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Anyone up for a Mazak manual lathe history lesson? Rex vs Hercules/Ajax...


Jan 6, 2013
Missouri, USA
I've run quite a few Mazak Hercules era manual lathes, and currently own one. I am looking for a larger swing (24-30")and more horsepower (20hp), so it's come time to add another Mazak manual. I am very familiar with the Hercules/Ajax, but not at all with the Rex line.

Can anyone give me some insight as to the difference in models? The horsepower and spindle bore are the same for the size lathes I'm looking at. The dials and handles are a bit different, but appear to have the same functionalities.

I absolutely love all the Hercules I've owned and ran. Will I be as happy if I add a Rex?

Many thanks!
i like the mazaks and have seen a few styles the REX is a reasonable size lathe.
They are getting old now so i would think if someone gives one up it may need some regrinding and rebuilding work done to it.
There was a lathe at a place i worked at it don't recall the brand but it would take a 0.0005 cut off the od and come up like glass.
It was super easy to use.
The closest thing i see that it could have been is a Takang lathe as it looks very similar.
Takang USA Inc

Not USA made or japan made though.

Best to try a lathe out for yourself to see what you think, no matter if you buy a REX or other.
Like the japanese machine tools all the same pity they don't make them now and/ or with improvements such as a disc foot brake.
Will I be as happy if I add a Rex?

A Mazak Rex 24", 30" or 34" swing "Heavy Duty" lathe makes the Ajax/Hercules models feel like toys. :drool5:

The Rex has a 4.25" spindle bore, MT-6 tailstock and the ones we had were equipped with a D-11 chuck mount. This is no toy lathe.

Not sure on the motor HP, but I failed to ever make the machine grunt. It would push a 2.25" insert drill through a piece of steel with the carriage like it was nothing. I have never ran a lathe more powerful than the 24" this one, and it is still in service. Beast of a machine. I like it.

Add a good DRO to it (Newall) and the machine can hold a few tenths on size no problem.

The machine we have has no footbrake, but push the lever down and it brakes the spindle electronically, which can be adjusted from slow to quick stop.

One thing to note, the machine NEEDS to be phased correctly. There is a 3 phase motor that oils the headstock. Phase the machine backwards and the headstock gets no oil.


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I know where a long bed Ajax is, I don't know about the swing size, I'll check and let you know, Also has a Cincinnati hydro shift
Both are in great shape, under power, and well tooled
Great info guys! That's what I was looking for. It appeared the model lines overlapped through the years, and I wanted to be sure the Rex wasn't a lesser or "economy" model.

Philabuster, I can attest to the power of the Hercules. And mine has a similar brake. I am excited to pick one of these up.

Thanks again everyone!
I have started a FB Group page called "Mazak Hercules Ajax Manual Lathe"
Mazak Hercules Ajax Manual Lathe to share information on these Mazak Manual Lathes. Doesn't seem to be much information anywhere out there so I am hoping info can be posted and shared on this site. Join if you're interested.