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    Default Buying first metal lathe

    I'm about to purchase my first metal lathe. I am a total newbie but think this will be a great new hobby/skill for me.

    I think i have narrowed it down between these two Little Machine Shop machines:

    https://littlemachineshop.com/5200

    and

    https://littlemachineshop.com/3595

    I'm most likely going to get the "deluxe" version of one of those machines. My question to you all is... is the slight increase in working envelope of the 3595 and the "double" the power of the motor worth the $1200 in additional cost of the 3595? Or would that money be better spent on tooling and accessories? I dont want to get something i'll outgrow quickly... but I'm also in the point of my life that the money isnt really the greatest factor. I dont want to spend money foolishly, but on the flip side... is the larger machine is worth it just in greater rigidity and power, i'd probably rather start there then get the smaller version and kick myself in a year or two for struggling with limitations in the smaller machine. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    I also intend on getting a mill in a year or so.. and then anther year down the road convert it to a cnc machine (leading candidate for that is the Grizzly G0704 right now)

    Thanks,

    Doug

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    Default Re: Buying first metal lathe

    I would suggest neither of those partially because they are very high priced for what they are.

    This is a better lathe, is bigger, but not huge, has a 1" spindle bore, more cross slide travel, has a knob selectable gearbox for setting feeds, larger chuck...

    https://www.grizzly.com/products/Gri...al-Lathe/G0602



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    Default Re: Buying first metal lathe

    To be honest... that is where i started.... looking at grizzly machines. But it seems like every forum I was on said the same thing. The grizzly machines are fine if you dont mind totally tearing them down before you first turn them on because the are filled with gunk,grime, and grit and if you skip that step, the life of the lathe with be dramatically shortened. As a beginner and first time lathe user.. i wasn't sure i wanted to spend the first several weeks just tearing everything down and hope i get it reassembled correctly.

    Doug



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    Default Re: Buying first metal lathe

    Quote Originally Posted by dbfletcher View Post
    To be honest... that is where i started.... looking at grizzly machines. But it seems like every forum I was on said the same thing. The grizzly machines are fine if you dont mind totally tearing them down before you first turn them on because the are filled with gunk,grime, and grit and if you skip that step, the life of the lathe with be dramatically shortened. As a beginner and first time lathe user.. i wasn't sure i wanted to spend the first several weeks just tearing everything down and hope i get it reassembled correctly.

    Doug
    You are correct the Grizzly is a step up from the usual Chinese made machine and I would not have an issue with one. But LMS sells some pretty nice lathes and mills. A big step up from Chinese made and I purchased one of their 7x14 and very happy with it.

    In the past i owned a Emco Super 11 and it was great. Sold to downsize my shop but If you can find one used in good condition, buy it. Built a rotary phase converter but later on went to a Hitachi VFD. Some will tell you to get a old American or UK metal lathe, but they are getting harder and harder to find and get parts for. I had a 1943 South Bend Heavy 10 and put a lot of money into getting it to be useable. Sold to purchase the Emco.

    Retired Master Electrician, HVAC/R Commercial. FLA Saturn 2 4x4 CNC Router Mach4 Kimber 1911 45ACP


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    Default Re: Buying first metal lathe

    Quote Originally Posted by dbfletcher View Post
    To be honest... that is where i started.... looking at grizzly machines. But it seems like every forum I was on said the same thing. The grizzly machines are fine if you dont mind totally tearing them down before you first turn them on because the are filled with gunk,grime, and grit and if you skip that step, the life of the lathe with be dramatically shortened. As a beginner and first time lathe user.. i wasn't sure i wanted to spend the first several weeks just tearing everything down and hope i get it reassembled correctly.

    Doug
    I have owned several Grizzly machines in the past and currently have 3 in my shop including a G4000 lathe I bought new in 1999. Although I have torn down my mills, it was because I was CNCing them. Other than that I have never had to tear down my grizzly machines. The G4000 lathe gets used infrequently, but has been just fine without disassembly or modification. Bearings and everything else are original and never removed. Only periodic "normal" maintenance adjustments have ever been done and it is running fine 20 years later.

    Also, the LMS machines are also Chinese made machines, so why would you think they are any different?



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    Default Re: Buying first metal lathe

    Big difference in quality between venders as to the quality of machines they will accept from the Chinese makers. LMS QC is top notch. Not all machines are made in the same plant or the same quality. Grizzly does a good job also no complaints on what I have purchased.



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    Default Re: Buying first metal lathe

    Quote Originally Posted by 109jb View Post
    Also, the LMS machines are also Chinese made machines, so why would you think they are any different?
    Yes, I realize they are both Chinese in origin. I'm just going by forum comments ... and a asked that question directly to LMS. Their reply was that they have heard the grizzly arrive pretty gritty... but he assured me the LMS machines do not need any type of cleaning besides removing that protective layer of "stuff" off the ways, etc. Granted... i have to take that with the understanding that of course they are not going to say anything bad about the products they sell. But i have read several forum posts by members who have owned both machines... and they also seem to reiterate that Grizzly is fine, but expect to tear it down and rebuild it before for use. heck.. even when you read the grizzly site, most lathe posts give them a 4-5 star... but said... it is a great machine after tearing it down, cleaning, re-lubing... so I'm not sure if that is another "myth" that get perpetuated... or if it is a real issue.



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    Default Re: Buying first metal lathe

    That machine looks very much like my Precision Mathews PM1228 but a little smaller.

    First, virtually all these smaller/lighter lathes are made in China. If you find one that is not, it will cost twice as much. That being said, If you are buying one of these for accuracy/precision you may be disappointed. They are great machines to learn on and you can make some nice parts with them if you understand their limitations. Since these are made of Chinesium and since there are lots of moving parts, you should probably tear it down before you do any serious work with it. Every machine I have that came from China needed a good cleaning before use. The grease they use is the most foul smelling stuff, and there was usually metal shavings in the gearbox. After a good cleaning and lubrication everything seemed to work a bit smoother. If you do this, you will get a much better understanding of how it all works. Just do a little at a time.

    Second, will you be converting this to CNC? If so, you should compare what others have experienced in their conversion. Some machines require more modifications than others. For instance, the G0704 requires significant mods to the X-Axis so the ball nut will fit, where the PM25MV leaves more room for the ball nut so less mods. As for the lathe, if you convert it to CNC, virtually all the mechanical parts are removed and those "Deluxe" parts will go into a box never to be used again. The only specs that will matter is the swing and bed length and maybe HP if you can reuse the motor. Look at stuff like the motor. It is probably a BLDC. If you want to replace the controller for CNC, can you find one that provides a high enough voltage and amps? What have others done.

    Finally, I have always found that I could use a bigger machine if I had one. Once you buy the machine, you will need accessories and tooling. These are the true expense of the hobby. Tool holders, indexable tools, 4 jaw chuck, Live Center, Drill chucks, Collet chuck, ... and the list goes on and on. The tooling is where quality and price really counts. So if you know you will be upgrading in the future, maybe just pull the trigger and get the right machine from the start.



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    Default Re: Buying first metal lathe

    Quote Originally Posted by maxspongebob View Post
    Second, will you be converting this to CNC?
    I had not really considered converting the lathe to a cnc. I always knew I'll convert the mill to a cnc when I get to that point. Are the benefits for a cnc lathe similar to that of a cnc mill? In my mind, a lot of lathe operations just seem to fall naturally in the realm of manual operation... where it is immediately apparent how cnc control can greatly enhance a milling machine. It may just because I lack the experience and knowledge of using a lathe though.



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    Default Re: Buying first metal lathe

    While you CAN make just about anything you would need on a manual lathe, often special tooling is required. Anything with a radius requires a tool to match. Anything with a taper is similar. If it is CNC there are more possibilities.

    The conversion of my lathe to CNC seemed to be easier than my G0704 mill.

    Just my opinion.
    Bob



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    Default Re: Buying first metal lathe

    Quote Originally Posted by dbfletcher View Post
    Yes, I realize they are both Chinese in origin. I'm just going by forum comments ... and a asked that question directly to LMS. Their reply was that they have heard the grizzly arrive pretty gritty... but he assured me the LMS machines do not need any type of cleaning besides removing that protective layer of "stuff" off the ways, etc. Granted... i have to take that with the understanding that of course they are not going to say anything bad about the products they sell. But i have read several forum posts by members who have owned both machines... and they also seem to reiterate that Grizzly is fine, but expect to tear it down and rebuild it before for use. heck.. even when you read the grizzly site, most lathe posts give them a 4-5 star... but said... it is a great machine after tearing it down, cleaning, re-lubing... so I'm not sure if that is another "myth" that get perpetuated... or if it is a real issue.
    All I can say more is I have ordered a lot of stuff from LMS and they have always sent first rate stuff, even as its Chinese. They order and request, receive the top of the line machines. Just because another maker has a machine that looks the same, they are not. The lathe I ordered came in, I unboxed it and no issues put it right to work. Same with the mini Grizzly milling machine, not quite the quality but pretty darn close. Either one would serve you well. I am picky and I do not like re-working machines.... I just want something that works.

    China has hundreds of companies making machine tools, each company each may make a little different than the other.

    Retired Master Electrician, HVAC/R Commercial. FLA Saturn 2 4x4 CNC Router Mach4 Kimber 1911 45ACP


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    Default Re: Buying first metal lathe

    So the 7x16 LMS lathe that you posted is basically the same as any of the 7x whatever lathes out there except that the LMS lathe has a longer bed, rotary DRO's on the compound and cross slide and a 0XA type QCTP. The DRO's IMO are useless since they are rotary. They won't really provide any additional accuracy when compared to a graduated dial and will only alleviate having to do some math. The QCTP is nice but is really only a $135 item. Considering that you can get a 7x lathe for as little as $400 brand new, the $1500 price seems way high to me. On top of that, I owned a 7x12 lathe before my G4000 and I would not recommend any of the 7x lathes if you intend to do any steel cutting. The variable speed DC motor just isn't sufficient when you are turning slower rpm like for steel. My 7x14 was fine for non-ferrous turning at diameters under about 2". Larger than that and you had to be careful of the depth of cut or you could stop the spindle. For turning aluminum parts smaller than about 1.5" they are fine and work well. BTW, the 7x lathes don't have oil bath gears at all, so in terms of "chips in the gearbox", it doesn't matter what brand of these you buy as the change gears are all under the left cover and some varieties have a 2 speed headstock, but with grease-lubricated plastic gears. Only the 2 spindle bearings are greased. Most of these lathes also come with ball bearings on the spindle and If so I would recommend switching to tapered roller bearings or angular contact at some point. In this price range I would still be looking at the G0602 because it is a lot more machine for the money.

    https://www.grizzly.com/products/Gri...al-Lathe/G0602

    The 8.5X20 lathe you posted looks to be a nice machine, but as I said It also appears to overpriced in my opinion for what you get. The compound slide has been milled to accept the AXA tool post and the thinning of the slide alone would be a deal killer for me as that has to support all the tool pressure. Now if you are going to CNC it the compound is no longer necessary, so it becomes a non-issue. As for the brushless DC motor, I have read many posts about brushless motor/drive combos failing and their owners replacing them with 3-phase VFD controlled motors. I have no experience with brushless DC motors except in my model airplanes, so can't comment any more than that. The power cross slide is a nice feature for facing cuts but isn't an absolute necessity. In this price category I would really rather have the G0752 because it has a 3-phase VFD controlled motor, is cheaper, has larger capacities, a larger spindle bore (I'll explain my feelings on this below), comes with steady and follow rest which the LMS apparently doesn't. The difference in price will easily pay for a QCTP and as before the rotary DRO is IMO useless..

    https://www.grizzly.com/products/Gri...ed-Lathe/G0752

    As for the spindle bore, The bigger the better. On my G4000, it has a 3/4" spindle bore and is my biggest heartache with it. Many times I need to turn parts that are larger in diameter and I can't. I am actually planning on making a new spindle for my lathe with a larger bore. That project will start when the new CNC mill conversion is running (not complete, just up and running). I would recommend getting the largest spindle bore you can.

    As far as any of these machines go, I just can't understand the whole "Chips in the gearbox" statements. I also didn't see any review comments on Grizzly site saying that they needed to clean gearboxes on the G0602, or G0752. In any case, the headstocks on all of these lathes are not sealed oil bath heads. They all have 2 greased or ball oilered bearings on the spindle, belt drives, exposed change gears, and maybe a little gearbox with a sheet metal cover on it. Pull the cover of and blast away with a solvent wash to get rid of whatever is in there, load in new oil and start turning stuff.

    In the end it is your decision and your money, but I don't see the 2 LMS lathes as being a good value.

    and a asked that question directly to LMS. Their reply was that they have heard the grizzly arrive pretty gritty.
    As a Grizzly tool owner, I have direct experience that the tools do not arrive gritty. They arrive with a bunch of preservative coating, but none of the machines i have bought were "gritty"



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