Mashstroy (Lion) Lathes, Made in Bulgaria
The LION lathes were mentioned here only a few times in the past, said to be European. An easy one to forget it seems. One of the few exceptions to all the china/taiwan machines in today's world. So I was just looking on ebay and saw a manual for the lion lathes and a quick google search came up with who they are. I never saw their link posted here before so here it is.
Looks like some fairly nice machines, never saw one in person yet. Never heard of anyone in Canada bringing them in but I'll be searching. They look like quite a bit of machine, good weight, good motor size.
Anyone with personal experience with them please post. I'm still shopping for a new(er) manual lathe and definitely would like to avoid taiwan/china.
Originally Posted by SND
The Lions do look like nice machines though....
I wasn't aware that there was a Bulgarian machine tool company. I have a very good friend from there. Of course, she speaks Bulgarian, although she is an artist and not too good at Lathe, but if you need translations or contacts, she could help. A while back she helped the owner of a Bulgarian forklift get a manual. They are struggling because at the end of communism the government had to divest itself of businesses and under communism, no one could amass the wealth to buy them, so most got sold to foreign investors. Many of the new owners just parted the factories out and shipped the machinery to countries where they could get higher prices for them. Galina stays in contact with the local Bulgarian community, so I might be able to get more information there.
I think there are actually several machine tool companies in Bulgaria-
ZMM claims to be the oldest-
ZMM - BULGARIA HOLDING LTD.
here is the website for mashstroy-
But I would guess there are more- eastern europe has a metalworking history going back hundreds of years.
TOS/Trens lathes are made in Slovakia-
There are Polish lathes as well.
I believe there are some Romanian lathes.
Of course, Italy, France, Germany, and Switzerland all still make manual lathes- its just that most of them start at about double the price of a Kingston or similar high end taiwan machine.
Romi still makes manual lathes in Brazil, but I dont think any are currently being imported to the USA- but maybe in Canada.
I kind of remember a member here posting about his visit of the Arsenal manufacturing plant for those mills. Definitely looks tough and of quality, not sure how big the market is for them these days...
I did find out that many dealers in Canada have stopped carrying and selling the Tos/Trens lathes. I think with the dollar and economy they became quite a bit more expensive to bring in, and demand went down some.
As to why I'd rather avoid the chinese/taiwan chucker lathes that are most popular. One reason is the mystery behind them as to which is what made by who, when, where. Most importers/dealers are vague, or BS too much for my liking, or often likely don't even know themselves what the story is.
And also those I've used so far which were supposed to be from some of the better manufacturers in Taiwan (haven't tried one of those kingston yet unfortunately) but anyhow, they weren't up to what I want/need. Its a bit like a Haas vs a Mori Seiki, the mori will take 1 cut and hit size and finish, Haas might need to take 2-3 cuts and you'll be tweaking and fighting to get the same finish. They both get the job done, but I want it done quicker. So if I can spend a bit more and get a better machine that I can trust, one that I know will remove exactly what I ask it to, chatter less than others, and last longer. I make $$, and have a much happier time making parts. Plus I just turned 26, so when I buy, I expect to keep it a while. I like to shop for best value overall, and I do like some machines that not everyone has(mostly when its better). Which is why 2yrs ago I bought a new Lagun FTV-1, worth every dollar. I will say I'm quite pleased with my Cyclematic(HLV-H copy) which is from Taiwan. Sold under many names but they all seem to just be a renamed cyclematic(few specs/options vary), so I was fairly confident in that purchase. I also generally like to help out the smaller less known companies trying to make a better product, instead of just giving it to the better known company/importer selling a very average product.
Unfortunately this economy makes it a little hard to go overboard, so I might have to settle for less than I really want(or buy used)
I can tell you that Johnny at International Machinery is an advertiser in one of my magazines and in talking to him he has some attractive pricing going on right now in order to compete. They have been around a long time and I can tell you they are nice people easy to deal with. I can not honestly say I know much more about the machines other than what is in the ads.....
Feedback from Galina. She has not had any direct dealings with Mashstroy, but she says it has a good reputation and is a large company for Bulgaria. Mashstroy just means "machine builder". I asked if she knew any engineers who might know more about them. She says that now engineers in Bulgaria hunt through dumpsters. The websites do not have any prices. Does anyone have any information on them?
Last edited by 9100; 04-03-2010 at 03:08 PM.
I saw one at a trade show with the cover for the headstock removed to show the inside of the head. I flinched at the rough gears I saw.
If you favor european lathes, look hard at Polamco/Toolmex machines. Very nice, as nice as the Mazak/Hercules lathes. I have a 17" TUG 40 I bought new in '79, It's still doing ą.0002 work with ease.
We have a lion Lathe, bought new a couple years ago. We went out to the warehouse in CA to check it out after seeing them at the IMTS tool show.
Our machine is a 30" x 120" long.
Overall a good machine, we did have some issues with it at the beginning which was all covered thru the local dealer we bought it thru. 1 big issue we had is since it is a tru 440V machine the relays did not like our 480V-490V power our local electric company gives us. So we had to buy a step down transformer.
I personally do not operate the machine but I hear no complaints from the operators.
If you are looking at Euro made machines there is still Ursus lathes being made and a Graziano style being made by this company :: TORGIM : TRADITIONAL CNC TEACH-IN LATHES ::
Originally Posted by .RC.
iīm from Madeira Island, in Portugal (sorry about writing).
i have a Mashstroy lathe C11MT from 1988, basicly same has new oneīs.
i have one new Jet lathe but itīs a 0 compared to the C11MT, old i know but very handy, very good precision top quality built and very low mannaitence.
itīs a lathe that you can work hard every day without trouble. you can see it in my madeirasm.blogspot.com or in picasa.
i like to work wiht it very much, i'm just sorry that i dont have much work to do.
if you need any foto or any info on the machine just ask for firstname.lastname@example.org.
I had a Romanian lathe,the ProMaster that MSC used to sell. Save yourself the grief. I cannot begin to list all the serious problems with this lathe. Tailstock was crooked,compound never worked smoothly because its casting was warped. Incredibly noisy.
Before the iron curtain went up they were all sold as ZMM
In the early 90`s there were a lott of new ZMM and also Tos lathes sold which were made to be used as a payment in the communistic system So they were not intended to be used anyhow
Those lathes were so bad My boss bought a new 1500x550mm one from some obscure dealer (at a price of 9000 ) and after 9 years when I left I bought it for parts If you had to change speeds you had to stop the motor It used up 2 feedscrews in that period and all kind of other problems You better watch out you don`t happen to buy one of these
I don`t know if they are sold outside Europe
Those ZMM`s sold in the regular way were decent machines
Peter from Holland
Very nice work on your blog site... S.M. Metalomecânica
Originally Posted by SILL
have used a lion for a few years now...
We have a "Swedish" Lion lathe in the shop (parts book appears to be Russian though). Had it since the late 70's or early 80's. I have issues with it, but I think their newer products look better. Johnny at International in California has been a great help locating repair parts, which is good because it needs a lot of repair parts. First thing I had to do when I came back to work in the family shop was disassemble the carriage to address a seriously worn half-nut. Big job, but was able to get the parts I needed. As for day to day use, it has all the power it needs, has very straight ways. My biggest issues is the cross feed dial. I've used Nardini's, Grazianos, Voest's, and other european lathes, but never one with dials like this thing. Everything is measure in .020" increments with a 5-0-5 vernier on the top. Just kind of awkward. Otherwise, not so bad.
In Madeira Island use some MASHSTROY lathes and ZMM also, and they are very fine machines. i think that it canīt be compared to a top german lathes like VDF.
but i see them working hard every day wiht no complain.
i have one C11MT(1988) and iīm very happy (some noise from the electric motor) , nothing to do wiht any chinnese lathe like
others i had and JET one have now.
Originally Posted by SND
i have a mashstroy c11mt, little old, but if you need any info or photos, look on madeirasm.blogspot.com or http://picasaweb.google.com/114068795483656010051 or just ask for it.
Originally Posted by 9100
In Portugal, bad country for businness, a new ZMM or Mashstroy lathe with 400mm x 1500mm will
cost you something like 20.000,00€uros.
but like many other things here itīs very expensive.
What is wrong with that price
Originally Posted by SILL
Do you want it even cheaper ???
Those Bulgarians also need to make a living
BTW did you ever work on a VDF
Peter from Holland