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Advice for a lathe for a makerspace

A person needs to take a 12 month, $1,700 training class before they're allowed to use one of these machines? You already have multiple CNCs in the lab. Why would you waste $17K or more on a manual lathe? What is the goal of the makerspace?

Even if I lived in an apartment, with no shop, I would be hard pressed to do anything meaningful given the limited capabilities and steep cost of admission. If I needed something made, I'd be better off designing it and sending it through any number of online quoting services and having it made before I could make it in that lab.

I've started and deleted a response to this thread like five times today because I said if I didn't have anything nice to say..., but this is nuts. Who uses the space now? How many total, individual visitors per month?
 
I'm with others on the liability thing, but ignoring it, consider an older LeBlond Regal. Lighter than a Monarch, still capable of good work. Fairly durable, no hydraulics, You might consider power via an VFD so you can set motor current trip points and forget about loose belts and such.
It should be possible to set up guarding so it must be in place before machine will start. Use a keyswitch so it can't be operated unsupervised.
Thanks! Can you tell me more? What makes a LeBlonde Regal (like say this one: https://www.ebay.com/itm/235515671217) better than say the Grizzly G0824? Is the idea that the LeBlond Regal holds tolerances better than the Grizzly?
 
I am more or less in the "get something used" camp. because it might allow more flexibility in choice of a high-quality machine at relatively lower cost, but -- in trying to get grant funding that's a long shot, more likely to fail especially if the grant is coming from some sort of governmental program. The Precision Matthews machine looks like it would be a viable choice if new is the criterion. One thing to keep in mind for used machines is that they rarely will have all the accessories that you will get with a new machine purchase, such as steady and follower rest. Trying to buy those items for some 40-yr old used lathe may lead to a lot of frustration. I might also suggest looking at Sharp and Victor, although they may go out of range price-wise these days. I bought a Victor 1440 geared-head machine about 2-1/2 years ago for my company's shop, and it seems reasonably solid and decently put together. About $11K at that time, with chucks, rests, and not a lot else.

I would also be mildly concerned about safety and liability, but if you have a crew of generally mature adults as users, and a good track record so far, maybe less of an issue than one might think. Having a manual lathe in a shop like this makes a lot of sense, for those users who need quick prototyping parts, or repair capabilities, for 1-2 parts right now. I have a small one-man commercial prototyping/small lot business and use manual lathes exclusively. There area lot of times when I can spend 6 minutes making a part, rather than 10 minutes on CAD, 15 minutes programming, and then getting the part off the machine 5 minutes later. Sure, a little hyperbole there, but nevertheless, for a wide variety of applications in a "makerspace" (frankly hate that term;-), I would view the capability that a manual lathe brings as essential.

If you plan a VFD as part of the grant funding, you may have more choices of machine to consider. Take your current 220 "single-phase" in and get 220 3-phase out.
 
A person needs to take a 12 month, $1,700 training class before they're allowed to use one of these machines?
[JO: Can you tell me more what you're referring to here?]


You already have multiple CNCs in the lab. Why would you waste $17K or more on a manual lathe?
[JO: I'd like to acquire a lathe because a few of the members want to do things like gunsmithing. In addition, the current lathe isn't really great for doing much of anything.]


What is the goal of the makerspace?
[JO: The goal of the makerspace is provide 24/7 access to high-quality machines and tools in a supportive and comfortable environment where members can work on their projects, meet up with other artists, inventors, craftspeople, and entrepreneurs, take classes to broaden their skills, and get the training they need to transform their ideas into reality.]


Even if I lived in an apartment, with no shop, I would be hard pressed to do anything meaningful given the limited capabilities and steep cost of admission. If I needed something made, I'd be better off designing it and sending it through any number of online quoting services and having it made before I could make it in that lab.
[JO: Ok.]

I've started and deleted a response to this thread like five times today because I said if I didn't have anything nice to say..., but this is nuts. Who uses the space now?
[JO: Mostly hobbyists and artists use the space now.]


How many total, individual visitors per month?
[JO: I don't have that statistic on hand. We currently have 13 members.]
 
Regarding the chuck key being left in the chuck which is the most common issue you can wire a relay that prevents the machine being turned on if the key is not in the holder. Spring on the key is the easiest but people remove the spring.
I was thinking that getting an after market Chuck Guard (https://www.grizzly.com/products/gr...2q-hRd3pKvkErpLdth5gdn0Yb3DC8vWBoC_ToQAvD_BwE) would help solve that problem... You'd really have to work to leave a chuck key in and close a chuck guard.
 
Sounds like you have the lathe ideas pretty well set. Where in Waltham is the makerspace? I used to work off totten pond road (40-odd years ago) and my nephew is working for boston dynamics - I'd like to point him in that direction.
Sure thing. The makerspace is located at 39 Emerson Road, Unit 112, Waltham, MA 02452.
 
Thanks! Can you tell me more? What makes a LeBlonde Regal (like say this one: https://www.ebay.com/itm/235515671217) better than say the Grizzly G0824? Is the idea that the LeBlond Regal holds tolerances better than the Grizzly?
The LeBlond machine you link to is orders of magnitude more machine compared to the Grizzly. It will absolutely hold tolerances better; the mechanisms, gearing, and controls are all made to last in an industrial environment, and it likely weighs 2X-3X the Grizzly machine (shipping weight listed as 1550 lbs for Grizzly).
Your link is a good example of how much additional value you can get in used machines vs. the current crop of import new machines available. But note, no mention of steady rest or follower rest available.
 
40 odd years ago I sold some machines to a similar idea ......for someone living in a unit or rental house ,it was awsome ....IMHO ,the best thing they had was a car hoist .
 
The LeBlond machine you link to is orders of magnitude more machine compared to the Grizzly. It will absolutely hold tolerances better; the mechanisms, gearing, and controls are all made to last in an industrial environment, and it likely weighs 2X-3X the Grizzly machine (shipping weight listed as 1550 lbs for Grizzly).
Your link is a good example of how much additional value you can get in used machines vs. the current crop of import new machines available. But note, no mention of steady rest or follower rest available.
Got it. Thanks specfab! I have to list a new machine for the grant, b/c if I get the grant, I can only "use" the money in Q1 of 2025. That said, if I do get the grant, I hope I can convince them that actually a machine like this one is a better machine etc.

If I did want to buy the LeBlond, I figure I'd have to go to see the machine, cut some chips on it, and inspect it before purchasing. Is that correct and expected in a situation like this?
 
[JO: Can you tell me more what you're referring to here?]


"All Members must take a class on manual machining or an equivalent course of self-study on machining and take a Tool Training and Testing class before using this machine."

[JO: The goal of the makerspace is provide 24/7 access to high-quality machines and tools in a supportive and comfortable environment where members can work on their projects, meet up with other artists, inventors, craftspeople, and entrepreneurs, take classes to broaden their skills, and get the training they need to transform their ideas into reality.]
What's in the video and on the website has already dramatically undershot the mark. That's the problem with most maker spaces: being woefully under-equipped to the point of being nearly useless.

If you happen to purchase this lathe as outlined, it will both be simultaneously a living dinosaur and the biggest piece of equipment in your shop. Maker spaces have things that the average person can't have. Most of the equipment on the list could fit in an apartment bedroom.

If I'm a maker and need to turn some bushings for a project I'm working on, the cost of entry in both time and dollars is too much to justify. At the same time, there is no piece of awesome equipment that is going to entice me to endure that cost of entry and membership.

A manual lathe just ain't that big of a draw. I could make a drawing, drop it onto Xometry and even if they wanted $25 each for four simple hat bushings, it's still cheaper than a couple of months of membership, never mind the cost of the training class, tooling and other incidentals.

Are you employed by them or are you just a rabid enthusiast trying to drag this to success? If it's the latter, abandon this and go find yourself a house with a garage and buy what you want. For every one person who makes it a magical experience, you'll have four talentless numbskulls who will cut their own head off the moment your turn your back but insist on "learning for the sake of their art".
 
The LeBlond machine you link to is orders of magnitude more machine compared to the Grizzly. It will absolutely hold tolerances better; the mechanisms, gearing, and controls are all made to last in an industrial environment, and it likely weighs 2X-3X the Grizzly machine (shipping weight listed as 1550 lbs for Grizzly).
Your link is a good example of how much additional value you can get in used machines vs. the current crop of import new machines available. But note, no mention of steady rest or follower rest available.
Unless you've inspected that machine, you can't make that claim with any certainty. Sure, when it was new those things would be true, but it's clearly seen decades of use which is now mostly covered by a $100 paint job.

Not only that, but some of the "meant to last in an industrial environment" theory is BS. We've all seen great machines beaten into submission by decades of use in those industrial environments, so just being meant for industrial use doesn't mean they don't get worn out like anything else.

I'm not pointing a finger at older machines...both of my current lathes are 50 years old, but I knew that going in, and was willing to deal with the issues that go along with that.
 
The dynamics of grants is that you get one,others miss out........and are angry about that .............soooo ,by buying a new machine at a fixed and transparent price ,you are immune to accusations of malfeasance......very important with public monies.
 
Thanks! Can you tell me more? What makes a LeBlonde Regal (like say this one: https://www.ebay.com/itm/235515671217) better than say the Grizzly G0824? Is the idea that the LeBlond Regal holds tolerances better than the Grizzly?
Specfab covered it well.
If you take a good look at the inside way, you'll see it's angled, it's made from hardened tool steel and has a lot of load bearing area, will stand up under use.
While not as capable as a Monarch, L&S, or Pratt- doesn't have the weight- it's a lot more machine than those you mentioned, it'll do most of what the heavies can do, just take a bit longer to do it.
As far as grants and bids and such, can't help at all. Look at lots of lathes, you'll soon develop a feel for what you need.
 
Older LeBlond better than say the Grizzly G0824? I would say yes, and very much so..
I dont know about the newer LaBlond, but I see many higher quality lathes have hadened and ground gears.
*Some of the complaints noted here by buyers of G machines suggest that G machines are not higest quality, and nearer to to the low end machines.

Old school machines were built to last for a very long time IMHO.
Most/many newer machines have a presumed life thinking that new technology will make them obsolete before they wear out.
Perhaps some of the best lathes are still built to last but I doubt that the Griz being in the lowert price range is compareable to higher end, and high priced machines.
 
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"All Members must take a class on manual machining or an equivalent course of self-study on machining and take a Tool Training and Testing class before using this machine."
[JO: Yes, I require members to take a course on manual machining before using the Bridgeport clone. I think it is prudent that they be trained on how to use the machine safely before they use the machine. That said, they don't have to take the $1,700 12 month course I link to; that is just one I found that is listed from a continuing education school nearby. A lot of members have mechanical engineering degrees, were trained on how to use a mill, and used a machine shop in college; that is perfectly sufficient as well.]

What's in the video and on the website has already dramatically undershot the mark. That's the problem with most maker spaces: being woefully under-equipped to the point of being nearly useless.
[JO: Can you tell me more about that? What do you think dramatically under shots the mark? Why do you think that the makerspace is under-equipped to the point of being useless? What kind of equipment would make a makerspace adequately equipped in your opinion?]

If you happen to purchase this lathe as outlined, it will both be simultaneously a living dinosaur and the biggest piece of equipment in your shop. Maker spaces have things that the average person can't have. Most of the equipment on the list could fit in an apartment bedroom.
[JO: I think that the makerspace I run does have a lot of equipment that an average person (at least an average person in my area) can't reasonably have in their apartment bedroom. The laser cutter, for instance, requires venting and would be out of place in an apartment bedroom. I think the CU300 and the Bridgeport clone would also be out of place in a bedroom... Sure a lot of the hand tools or smaller machines could fit in a bedroom, but that is true of a lot of the machines and tools in every makerspace.]

If I'm a maker and need to turn some bushings for a project I'm working on, the cost of entry in both time and dollars is too much to justify. At the same time, there is no piece of awesome equipment that is going to entice me to endure that cost of entry and membership.
[JO: Thanks for the feedback. I have found some folks who find $49 a month to be enough to justify joining; I hope to find more. While the $1,700 course is quite expensive, the requirement is a manual machining course or equivalent self-study; if you wanted to, you could certainly self-study as a cheaper route. There is another course on a Bridgeport at a neighboring markerspace which is $250 for a few seasons, which would be perfectly adequate. Based on your feedback, I have now added that course to the list of recommended courses on the website to make it easier for prospective and current members to find that option. I'm not trying to exclude people by making it onerous or expensive, I just need to make sure that people know what they are doing enough to not hurt themselves or the machine.]

A manual lathe just ain't that big of a draw. I could make a drawing, drop it onto Xometry and even if they wanted $25 each for four simple hat bushings, it's still cheaper than a couple of months of membership, never mind the cost of the training class, tooling and other incidentals.
[JO: What you are touching on here is the appeal of a makerspace for some people. We live in a world where if you have the money you can either buy pre-made the part you need or purchase machining services over the internet. The point of a makerspace is often not a cheaper way to purchase final products (though occasionally that is the case); the point is often that people want to learn how to make things and/or enjoy the process of making things. You can buy a ready-made table as well, and yet people choose woodworking as a hobby all the time and make their own tables, not because they can't purchase a table or because it is cheaper to make a table themselves, but because they can't find quite what they are looking for and they want to make a table just like they are imagining, or because they enjoy the process of making a table themselves, even if it is the same quality or inferior to a table they could simply purchase pre-made.]

Are you employed by them or are you just a rabid enthusiast trying to drag this to success?
[JO: I am the co-owner and operator of the space. I am not "employed" by it as such, because I don't draw a salary from it, but it is my and my wife's side business.]

If it's the latter, abandon this and go find yourself a house with a garage and buy what you want. For every one person who makes it a magical experience, you'll have four talentless numbskulls who will cut their own head off the moment your turn your back but insist on "learning for the sake of their art".

[JO: Thanks for your feedback. I have a house and a garage. If a person wants to use their garage to store their car, there really isn't a lot of space for a lot of equipment. In addition, a lot of the equipment prefers to be in a temperature controlled and humidity controlled environment, so a garage isn't great. In addition, instead of having equipment only for myself which I only use on weekends, I prefer to try to create a community resource that can be used by many people and try to create a 3rd space where people can find one another and connect. While I appreciate your concern that some people will hurt themselves using the equipment, and I do worry about that happening, I have found that that isn't the case, and that most people are mature enough not to hurt themselves.]
 
I’ve always thought that a 10-12” lathe with a belt driven spindle is best for applications with less experienced users. I’ve had a south bend lathe of one type or another for many years. The spindle torque is limited due to the flat belt drive. When my boys were younger I used to let them use this machine and not the gear driven spindle lathe. I think it would be the difference between broken bones and maybe death if they got wound up in it. Not sure if a v belt drive would be as likely to slip as a flat belt?
 
Some of the comments suggesting training difficulties, safety issues, etc, don't seem to be aware that successful maker spaces have existed across the USA for many years. That doesn't mean suggestions aren't welcome, but I read some comments about how people are gonna die if they have access to a 14" lathe and I just wonder how some of you are still alive. There would be a chicken and egg bootstrapping challenge of growing a space. There is no question that many people have no idea how dangerous a drill press can be (especially one where the belts don't slip), or a table saw. Some people were never meant to work with machinery, or to add a new breaker to a breaker box.

Generally, over the years, those spaces have figured out how to operate within their local community, focused on what people want and need, but also, with a sustainable business model. The membership, training, and certification policies vary. Other maker spaces incorporate those experiences and policies.

Some of the spaces are very well equipped.. Many of them are awesome. Metal, casting, wood working and boat building, fiber arts, welding, etc, whatever. But those spaces aren't just about the machinery, it's about the people and the community - learning from others and collaborating.

 
[JO: Yes, I require members to take a course on manual machining before using the Bridgeport clone. I think it is prudent that they be trained on how to use the machine safely before they use the machine. That said, they don't have to take the $1,700 12 month course I link to; that is just one I found that is listed from a continuing education school nearby. A lot of members have mechanical engineering degrees, were trained on how to use a mill, and used a machine shop in college; that is perfectly sufficient as well.]
When I took a college machine shop class, there was the general shop safety we all got the first session or two. After that, I think basic turning and drilling on the lathe was one hour. Threading was another excercise and we had to have done the turning up to that point. That might have been another 30-40 minutes. And that was it. Make your parts. Call one of us over to inspect your setup before you cut. That's all anyone got for training. About the same for the knee mill or any other piece of equipment.

[JO: Can you tell me more about that? What do you think dramatically under shots the mark? Why do you think that the makerspace is under-equipped to the point of being useless?
On the metal working side, the only thing I saw that wouldn't fit through an apartment doorway was the knee mill. You say the laser wouldn't and maybe not that one but, plenty of pro level lasers that absolutely do fit through one. A benchtop drill press, a mini band saw, etc, etc. I'm not saying that someone should set up a shop in their apartment but, if they're a hobbyist and needing to drill some holes and cut some random small parts, those absolutely would fit. I use that example because there was a guy not six months ago talking about doing exactly that in an apartment.

What kind of equipment would make a makerspace adequately equipped in your opinion?]
That depends on who you want to attract and what your own skills are. I can't answer that. I know lots of engineers who--on paper--would be your customers but, they would expect CNC machines. Not hobby level. A Haas TL-1 and TM-0P would probably be the size a maker space should have. Tons of online training resources, common control between them, portable skills to finding employment by anyone learning them.

And no, I don't know any specific maker spaces that have such equipment. That's why they all seem to attract the touchy-feely artists who make bird houses and have no real aptitude for manufacturing, machines or processes. If you want the skilled people to join who will become your subject matter experts, you have to have something to attract them in the first place. An inventor that wants a benchtop drill press or a mini band saw will just go buy them.

I'm not trying to exclude people by making it onerous or expensive, I just need to make sure that people know what they are doing enough to not hurt themselves or the machine.]
This is what we didn't know. Were the requirements driven by the insurer, a corporate department, town council or? Same applies to gunsmithing since you mentioned that. Some are absolutely forbidden by their overlords from making anything related to firearms, car or motorcycle parts, anything that goes on a flying aircraft, etc.

[JO: What you are touching on here is the appeal of a makerspace for some people. We live in a world where if you have the money you can either buy pre-made the part you need or purchase machining services over the internet. The point of a makerspace is often not a cheaper way to purchase final products (though occasionally that is the case); the point is often that people want to learn how to make things and/or enjoy the process of making things.
Ehhh, you hit on the mission statement of being able to attract entrepreneurs, inventors, etc. They're going to fill the top of your mentoring capability. It used to be that they couldn't get onesy-twosy parts made. With machining service sites, you could literally get a birdhouse made out of mahogany and titanium and delivered in under a month.

As a designer or engineer, machines were always a means to an end. If I need to build a prototype, I either needed access to machines or a way to get the parts made without constantly being told no by shops too busy to take the job. That doesn't necessarily mean a new turbo encabulator. The invention might be foot pegs for my motorcycle but, the point is: there was a gap between Solidworks and my Kawasaki. That need isn't so much anymore because Xometry and others will make those parts for less than we can often buy the material.

While I appreciate your concern that some people will hurt themselves using the equipment, and I do worry about that happening, I have found that that isn't the case, and that most people are mature enough not to hurt themselves.]
They'll find you. I promise. This is a professional forum. One of the ongoing rants by owners is how to find machinists who aren't lazy, dumb or both. Everyone has stories of the dumb guy who did the dumb thing and killed or nearly killed themselves, broke something, crashed something. By being in this industry, those people have already self-selected themselves to be the top of the skill heap compared to the general public.

You will have the bored craft person who thinks you scan a picture into some computer, dump it into a CNC mill and it makes the part magically. You'll offer to train them on everything involved but, they won't have any interest at all in learning a CAD program or a CAM program or the CNC control, or tooling or any of the other skills needed to bridge that chasm. You'll be labeled all kinds of awful things if you don't sit and hold their pathetic hand every step of the way. If those people outnumber the skilled people, the maker space fails.
 
" I prefer to try to create a community resource that can be used by many people and try to create a 3rd space where people can find one another and connect."

For me, in 1982 or so, this was the adult ed machine shop class given at Minute Man Tech, in Lexington. 1) for the naysayers, this was an adult ed class where the first lesson was regarding safe practice in the shop. All users were continuously monitored by the instructor and a helper. There were few injuries. The most dangerous machine in the shop was the pedestal grinder. 2) the unanticipated benefit (by me, obviously not by you) involved the personal connections that developed between the students. Not sure if MM Tech still exists these days - but I still have the two 'completion certificates' from those days, and they are among my most cherished documents.
 








 
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