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Thread: Gunsmithing lathe

  1. #1
    sgt5th is offline Plastic
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    Default Gunsmithing lathe

    Well, I finally finished fighting the red tape mess that was involved getting my 07/SOT. Sold off most of my old hobbyist machinery to upgrade to bigger and better things. I've been looking for a lathe; the old benchtop HF was not going to be adequate. My price range is up to $3000, I realize this will probably limit me to an import; however my needs at this time do not warrant a more expensive model, as my commitment to the Army and a machinist apprenticeship limit my gunsmithing to part-time only. Most of my work will consist of barrel threading and re-profiling (lots of AK's, some AR's and other odd/ends such as bolt guns) and suppressor work/manufacturing. I've been looking over JET and ShopFox and was just not impressed. Considering a Cutmaster or Grizzly (G4003/G) as well. I'd love to find a decent used machine but most of what I've come across has been 14x40 or larger OR relatively ancient machines needing at best a months worth of cleaning/. Suggestions? Sources? Thanks much.

  2. #2
    jim1crg is offline Plastic
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    Default Foreign Lathe

    Over the last 10 years I have owned three of the foreign lathes, Birmingham, Jet, and Precision Matthews. The Birmingham was sold years ago during a move. I believe the PM is the most accurate. The PM is a 12 / 36 but with a little more foresight I would have bought a 14 / 40. If I were only doing barrel work since I chamber through the headstock the 12/36 would be just fine. I also have owned some HF wood working machines and found them difficult to adjust and that they had a tendency to come out of adjustment quickly during use. For this reason I would not be interested in the HF machinery. PM may still have a 1236 in your price range. Google Precision Matthews for contact info. I've had great customer service and help from Matt at PM.

    Best of luck in all your endeavors.

  3. #3
    75sv1 is offline Cast Iron
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    I think your price range is still high enough for a used American or European made lathe. I would say a good condition SB 10L could be had for that price. Other like a Clausing or Monarch 10EE or others would be there. The Monarch has been discussed about a month ago as a gunsmithing lathe. Probably not the best option. I think you would have to look quite a bit in the used lathe market. Mainly for conditon of the lathe.
    Tom

  4. #4
    boucher is offline Aluminum
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    I lucked into a Nardini 1230 and have been very pleased with it. In hindsight, I would rather have a 1440. I had never heard of Nardini which is made in Brazil. My lathe was in like new condition in a small town that was a most unlikely place...
    Keep your eyes open.

    My Bridgeport also came up nearby advertised in a small local paper. Was used mostly to drill holes in 5 gal plastic buckets....

    A friend bought a Grizzly gunsmith lathe and has been satisfied with his purchase. His only basis of comparison was an older Jet.

    I just missed some good old American equipment because the family wanted to sell it all together and I couldn't afford it at the time. The old timer had a very well equipped shop on a grass strip airport where he repaired old planes.

  5. #5
    sgt5th is offline Plastic
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    Default

    As far as threading goes, in the past I've been using a die and TAT for flash hiders and such. For mounting suppressors I will be threading on the lathe. Forgive the novice question but I've seen some seemingly contradictory explanations online from various people on this calculation; but how do I figure the threading capabilities of a machine? For example, lets say I am threadding an AK 14x1LH or an AR 1/2x28RH. How do I determine if a lathe will cut these ranges? Found a few older SB models on CL, as well as a LUX-MATTER 13x40 import. Buying used might save me some money but looks like I'll be spending it right back on tooling (very few with QCTP, holders, etc). In any case, appreciate the help.

  6. #6
    KIMFAB's Avatar
    KIMFAB is offline Stainless
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    I may have what you need.

    As you might know one of our members, gr8life passed away recently and I have been selected by his widow to sell his equipment.
    Ed bought this Grizzly G4003G new and used it to make specialty equipment for the police and SWAT team.



    It was used mostly on aluminum and it is well equipped with many items such as a collet chuck w/ 72 collets and 50 (yes 50) toolholders.
    It also sports a Grizzly DRO and a VFD along with the stand and a coolant system.

    There supposedly was some kind of lubrication thing with the head that Ed made a modification for and documented it on PM.
    When the search function of PM comes back you could check what it was.

    The machine is located in Las Vegas and we are asking $2800. Dunno what shipping would be.
    I am currently in the process of going thru his equipment and will have more info later if interested.

  7. #7
    KIMFAB's Avatar
    KIMFAB is offline Stainless
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    I didn't realize that I would have this kind of response. I have replied to most of the inquiries but as of this moment sgt5th has dibs on the machine.
    I now have it home on the trailer and as soon as possible I will check it out and advise as to accessories.

    This is too much work for an old man but I feel that the machines need a good home.
    Billh51 likes this.

  8. #8
    KIMFAB's Avatar
    KIMFAB is offline Stainless
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    Sorry, lathe has been sold.

    Health problems coupled with a local buyer forced a quick sale.

    I still can't believe the popularity of this lathe.
    As I was bringing it home I was even stopped on the street by someone interested.

  9. #9
    sgt5th is offline Plastic
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    Sadly that opportunity was lost. But I am looking at a couple other machines that are much closer; one is a Lux Matter 1340, the other a Precision Matthews 1340; both have DRO and are 2500. Both are used, in need of some cleaning but under power and inspectable. The Precision Matthews seems to be in a little bit better shape based on the photos I've seen of it. Both are mid 90's production. Thoughts on these brands?

  10. #10
    sgt5th is offline Plastic
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    So discussing chicom imports is a no-no I find out. Ok, so given the mfg. specs for thread cutting ranges how can accurately calculate if any given machine will cut say 12x28 for example? Say I determine I can cut left hand threads, or modify the gears to do so; same process for figuring if it'll cut metric, say; 14x1LH? Is there a thread table for these conversions or what?

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    Quote Originally Posted by sgt5th View Post
    So discussing chicom imports is a no-no I find out. Ok, so given the mfg. specs for thread cutting ranges how can accurately calculate if any given machine will cut say 12x28 for example? Say I determine I can cut left hand threads, or modify the gears to do so; same process for figuring if it'll cut metric, say; 14x1LH? Is there a thread table for these conversions or what?
    Look on the thread pitch selection on the machine or in the operators manual? You lost me. Most modern lathes will cut most of the common English and metric threads although gear changes are necessary to go from an inch lead screw to a metric one or vise verse.

    Left hand is just a simple matter of reversing the lead screw direction and cutting from the chuck to the tailstock. Its a mechanical trick like cutting double lead screws. Has nothing to do with thread selection.

  12. #12
    J. Randall is offline Stainless
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    I saw your thread over in general, I looked at the links and I don't think Don will give you any static on discussion of the Lux, it is large enough to qualify. The other one he might close your thread. The thread chart should tell you straight out what threads can be cut, be it metric or imperial. If it is capable of cutting a right thread, it is capable of cutting a left hand one also, no gear changes necessary.
    James

  13. #13
    willbird is offline Banned
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    Quote Originally Posted by speerchucker30x3 View Post
    Look on the thread pitch selection on the machine or in the operators manual? You lost me. Most modern lathes will cut most of the common English and metric threads although gear changes are necessary to go from an inch lead screw to a metric one or vise verse.

    Left hand is just a simple matter of reversing the lead screw direction and cutting from the chuck to the tailstock. Its a mechanical trick like cutting double lead screws. Has nothing to do with thread selection.
    A lathe with a quick change instead of change gears is maybe more likely to cut the most common inch threads, metrics can be "interesting" on a machine that has an inch leadscrew from the look of it anyway.

  14. #14
    75sv1 is offline Cast Iron
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    Quote Originally Posted by willbird View Post
    A lathe with a quick change instead of change gears is maybe more likely to cut the most common inch threads, metrics can be "interesting" on a machine that has an inch leadscrew from the look of it anyway.
    Change gears can actually be more flexable. Also, with the proper gears, you can cut metric threads. Still, change gears can get expensive. About $25 to $35 each. I'd say a basic set cost $200. Some lathes like South Bend have metric conversion gears, that can be added. They are not cheap. I'd say $300 for the set.
    If your lathe can do right hand threads, then it can do left hand threads. I can't remeber doing any left hand threads, though. I do remeber one machinsit showing me to put the threading tood holder upside down and run the spindle in reverse for left hand threads.
    Tom

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