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Which lathe

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colin palmer14/07/2014 20:30:23
6 forum posts

Hi just come into a little cash so I can now think about buying a small lathe for my shed I am wanting to work with max 3inch brass ali and no lead pewter could some one give me an idea as to what lathe is best for up to the £700 mark. I have read a few post across the internet and they all seam to differ from each other I was just wanting something that is not going to go bang after a short time and can handle minimum of 300mm length I am a complete novice at this as I have never used a lathe before so don't know if you get cutting bits with the lathe to get you started any help would be greatly received thanks. this is also my first post too.

Ady115/07/2014 09:34:52
4909 forum posts
726 photos

Loads of threads in here, use google to extract them

chicken and egg situation site:

Change "chicken and egg situation" to "newbie" or "learner" "help" "starting out"or whatever you think of


Read up on lathes at tonys place.
get Spareys book
Get a second hand one you fancy cheap off ebay.
The good buys come with a bunch of tooling, take your time with that first purchase, a good buy LOOKS good, and you will save a huge amount of time and money later.
In the first year or so you will beat the crap out of it so there's not much point in getting a brand new precision bit of gear.
It's a chicken and egg situation, you need experience to make the right decision for what you want to do so don't go splurging the cash.
Lathing is dirty dangerous and (eventually with practice) highly skilled so you need to find out if you enjoy it, if you don't enjoy it you won't be doing it for long.

Most modelmaking can be covered by a 3.5 inch size lathe.

Edited By Ady1 on 15/07/2014 09:49:59

Bazyle15/07/2014 10:08:41
6180 forum posts
222 photos

First draughtproof and insulate your shed and get a dehumidifier or your lathe will turn into a pile of rust. Or if you are lazy get a pre-rusted lathe off ebay.

Michael Gilligan15/07/2014 11:24:21
19599 forum posts
997 photos
Posted by Ady1 on 15/07/2014 09:34:52:

Loads of threads in here, use google to extract them

chicken and egg situation site:

Change "chicken and egg situation" to "newbie" or "learner" "help" "starting out"or whatever you think


Alternatively; just put your chosen search term in the box in the main body of the home page.

... Thoughtfully provided, but apparently little-noticed; it's a convenient shortcut to the google search.


Edited By Michael Gilligan on 15/07/2014 11:25:48

colin palmer15/07/2014 11:51:59
6 forum posts

Bazyle the shed is my bolthole so has all the mod-cons including running hot water and kettle

does anyone know of somewhere I could look at machines local to Newcastle upon Tyne. All I can seam to find is machine mart with a crappy Clarke cl300m at least that is what I have read in the net.

Bob Brown 115/07/2014 12:22:25
1021 forum posts
127 photos

How big is the shed?

Floor type?


Michael Gilligan15/07/2014 12:23:00
19599 forum posts
997 photos


Bede Tools, in Jarrow, might be worth a visit.

I've never been, but keep meaning to ... Our children live in Sunderland and Newcastle.


Neil Wyatt15/07/2014 13:49:19
18895 forum posts
734 photos
80 articles

> a crappy Clarke cl300m

My CL300M is still going strong after 15 years, albeit much modified. If you google 'mini-lathe' you'll see that the Clarke is just one example of what is possibly the most numerous design of hobby lathe out there. the Americans call them 7x12 or 7x14 lathes.

The fundamental mini-lathe design is good and packs an awful lot into a small space. If you get a brushless motor version it should tackle all you want.

I suggest you look at various offerings from our advertisers including Arc Euro Trade, Chester and Warco.


Jon Gibbs15/07/2014 13:54:31
739 forum posts

+1 for Bede Tools in Jarrow.

I bought my ML7 through them via eBay and they shipped it to me by pallet at cost well packed and in perfect condition.



Bob Brown 115/07/2014 14:05:54
1021 forum posts
127 photos

just about within budget **LINK**

colin palmer15/07/2014 14:44:10
6 forum posts

Bob Brown 1

the shed is 15' x 8' and has 18mm sterling board floor on 7" x 4" floor joist's 12" apart then the whole lot sits on railway sleepers. access from one door is a little restricted but ok from the other. I was thinking I might need something about the size of the WM 180 Variable Speed Lathe

Bob Brown 115/07/2014 15:00:45
1021 forum posts
127 photos

This may be a better m/c **LINK** similar but has a bigger swing and longer bed 500mm instead of 300mm and more.

They are on here **LINK** for more dosh

I think something like a Boxford will require a stronger floor

Edited By Bob Brown 1 on 15/07/2014 15:02:07

Swarf, Mostly!15/07/2014 15:15:26
623 forum posts
67 photos

Hi there, Colin,

Some folks may tell you that a wooden floor will condemn you to poor results and will advise you to cut a hole in the floor, dig a deep foundation and cast an in-situ concrete pedestal for your lathe.

I'm not saying that's wrong BUT I do suggest that you defer such a radical measure until you have gained some experience with whatever lathe you get.

My Myford ML7 is bolted to a home-made sheet steel and angle 'iron' cabinet stand that has a length of angle 'iron', web outwards, at the foot of each end. I used to have a workshop on scaffold boards and railway sleepers and the lathe cabinet ends sat on two strips of ½" hard felt on the floor. The lathe is mounted on the Myford raising blocks with built-in jacking screws for 'levelling'. Over a couple of years the cabinet filled up with accessories for the lathe and chunks of useful material (any old iron!) so there was quite a bit of mass there to stabilise the situation. I wasn't doing super precise work but that arrangement never caused me any problems.

So, get your lathe and get some practice & experience and then, and only then, pursue the ultimate lathe foundation, if it proves to be necessary. And not until you've decided definitely where in the workshop you want the lathe to be sited.

It's handy to have a pluggable hole in the wall in line with the lathe mandrel in case you ever need to operate on the end of something long!

I also suggest that you install and use an extractor fan (at least 9" ) over the kettle.

Best regards,

Swarf, Mostly!


Edited By Swarf, Mostly! on 15/07/2014 15:16:37

Edited By Swarf, Mostly! on 15/07/2014 15:17:51

Russell Eberhardt15/07/2014 15:21:50
2726 forum posts
86 photos
Posted by Bob Brown 1 on 15/07/2014 15:00:45:

This may be a better m/c **LINK** similar but has a bigger swing and longer bed 500mm instead of 300mm and more.

I had one of those in my workshop as a second lathe and was pleasantly surprised by its performance. Just had to get rid of it to make room for something else. There is an active yahoo group for that lathe, the 9x20Lathe group.


Neil Wyatt15/07/2014 16:29:53
18895 forum posts
734 photos
80 articles

It may be a bit of travel, but I'd suggest taking a 'pilgrimage' to Chester, Warco or Arc and comparing these machines side by side. Even the mini lathe will tackle 3" diameter or 300mm long but maybe not at the same time


colin palmer15/07/2014 16:52:41
6 forum posts

So which machine would be the better choice between the Chester's 920 and the DB7VS both seam to have some different features to each other but do I need to worry about metric or imperial

Bob Brown 115/07/2014 17:20:28
1021 forum posts
127 photos

Metric or imperial is a bit of a personal choice and depends on what you are most comfortable with.

If you work in feet and inches then may be the imperial m/c if on the other hand you work in mm/cm/meters then go metric but you will find that from time to time you have to work between the two.

I have no problem with either as it is easy to convert dimensions, like 1mm = 0.04" some dimensions you get used to like 1/4" = 6.35mm etc but that comes with time.

As to which m/c is the best I would always go for the one with the largest capacity so in this case the 920 wins as it will swing 240mm x 500mm apposed to the DB7VS at 180mm x 300mm. It is guaranteed you want to turn something larger than the machine will take and that is probably going to come sooner on the smaller lathe.

Howi15/07/2014 17:29:04
332 forum posts
19 photos

I am going to throw in my 5 pence worth, being a relative newcomer as well. I got an AMA210 lathe from Amadeal, bigger than the Clarke (7 x14) but smaller than the 9-20.

Unless you really know what you are looking at forget used, do not believe everything you read about Chinese lathes.

Take any advice from this forum with a little pinch of salt, the advice is in general correct, just not appropriate for a beginner. When you have used your lathe for a while then you will be able to understand the advice given here.

Neil Wyatt15/07/2014 17:41:14
18895 forum posts
734 photos
80 articles

Check the specifications, but i think the DBVS has variable speed while the 920 machines have a relatively limited range of fairly high speeds (but our next issue of MEW offers a solution to that). As both a way bigger than what Colin gave as examples of the size he needs the variable speed machine might suit better. I stand by my suggestion - view before choose!


Nigel McBurney 115/07/2014 17:46:29
965 forum posts
3 photos

Buy a Boxford,they will sit ok on your timber floor,they are tougher and generally cheaper than a Myford ,plenty of capacity,plus 19mm hole up the spindle and spares available on the secondhand market,avoid the far eastern stuff.

do not worry about wooden floors ,in the past I ran a myford S7 in an upstairs room without any problems,keep the lathe oiled or ditch the kettle.

My first lathe was an EW ,an english built lathe made for a while after the war ,capacity 2.5 inch centre height by 10 inch between centres ,nice well built machine but too small for real model making ,

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