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Recommend a small lathe(and mill)

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Liam Pocknell28/04/2022 15:10:27
15 forum posts
5 photos

Hello,
I've been doing my homework and looking through a lot of machinery but so many of them seem un-complete or in a bit of a state and getting any real idea of what to look for is hard with so much varied info online.

Lathe wise Im looking for something fairly precise, with metric and bsw threading ability available either as standard or through easily available gears, preferably the smaller the better.
I'll be using it to make new bushings, bolts and taper pins for a bunch of restoration projects i have planned over the summer so nothing massive.
Something with a relatively common vertical attachment attachment would be ideal for shaping bolt heads. I know im going to get a bunch of Myford 7 recommendation but something not so unjustifiably overpriced would be appreciated.
 My budget is pretty loose, cheaper on the used market the better but i have a union graduate im considering selling for space and another tools so that can add to it.

As for the mill, im just going out on a limb and assuming there was at least 1 or 2 small, solid, mini-mills made back in the first half of the 1900's that i can keep my eye out for in no rush to find out. Im thinking something built like a Grimston or jones and shipman heavy duty bench drill with the vertical twin bedface instead of a column and direct drive head mounted motor

Thank you for any advice

Edited By Liam Pocknell on 28/04/2022 15:20:15

John Hinkley28/04/2022 15:24:32
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1335 forum posts
427 photos

If I had a pound for each time this question has been posed on here - I'd have about £100 by now!

Go to the Home page. Halfway down there is a search box to search the whole site. I typed in "lathe choice" and this produced a request similar to yours dating back to November 2010.

I would suggest that you stay away from pillar drill types for milling and look for a dedicated mill. Your idea of mini mill differs somewhat from mine. A quick look on lathes.co.uk shows no mini mills under Jones and Shopman nor Grimston, at least as I understand the term.. Look for Sieg mills and like offerings from Warco and Chester, to name but two sources. Likewise for mini lathes.

Good luck with your search, but be prepared for a plethora of varying views.

John

Howard Lewis28/04/2022 15:25:48
6120 forum posts
14 photos

You mention bench drills.

A drill is designed to take the axial loads from drilling, but not the lateral loads from milling. Also, a drill chuck is unlikely to be accurate, or sturdy, enough to hold milling cutters. helical flute end mills will try to screw themselves out a chuck. Has been known to happen with an insufficiently tightened chuck for milling cutters! )

In short, don't use a bench drill for milling; you could end up with problems.

You can drill with a Milling machine, but the reverse is not advisable.

The size of machines will be determined by the size of components that you wish to machine..

It is not always easy to change between Imperial and Metric thread screwcutting on some machines, so do check.

On some machines a 127T gear gives a perfect translation, on others, a 63T suffices for most short threads, where any error is not too bad.

Brian Wood's book, "Gearing of Lathes for Screwcutting" quotes the errors for some application when a 63T gear is used..

Howard

Liam Pocknell28/04/2022 16:04:39
15 forum posts
5 photos
Posted by Liam Pocknell on 28/04/2022 15:10:27:


Im thinking something built like a Grimston or jones and shipman heavy duty bench drill with the vertical twin bedface instead of a column and direct drive head mounted motor

Edited By Liam Pocknell on 28/04/2022 15:20:15


Just to clarify on this part, I managed to find one i'd seen before in the form of the "Aciera F2", this is the kind of thing i'm hoping to find and curious if there is others similar. I have a very small space and will only be using it for the same smaller resto projects, mostly facing off and shaping bolt heads. The biggest thing i can imagine wanting to do it reface a 200x300mm drill table and i'd be fine to do half and turn it around if necessary.
As above with the lathe, a vertical attachment would be ideal and can probably replace a mill entierly for my needs but for convenience both would be helpful.

I understand its been asked before but everyone has there own requirements and needs so worth asking instead of slogging through 20 years of threads hoping to find an identical one, one would assume.

Thank you for the info on the 127T and 63T gears, ill keep that in mind going forward,

Bill Phinn28/04/2022 16:48:52
755 forum posts
113 photos

Did things not work out for you with the small lathe you picked up on 7th November 2020?

jann west28/04/2022 17:35:09
98 forum posts

If you are looking for the smaller end - go for the Chinese kit - it's surprisingly capable, and can be had 2nd hand from ebay and gumtree with some patience and a car.

My personal issue was ability to move things myself, in an estate car, with a engine hoist. I ended up with a 10x22 lathe and a 30x8 mill. I spent about £2k inc. a reasonable selection of far-east tooling.

My wish list looked very different, but this was a good compromise for me.

JasonB28/04/2022 18:40:01
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22764 forum posts
2656 photos
1 articles

Might help to know what you restore as a clock restorer may have smaller nuts than someone who restores old commercial vehicles.

Liam Pocknell28/04/2022 22:27:24
15 forum posts
5 photos
Posted by Bill Phinn on 28/04/2022 16:48:52:

Did things not work out for you with the small lathe you picked up on 7th November 2020?

No, i grabbed it in a hurry as it was really cheap but once i got home and realised what i would need to track down to get it in a running condition i passed it on

Not entierly sold on the Chinese mini lathes, maybe if i can find one local to give it a go but my pillar drills, table saw, bandsaw and sander all came from china and where all replaced with second hand, old cast iron stuff within weeks of purchase. I feel like it'd be a better use of the money to buy taps, dies and a tool holder to put on the union grad- i can run the speed way down on its VFD.

restorations are all older home-grade machinery- Wadkin AGS10, Kerry and Meddings pillar drills, Meddings sharpening stone, startrite 352, etc.

Steviegtr28/04/2022 23:33:07
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2436 forum posts
336 photos

Warco seems very popular. Lots of the youtubers use them & they seem pretty good.

I love my old Myford, but it is very old.

Steve.

Hollowpoint28/04/2022 23:48:43
474 forum posts
58 photos

Boxford or a Myford ML10

Hopper28/04/2022 23:58:04
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6421 forum posts
335 photos

Yes have a look at Boxford and Raglan lathes if you want old Brit iron without the Myford cult price tag. Both are better machines in many ways too. But be aware it's like buying an old car. Get a good one and it's really good. Get a clapper and you have a new hobby restoring it. Which is enjoyable in itself but does slow progress on other projects.

Edited By Hopper on 28/04/2022 23:59:39

Steviegtr29/04/2022 00:04:01
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2436 forum posts
336 photos
Posted by Hopper on 28/04/2022 23:58:04:

Yes have a look at Boxford and Raglan lathes if you want old Brit iron without the Myford cult price tag. Both are better machines in many ways too. But be aware it's like buying an old car. Get a good one and it's really good. Get a clapper and you have a new hobby restoring it. Which is enjoyable in itself but does slow progress on other projects.

Edited By Hopper on 28/04/2022 23:59:39

Totally agree with Hopper there. The Myfords do command a bit too much really. I did once have a Boxford college lathe which was £50. It was a great lathe. Sold it for £50 too. Many years ago, it never got used as i was working full time as a Sparky. Hope you get lucky.

Steve.

Michael Gilligan29/04/2022 00:11:23
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20200 forum posts
1053 photos

Posted by Liam Pocknell on 28/04/2022 16:04:39:

[…]


Just to clarify on this part, I managed to find one i'd seen before in the form of the "Aciera F2", this is the kind of thing i'm hoping to find and curious if there is others similar. […]

.

I don’t wish to pry .. but : Have you won the Lottery since posting in late 2020 ?

**LINK**

https://www.model-engineer.co.uk/forums/postings.asp?th=167254

MichaelG.

Liam Pocknell29/04/2022 00:49:38
15 forum posts
5 photos

I was looking at a few raglan little johns online today, looks an ok size and half the price of an equivilent myford so im going to look more into that for sure! Having just looked at boxfords after checking back on the comments the CSB looks a decent machine too.

Posted by Michael Gilligan on 29/04/2022 00:11:23:

Posted by Liam Pocknell on 28/04/2022 16:04:39:

[…]


Just to clarify on this part, I managed to find one i'd seen before in the form of the "Aciera F2", this is the kind of thing i'm hoping to find and curious if there is others similar. […]

.

I don’t wish to pry .. but : Have you won the Lottery since posting in late 2020 ?

**LINK**

https://www.model-engineer.co.uk/forums/postings.asp?th=167254

MichaelG.

Something like that. I found out i was being under payed by a not-insignificant amount per month for 2 years and had it all backdated at once on payday a few months back. Not quite the jackpot but if i referb and liquidate the shed ill be sitting comfy on a mortgage

I recognise the aciera's are probably a whole new level of over-price because they are rare and cute but something similar would be ideal really, i don't need to face a hex bolt in one pass in 2 seconds. Im happy with the slow satisfaction of watching it happen for my needs- itll give me something to do while the ultrasonic cleaner runs small parts

Edited By Liam Pocknell on 29/04/2022 01:09:03

not done it yet29/04/2022 09:10:42
6812 forum posts
20 photos

A good Raglan is, IMO, a far better machine than most fymords (apart from the 245, which was basically an improved copy of the Raglan 🙂 ).

The 5” was the last and best model. It took several months to locate the one I bought, but I was already using a QCGB MkII, so all I was doing was up-grading what I was already used to and had already found to be a good machine.

Not all 5” Raglans are to the same specification. One needs to know what one is looking at. Some machines were cheaper variants - often used in educational establishments. Maybe not used/worn as much as some - but possibly lacking some desirable attributes, shall we say!

Andrew Johnston29/04/2022 09:15:17
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6605 forum posts
701 photos

If metric and imperial threading are wanted as standard, without a lot of faff, then one is looking at ex-industrial. My ex-industrial lathe cuts a wide range of imperial and metric threads via the gearbox, just swapping two change gears for the coarser threads. With an additional gear it also cuts DP and Mod threads. The only question is imperial or metric for the basic machine. My lathe is imperial so cutting imperial threads is simple, cutting metric tends to mean leaving the halfnuts engaged. And yes, I do know there are ways round it, but I don't do much metric screwcutting. For imperial I use an Ainjest threading unit which is very quick, no faffing with a thread dial indicator. That's another advantage of ex-industrial, there are accessories available that simply don't exist for hobby lathes.

For making bolt heads any cheap mill will do with an indexer. No point in paying through the nose for a fancy mill. Most of my bolts and nuts are made from hexagon stock, but for specials I use the vertical mill and the indexing plate on my dividing head. Mills like the Aciera are only truely useful with the accessories; and if you think Myfords are overpriced.....

Andrew

Howard Lewis29/04/2022 15:27:46
6120 forum posts
14 photos

Assuming that these arev the sort of size that you need.

Don't own one, but have had dealings with a Raglan 5 inch. VERY impressed. If I were in the market forma lathe would go for one with a gearbox. It has a wide range of feed rates / thread pitches  with a few changegears.(Have never tried Metric though )

Power cross and longitudinal feeds.

If you can bring yourself to tolerate a Chinese lathe, look for a Chester Craftsman. Still available new.

The equivalent was the Warco BH600G, or my rather rare Engineers ToolRoom BL12-24

Motor may be 1.5 hp or 2 hp.  Spindle bore is 38 mm (5 MT and 3MT adaptor sleeve )

Again, a Norton gearbox, and cross and longitudinal power feeds

The Craftsman is Metric, the BH600G was available in Imperial or Metric form.,(There was a long bed BH900G also) The BL12-24 is basically Metric, but dual dialled.

They are all based on a generic Taiwanese lathe.

They have 12 belt driven speeds and came compete with Faceplate, 3 and 4 jaw chucks, Fixed and Travelling Steadies. The beds are induction hardened, and the Norton gearbox is driven via a 120/127T Idler, so changing between a wide range of Imperial and Metric threads is easy, and you have a choice of at least 48 feed rates! for sliding and facing..

They don't come on the secondhand market very often, or for long, but can be thoroughly recommended, if you want a lathe with their capabilities.

At the extremes, I have used it to face and then ream a 1" hole, 5 inches off the centre, of a 6 inch diameter cast iron bar, and to thin the heads of 10BA bolts. Threads from 40 tpi to 4mm pitch have been produced on it

Howard.

 

Edited By Howard Lewis on 29/04/2022 15:30:27

Liam Pocknell30/04/2022 00:54:56
15 forum posts
5 photos

Thank you once again for all the new info, ill take a look at the raglan 5" and keep my eye out if it seems a good choice, im not to fussy what i get as long as it fits my needs and space.
The chester craftsman does look a bit of a beast for a chinese machine but as you said they don't come up often, ive never seen one selling locally and while not in a rush, dont want to wait out something like that.

Im going to talk to someone about a small lathe tomorrow and if a friend can collect it for me locally to him ill pick it up. Whether is works well for my use is to be seen but i want it for a restoration project because its almost novel.
there are always a good choice locally but they always have missing parts or are in a bit of a state which is mind numbing. 

As it pertains to metric and imperial and curious what every else one goes for or thinks is more useful? I think for me, imperial would be more useful as i can much more easily buy metric hardware from any number of local shops but BSW not so much. Though i do have the taps and dies for most if not all the BSW thread's i'd need so swings and roundabouts i suppose.

Edited By Liam Pocknell on 30/04/2022 01:04:09

Hopper30/04/2022 01:04:51
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6421 forum posts
335 photos

If you get an imperial lathe with change gears you can use the standard gears compounded to cut any metric thread within tolerances closer than your leadscrew is made to. But a quick change gearbox is very handy for most ordinary work.

not done it yet30/04/2022 06:09:27
6812 forum posts
20 photos

One thing to note. The Raglan is quite a bit heavier than the usual fymords.

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