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Benchtop lathe with power cross feed, looking to buy

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Gazz17/01/2021 21:46:25
50 forum posts

I think i'm realising my little mini lathe isn't really upto the tasks i want of it, so it may be time to sell it on and get a bigger lathe,

Any lathe i get will have to be a bench top model,

And i want power cross feed, and ideally a quick change gearbox, i dont mind change gears, but i do like the idea of a few twists of a lever or 2 to alter feed speeds and that, any threading i do will be metric, and nothing exotic, i can't even see me ever needing to turn a left hand thread really.

But what is there out there?
i did briefly look at the chester centurion 3 in 1 machine, about £1800 new (ideal would want a second hand one) a mill and a lathe in one.. as i'm after a small mill too, it even has power cross feed and all that,

But i know they are apparently to be avoided, the mill is more a drill it seems, and i already have issues holding what i want in my realbull cj18's 100mm chuck, and that thing has the same chuck (tho room to swing a much larger one, but there's a reason it comes with a 100mm chuck i guess)

i know people will say 'buy an old british machine' and that, but i have room for a bench top model only, and i haven't got a clue when it comes to working in anything other than metric.

i really just need more chuck capacity than the mini lathe has, i've not found any issues with length capacity yet.
i just want the ability to turn steel every now and then without having to take a million 0.000001mm cuts to reduce the diameter of a steel bar by 1mm.

I also want a mini mill sometime, hence why i was drawn to the centurion machine.

Oldiron17/01/2021 22:00:07
719 forum posts
23 photos

There are dozens of theads on "what lathe". Just do a search in the box just above any post will get you plenty of answers.

regards

Ian Johnson 117/01/2021 22:41:03
334 forum posts
92 photos

Not a lot wrong with the Mini Lathe, although it could do with a bit more grunt to take bigger cuts. I have one, and also a small mill, but I do have the use of a Colchester Triumph lathe and a much bigger mill to cover the bigger jobs.

I have also been looking at upgrading to a larger lathe like you, and the Sieg SC4 (as sold by Arc Euro) is my realistic choice. It has cross feed, hi torque brushless motor, benchtop etc fits your requirements quite nicely. But it hasn't got a quick change gearbox, it has change wheels.

Personally I wouldn't go for the combined lathe/mill combo, because you will inevitably need to use the lathe when you are set up for the mill or vice versa.

IanJ

Thor18/01/2021 05:08:30
1337 forum posts
40 photos

In addition to the Sieg SC4 you could also consider the Warco WM 250V with an inverter driven AC motor or a WM 280/290 lathe if you want a larger lathe.

Thor

JasonB18/01/2021 07:22:31
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19894 forum posts
2169 photos
1 articles

The gearbox will be the problem on a benchtop machine unless it's an older design like a Myford. However the likes of the 250, 280 & 290 mentioned above do have a small gearbox on the front will will give 3 different feed rates or pitches depending on how the change gears are set up.

How much thread cutting are you likely to do? I don't do a lot so am happy to spend a couple of mins to change the gear train when I do need to screwcut something but if I was doing several different pitches a week it may become a pain.

not done it yet18/01/2021 09:59:37
5581 forum posts
20 photos

I think your order of replacement is the wrong way round. You have a lathe so have plenty of time to cast around for a replacement before selling yours.

I looked around for several months before finding a good replacement when I decided I would ‘like’ to change from my Raglan Little John to the improved 5” model.

While it does now sit on a stand, it was on a bench when I bought it. 5” centre height, decent between centres size, variable speed (between min and max) at full power, QCGB options, power feeds on both axes, delightful auto feed trip on the long-travel, separate power feed shaft. It will see me out. Far better value for money than most myfords, IMO.

Chris Evans 618/01/2021 10:06:34
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1862 forum posts

Just a personal view but I always wonder about the attraction of power cross feed. Most of what I do is sub 70mm diameter, only if I am skimming a car flywheel do I use the power cross feed.

Hopper18/01/2021 10:15:48
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5148 forum posts
114 photos

Cross feed is one of those things you dont absolutely NEED all that often, but it sure is nice to have on many occasions..

Ron Laden18/01/2021 10:33:52
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2122 forum posts
425 photos

Before I fitted a cross feed to my 918 I wondered I'f it was worth the effort. Having fitted it I use it a lot even on all but small parts and always use it when parting of where it really shows its worth.

Ron

Hopper18/01/2021 10:38:54
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5148 forum posts
114 photos

I used my old Drummond for many years, as did my Dad, with not even any power longitudinal feed, due to lack of change gears to suit. You just developed a steady touch turning the leadscrew hand wheel by hand. But having now bought the change gears and added a toothed belt fine feed reducer there is no way i would go back to hand feeding. You get used to luxury pretty darned quickly.

Bazyle18/01/2021 11:53:54
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5778 forum posts
216 photos

A battery drill/screwdriver will provide power cross feed so not really a feature to cross the road for.

Gazz18/01/2021 14:15:36
50 forum posts

Re; the cross feed, having arthritic fingers, it took me weeks to machine a simple lump of steel about 75mm diameter,
Reducing parts of it in diameter was easy, i just set the change gears to give a devent leadscrew rate and powered the carriage along, but it was the parting and facing cuts that got me (as well as digging in and breaking the driven pulley and waiting 4 days for it's replacement... gotta say Amadeal is great,


i could do only so much a day then my fingers would lock up and that'd be it for the next few days whilst they free up again.

So i figured if i get a bigger lathe i really do want powered cross feed,

the gearbox is something that would be a luxuary tho, and yes change gears would be perfectly acceptable, reality is i do not do much threading on the lathe, i'll use taps and dies.

But the 2 or 3 selectable feed speeds would be nice, so i can rough the part, then switch to a finer speed to get close to finishing before hand winding the axis.

I do sometimes wonder about cnc, but most of the things i make are designed in my head, if i had to draw out plans other than a quick scribble with a few dimensions to aim for, i'd never make anything.

So, i think i'd be looking at the Seig SC4, Warco WM 250V, or Chester DB10VS, are there any others?

A google search also shows the Amadeal AMA280VFF, but it links to a page that is not accesable from the main site, so it's not a stock item... not sure if they even sell that anymore.

So the Seig is the cheapest as £1571, (or the blue painted axminster version for over 2 grand!)

and the Warco and Chester are around the 2 grand mark... this is all new prices, and i would prefer a second hand one...
but where there's an axminster version of the Seig SC4 on ebay for £1400... i'd rather pay the £171 extra and get a brand new Seig version. i can't see how the axminster ones are any different other than paint job, oh and an extra warranty for the original buyer.

BUT, chuck capacity is something i must upgrade on from the 100mm chuck in the minilathe i have, and the SC4 seems to have the same darn 100mm chuck the others come with a 125mm chuck, i'm sure a 125mm chuck can be fitted to the seig tho?

Howard Lewis18/01/2021 15:17:36
4397 forum posts
4 photos

My first thought was the Sieg SC4. Although it does not have a Norton gearbox, so pitches / feeds need to be changed by altering the changewheels.

Not a fan, based on comments that I have read about it, of the combined Lathe/Mill. Opinion seems to be sharply divided, either bad or good.

In terms of used machines, there are are many to choose from. But you need to know what nfeatures are essential and to be able to judge the condition of the machine.

Myford Ml7 etc are not much bigger than a mini lathe, and is a design dating back to 1947. A lot of very good work has been produced on them, but tend to be overpriced for what they offer. You would pay form the name.

Boxford is another popular choice, and well respected..

Shiny paint could disguise a very costly door stop!

How big do you want to go?

You could look for a secondhand Warco BH600 (Were sold in either Metric or Imperial form ) The Chester Craftman is Metric only and is still sold. Rarer is the Engineers ToolRoom BL12 -24 (Metric but dual dialled ) All the same machine, but in different paint schemes.

They have a 5 MT Headstock bore, induction hardened bedways, a feed shaft separate from the Leadscrew, and power fed for both turning and facing. Standard 3 jaw is 6" and 4 jaw is 8" These are bench top machines, although usually sold with a stand. Hefty at 300Kg, but strong and capable machines, able to do fairly heavy work, and cut a wide range of threads.

Sometimes, one comes up on the Warco Used Machines list.

These were belt driven, but have been superceded by gear head machines.

HTH

Howard

Gazz18/01/2021 16:30:15
50 forum posts

i cant go too big, i made room in my shed for my mini lathe, and a space for a mill... of the mini variety.. was looking at something the size of a WM14 or 16 for a mill...
This time last year i was looking at buying a chester lux mill!!!, but quickly realised it was too tall for the shed, and the garage is my dad's space for woodworking, so he didn't want it in there.... but that would have been far too big a mill for me, especially the cost of tooling for it, everything i do is just little personal projects for fun.

But just before xmas i got into tig welding, so have stolen part of the mill space for my little welding table...

It's just a slab of 10mm steel plate 500mm square on little legs that sits on the workbench, it can be put under the bench when not in use... but i'd rather not do that too often, so it would be right against a mill when welding (but that's not too bad, it's why i went to a tig over the mig welder i had... at least tig you get no shower of molten metal balls flying 2 meters in every direction)

So the lathe area can be over 2 meters long if it uses the mill space up, for depth i have about 600mm i think, but it can't be one of these half ton monsters, as the bench it will live on is made of 90x45 CLS timbers, but has the cheap ikea worktops that are only 28mm thick,
The Chester DB10VS weighing 175 kilo's is probably about the ballpark weight i'd say??

But.. if i was paying 2 grand for a new Chester DB10VS... it'd be very tempting to add another £500 and get that Chester craftsman, it has all the features i'd ever want it seems, but double the weight,
So if i got one of those second hand, i'd have to remove the worktop on one side of the shed and have the lathe sit on it's stand, but my floor is 18mm ply, sitting on 50mm EPS... the way they do the flooring in modern houses,

So i'd have to wonder if it could take the point loading of a 400 kilo lathe.

Howard Lewis18/01/2021 16:49:27
4397 forum posts
4 photos

With regard to flooring, mine is 18 mm ply on 8 x 2 bearers. (Five unequally spaced under a span of 2 metres )

The BL12-24 sits on ex warehouse racking, with a shelf above, and below, all carrying weight. Beneath the feet of the foot of each end frame of the racking, to load spread, is 2 1/2 x 2 1/2 angle iron.

So a LOT of weight on the floor and the external bearers.

Howard

matt18/01/2021 18:03:41
23 forum posts
Posted by Gazz on 18/01/2021 14:15:36:

So, i think i'd be looking at the Seig SC4, Warco WM 250V, or Chester B10VS, are there any others?

A google search also shows the Amadeal AMA280VFF, but it links to a page that is not accesable from the main site, so it's not a stock item... not sure if they even sell that anymore.

So the Seig is the cheapest as £1571, (or the blue painted axminster version for over 2 grand!)

and the Warco and Chester are around the 2 grand mark... this is all new prices, and i would prefer a second hand one...
but where there's an axminster version of the Seig SC4 on ebay for £1400... i'd rather pay the £171 extra and get a brand new Seig version. i can't see how the axminster ones are any different other than paint job, oh and an extra warranty for the original buyer.

BUT, chuck capacity is something i must upgrade on from the 100mm chuck in the minilathe i have, and the SC4 seems to have the same darn 100mm chuck the others come with a 125mm chuck, i'm sure a 125mm chuck can be fitted to the seig tho?

Went through similar thought process last year. Thing to remember, which was pointed out to me at time, is you've got to compare like for like. Eg SC4 looks cheaper but by time you've added a drip tray, fixed and travelling steadies, faceplate and four jaw your in the same ballpark as Chester and Warco offerings. Amadeal 250 size also doesn't include accessories so you need to factor it in.

SC4 has a smaller spindle bore, at 20mm, than Warco wm 250v,Amadeal and Chester db10vs which have 26mm bore and MT4 taper hence bigger chuck as standard. SC4 and Amadeal are brushless motor, Chester is older style brushed motor and Warco is ac with inverter.

I pretty much decided to go with Warco wm250v as I like the idea of the electronics being a bog standard VFD which I can easily replace with an off the shelf item rather than a propiertary board, plus the slightly bigger spindle bore. Only problem is its been out of stock since last July. TBH if Warco dont get stock soon I'll probably settle for the SC4.

mgnbuk18/01/2021 18:20:40
927 forum posts
65 photos

If you could find one, a Boxford ME10 would meet all your requirements as would a Model A (not AUD).

Both had the motor mounted behind the headstock & had PCF and a screwcutting gearbox. Metric and Imperial versions were made. Neither is very popular, though, so coming across one would be the biggest problem.

Nigel B.

Gazz18/01/2021 20:46:46
50 forum posts

Thankyou for the very useful information,

I thin the Sieg SC4 is off the list then, unless i can find one at a very good price.

Seems now is not the best time to be buying things like this new, so many 'out of stock' notices on all the websites,

The amadeal AMA250AVF-550 i have found out will be 3 to 4 months before another is got in to sell,

The warco 250v.. out of stock and bod knows when more will come in.

But i am wondering about lathes that use the leadscrew to power the cross slide, the amadeal AMA250 and chester DB10vs use a second rod to power the cross slide... i believe they power the carriage feed too that way? and the lead screw is used just when screw cutting?

If someone was selling a chester craftsman second hand, i'd go for that for sure, but i am thinking if i have to go for new, it'll likely be a slightly smaller lathe,

Howard Lewis19/01/2021 10:36:07
4397 forum posts
4 photos

You could place an ad in the "wanted" section of the classifieds on here.

But remember that the Warco BH600 and the Engineers ToolRoom BL12 - 24 are the same machine in different colour schemes.

Warco "Used machines" site is "sold out".

T'internet doesn't seem to show up any of those, used.

Howard

Dave Halford19/01/2021 11:20:45
1273 forum posts
12 photos
Posted by Gazz on 18/01/2021 20:46:46:

Thankyou for the very useful information,

But i am wondering about lathes that use the leadscrew to power the cross slide, the amadeal AMA250 and chester DB10vs use a second rod to power the cross slide... i believe they power the carriage feed too that way? and the lead screw is used just when screw cutting?

If someone was selling a chester craftsman second hand, i'd go for that for sure, but i am thinking if i have to go for new, it'll likely be a slightly smaller lathe,

Lathes powered by the lead screw use a slot cut the length of the screw, they do not use the thread for power transmission.

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