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WTB Engine Lathe - single phase (120V or 240V) for hobbyist

Deude-Mann

Aluminum
Joined
Mar 27, 2021
I am looking for an engine/metal lathe I can use in my personal hobby shop for small to medium TBD projects.
Some basic wants:
- Operational as-is, ready to work. I'm not looking for a restoration project.
- Something in the 8" x 20" range or larger. I do not need a 120" 480V three-phase monster please.
- Single phase power (120V or 240V OK) or comes with a power converter
- Manual is fine. DRO would be nice.
- Three jaw chuck
- Quick change tool post
- Some existing cutting tools would be useful (just getting started with lathe work)
- Around 2000 lbs max weight so I can move it on my end.
- Benchtop is OK though a table would be nice
- Single headstock (turret not needed)

I am located in the San Antonio, TX area and will travel within Texas for the right deal.

Thanks
 

Deude-Mann

Aluminum
Joined
Mar 27, 2021
$2K to $3K with some basic tools. I know about the Grizzlys and the Littlemachineshop items but an experienced PROFESSIONAL machinist friend of mine has convinced me to go bigger and get a used, 'real' lathe if I can find a decent deal on one.
 
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thermite

Diamond
I'll go big if I can find one in my budget!

No, try to go "common" instead. More potential choices in 14" X 30" to 40".
Minumum nominal 10". Not over 16".

That range has easily a hundred "brands" if but 1/4 as many actually different builders.
3/4 of them, these days, are Asiatic garbage.

The OTHER 25% can range from "decent" to borderline legendary.

Your mass & money budget only gets you "decent".

It SHOULD have a 3-P motor. Runnng a basic RPC is the low-tech, "Just F(aithfully)ing Works" solution as no on-machine wiring needs any alteration.
 

richard newman

Titanium
Joined
Jul 28, 2006
Location
rochester, ny
I am casting a broad net but I saw after I posted this that hobbyists are shunned at this particular forum. So I'll STFU if that is what is called for here.

It's hobby lathes, not hobbyists that are not permitted. There are plenty of members who will happily give you good advice, as well as those who will give you a hard time, at least at first. Just try not to be thin skinned and take offense, and whatever you do, don't cop an attitude and be an asshole. The level of knowledge and experience on this forum is well worth it.
 

dalmatiangirl61

Titanium
Joined
Jan 31, 2011
Location
BFE Nevada/San Marcos Tx
I am casting a broad net but I saw after I posted this that hobbyists are shunned at this particular forum. So I'll STFU if that is what is called for here.

Not necessarily shunned, but you have to be realistic. Guaranteed plug and play ready, with tooling, under 3K, is a tall order. I chased a nice little lathe on auction 2 weeks ago, well tooled, zero guaranty, 12 hour drive away, it sold for 4K+ 18% buyers premium, + tax. You can find nice machines on auction, no guarantees, might be a sweet deal, might be a can of worms, you won't know until you play. Seems like a lot of people have a lot of free time on their hands this past year, cash too, the small lathe market is saturated with first time buyers, and you are late to the game. I would suggest either search really hard, up your budget, or be willing to take on a project. Looks like you missed some Jet lathes on auction at Texas State earlier this month, no idea what they brought. Quick look on CL SA shows slim pickens, this one is nice and fits your bill, but not budgetLATHE MAIER ( EMCO ) AUSTRIAN - tools - by owner - sale
 

Deude-Mann

Aluminum
Joined
Mar 27, 2021
It's hobby lathes, not hobbyists that are not permitted. There are plenty of members who will happily give you good advice, as well as those who will give you a hard time, at least at first. Just try not to be thin skinned and take offense, and whatever you do, don't cop an attitude and be an asshole. The level of knowledge and experience on this forum is well worth it.

No worries then, thanks. That's why I came here, it looks like a good site based on the posts I have read so far. I have been in forums that haze before so I get it. Answering questions that have been answered a thousand times gets old and clutters up the forum, and who wants to help people that cannot even search before asking?
 

Deude-Mann

Aluminum
Joined
Mar 27, 2021
Not necessarily shunned, but you have to be realistic. Guaranteed plug and play ready, with tooling, under 3K, is a tall order. I chased a nice little lathe on auction 2 weeks ago, well tooled, zero guaranty, 12 hour drive away, it sold for 4K+ 18% buyers premium, + tax. You can find nice machines on auction, no guarantees, might be a sweet deal, might be a can of worms, you won't know until you play. Seems like a lot of people have a lot of free time on their hands this past year, cash too, the small lathe market is saturated with first time buyers, and you are late to the game. I would suggest either search really hard, up your budget, or be willing to take on a project. Looks like you missed some Jet lathes on auction at Texas State earlier this month, no idea what they brought. Quick look on CL SA shows slim pickens, this one is nice and fits your bill, but not budgetLATHE MAIER ( EMCO ) AUSTRIAN - tools - by owner - sale

Yes there is not much available locally so I'm broadening my search range to the triangle: SA, Austin, DFW, Houston, etc.. I'd like to get my hands on one and verify its condition then haul it home myself rather than having it shipped. I've got trailers and a fork lift on this end so I can move and unload it as long as it's not too heavy.

I saw those Jet lathes, just missed them. That probably would have worked assuming they were functional.

I also saw that Emco. That is definitely out of my price range.
 

thermite

Diamond
Good info, thanks. I'll look in that range.

Chasing $6,000 worth of lathe with $3,000 budget is "hard time" enough, so you should be good, going forward whilst we get to watch you squirm under the stress we've already been through!

The most learned of behavioural scientists once constructed a maze with exactly and only four means of escape in different order of difficulty to detect and utilize.

Cameras in place, they put an APE into the maze to see which exit was used so as to measure how close the ape was to human intelligence levels.

Naturally, the ape went out a FIFTH way.

He was bound only by his own limits. Not by their limits.

It will be interesting to see your "fifth way" to acquire that lathe as it develops.

Well... about the ten-thousandth, actually?

Wotever ...Game ON!

:popcorn:
 

Deude-Mann

Aluminum
Joined
Mar 27, 2021
It SHOULD have a 3-P motor. Runnng a basic RPC is the low-tech, "Just F(aithfully)ing Works" solution as no on-machine wiring needs any alteration.

I do not have 3-P power available where I am at, only single phase on the poles outside. So AFAIK I'd need a power converter if I get one that is not single phase. I do have a 150A 240V service panel where I would install the lathe.
 

thermite

Diamond
I do not have 3-P power available where I am at, only single phase on the poles outside. So AFAIK I'd need a power converter if I get one that is not single phase. I do have a 150A 240V service panel where I would install the lathe.

I have a 200A panel, so a "heads up".

No need to take this "fifth way" thing to extremes!

There isn't enough space in even an EMPTY panel to "install" even a tiny "watchmaker's lathe".

Plan for a 60 to 80 Amp circuit breaker to operate a modest "RPC" instead. A 40A or 50A might even do yah. Depends on the machine(s) you find.

Then run wire like everybody else does.

:D
 

mattthemuppet

Hot Rolled
Joined
Apr 22, 2016
Location
San Antonio
that's a tough ask in central TX, people round here think their poo is gold coated. Occasionally you'll see an older lathe ('20-30's, overhead drive) pop up within your budget and even more rarely an '80-90s 12x36 or 13x40 import come up that has been stored in a lean-to and has no tooling for $2k.

There was a guy recently in Lafayette (duncanbojangles?) that was getting rid of a bunch of equipment, but it's all gone I believe.

You'll either be looking for a long time (but deals do come up) or you'll need to up your budget by a couple of 1000. If you need a second pair of eyes for something local, give me a shout. I'm no expert by any stretch (I'm a hobbyist too) but I do have a reasonable idea of what to look out for.
 

dalmatiangirl61

Titanium
Joined
Jan 31, 2011
Location
BFE Nevada/San Marcos Tx
For 3ph power your basic options are static converter(sucks), rotary phase converter either off the shelf or diy, vfd, or phase perfect($$$$). With trailer and forklift you are in a position to get something larger than a benchtop model, assuming you have space for it. If you need warranty, only place you will find that on a used machine is a dealer, even then there are no guarantees. If you are happy with test and operate before purchase, look at private sellers. Very few auction machines are under power, best you can do is a visual inspection. A project machine can range from needs disassembly and a good cleaning to a basket case needing parts, how much project are you willing to take on? In my experience machines don't end up in an auction for no reason, if it looks like a cream puff there is a problem somewhere, if it looks well used it might be ok and just need some minor work and a cleanup, and there is the worn to hell category.

Some of my best buys have been lightly rusty machines, just enough to scare off most shoppers, but not bad enough to need bearings replaced, it changed the price from thousands to hundreds, + some elbow grease on my part.

One of the members here is in Houston, he has been doing some shop closeout vids, its all going to be somewhat of a project in such a scenario, but maybe you can find something Can we find anything to restore in this closed shop? - YouTube
 

Deude-Mann

Aluminum
Joined
Mar 27, 2021
I'm still checking in here and appreciate the information.

I have spent a few hours this week watching Youtube vids of people refurbishing lathes to get an idea of what is involved. I am mechanically inclined/experienced and am a Mech Engineer so I think I can handle it if need be.
 








 
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