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Thread: Thinking about a Mini Lathe

  1. #1
    Boolit Master

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    Thinking about a Mini Lathe

    NI’ve been thinking about one of the imports. Which one is the best bet? I’m in the thousand dollar range, but would like to spend less of course and could go a little higher if it would make a real difference.

    There’s not a lot of detail that I can find on those for sale. Such as how long a piece you can turn or the diameter.

    I also wonder about the power of the motors. 500 or 600 watts is not that much?

    With a drill chuck in the tail stock how big can your work be?

    What to do? What to buy?

    Thanks
    Last edited by GregLaROCHE; 01-08-2019 at 05:23 PM.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master Randy C's Avatar
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    Ive wanted to try these, there may be a post here on them, Ive been gone for awhile.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HLZ5Gt7DFNo

  3. #3
    Boolit Grand Master

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    With a lathe the description gives the sizes a 13 X 40 Lathe is a machine with 13" swing over bed and 40" between centers A 7-10 is 7" swing and 10" between centers. The big thing wiith a lathe is how accurate do you need to be and how much "playing do you want to do? You can do accurate work on most any machine but it may take some time to learn it and some playing and sneaking up to size. ( On the Monarchs I have ran most of the time it was a roughing pass and then a finish pass to size and finish.) On some of the older lighter machines you might need to leave .001-.005 to polish down to size. While they sell carbide insert tooling for these hobby machines I have found most do better with HSS cobalt bits. On older used machines the spindles may not be up to carbide.

    I currently tinker on a Harbor Freight 7X10 It works and is okay its old school in that the dials read direct .001 graduation is .001 movement so a .001 dial adjustment is .002 on dia or bore.

  4. #4
    Boolit Buddy
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    I used soap and a brush to lather my face for shaving. Lather has no place in shooting, reloading, or machine work. A lathe, as mentioned by other respondents, is used for turning and threading, not lathering, lathing, or latheing.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by Randy C View Post
    Ive wanted to try these, there may be a post here on them, Ive been gone for awhile.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HLZ5Gt7DFNo
    That looks like a really nice one.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by ulav8r View Post
    I used soap and a brush to lather my face for shaving. Lather has no place in shooting, reloading, or machine work. A lathe, as mentioned by other respondents, is used for turning and threading, not lathering, lathing, or latheing.
    I know. I saw it as soon as I posted it. I tried to edit it, but don’t think it’s possible to edit the title. The R is next to the E and I am using an iPad. I guess my finger hit the R on the way back. I usually reread my posts, but I guess I didn’t reread the title. I hope everyone understood what I was talking about.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master



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    I've had good luck with my Grizzly bought years ago. Here's a couple in your range:

    https://www.grizzly.com/products/Gri...ed-Lathe/G0768

    https://www.grizzly.com/products/Gri...ch-Lathe/G4000

    Grizzly also had one of the best selections of Bartlein barrels in stock....


    Art
    Last edited by Tazman1602; 01-09-2019 at 09:59 AM. Reason: Spelling
    ________________________________
    "Only accurate Rifles are interesting"
    "Calling criminal invaders Illegal immigrants is like calling dope dealers unlicensed pharmacists"

  8. #8
    Boolit Buddy


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    I have the Harbor Freight 8x12 and really like it, I use it mainly for dies and reloading stuff). With collets I can get pretty accurate. I did upgrade the motor after a while (wanted to, didn't really need to...but I grew up in the era of Tim Allen's Tool Time). The machine is a BEAST for its size and really my only complaint at this time is it does not have a quick change gear box(and if it has to be moved). Accessories are a bit harder to find then for the 7x lathes but littlemachine shop is my go to and it can use beefier tooling.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master



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    Quote Originally Posted by guywitha3006 View Post
    ......Accessories are a bit harder to find then for the 7x lathes but littlemachine shop is my go to and it can use beefier tooling.
    GOOD CALL on Little Machine shop! Forgot about that one, they have good accessories and are great to do business with. Have gotten many items for my 9x20 Grizzly from them.

    .....now if I only had the space and an extra $20k for a real lathe!!

    Art
    ________________________________
    "Only accurate Rifles are interesting"
    "Calling criminal invaders Illegal immigrants is like calling dope dealers unlicensed pharmacists"

  10. #10
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    Just ask any Mod to change the title, I fixed it for you

  11. #11
    Boolit Master

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    If I buy a mini lathe, I don’t have anything besides a few drill bits to use with it. What should I anticipate needing to buy to get it up and running. Dial indicator etc. How much more should I plan on needing to spend?

    Thanks

  12. #12
    Boolit Buddy
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    I got a 7 x 14 at a good price off of E Bay a year ago. If you are going with a mini lathe, make sure you get an imperial lead screw. Mine was metric and I didn't realize it until I was using it. The next items are a drill Chuck and cutting tooling. If you can sharpen a drill bit on a grinder, you can grind HSS cutting tools. HSS works better than other tooling on these machines. I will add more info later.

  13. #13
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Dial indicators a plunger style !' travel and a "finger" style magnetic base to hold mount them. Measuring tools, micrometers, calipers, 6" or 12" steel scales. Lay out ink. face plates, 4 jaw chuck, live center, drill chucks, Tool holders ( depending on machine). AS to cutting tools a good HSS cobalt bit can be sharpened by hand with a bench grinder easily, same with drills. A set of center drills for centering work and starting holes.

  14. #14
    Boolit Buddy
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    Ok, back at home where I can finish.

    If you spend less on the lathe, you will have more for things like taps, dies, center drills, drill chuck, a better tool post, etc.

    The "China made mini lathes" all come from the same factory and parts are easy to get. Not much point in paying extra for a "name brand" version.

    I went ebay low dollar. I just went out and looked around and found that you can get what I got (again, with the less desirable metric lead screw) for under $550 delivered, example below:

    https://www.amazon.com/Happybuy-2500...cc280ec8c4bb07

    Although I like the 7x14, a 7x12 would work pretty good and it can be had with the imperial lead screw. Shop around and make sure you do not pay too much.

    I discussed cutting tools in another thread on this forum (see post 8 at the link below). I recommend starting out with a 4 pack of 8mm x 8mm x 200mm HSS.

    http://castboolits.gunloads.com/show...-357-max/page2

    One downside with most any China made mini lathe is that you will want to do a "tune up" first thing to get all for the adjustments correct and fasteners properly tightened.

  15. #15
    Boolit Master

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    There’s a lot of good information here thanks. Just wondering, what are the drawbacks with the metric lead screw?

  16. #16
    Boolit Master
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    What does the happy lathe weigh?
    QUIS CUSTODIET IPSOS CUSTODES?

  17. #17
    Boolit Buddy McFred's Avatar
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    This 8x16 mini lathe might actually be able to do some light barrel work through the headstock (38mm/1.49" ID).
    https://www.ebay.com/itm/263590454152
    One guy's opinion and pics:
    http://www.silencertalk.com/forum/vi...?f=10&t=139536

  18. #18
    Boolit Master

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    What about nylon gears? I costs a couple of hundred to get steel gears, but you get a stronger motor too.

  19. #19
    Boolit Grand Master

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    The nylon / plastic gears may be a good thing with these lighter machines. They act as the weak point breaking at to much force. A cheap easily replaceable part instead of a harder to replace more expensive part. On the bigger industrial machines there is a shear pin to let go when over working occurs. Those nylon gears act the same as.

  20. #20
    Boolit Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by country gent View Post
    The nylon / plastic gears may be a good thing with these lighter machines. They act as the weak point breaking at to much force. A cheap easily replaceable part instead of a harder to replace more expensive part. On the bigger industrial machines there is a shear pin to let go when over working occurs. Those nylon gears act the same as.
    I think I would rather have a shear pin to break than have to buy a new gear. Even if it is only nylon. Do you think the metal gears have shear pins or something similar?

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check