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Thread: New Lathe, Any Suggestions
02-04-2010, 07:45 PM #1
New Lathe, Any Suggestions
So my boss is thinking about upgrading our lathe and I was wondering what you guys thought would be a good lathe to get. We are looking for one that swings somewhere between 25" and 28" or around there, and about 160" long. We need one that can hit close tolerances repeatedly and be able to take large cuts as well. Right now I use a 26160 Supermax, and while it has been ok it is built very weak and has had to have quite a bit of repair done over the last few years, although it has always hit a size well = or - a couple tenths. I need one that can do the same but built a little better. Also the lathe needs to be very user friendly, have good steadyrests, a large thru hole, and no joystick like most of the china lathes have anymore. We are a jobshop and you never know what will come in the door, so I need something to do everything with. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for the help.
02-05-2010, 08:48 AM #2
About the only machines out there that aren't Chinese or Indian made are:
The other thing might be to find a used oil country lathe and have it rebuilt. LeBlond, Niles, Monarch. There are several companies that specialize in machines like that.
02-05-2010, 09:55 AM #3
I would consider a Whacheon. Made in Korea under license from Mori Seiki. Isn't going to be cheap though.
02-05-2010, 10:04 AM #4
TOS, Polamco, European Lion are all eastern European made models. Tos-Trenchin does make machines in China now I believe.
02-05-2010, 02:46 PM #5
What do you guys think about a toolmex?
02-05-2010, 03:27 PM #6
I believe Poreba is sold by Toolmex.
02-05-2010, 04:18 PM #7
Taiwanese Mazak clone, like a Kingston
02-05-2010, 04:33 PM #8
02-05-2010, 08:35 PM #9
There are still manual lathes made in Japan (eg Takisawa) and Germany (eg VDF Boehringer), but these will not be affordable, I think
also Italy (Torgim - too small), France (incl Caseneuve - too small, unaffordable) and Spain (eg Tornos Nodo Barton - too small) and Brasil (Nardini - too light/small, I think)
There was at least one big-bore (eg oil country) lathe maker still going in Sweden until recently but I forget the name. Weren't cheap, either.
Poreba used to specialise in good, big lathes (and may still do), and AFAIK Trens still make a pretty good job of their biggies. But I'm not sure how big a bore they do, in relation to swing, though.
.RC. - do Microweily do manual lathes? I hope they're better than their CNC lathes, if so...
JRIowa - are you sure Clausing are made outside mainland China (I've no particular knowledge, just had that feeling) ?
02-05-2010, 08:56 PM #10
There are probably a number of manufacturers out there not mentioned, from Russia and Korea and other places..
02-05-2010, 09:33 PM #11
Yeah I'm just trying to get some ideas, because if I just type in manual lathes or some variation of it in google all I get is junk like Jet and Summit, and we are looking for a real lathe here. Price is a little bit of a concern, but if we find one we know will be good for many years I don't think my boss would care so much. He has been used to paying for cnc's so compared to those this will be cheap. We definitely need to get a good one because this will be our main machine, and the last machine we bought, a mighty turn, was the biggest piece of junk I have ever seen, and we can't get one like that again. Thanks for the ideas guys, if you think of any more let me know.
02-05-2010, 11:14 PM #12
I had a look out of idle curiosity, and 'cos you were kind enough to provide a link.
I know it probably seems irrational, but I could never bring myself to buy a lathe with such a short spindle (ie distance between headstock bearings)
To my eye, by the time you mentally subtract the changegear cover, it's ridiculously disproportionate to the swing.
This seems almost universal with home-shop offerings from China, and some of them compound the felony with a tailstock which brings to mind a short wheelbase Landrover with the loading gauge of a London double-decker omnibus.
(Mmmmm - mind wandering - Gardner 6LXB - lovely !)
Getting back to the tall tails(tocks), I reckon if a feller tried to do an innocuous bit of friction welding, say, that poxy little casting would snap right through like the neck of an emu being transported under a low bridge ...
Mind you, if Chinese tailstocks were all built like the one on my venerable Pratt & Whitney Model B, there wouldn't be any iron ore left in the Australian outback !
I've got it on a high shelf right now, and I'm not looking forward to getting it down. (I was younger when I put it up)
02-05-2010, 11:59 PM #13
Ducatibrien: When you're googling Whacheon, try also Hwacheon (that's the spelling used by the US importer)
The Swedish oil-country lathe-maker I was trying to think of was 'Storebro'. I checked, and they no longer make manual lathes. Shame.
Modern (Canada) and WMW (Eastern Europe) are worth checking. Try an "advanced search" on the
Welcome to MachineTools.com: The Leading Worldwide Metalworking Industry Marketplace
site - they also list Poreba, TOS Trencin (including a couple of 28" swing in North America: one in Ontario, Canada and one in Puebla, Mexico), and some of the Taiwanese brands mentioned in this thread, also Acra (which some say is comparable with Sharp).
Also, interestingly, Boehringer
I did a quick search and this came up among others
WILLIS SE2880 Lathes, Engine New - MachineTools.com
Willis is a US company in Ohio. The lathe LOOKS Chinese, but they sell Solberga drills (which are high quality Swedish) so it might be worth checking
There's also a suitable sized machine from another Ohio company called "Cincinatti Machines". It too looks Chinese, from the tiny thumbnail image I saw... if so, Yikes !!!!!!!!!
I might have to go and hug my Cincy Toolmaster for mutual reassurance (admittedly it was built in France, but it's a credit to the marque)
WMW are a generic Eastern European brand from the Soviet era, but unlike Stankoimport, I thing the name is still in use, so that's another worth looking out for.
The Soviets pretty much took heavy to the logical extreme, but they didn't stop there. I found out a few years back (on this forum, methinks) a plausible explanation which went something like this: The production quotas for machine tools in the Soviet era were set in tonnes, not value or numbers produced or some other sensible measure, and the quotas were on a constant growth model, so every year you had to make 10% (or whatever) more than last year.
By far the easiest way to comply - possibly the only way - was just to keep adding bog to the coreboxes, effectively increasing the wall thickness of all the castings by 10% per year. Mission accomplished!
I'm not sure if they ever out-tonned, say, American Pacemaker, size for size, but they certainly gave it a fright!
02-06-2010, 01:23 AM #14
So rather then design new heavy machines that no one could afford the colchester style of light tailstocks, light headstocks and small saddles became the template for the new designs... Then the manufacturers did silly things like increase swing by installing riser blocks... Take a look at a lot of 21" swing new lathes to see what I mean... A lot of them are just 18" swing machines with riser blocks...
When I was looking for my new machine I looked and looked and looked at specs and pictures..A lot of them simply didn't turn me on... I ended up with a 17" Chin Hung..To me is was firstly affordable although I still feel very guilty for spending so much on one machine, secondly it had an excellent reputation on this board.. Thirdly I could not see any Colchester heritage in it but it has Mazak heritage which I believe is superior.. It is not a heavy duty machine, but I am yet to get it to chatter from too deep a cut..
The other thing greatly in the 17" Chin Hungs favour was it's thread cutting ability...My research in manual machines yielded there are three types of thread cutting quick change gearboxes out there... We have metric and then two types of Imperial....Whitworth and Unified.... Whitworth boxes do the threads for BSP threads and don't do any NPT threads.... And unified boxes do the opposite, missing out on BSP thread pitches... The Chin Hung box does everything with no change gears needed except for module and diametral pitches..
What turns me off old machines especially British machines is the unavailability of critical parts that you cannot make yourself... The Brits in their divine wisdom rather then using common metric roller bearings, decided to invent their own line of imperial ball roller bearings... Then the likes of Ransomes and Hoffman decided to go bankrupt and the bearings are now made of unobtanium...
Probably getting a bit off topic now, but I learnt a lot in my search for my machine and I am still after a couple of months very happy with my purchase, it has features a lot of other machines simply don't have.. It might be inferior to a Hwacheon quality wise but I personally think it a better machine for my application..
04-13-2011, 11:51 PM #15
I know this thread is a bit old now, but I didn't give up on finding a new lathe, and my boss handed me a post it today that said my new 28" toolmex will be here Oct. 28. I'm pretty excited, I got to put my hands on one a few months ago, and they appear to be very well made, and the best part is no one else gets to touch it, I hate people tearing up the nice equipment.
04-14-2011, 06:32 AM #16
Im sorta in the same boat as you. We're planning on buying a new lathe in the near future and since I get to pick wich one I want, I want to make the right decision. I love the feal, and heavy duty of the older American iron like the Monarch and Pacemaker, but want something new and modern when we buy. Im considering finding an older LebLond but dont want to worry about buying something thats been used, abused and needs work. One of my personal favorites is Victor and have been eyeballing the new lathes on there website. Im trying to get my boss to aggree for us to go look at them so I can tell how well they are built, even better is to find one running and use it to sort of test the waters.
Another brand to consider is Lyon, but I have used a couple at another shop and I hated those lathes. I didnt care for the design and engineering that went into them.
Wouldnt it be nice to have a warehouse where all makes and models were on display for you to try out??
I also own an AcraTurn 21x120. I wouldnt recommend this one iether. We bought it new and had a few problems over the years, and its not as heavy duty as it should be. Probably the same issues you guys ran into with the lathes you bought.
Anyways heres what Im looking into.The new Victor 20160S. The older Victors are nice lathes, and Im hoping the new ones are great too.
// Victor Machines, Inc.
Heres the 22"
// Victor Machines, Inc.
04-14-2011, 09:08 AM #17
I haven't seen much about them.
04-14-2011, 10:09 AM #18
04-14-2011, 10:14 AM #19
Congrats to your boss for buying a new Toolmex lathe, I know they're quite a lot of $ so I hope you guys stay really busy to keep it making chips
04-14-2011, 11:39 AM #20
Please keep us posted on how that toolmex works out for you. I have been eyeballing those machines for a while now.