Getting started with a lathe?
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  1. #1
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    Default Getting started with a lathe?

    Hi all,

    After watching some youtube videos from this guy, I'm just fascinated by what he was able to make with a lathe at home. I know there will probably be a steep learning curve but I'm really interested to learn. I have zero experience with machining, I'm a software developer as a professional. I'm also into radio control cars so learning a bit of machining will definitely be complementing to my Radio-Control hobby.

    JohnnyQ9
    - YouTube


    Are you there lathe out there that are worth it for less than $1000? Where should I begin? I checked out Princess Auto(Harbor Freigh equivalent) and they have a small mini lathe but I'm not sure if it's for any precision work.

    Is there such thing as aftermarket support for these machines that I should look out for? If that's the case then it's better to buy a brand name?

  2. #2
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    In before the lock.

  3. #3
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    Best you ask around on hobby shop sites. Don't waste time and money of HF Chinese JUNK. Might as well piss your money down a rat hole. Look for a 9" South Bend. They are all over the place, fine for what you are doing and parts/support will be there forever......Bob

  4. #4
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    Once in a while I stop by HF for things like disposable paint brushes and gloves. While there I like to amuse myself by spinning the hand wheels on the sloppy "precision lathe". Always good for a laugh.

    Go to the lathes.uk site and read Tony's write up on buying a lathe.

    http://www.lathes.co.uk/page2.html

  5. #5
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    They do sell a small assortment of "left hand" drill bits.

    Dubious quality, but handy that they are open on sunday.....

  6. Likes Bobw liked this post
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    Don't waste your time on the cheap new lathes. Start a search for a used Southbend, Rockwell, or Logan machine. There are lots of other brand names that are worthy. Check out Tony's site above for more complete descriptions. Find yourself a copy of L.H. Sparey's book, "The Amateur's Lathe". It will fill in the blanks in your idea of lathe work. Good Luck, and Regards, Clark

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    Quote Originally Posted by digger doug View Post
    They do sell a small assortment of "left hand" drill bits.

    Dubious quality, but handy that they are open on sunday.....
    One time I bought a cheap set of drills there intending to use them for rough work like drilling plaster. The tips were actually ground backwards, so that they rubbed instead of cut. I reground a couple on the bench grinder but gave up completely after they snapped in normal use.

    I thought it was smart getting a box of 10 #2 Philips bits on the cheap until the tips shattered on first use with an impact driver.

    "Dubious quality" is a gross understatement.

  9. #8
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    I bought the left hand set from them to drill a broken 3/8 bolt from a exhaust manifold. Using a 5/16 bit that wouldn't cut I noticed the spiral flute had turned itself straight!!! I threw the set in the scrap pile and finished with an old set of Cleveland rh bits.
    Anything mechanical that they sell is POS be wary!

  10. #9
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    Agreed on the 9" south bend. I am a student that sometimes teaches other students basic lathe operations. We have a little south bend that is well past its prime, but it is just so much fun for small parts and isn't nearly as intimidating as the bigger lathes.


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