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Very Hot Topic (More than 25 Replies) Thinking about switching Lathes (Read 4129 times)
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Thinking about switching Lathes
Aug 21st, 2017 at 2:25pm
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Looking at trading out my lathe for another. Like to have some opinions from guys I trust, like on this forum.

I have an Atlas/Craftsman 12 inch. 1952 think it is.  When I bought it several advantages.  One owner since new then sent to a used machine shop I had bought from before and trusted Lots of tooling. No rust, no issues, and the Spindle and M/Tapers are the same as my Powermatic 90 wood lathe.  1 1/2 x 8 & # 2.

Switched the Lantern post for a Aloris Chinese Clone QC, picked up a milling attachment and Steady Rest off EBay.  Plenty of chucks etc. 

On the negative side the cross feed and tail stock need frequent adjustment, and the pot metal parts are not very study. Dials not easy to read. Most of the time I adjust by feel or with a dial indicator instead of the machines dials. Lot of aftermarket and original parts available.  Itís big enough and even a bit bigger than I need.  ĺ inch spindle hole is OK with me. Lot of people have them and plenty of support on line, some have been very valuable.  Don't realy need another but looking anyway. It was not expensive donít need to get a lot out of it which ought to make it a fairly fast sell.

Looking at South Bend 9 inch workshop lathes.  Several models, seems the Model A, power cross feed and QC gears is the one to have although I rarely use the power feed on my Atlas. Lot of South Bend support on line, good users group. Size suits my shop, space is at a premium.   One problem is hard to evaluate a lathe long distance, my Atlas spent several hours going over  in person it before committing, going home for my trailer then back to pick it up.   South Bends within a days drive I could look at several

What do you think about the South Bends and is there anything else in that class I ought to look at ? I think Hardinge made some small lathes in the same class as the South Bend 9 inch too.  Others ?

All advice apprecieated

Boats
  
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Mike_Hunter
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Re: Thinking about switching Lathes
Reply #1 - Aug 21st, 2017 at 2:47pm
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The Atlas/Craftsman lathes were really hobby grade lathes, as you've already identified the Zmac/pot metal parts really don't hold up.

Southbend lathes are decent...if not worn out. BUT..they seem to have quite a collector following, so be ready fro the "collector tax"

Sheldon lathes are excellent, and don't command a premium, as well as Logan lathe.

Some others to look at are Clausing and Rockwell

Oh and make sure you get one with precision tapered bearings in the headstock, there are a lot of older lathes out there with Babbit bearings. 
Hope that helps
« Last Edit: Aug 21st, 2017 at 3:00pm by Mike_Hunter »  

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n.r.davis
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Re: Thinking about switching Lathes
Reply #2 - Aug 21st, 2017 at 3:38pm
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For what it is worth...

I am partial to South Bend.  For me a 10" would be ideal for two reasons.   The added weight makes for a smoother running machine and the belt drive is both quiet and works as a safety feature.  If I overload the cutter the belt slips and I avoid damaging gears and such.  10" is ideal but I picked up a 14 1/2" and really don't mind the extra size.   Get the Dials that are direct reading as they are larger and easier to work.  Enjoy!
  
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frnkeore
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Re: Thinking about switching Lathes
Reply #3 - Aug 21st, 2017 at 3:41pm
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I think the best, small, low price lathe that you can get, is a 11" Logan.

They have a 1 3/8 spindle hole and can take barrel blanks to that diameter. it's also easy to get 5C collect closers for them. they have a 2 1/4 x 8 spindle nose, also very common. The spindle is suppoted by ball bearings.

I bought mind† used, in 1975 and used it in my business, until I retired. I still use it almost everyday and do 95% of my gun work on it.

The single thing that I didn't like, was the dial. I replaced that with a 3" diameter one.

The Clausing and Sheltons are good lathes but, their variable speed control can cause problems. tooling for the "L" tapers are costly and getting hard to find.

The price on Hardidge lathes, will keep you out of that market, as well as most anything that is classified as a "Tool Room Lathe".

I can't say anything about a Rockwell, I haven't ever found one in the machineshops that I've worked in.

I have worked on South Bends (13" & 16"). They had plain bearing in the ones I work with. I wouldn't recommend them, because of that.

Frank
  

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Re: Thinking about switching Lathes
Reply #4 - Aug 21st, 2017 at 4:41pm
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Good points all. Frank getting better bearings is one reason for moving on from the little Atlas, although they have never given any trouble.

My Band Saw, Crescent heavy 20, has Babbitt bearings that were replaced as part of a general overhaul 10 years ago. They run fine, band saws are not lathes though

May take me a while to find just right, picky about condition. 

Boats

  
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Re: Thinking about switching Lathes
Reply #5 - Aug 21st, 2017 at 4:50pm
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Just got a bunch of machine photos from my Son, Company he works for is buying a long closed ship yard, one that built ships I worked on years ago. Turn it into a ocean terminal.† †He can have anything he want's if he drives 1800 miles round trip with a big truck.

Machine shop is full of top notch very large machinery
They figure most is going to be sold for scrap price.  Smallest one he took pictures of is a Mazak M5 that looks hardly used.† They can probably sell that one as a lathe.

Shame we don't build ships anymore, all China or Korea. Lathes Mills grinders saws all cut up to sell to China, & come back on Walmart shelves as cheap toasters.

Boats

« Last Edit: Aug 21st, 2017 at 5:19pm by boats »  
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J Louis
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Re: Thinking about switching Lathes
Reply #6 - Aug 21st, 2017 at 5:31pm
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Boats I have a 1985 Model DF12X37G Grizzly and it has done all I have asked of it and allot more. I bought it from the original owner and I do all of my barrel and mould making work with it. I have bored out several  basebands for myself and others and I can hold them to half a thousandths. About the only thing I don't care about is the off one switch is not per-say on the apron. But I use the lever to change the belts / speeds as a clutch or to stop the spindle of which I have gotten use to. I do most of my barrel work through the headstock so I would look for a large spindle hole. I myself would also look for one that has a milling attachment. Not having a Mill I use mine allot from cutting extractor slots and extractors to D&Ting for scope blocks and cutting bullet moulds as well as making the blanks and it has served me very well. It in know replaces a mill but it can do real accurate and limited use as mentioned. If I were to get another one I would probably get one of their Gunsmithing Lathes having read several reviews and the one, one up from the bottom one cannot beat all of the extra features for the price and the parts availabilty for a home shop lathe. Most SB's need some work if you can find a nice one and the ways are usualy worn out at the chuck amoung other things but a Heavy 10 can be quite nice if rebuilt or as new but I would much rather have a nice used Clausing tool room lathe if money were not an issue and it came with all of the accessories. The one I have now only cost me $940.00 delivered and setup with all the whistles and bells and only minus the taper attachment and collet closer and in real good shape and in all honesty I don't really need anything more for what I do even though I keep trying to talk myself into thinking otherwise.

JLouis
  
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AJ
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Re: Thinking about switching Lathes
Reply #7 - Aug 21st, 2017 at 6:51pm
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A few years ago, I decided to replace a craftsman 12x36.† I did a lot of research and settled on three lathes that seemed to have all the features I wanted.† They were the Harrison M300, the Standard Modern 1334, and the Standard Modern 1340.† The features that drew me to these lathes were that they had short headstocks for barrel work, and they required little or no gear changes for threading most inch and metric threads.† I learned to hate changing gears on my Craftsman as it was didn't have the quick change gearbox.†

It took a couple of years to find a lathe that was priced right, was well equipped, and close enough to pick up.† It was an inch/metric SM 1334.† I like almost everything about the lathe except the range of metric threads isn't as broad as I would like.† However, it hasn't been a problem yet.

I hear nothing but good stuff about the American lathes you mentioned, but I just wanted to throw out a couple more options.
  
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Re: Thinking about switching Lathes
Reply #8 - Aug 21st, 2017 at 6:54pm
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well.....
have a 13" clausing 5900 now and its my daily lathe, have had sheldon and logan. all good but man when you need a part (s) its pricy.
the clausing vari speed hydraulic control is a bugger to rebuild but love turning a knob for speed changes.  just pick out one that is the most complete, least abused and the least wear. may need a phase converter too. steady rest, collet closer, taper attachment, dog driver plate, follower rest, milling attachment?.....all nice to have. milling on a lathe works but is really a limited deal.
  
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Re: Thinking about switching Lathes
Reply #9 - Aug 21st, 2017 at 7:08pm
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I have a haas TL 2 at the moment in my business but am about to sell the business as a going concern Cry. I like the haas for gun work but am not in a position to buy another haas when we move. The machine i am looking at buying instead is a microweily ty1640. It is made in taiwan and looks a pretty decent bit of kit. 1 meter between centres and a 50mm spindle. They come with dro and a quick change tool post. Smiley
  
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Re: Thinking about switching Lathes
Reply #10 - Aug 21st, 2017 at 7:20pm
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Bought a Causing 5900 13" brand new in 1970 with attachments, I used it for all my rifle barrel fitting and chambering work, used it every day without ever having any problems. If you can find one in excellent condition you can't go wrong. When I moved my shop I added a LaBlond tool room lathe, but I much preferred the variable speed control of the Clausing.
7~
  
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Re: Thinking about switching Lathes
Reply #11 - Aug 21st, 2017 at 7:47pm
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My first Lathe was/is a 9" South Bend Model A with Taper Atatchment. It has served me well, have had it since 1969 and it is a War time build. Having said that I have often wished for a 10" full size. 5C collets, large spindle hole. Stiffer under load.
Now have the 10" but have not made any effort to sell or get rid of the 9". I am more comfortable with the 9" for small pins
and Threading efforts. Tapers are a piece of cake. I also came into a 13" I would sell it as I have not actually used it once seriously. Came with large Aloris Post and holders. The best thing about it would be Knurling, Rugged, stiff not affected by Knurling loads. So there you are, still believe the 10" is the way to go. HTH Regards, FITZ-G. Smiley
  
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boats
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Re: Thinking about switching Lathes
Reply #12 - Aug 21st, 2017 at 7:55pm
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Way it will probably go is buy the one that's in the best condition with the most tooling that's near enough to go have a look before commiting.

Good information like this gives me a working list to refer too

Again thanks to all

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Re: Thinking about switching Lathes
Reply #13 - Aug 21st, 2017 at 8:47pm
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The Sheldon lathes are a cut above both South Bend and Logan. I have a 13" with 36" between centers. It has a threaded spindle and step pulley drive. It is equipped with a three phase motor, and I have fitted it with a variable frequency drive for speed changes on the fly.

Not knowing just what the OP expects to do with his lathe makes it difficult to advise on a replacement, but I would not recommend going with a smaller machine. The 9" South Bend is a minor improvement over an Atlas/Craftsman, but one gives up quite a bit of capacity by downsizing.
  

Jim H.
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Re: Thinking about switching Lathes
Reply #14 - Aug 21st, 2017 at 8:51pm
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I have a South Bend 9" A model with the 4 1/2 ft bed with the full set of metric gears and a milling attachment. I also have an 11" Logan with a long bed. The South Bend is my go to lathe for most small jobs because it is so convenient and easy to use. I also have a milling machine but my milling attachment gets used occasionally.

I use the Logan for chambering and crowning barrels because of the large spindle hole. I hate threading on the Logan compared to the SB. I turn tapers on barrels with the SB between centers with the tailstock offset. Sometimes it's time consuming with the limited horsepower but it does a good job.

I was recently offered a South Bend heavy 10 that is probably one of the best condition SB 10's in the country but I turned it down, not because I didn't want it. It's just that at my age I did not want to be moving machinery in and out of my basement. What I've got does what I need to do and I don't need to make any changes.

9" SB'S are nice if in good condition but are limited in power. The SB 10K is a modern version of the old 9" lathe and would be a good choice also but they have the small spindle hole. A heavy 10 would be a much better choice for gun work but finding a good one is not easy. Many are heavily used and worn. A new Grizzly gunsmith lathe would be a good choice if you can't find a good used lathe.
  
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