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Combined Mill/Lathe

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JC Uknz 128/12/2012 09:08:46
54 forum posts

With a very small workshop, to six foot benches on each side of a two foot or so aisle, I have been wondering about a combined mill/lathe. I have seen adverts for them in the past but a long web search came up fruitless.

Does anybody know if they are still made and by whom? I am thinking of home priced versions of course though I guess a trade worksup will have room for two machines , lathe and mill.

Les Jones 128/12/2012 09:18:32
2234 forum posts
153 photos

Hi JC Uknz 1,
These combined machines are still made but I do not know who manufactures them. I have seen them sold by Machine Mart, Chester UK and Warco. There are probably other suppliers.
From previous discussions on the subject most people recommend a separate mill an lathe.


mark mc28/12/2012 09:29:31
92 forum posts
16 photos

I know chester still sell one, but as above from all i have heard they a pita.

John Coates28/12/2012 09:47:18
558 forum posts
28 photos

I was considering one of these but found most reviews uncomplimentary as the combined nature limits both machines so it is the worst of both worlds. The mill is not rigid enough and only good for putting holes or slots in round workpieces held in the lathe chuck. And all that extra weight affects the lathe.

So I went separate instead of buying one

JC Uknz 128/12/2012 09:49:23
54 forum posts

Chester UK have some mouth watering Centurions but I take you point about PITA . They look awkward to use without room in my case to swing the mill head out of the way.

Bazyle28/12/2012 10:14:15
5982 forum posts
220 photos

Concentrate your money into the lathe, perhaps enabling you to get a slightly bigger one. Using a vertical slide has always been a favourite and perfectly adequate for most modelling needs. It is just a matter of overcoming the psycological barrier of working 'sideways' and not being tempted by seemingly good ideas that aren't. Bit like people buying a soft top car in the UK.

Siddley28/12/2012 10:42:47
150 forum posts
1 photos

They are awful machines, please don't buy one.
I actually got better work from my combined lathe\mill - never, ever again - by building a vertical slide for it ( using parts from an old shaper which had been broken down ) and going 'old school' as if the milling head didn't exist at all.

Whatever you do, do NOT buy a Clarke CL500

Springbok28/12/2012 10:58:53
879 forum posts
34 photos

Do yourself a favour avoid the combos had one and the round pillar will give wiplash, This is the reason they do not sell well.
Use the difference in price to get a better lathe then afterward a small mill with horizontal jibs.

Good luck and a fun new year in the workshop.

Mike Clarke28/12/2012 11:08:23
94 forum posts
7 photos

If room really is a problem, I see Warco now do a milling attachment. I had something similar on my Emco and loved the combined complaints.

Have a look, it's at the bottom of their milling machine page - looks a decent bit of kit (sold out at present).



Ian S C28/12/2012 11:42:40
7468 forum posts
230 photos

Got a friend who has one, PITA would be a polite way of describing it, but his is worth putting up with, the previous owner thought the same and vertually gave it to him. I have used the lathe(don't think anyone has used the mill), and found it not too ridgid, and for the job I was doing the 100 mm chuck too small, my own lathe has 8" chucks.

Get a lathe, its just a mill laying down. Ian S C

JC Uknz 130/12/2012 07:34:17
54 forum posts

I have a lathe, as big as will fit in the area and a vertical slide so obviously the idea is to upgrade the VS with fittings for the work. I also have access to a mill and large lathe but my thoughts were on saving the travelling time to use them as they are on the other side of town. It too can be a PITB

Thank you all for your words of warning ... appreciated truely.

Harold Hall 130/12/2012 15:02:06
418 forum posts
4 photos

Whilst I have never owned, or know anyone who has owned, one, I have always thought the dual purpose machines to be very much less than ideal. The distance between the worktable and the head seems to be too great for one thing. Even the suppliers provide raising blocks to overcome this situation.

I agree with others that using a lathe with a vertical slide is a better option and see you already have these. Does the lathe have a tee slotted cross slide this. is esential?

If you would like to see examples of milling being undertaken on the lathe there are some projects on my website intended for the lathe only workshop, these will give you an idea of what is possible. The index for these is at (bottom right) **LINK**

As was mentioned by Bazyle working sideways can be a bit of a barrier but is not that difficult to accommodate. You could though, once you come to terms with using a vertical slide, consider making a milling head for the lathe such as seen here, a milling machine is not required for its manufacture. **LINK**

The following pages shows it being used for making the horizontal steam engine “Tina” and show that it is capable of some complex work. It is not quite as robust as using the lathes spindle and vertical slide but working that way can be reserved for any heavy duty tasks that surface. **LINK**

Harold Hall

Graham Green 303/01/2013 01:54:45
18 forum posts

I hope no one is referring to this combo as a "load of garbage".

Brilliant combination and well thought out machine, if only the chinesey's had bothered to copy this model, then they might have had a winner.

regards Graham Green

Siddley03/01/2013 03:10:10
150 forum posts
1 photos

hope no one is referring to this combo as a "load of garbage"

Round column ? no thanks. Been there, done that, pain in the fundament.

A lathe is a lathe and a mill is a mill, ne'er the twain shall meet unless you want to be very disappointed.

But what the f--- do I know, I've only been making my living from machine tools for the last 15 years

Thor03/01/2013 05:38:44
1395 forum posts
41 photos

The round column of the Emco mill has a key that keeps the head positioned. If yoy rotate the head, the column rotates with it.

Regards Thor

JC Uknz 103/01/2013 06:57:47
54 forum posts

Thank you Thor ... the Emco must have been the one I had seen and appealed to me as I don't have much room in my workshop as explained inm my first posting ....of course I could set up in the adjoining room but I had idea of turning that into a lounge at some stage.

But thankyou very much all of you for your comments

Siddley03/01/2013 07:31:22
150 forum posts
1 photos

Honestly, a lathe makes a very poor mill. But I promise not to argue the point from now on,,,

Mike Clarke03/01/2013 12:22:15
94 forum posts
7 photos

The original query was based around the problem of not having room for separate machines. There is no doubt separate machines are better to have.

I don't like the automatic dismissal of combined machines though, my Emco lathe/mill combo was a joy to use and I wish I'd kept it (space and cash permitting!). I imagine the Warco attachment I linked to would offer similar satisfaction, but have never used it so don't know.

Similarly - I love my 1960s Bridgeport style mill, but I know many who are happy with round column mills and have produced beautiful work on them.



John Alexander Stewart03/01/2013 17:32:17
805 forum posts
53 photos

Kozo Hiraoka had, according to one of his books, a 8x8 workshop in the corner of the living room.

His machine tool was an Emco (7" or 8" lathe, with the vertical head on the back of the lathe bed.

Now, I understand that he did not actually build the last locomotive or two described, but the work that he did do on his locomotives that he did build is second to none.

Another JohnS.

martin perman03/01/2013 18:28:04
2005 forum posts
83 photos


I have a combination lathe and a round column Mill/Drill and they both serve me very well. Everything has limitations as do my machines but once you learn how to use them they do what I want.

By the way my lathe is a Clarke CL500 and I make parts for restoring Petrol powered Stationary Engines, I've made some basic mods to it but it gives me no problems.

Martin P

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