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Buying a Lathe

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Ronald Simpson25/09/2011 16:17:17
2 forum posts
As a novice looking to purchase a good standard lathe, I am totally confused whether to go for a secondhand Myford ML7 ( and therefore potentially faulty ) or a new machine such as the Chester DB10VS or similar priced machine from Warco or Axminster.
Your advice, experiences with any of these machines and comment would be greatly appreciated.
Ron S
John Coates25/09/2011 16:38:51
558 forum posts
28 photos
Having been in the same situation two years ago and bought an old 1947 British lathe I think I would buy new. I have to make and mend whereas Myfords would have new tools and accessories. But I don't know what is the best to buy now that Myfords have gone. Others on here are more well versed in the merits of alternative equipment. When I want to move on and buy a new lathe I was wondering what the Ceriani stuff is like and if it is well thought of?
Gone Away25/09/2011 16:55:10
829 forum posts
1 photos
All I can relate is my own experience.
I ran a Far-East 7x minilathe for 7 or 8 years. Bought it new but had to do a fair amount of work to make it function reasonably.
Then I bought an old ML7 - basket case: been sitting in someone's shed for years. Stripped it, cleaned and refurbished it, put it back together. Haven't used the minilathe in months. Can't face it after the Myford. The only place it scores for me is the MT3 headstock bore. The Myford is pretty limited at MT2.
Terryd25/09/2011 17:27:51
1936 forum posts
179 photos
Hi Ronald,
I have a very good Boxford Mk2 BUD, these machines are extremely well built and robust. If you can get an ex school or college one they will probably have had very little use, especially in the last 20 years as the curriculum changed. They were usually well maintained and serviced regularly during their years of 'hardest' work (usually making very small projects), either by dedicated craft teachers or their technicians. You often get a good level of basic equipment with them. There is often some superficial damage such as dings and scrapes due to inexperienced pupils but it is usually not serious.
Having said that, I also have a Chinese lathe from Warco - a WM 280V-F and it has proved to be a very accurate, robust and well made machine. I recently retrieved an old unfinished project which had a component with concentric diameters needing some turning and boring to finish. I had been expecting to have to use a 4 jaw for concentricity but I secured one of the turned diameter into the fitted 3 jaw as a test and on clocking it was less than 0.01 mm out of true. It was certainly good enough to complete the particular component.
I have used the lathe quite a lot now as the variable speed is time saving (only one belt to change - from low to high range). As an aside, my wife made me a coffee the other day and left it on the flat upper surface of the tailstock. When I noticed it was there I was turning at a relatively high speed and was about to stop to remove the offending drink when I noticed that there was not a ripple on the surface of it from any vibration, I was impressed.
Further although I initially stripped and inspected the lathe as others have suggested I had no problems with included casting sand or loose gibs etc etc that others seem to have suffered and it came at a very good price for it's spec and level of equipment. Also after serious consideration for months, I ordered it from Warco at an exhibition and managed to get a good amount of extra tooling thrown in.
As modelling is my hobby I don't have to make money from it as some on the forum do, so the Chinese lathe is perfectly adequate for my needs and I don't need the supposedly superior European products at inflated prices. So it depends on your needs both now and in the future as well as your purse.
Just my observations from a personal viewpoint and experience,
Best regards
NJH25/09/2011 17:32:10
2314 forum posts
139 photos
Hi Ron
If you look back through the various threads you will find this topic has occured before. An example is the thread entitled " MYFORD ALTERNATIVE" which may be useful. I should declare an interest here in that I have a Myford and I am very happy with it - some of the reasons for such satisfaction I set out in that thread. Of course not all Myfords are equal and it will obviously depend on how much cash you have to spend and just what that will buy you on the second hand market. The fact that the old Myford Company no longer exists puts the availability of spares (although there appears to be hope here) and, more specifically, factory rebuilds/ re-furbishment into question.
One thing I would advise is that, unless you have experience in this area, you get some knowledgeable friend to view any secondhand kit before you but it. You should also visit this site which gives good information on what to look for in a used lathe.
Good luck!

blowlamp25/09/2011 17:51:25
1658 forum posts
106 photos
I don't want to jump on a first-time poster with the 'hard sell', but I've got a very nice Boxford VSL (4.5" centre height) lathe that I would consider selling, or, if it helps you make a decision, you could just come and have a play and a fiddle without any pressure to buy at all.
Ronald Simpson26/09/2011 20:26:01
2 forum posts
Many thanks to everyone who has taken the time and trouble to help me in this problem. I shall ponder for a bit longer but am leaning towards new ( most of which will come from the far east ) in the hope that their standards of engineering have improved a lot in the past few years.
Regards, Ron
John Coates26/09/2011 20:37:40
558 forum posts
28 photos
Ronald - what about Wabeco (German) or Ceriani (Italian) ? Have no idea what they are like but they are an alternative to far east
Good luck paduwan !
pcb196226/09/2011 22:57:52
65 forum posts
Nobody seems to have asked Ronald what he intends to build. The centre height on a Myford could be a bit limiting if he plans to build a 4inch traction engine one day.
Like Terryd I have a Warco WM280VF which is a very capable machine, easy to
setup and use for a beginner, and big enough for most jobs a model engineer might tackle.

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