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01-30-2011, 06:04 AM #1
Off Topic: Best Quality Manual Lathe?
Although very popular machines, I've read (and I believe it) that SB machines were not the best quality machines available. The popularity was largely based on price. Today I think they enjoy a cult following because of the amount of older units/parts and accessories available to the hobby market.
My question to the older...I mean more experienced machinists is this:
If you could have any manual lathe in you shop. Assume it is fully tooled and getting parts/accessories is not a problem, what would it be and why? Where did SB fall short on quality/functionality?
01-30-2011, 08:43 AM #2
Hmmm, how about a Hardinge when tenth's count, and a big'ish large-thruhole like a Harrison to cover much of what else might come thru the door?
01-30-2011, 09:21 AM #3
It's like asking what you would rather have, a Phillips screwdriver or a straight slot. It all depends on what you intend to do with it. I hope the analogy doesn't sound rude, as that is not my intention
Last edited by knudsen; 01-30-2011 at 09:24 AM. Reason: Add obligatory smiley to keep the peace :)
01-30-2011, 09:38 AM #4
not rude at all
...consider your doing the same type work that you do with the SB that you have now. Would you keep the SB or is there a machine that you would rather have instead.....?
01-30-2011, 09:51 AM #5
I am glad you asked this question. I have been meaning to post a similar question. I have often heard of SB owners and machinist talk about certain shortcomings of the various SB lathes. I have always been interested in a consensus of what these shortcomings were and what the alternatives may be.
...........not that I have the $, or inclination to replace my beloved 9A, just a hypothetical exercise.
I am going to subscribe to this post
01-30-2011, 10:12 AM #6
If money was not an issue hardinge or monarch. If you have to carry it down a set of steps to your basement 12" clausing/12" logan/ Heavy ten. The popcorn is on the stove this one is going to be good.
Last edited by jayhawkman; 01-30-2011 at 10:54 AM. Reason: added clausing
01-30-2011, 10:40 AM #7
perhaps not the best quality machine ever built but for what i do and the way i work(slowly) i can`t imagine a better machine for me than the SB 9" or 10K. it`s incredibly simple(simple machines for simple minds!) and about as idiot proof as you can get. if i had a Monarch(probably the best built machine ever) i`d be screwed the first time there was a problem with the drive. i`m happy with what i`ve got!
01-30-2011, 10:54 AM #8
For medium work -- Mori Seiki 17 or SAG 14/17
For big work -- American Pacemaker
But, and again not to be rude, the question is a bit like asking, "What car would you buy?" There are so many variables in usage, there's no one lathe (or car) that does it all.
neilho liked this post
01-30-2011, 11:09 AM #9
If original poster would like maybe we could change the question to best small shop manual lathe.
01-30-2011, 11:11 AM #10
For a very precision lathe, it would be a Hardinge or Monarch 10EE, for a generall toolroom machine as in a do it all machine, I would stick with a LeBlond Regal around 15". Tough as nails, easy to work on if need be, simple good design and will hold tolerances good and will take very heavy cuts at speed without tearing the machine up. For really large work, its hard to beat a Pacemaker.
01-30-2011, 11:44 AM #11
I was recently at a friends making some parts on a metric/english Hardinge HLV, and within its size capabilities I think it would be the perfect small/home shop machine. The nice threading capabilities plus the dual gearbox is magic. Most of what I make is small, but I have to admit I feel cramped using the Hardinge, compared to my long bed 10" Logan. Everything is tight and I can't imagine getting a TP grinder in there. OTOH, if one had a nice HLV, it would probably qualify as a sin to even think about a TP grinder- just hard turn. If I had an HLV I'd also add an air fitting to the tail stock- that thing is just hard to move even when well oiled.
01-30-2011, 12:07 PM #12
Ask the monarch guys, it's a 10EE.
Ask the hardinge guys, it's an EM HLVH.
Ask the big iron guys, probably american pacemaker.
Ask the antique guys, probably a pedal-driven Barnes.
Ask the Euro guys, probably a shaublin.
Ask the Deckel guys, they'll tell ya, they don't need a lathe!
01-30-2011, 12:12 PM #13
01-30-2011, 04:23 PM #14
In addition to my 10L, over the years I've run a 13" SB, (helluva workhorse with precision capabilities) a Monarch, A Rockwell tool room model & a Jap 16", can't remember what name along with an Atlas & some very old lathes with lion claw feet. I liked all of them when I was running them.
I think a lot of the popularity is because of availability. At one point most high schools in America had them. Another factor is that they were very well made, robust & dependable.
01-30-2011, 05:35 PM #15
Hendey, A 9x24 tool and gauge for the little stuff and any of the gear heads for the bigger stuff.
01-30-2011, 05:54 PM #16
01-30-2011, 06:04 PM #17
In my case it would be a split-bed hardinge, a 7" pratt whitney bench lathe, and
a seneca falls star lathe. If you took away the 10L, that is.
To be fair over the years it's been a 9" atlas, a 9" model A southbend, two
different 10Ls, one of which I still own. And the ones mentioned above.
I have a close friend who says "motorcycles are like women. Your favorite
one is the one you're on at the time."
I think something like that is appropriate here. The one you're running, at that
01-30-2011, 07:11 PM #18
Most of it is the machinist not the lathe
A good machinist can make most lathes turn to .0001 on small lathes and very large lathes turn .0005" even if the lathe is 100 year old bad ways and all.
01-30-2011, 10:24 PM #19
Maybe I missed it in the mix but no one mentioned a clausing seems I heard it called the cadilac of shop lathes by someone smitty
01-31-2011, 08:22 AM #20
How about some love for England's finest, the Dean Smith Grace.