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Hobby lathe or combo machine

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GregSY

Diamond
Joined
Jan 1, 2005
Location
Houston
You could always go for the dream of every machinist - pick up the paper one morning to see a tiny ad listing 'metal tool' for $500. For kicks, you call the number only to hear the voice of some widow whose 85 year old husband recently died, and she needs to sell off his stuff as she needs money to pay for her 20 year old daughter's education*. You drive over - it's only 3 miles away - to find a spotless Monarch lathe with 6 Lista cabinets full of Swiss tooling. You practically fall over, knowing there is a mint's worth of money sitting in front of you. You begin wringing your hands, telling the widow it's all outdated worthless junk and tell her you can pay $200 cash for it, and she gratefully accepts.

*She has a 20 year old daughter because she is 40 years old, and in addition to losing her husband just finished a long and successful career in modeling. She dislikes talking most of the time, but does tell you she is badly in need of a meaningless, non-committal sexual relationship once a week after bowling and cooking a delicious meal for two.
 

Spud

Diamond
Joined
Jan 12, 2006
Location
Brookfield, Wisconsin
Did occaisional machining for over 20yrs at work and the place closed down. Now 3 jobs later still doing occaisional machining and fabrication this new job does not allow Government work even off the clock.
I've always had projects and have one I need to complete within the next 2 months for my tractor or I'll have to pay someone to do it for me.

Space is an issue so anything I buy can't be as big as the Leblonde or Bridgeport grade machines I'm used to. We did have a tiny Harbor freight bench top lathe for tiny parts that was junk but worked ok sometimes.
I would like to find something in between. I have a 5ftx3ft area in my garage it could fit or a slightly larger area in my basement hobby room.

I've turned a lot of shafts and see that being a main part of my use.
The largest pass through the chuck I can get the better to keep the bed shorter. I've threaded on occasion, but bushings and shafts will be 99% of my lathe use. A combo unit would be nice too tho since I don't have a drill press and precise hole spacing would be very handy for other projects vs a caliper, center punch and hand drill. DRO is nice but not required.
I don't need to hog material off and have plenty of time to make parts. I do not want to be spending that time fixing a crappy machine tho so robustness and accuracy is a definite requirement.
Budget- $3k max but lower end of that and used would be ideal unless its a combo unit to help justify higher cost and use for a combo unit.
I've seen a few used units on Facebook marketplace but skeptical if I will get the accuracy I need.

Any Suggestions? Especially that fit my use and large pass-through needs which don't seem to come up often.
2-1/2 to 3 inch would be ideal if such a thing exists on a small lathe. As of the date of older threads I've found it wasn't at the time of the posts. Hopefully things have changed lately.


Do NOT buy a combo machine. Have read enough posts here over the years and seen them, they are a waste of money.

For your tight space requirements I would look for a used Wabeco or if you decide to expand the budged, a new Wabeco. These are small bench-top machines of good quality.

If you do not mind importing from Europe, you have a much larger selection of high quality used bench-top machines, but you will probably pay 1-1500 in shipping.
 

CITIZEN F16

Titanium
Joined
May 2, 2021
I guess that depends on how expectations were set up front.
We’re assuming that a regularly used vehicle is what fills the rest of the garage.

The only time a car has been in the garage of a home I owned or rented was when I was working on it. Most all the people I knew that parked in garages were the white collar type that hired all the household maintenance jobs out.
I have probably had a single car garage worth of tools and equipment ever since I remember.
 

CITIZEN F16

Titanium
Joined
May 2, 2021
You could always go for the dream of every machinist - pick up the paper one morning to see a tiny ad listing 'metal tool' for $500. For kicks, you call the number only to hear the voice of some widow whose 85 year old husband recently died, and she needs to sell off his stuff as she needs money to pay for her 20 year old daughter's education*. You drive over - it's only 3 miles away - to find a spotless Monarch lathe with 6 Lista cabinets full of Swiss tooling. You practically fall over, knowing there is a mint's worth of money sitting in front of you. You begin wringing your hands, telling the widow it's all outdated worthless junk and tell her you can pay $200 cash for it, and she gratefully accepts.

*She has a 20 year old daughter because she is 40 years old, and in addition to losing her husband just finished a long and successful career in modeling. She dislikes talking most of the time, but does tell you she is badly in need of a meaningless, non-committal sexual relationship once a week after bowling and cooking a delicious meal for two.

Damn near every time I go look at something it is way worse than expected, especially vehicles.
 

Scottl

Diamond
Joined
Nov 3, 2013
Location
Eastern Massachusetts, USA
You could always go for the dream of every machinist - pick up the paper one morning to see a tiny ad listing 'metal tool' for $500. For kicks, you call the number only to hear the voice of some widow whose 85 year old husband recently died, and she needs to sell off his stuff as she needs money to pay for her 20 year old daughter's education*. You drive over - it's only 3 miles away - to find a spotless Monarch lathe with 6 Lista cabinets full of Swiss tooling. You practically fall over, knowing there is a mint's worth of money sitting in front of you. You begin wringing your hands, telling the widow it's all outdated worthless junk and tell her you can pay $200 cash for it, and she gratefully accepts.

*She has a 20 year old daughter because she is 40 years old, and in addition to losing her husband just finished a long and successful career in modeling. She dislikes talking most of the time, but does tell you she is badly in need of a meaningless, non-committal sexual relationship once a week after bowling and cooking a delicious meal for two.

Man, when you dream you dream big! why did you leave out the part about winning a huge jackpot on Powerball?
 

drcoelho

Stainless
Joined
Feb 19, 2017
Location
Los Altos
To OP, just because you want something for $3K doesn't mean you will find it. You really have not confronted the reality that having a home machine shop is a VERY expensive hobby. You are better off IMHO just out-sourcing your needs to a local machine shop. IF you really want to get into this hobby, you're gonna need a lot more cash to get started. I was in the same situation as you a few years back, targeted very small benchtop machines initially and spent 10s of thousands of dollars, then realized part way through that process that these little machines were just too limited, and started setting up a real shop with professional machines and bumped my budgets by 10-100x. I REPEAT, THIS IS A VERY EXPENSIVE HOBBY.

You could of course buy some shit chinese product, but you will be immediately confronted with a whole bunch of problems that will be very frustrating. The folks that I am aware of that make these machines work properly have torn them apart and done wholesale replacement of major parts of the machines to get them working. AND, in every case, these folks will tell you the whole experience was a mistake and they would have NOT purchased said machine.

If you want to trade time versus money, you can get old good quality machines that need a lot of work to get running, but you are looking at months to years of repair work if you are doing this yourself in your part-time.

And that large bore spindle on a lathe IS JUST NOT GONNA HAPPEN in your very small space, such a beast just does not exist.

One other parameter: your space. IF you had a LOT more space, you could buy a VERY LARGE old lathe in excellent shape for practically nothing. You would however also need the proper foundation and massive electrical panel (3phase) to support such a beast, and you would have to pay for riggers and shipping. Most folks don't have this much available space in their garages, etc...

And my last thought: you probably should visit the hobby machinst web sites, there are thousands of folks on those sites that have the exact same mind-set that you have, want a lathe on the cheap and don't have much space. Maybe some folks there can give you insite into how to aquire and setup such a lathe. Folks on this site are doing professional quality work and just cannot fathom doing work with the kind of machine you will be limited to with your budget and size.
 

Cole2534

Diamond
Joined
Sep 10, 2010
Location
Oklahoma City, OK
I call this silly. Couldn’t imagine a Tool & Die Machinist couldn’t see this one through. I’m an amateur w intermittent odd products at hi enough tolerance sold to certain professional folk in various work industries, I’ve been getting away with it for awhile, but Im green w envy at the sheer unreasonableness of the OP’s envelope and demands he’s wanting a machine for. So it’s really a mystery machine to me.

Whattttt? You don't have a hollow spindle bench lathe?
 

rrrgcy

Aluminum
Joined
Jun 5, 2013
Location
South Florida
Whattttt? You don't have a hollow spindle bench lathe?
Not any more. I know your new Mazak is 3"+. But, my SB at home and the Hardinge-n-Hendey w/ access, had those weird hole things that run like the entire length in their headstock spindles but I soundly plugged and cap-welded them up solid. That way the swarf doesn't go back there anymore when boring. But now I can't cut between centers anymore so if anyone knows of a lathe that can run stock between centers (and not using the chuck), and is painted zebra colors OEM from the factory, please let me know. Oh, and it has to be French because that's my need. And newer, too. That Zebra color from the factory is important because I need it to turn out alloy parts like this.
 

jccaclimber

Hot Rolled
Joined
Nov 22, 2015
Location
San Francisco
Not to be on topic or anything like that, but the OP did express that they wouldn’t mind saving up to a higher price point until their capability requirements were met. What is the smallest lathe with a 3” spindle through hole? How do driveshaft shops do this, or do they all have a monster lathe on hand?

You all mention cutting down a big lathe. Not a small task, but I’ve seen that on a factory Clausing Colchester. It was whatever the next size or two up from the 15”x50” is. The shop it was in had a couple 15x50s and needed more diameter but didn’t have the floor space for a 20x80. They special ordered it as a 20x50ish, but it was very clear looking at it that the factory had simply cut down a longer bed and put on a shorter lead screw.
 

rrrgcy

Aluminum
Joined
Jun 5, 2013
Location
South Florida
Not to be on topic or anything like that, but the OP did express that they wouldn’t mind saving up to a higher price point until their capability requirements were met.


I have a 5ftx3ft area in my garage it could fit

We are on-topic: he mentioned $3k NOW (but who knows someday in the future $10k). Yeah, go fit something in that with a 3" bore. You're used to measuring to ten-thou, but spread your feet out comfortably wide on the floor and stick your arm out in front as far as it can go. That's your space. This is mental circle-you-know-what at this point, all-cosmic and theoretical trying to solve his problem and requirements.
 

PDW

Diamond
Joined
Jul 24, 2006
Location
Australia (Hobart)
Yes, I'm looking for a unicorn lathe so it seems and either way ill keep looking until I find it or my wants change.
For the time being I'd like to find a reasonably cheap lighter weight newer smaller unit with big ish bore no smaller than 2"

I think YOU are missing the point.

We are telling you that in all our accumulated experience, no such lathe has been made. Nobody here has ever seen or heard of one.

It doesn't matter what you want if it doesn't exist.

So you need to either build it yourself or change your wants.

If the big bore is most important you'll have to find the smallest lathe that has it and buy one of those.

It is actually possible to shorten a bed. Not trivial and not really advisable but possible.

A UK made lathe is probably a better bet than a US made one because for some reason the US machines had pathetically small spindle bores for their size compared to the UK ones. Some of the Colchesters had quite respectable spindle bores, as did Dean Smith & Grace lathes.

Regardless you're looking at a 2 tonne machine.

PDW
 

michiganbuck

Diamond
Joined
Jun 28, 2012
Location
Mt Clemens, Michigan 48035
Through the headstock may not be the best thinking because even in a 4jaw, through the head often has wobble.
Having a cat head at the rear end would eliminate this problem but few guys have that.
Many large diameter parts are better done between centers or in a steady. That way such as bearing fits are running one end true to the other. It is not uncommon to put centers in a part with using a tall drill press.
Finding a 36 or 48" lathe with a 3"+ bore is likely rare and a High HP machine.

Back in the day, the combination square was used to set the center with a scribe and a punch to about .005
iGaging Premium 4-Piece 12" 4R Combination Square - Carpentry Squares - Amazon.com
 

Sparkynutz

Plastic
Joined
Mar 4, 2022
Well. Contrary to all the negative nancies here hell bent on telling me what I want does not exist I put out a question on another forum with a few great replies. One of the replies gave me 5 make and model brand new lathes and one older no longer made lathe to look into.
The cheapest new unit being just over $4k new and most being $13k new with all the bells and whistles with VFD and DRO
The most appealing one to me is the RML-1430 and just over double $3k budget. Easily doable by the time I price shop and look for similar alternatives or a used machine.
Like I said earlier, I didn't know where to look but glad I didn't put all my eggs in one basket only asking here.
I'd bet money on there being more makes and models too, I just haven't found them yet. Or that just haven't been made yet. Nobody knows what will be on the market a few years from now.
 

ignator

Cast Iron
Joined
Oct 8, 2012
Location
Marion, Iowa
Well. Contrary to all the negative nancies here hell bent on telling me what I want does not exist I put out a question on another forum with a few great replies. One of the replies gave me 5 make and model brand new lathes and one older no longer made lathe to look into.
The cheapest new unit being just over $4k new and most being $13k new with all the bells and whistles with VFD and DRO
The most appealing one to me is the RML-1430 and just over double $3k budget. Easily doable by the time I price shop and look for similar alternatives or a used machine.
Like I said earlier, I didn't know where to look but glad I didn't put all my eggs in one basket only asking here.
I'd bet money on there being more makes and models too, I just haven't found them yet. Or that just haven't been made yet. Nobody knows what will be on the market a few years from now.
Where are you at? Just looking at Facebook market place, here's a lathe with a 2" through the head stock;
Log into Facebook
asking $1300, that's very light surface rust. Tooling looks like crap, but there may be some, just no photos. The video shows it running.
This is in Olin Iowa, You don't have a city in Wisconsin shown, so you may be way on the other side of the state. But there's many lathes that come up with just metal lathe keywords.
lathe.jpg
If your near the towns along the lake, you will find much old iron.
 

rrrgcy

Aluminum
Joined
Jun 5, 2013
Location
South Florida
I have a 5ftx3ft area in my garage it could fit or a slightly larger area in my basement hobby room.

Budget- $3k max but lower end of that and used would be ideal unless its a combo unit to help justify higher cost and use for a combo unit.

2-1/2 to 3 inch would be ideal if such a thing exists on a small lathe.

Congrats finding your lathe, sincerely, and please post photos when it’s installed in your garage or basement. How soon best situation? Want to see your solution, general costs, and share your experience w the seller if a domestic dealer.
 

52 Ford

Stainless
Joined
May 20, 2021
Did occaisional machining for over 20yrs at work and the place closed down. Now 3 jobs later still doing occaisional machining and fabrication this new job does not allow Government work even off the clock.
I've always had projects and have one I need to complete within the next 2 months for my tractor or I'll have to pay someone to do it for me.

Space is an issue so anything I buy can't be as big as the Leblonde or Bridgeport grade machines I'm used to. We did have a tiny Harbor freight bench top lathe for tiny parts that was junk but worked ok sometimes.
I would like to find something in between. I have a 5ftx3ft area in my garage it could fit or a slightly larger area in my basement hobby room.

I've turned a lot of shafts and see that being a main part of my use.
The largest pass through the chuck I can get the better to keep the bed shorter. I've threaded on occasion, but bushings and shafts will be 99% of my lathe use. A combo unit would be nice too tho since I don't have a drill press and precise hole spacing would be very handy for other projects vs a caliper, center punch and hand drill. DRO is nice but not required.
I don't need to hog material off and have plenty of time to make parts. I do not want to be spending that time fixing a crappy machine tho so robustness and accuracy is a definite requirement.
Budget- $3k max but lower end of that and used would be ideal unless its a combo unit to help justify higher cost and use for a combo unit.
I've seen a few used units on Facebook marketplace but skeptical if I will get the accuracy I need.

Any Suggestions? Especially that fit my use and large pass-through needs which don't seem to come up often.
2-1/2 to 3 inch would be ideal if such a thing exists on a small lathe. As of the date of older threads I've found it wasn't at the time of the posts. Hopefully things have changed lately.

Home shop lathe. https://www.practicalmachinist.com/...1202849530-w-f-barnes-lathe-100_2785x2-2-.jpg
 

PeteM

Diamond
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Location
West Coast, USA
So, to recap, the OP wants a lathe that will fit in a 36" x 60" max space, with about a 3" spindle bore, for $3K. Oh, and that is a decent milling machine and drill press as well.

I'd like one of those as well. Preferably complete with chucks that pass 3" and a full set of collets that pass, say, 2.5" stock. Probably going to want center and steady rests, too, what with all the big shafts it will be turning on something like a 24-30" bed.

Digger pulls his chain.

56 posts later, it's still unobtanium.
 

PDW

Diamond
Joined
Jul 24, 2006
Location
Australia (Hobart)
Where are you at? Just looking at Facebook market place, here's a lathe with a 2" through the head stock;
Log into Facebook
asking $1300, that's very light surface rust. Tooling looks like crap, but there may be some, just no photos. The video shows it running.
This is in Olin Iowa, You don't have a city in Wisconsin shown, so you may be way on the other side of the state. But there's many lathes that come up with just metal lathe keywords.
View attachment 343663
If your near the towns along the lake, you will find much old iron.

Yeah, sure, that's going to fit into the amount of space you specified, uh huh, OK.

Nobody said you couldn't get a big bore lathe.

If you've found some that fit inside the dimensions and price you specified, list them else they don't exist.

Edit: This is the Colchester I was thinking of.

Colchester Mascot Lathe - 1950s Model

Note 2 things:

It has the spindle bore you want

AND

It's way, way, waaay bigger than the space you want a lathe to fit into.


PDW
 
Last edited:

Ultradog MN

Aluminum
Joined
Jun 14, 2020
Sparkynutz,
Looks like the usual dead beats and hog washers are here in force tonight.
Don't let them run you off. You CAN get good, serious advice here but you have to sort through the trash sometimes..
What is your location?
There is what looks like a pretty nice little Sheldon showed up on Minneapolis Craigslist tonight. Doesn't have the spindle bore you want but...
What I want to know is the brand/model tractor you keep.
I have one of my Ford tractors in my wife's stall. Have to pay her $50 a month to rent it.
 

Sparkynutz

Plastic
Joined
Mar 4, 2022
Yeah, sure, that's going to fit into the amount of space you specified, uh huh, OK.

Nobody said you couldn't get a big bore lathe.

If you've found some that fit inside the dimensions and price you specified, list them else they don't exist.

Edit: This is the Colchester I was thinking of.

Colchester Mascot Lathe - 1950s Model

Note 2 things:

It has the spindle bore you want

AND

It's way, way, waaay bigger than the space you want a lathe to fit into.


PDW

I did list the model of one above. 81" overall length with just over 2 inch bore and about $9k brand new delivered give or take a few k depending on accessories and vendor.
There's also a couple posts about it or very similar models on this very forum all saying they are good machines.
I've only seriously been looking for a few days. I have no problem searching and researching 2 months or 5 years for the right machine. It is out there. How do you think lathes were invented in the first place? It didn't just magically exist. There was a demand and many smart people that developed the thousands or more different models available today. 100 years ago threading may not have been an option on a lathe or power feed. There was no demand for bitcoins and other crypto 30 years ago and look how much time money and effort that is currently going into it.
I doubt there's many lathe owners alive that would say they definitely have no use in a bigger bore. Typically I see comments saying they wish it was atleast marginally larger. Sooner or later units will be available if the demand is there.
Or keep telling yourself you can only buy a Black Ford like Henry intended.
 
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