Eisen or Precision Matthews Lathes
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  1. #1
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    Default Eisen or Precision Matthews Lathes

    I am looking into the Eisen 1236, Precision Matthews 1236T, Eisen1440E 2 Speed with DRO and Precision Matthews 1440GT. Needing a bigger lathe to thread and chamber, crown and contour. Ive only used old MSC lathes and Bridgeport Mills. For what these can be had for, I'm not seeing much of a reason to drive all over creation looking at old lathes and messing with moving them. Or hassle with repairing and hunting for parts. Don't want to do what I've already done...buy something for immediate use and need to upgrade. This will be the only machine that will be purchased anytime soon. I've not heard a bad thing about any of the machines listed. Heard that these products along with VIctor, Sharp, etc are all made in the same factory in Taiwan. Aware of the fact that the 1440's are a big step up from the 1236. And that the PM 1440 has a 2 inch spindle bore and 5 year warranty as opposed to 1 9/16 and 1 year for Eisen. Eisen comes with a lot more for less coin for both lathes. Would very much appreciate some insight and thoughts....

    Ryan

  2. #2
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    Consider after-sale service and pre-sale advice. I have read here that PM is very good in that regard, but know nothing of whoever sells Eisen.

    The 1.56" spindle bore is all you need for mounting 5C collets with a tube closer, but 2" might be great for bull barrels. Plus, the larger spindle implies more rigidity, bigger bearings, bigger chuck mount, etc. Have you compared net weight on your possibilities? Weight is good when shopping for lathes.

    Back around 1980, I bought a new Taiwan Jet brand 1236 lathe. I took it partly apart to get it in my basement and kept finding problems. I ended up doing a major rebuild before putting it all back together. It was educational, but not an experience someone wanting to earn a living from the lathe would want to endure. So buy from someone who backs their product and has a good reputation.

    Larry

  3. #3
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    Look carefully. Aside from most of the PM machines at least, being hobby grade stuff, they also vary a lot. They may have some better stuff.

    Some machines in that grade of stuff look look like they have a QCGB, but in fact are effectively change gear machines. And so on. The PM 1236T machine requires a gear change to swap ranges of threads, and for certain specific pitches. There are 5 different gears to be swapped in, depending. Not nice for general use, a decent machine will have a Norton box or similar setup.

    I'd actually expect you would be better off to get a used machine which is a known good brand, and is operational as-is. For the prices of some of that cheaper chinese stuff, even Taiwan, they are not well fitted, probably not scraped or fitted..... At least the older machines you can be sure were first rate at one time, and you are only dealing with wear and any actual damage, not lousy design and workmanship.

    If you pay a LOT more, you can probably get a nice machine from the better importers.

  4. #4
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    taiwan is a country, not a brand.
    get a takisawa.
    victor.
    yam.caddilac.
    webb.


    just b.c. something is made in the same country doesn'y make it great..

  5. #5
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    Thanks for all the replies. May start looking at older US made products more. South Bend, Clausing, Logan and Sheldon. If anyone has any leads on the four lathes I've just noted and that will handle a rifle barrel, have a 1 1/4 thru hole and doesn't need any work I would appreciate it.

  6. #6
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    I’m in a similar position, looking to replace a 9A South Bend Lathe with something more capable. I’ve poured over the reviews of the current crop of imports (Precision Matthews, Grizzley, Eisen, etc.), hobbiests seem to be generally happy though there are often some initial issues.

    Initial issues I’ve seen recounted on the net include motors that fail in the first year, thread dials with the wrong gear, electrical wiring issues. I haven’t seen any of the setup and get running type issues go unresolved.

    Some report other more systemic issues like single phase motor vibration that affects the surface finish, soft castings that start to show wear after moderate use - a specific instace was a taper attachment pivot that started to show slop.

    I have committed to buy a Monarch 10ee to replace my little South Bend. I certainly hope it will last me another 60 years.

    Ryan

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    I bought a PM1640 about 8 years ago, doesn't seem to be listed on their website currentlhy. I asked about origin explicitly: mainland China (at that time for that model). The machine has been quite acceptable at its price point, but will never be mistaken for a proud piece of manufacturing. The mechanical essentials are well-crafted; any bogus bits were sorted out by PM after import and before the machine was shipped to me. I've had the headstock open and it looks good.

    But: Fit and finish on non-essentials is marginal. Raw rough grinding marks on some (not all) non-precision surfaces. Paint is peeling in various places. Welds and fitting on the sheet metal at the back of the lathe behind the ways is dodgy. The ball oilers (placed in adequate numbers) are junk. I broke the locking lever for the tailstock by hand, no cheaters involved. Etc. etc.

    I expect I'll be using this machine for years to come. But it's a mule, not a show horse.


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