshop is my detached garage so shouldn't annoy the neighbour's too much but I'm going to be decent with the hours I do...

I'm looking for a local club but I'm blessed in that two of my mates cover the heavier side of lathe and milling work (he worked in power stations) and the other covers lighter end (he's a clock maker) so I've collared them into any visits...

Cheers again and we'll see how my journey goes...

Martin Watson 102/01/2021 12:57:30
31 forum posts
2 photos
Posted by Brian H on 02/01/2021 12:54:52:

Hello Martin and welcome.


Hi Brian and thanks...

Howard Lewis02/01/2021 13:33:26
4413 forum posts
4 photos


You have made a good start! Your books are by well known and skilled authors. (Stan Bray lives not too far away, and he was on good form just before Christmas. )

Your pals will be very helpful, point you in the right direction and if need be, demonstrate.

If it is any help, my first lathe was an elderly Myford ML7, but after I became frustrated by the 2MT headstock and retired, went from the sublime to the gorblimey with a machine capable of swinging 18" in the gap, (never removed ) and a 5 MT bore mandrel.

One glorious day we shall be able to meet at our ME clubs and visit shows again!



Edited By Howard Lewis on 02/01/2021 13:34:28

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