I'm about to get a quote for two new machines. One of them is a lathe. We're suddenly torn between two seemingly different machines: the GT-20 chucker and the TL-2 with an enclosure.
At first, they seem like very different machines but upon closer inspection, they are very similar. The GT-20 only has 12" of Z travel but most of our parts are under 4" long. I really do wish for a tailstock on the GT but that ain't happening right now. They both have similar or identical A2-6 spindles. They both have similar X travel. They both cost (the way we want them) right around $42,000.
These are the pros and cons I see so far:
- A real enclosure so we can really let the coolant fly
- The work is closer to the operator so it's easier to setup, load and preset tools.
- No handwheels to whack into the operator.
- A real 8-station tool turret that we can load and preset and always have ready for anything we want to program--plus better repeatability over a toolpost.
- It has a tailstock
- It has handwheels for the occasional touch-up job (yeah, we have the jog dial but the handles are convenient).
- It has more Z travel for the occasional long part.
- It has the additional versatility of having a toolpost (more choices of angles & tools--I'm reaching here ).
The way I see it, we still have access to a number of manual lathes and if push came to shove, we can get access to somebody else's TL-1 if we had to do some long parts.
If you had to live with one or the other in a prototyping environment, which would you go with? I thought I knew but after looking more closely at a GT-20 yesterday, I'm not so sure anymore.