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Mini-lathes?
#1
Does anyone on the board own a mini-lathe? Every time I go to harbor freight I find myself drooling over one of them and the possibility of all the things they can make. I've done metal work in the past, but never actual precision machining so the learning curve for me would be pretty steep. I'm thinking if you could get past the initial learning curve this would be a tool that would pay for itself over the years and be a valuable asset in the event of consumer item shortages. I also can't think of how many times I've pulled something apart and seen that the cause of the problem was toothless plastic gears and then cursed the sky wishing I could machine my own metal gears.

Anyway does anyone have any thoughts on these things? Do you find them to be a shop designated dust collector or do you use it a lot? Do you have any regrets about buying one that was too small or wish you had got one with better capabilities or something like that? I'm just toying with the idea and doing some research into what I would be getting myself into.
The forum poster formerly known as Emoticon...
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#2
A couple machinist friends of mine recommended the Smithy XL1220 mill-lathe combo to me. It do lots and love you long time.
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#3
I used a unimat years ago, it worked pretty well. I noticed that some critical jobs had a way of just barely exceeding the swing capacity of the lathe, or the boring depth of the press, or...

It won't be long before you're pining for a larger machine, so don't go micro-miniature right away.

Also, while you're on the learning curve, surf the curve on someone else's machine. It's more than just reading the owner's manual. You'll need to learn cutting speeds, feed rate, cutting tool geometry for different material to name a few. Consider signing up for a machine ship course in you local community college, or night school. I had years of machine shop in high school, I really felt that I needed more. A *lot* more.

If I had to do this all over, I think I'd look long & hard for CNC capability. My eyes aren't what they used to be, and consistent repeatability is a major plus.

RandomTask;112649 Wrote:A couple machinist friends of mine recommended the Smithy XL1220 mill-lathe combo to me. It do lots and love you long time.

This looks promising, maybe even CNC capability! I don't get the second part, unless that's a reference to a Vietnamese hooker. Is the Smithy made in Viet Nam?
Subject matter expert on questions no one's asking.
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#4
I have a Grizzly 10x22 lathe and started with a 7x10. you can do a lot with the 7x10 and there is some great websites dedicated to the little lathe. just dont buy the harbor freight version, its not a true 7x10 and the castings can be thin. http://www.littlemachineshop.com will be a great place to start. plenty of info, parts, tools and tips
"Fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity"

goofin, proud to be a member of pa2a.org since Sep 2012.
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#5
I have a 6X10 Shop Fox. 99% of the time it just takes up space but when I need it I'm glad I keep it around.
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#6
http://harrisburg.craigslist.org/tls/3979031259.html
check it out
"Fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity"

goofin, proud to be a member of pa2a.org since Sep 2012.
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