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  1. #1
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    Default First CNC lathe recommendations?

    I'm researching adding a CNC lathe to the shop sometime later this year. It will be used for prototyping, though if it would be suited for production that would be a huge plus should I ever get to that point. Most parts I would make are small, but I'd like to be able to turn shafts as well. So I think I could use more length than swing. The features I think I want are:
    • 7.5-15 hp 230v 3ph
    • 20"+ between centers
    • 2"+ bar capacity
    • A turret would be nice but not required
    • A decent control with conversational and g-code programming
    • Can fit through a 8' x 8' garage door
    • Smaller than 12'W x 6'D x 7'H footprint
    • Budget is ~$10k for the lathe, a bit more if well tooled
    • Parts and support available that won't break the bank


    Searching some listings, I've found so far:
    Okuma LB15
    Mazak QT15 / QT20
    Mori Seiki SL-15
    Cincinnati Avenger 250T
    Romi M17
    Bridgeport EZPath II
    Nardini Fast Trace

    I'm not familiar with any of these, does anyone have any experience with them or have a recommendation for other models? Thanks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jhov View Post
    I'm researching adding a CNC lathe to the shop sometime later this year. It will be used for prototyping, though if it would be suited for production that would be a huge plus should I ever get to that point. Most parts I would make are small, but I'd like to be able to turn shafts as well. So I think I could use more length than swing. The features I think I want are:
    • 7.5-15 hp 230v 3ph
    • 20"+ between centers
    • 2"+ bar capacity
    • A turret would be nice but not required
    • A decent control with conversational and g-code programming
    • Can fit through a 8' x 8' garage door
    • Smaller than 12'W x 6'D x 7'H footprint
    • Budget is ~$10k for the lathe, a bit more if well tooled
    • Parts and support available that won't break the bank


    Searching some listings, I've found so far:
    Okuma LB15
    Mazak QT15 / QT20
    Mori Seiki SL-15
    Cincinnati Avenger 250T
    Romi M17
    Bridgeport EZPath II
    Nardini Fast Trace

    I'm not familiar with any of these, does anyone have any experience with them or have a recommendation for other models? Thanks.
    Very familiar with a few.
    First off the Okuma LB-15 and Mori Seiki SL-15 are two top drawer machines. I own an LB-15 and the SL-15's older, big brother, the SL-3.
    Both are fully supported to this day for parts/service/applications.
    Both of mine are capable of holding tolerance over production runs.
    The other good choice would be the Mazak, as it's also supported.
    I'm not sure about the others. The Cincinnati Avenger was, in its day, quite the machine but parts/support are thin, as Cincinnati went out of business and third parties take care of parts. It's spotty at best, and non existent at worse. Personally I'd avoid it.
    Bridgeport, Nardini, and Romi are still around but I'm unfamiliar with them.

    My vote? Okuma LB-15, or Mori Seiki SL-15. Can't go wrong.

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    Thanks for the feedback. The Mori is on the top of my list. I'd still be curious to hear about the flat bed types if anyone has run one.

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    I have used both a LB15 and a Ezpath before. The LB15 is a rock solid lathe and very easy to program once you get used the IGF programming. The Bridgeport Ezpath is not as sturdy of a lathe compared to something like the Okuma but has hand wheels if that's your thing. I didn't care for the programming of the bridgeport, it's clunky if I remember right. If you are even thinking of any production go with something like an Okuma or Mori.

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    Ok the Okuma, Mori and Mazak need about the same space as a full sized pickup
    Mazak probably the best conversational programming of the 3.
    If I had the room and power it would be a QT15.
    But all three are good machines.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jhov View Post
    I'm researching adding a CNC lathe to the shop sometime later this year. It will be used for prototyping, though if it would be suited for production that would be a huge plus should I ever get to that point. Most parts I would make are small, but I'd like to be able to turn shafts as well. So I think I could use more length than swing. The features I think I want are:
    • 7.5-15 hp 230v 3ph
    • 20"+ between centers
    • 2"+ bar capacity
    • A turret would be nice but not required
    • A decent control with conversational and g-code programming
    • Can fit through a 8' x 8' garage door
    • Smaller than 12'W x 6'D x 7'H footprint
    • Budget is ~$10k for the lathe, a bit more if well tooled
    • Parts and support available that won't break the bank


    Searching some listings, I've found so far:
    Okuma LB15
    Mazak QT15 / QT20
    Mori Seiki SL-15
    Cincinnati Avenger 250T
    Romi M17
    Bridgeport EZPath II
    Nardini Fast Trace

    I'm not familiar with any of these, does anyone have any experience with them or have a recommendation for other models? Thanks.
    Hello
    I have a Romi m17, it is new to me and am looking for someone to guide me thru the programing or start sequencing . It does not seem to teach very well from the manual .
    Thanks

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    The first of these lathes (and only)that I used was the ez path 2. I retired and bought an ez path 1 for my garage and....pretty nice for a home shop.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sonofachip View Post
    Hello
    I have a Romi m17, it is new to me and am looking for someone to guide me thru the programing or start sequencing . It does not seem to teach very well from the manual .
    Thanks
    Anything on YouTube?

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    I'm still browsing for a lathe and came across a Takisawa TC-20. It seems to check all the boxes, its smaller than the Mazak, Mori and Okuma, and it appears to be supported by Yamazen which also supports my Brother S2B. Thoughts on the brand/model?

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    We've had one since new (1997, I think) and have no plans to get rid of it. It's been very reliable. The only problem I can remember is that we had to replace the turret encoder once. That's pretty darn good for nearly 25 years of ownership. Of course, there's been normal stuff like spindle belts, tach belt, and I think we had to replace the seals in the chuck actuator, but overall, I don't think you can beat it for reliability.

    There is some thermal growth as it warms up, but once warm, it holds size well.

    Being that it is a compact machine, the working area can be a little cramped compared to other machines, but you get used to it. It's really not that bad unless you're a giant.

    We also bought a used TC-1 (older and smaller than the TC-20) around 5 years ago, and it has been equally reliable.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jhov View Post
    I'm still browsing for a lathe and came across a Takisawa TC-20. It seems to check all the boxes, its smaller than the Mazak, Mori and Okuma, and it appears to be supported by Yamazen which also supports my Brother S2B. Thoughts on the brand/model?
    The Takisawa TC-20 was a big seller. It's the predecessor of the new TCN-2100 machines. Many were installed here and still cranking out parts.

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    I'm sure this is a dumb question, but I'm looking at Miyano's wondering if something like a BNC-34 can machine long shafts in sections between spindles? As in:
    1) Machine the bar end to be held in the sub spindle
    2) Transfer the end to the sub spindle, use sub to pull the bar to max length
    3) Machine first section
    4) Unclamp sub, move to min position, reclamp and pull the bar to max length again
    5) Machine second section

    So I guess the real question is: can the work pass through the sub spindle?

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    Quote Originally Posted by jhov View Post
    I'm sure this is a dumb question, but I'm looking at Miyano's wondering if something like a BNC-34 can machine long shafts in sections between spindles? As in:
    1) Machine the bar end to be held in the sub spindle
    2) Transfer the end to the sub spindle, use sub to pull the bar to max length
    3) Machine first section
    4) Unclamp sub, move to min position, reclamp and pull the bar to max length again
    5) Machine second section

    So I guess the real question is: can the work pass through the sub spindle?
    Most likely it can. I used to work for Doosan and our sub spindle lathes could do that, so I'm pretty sure Miyano can.

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    If you've never used a lathe before, and are primary protyping and then running 20's or 30's of production, I'd go with a prototrack from South Western Industries.
    Simple easy control to use and you can wind the program through using just the handwheels (great confidence booster when you're learning).
    Depending on the type of work, a Dickson tool post will be fine and give you more clearances (as it's one tool at a time).
    But if you really want to think more unmanned for the future production, you can get a turret fitted.

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    Quote Originally Posted by barbter View Post
    If you've never used a lathe before, and are primary protyping and then running 20's or 30's of production, I'd go with a prototrack from South Western Industries.
    Simple easy control to use and you can wind the program through using just the handwheels (great confidence booster when you're learning).
    Depending on the type of work, a Dickson tool post will be fine and give you more clearances (as it's one tool at a time).
    But if you really want to think more unmanned for the future production, you can get a turret fitted.
    I went through this thought process and had initially decided on just such a machine. But as I shopped around I found that the toolroom/teach styles lathes are just as much or more money as a full blown turning center. And while my prototyping only requires a few parts here and there, I would like to be equipped and have processes already developed to capitalize on a strong early demand should a product be well received. These days for consumer items, it only takes one popular youtuber or blogger to plug your product and all of a sudden orders can pour in and overwhelm anyone who did not prepare for success.

    So I'm now looking for as much capability as I can afford; which appears to be early to mid 90's dual turret/spindle turning centers and mill turn machines such as:

    Mori Seiki ZL-15 series
    Okuma LR-15 series
    Okuma LU-15 series
    Takisawa TM-15 series
    Miyano BNC, BND, and LD series

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    Quote Originally Posted by jhov View Post
    I went through this thought process and had initially decided on just such a machine. But as I shopped around I found that the toolroom/teach styles lathes are just as much or more money as a full blown turning center. And while my prototyping only requires a few parts here and there, I would like to be equipped and have processes already developed to capitalize on a strong early demand should a product be well received. These days for consumer items, it only takes one popular youtuber or blogger to plug your product and all of a sudden orders can pour in and overwhelm anyone who did not prepare for success.

    So I'm now looking for as much capability as I can afford; which appears to be early to mid 90's dual turret/spindle turning centers and mill turn machines such as:

    Mori Seiki ZL-15 series
    Okuma LR-15 series
    Okuma LU-15 series
    Takisawa TM-15 series
    Miyano BNC, BND, and LD series
    Hmmm....not criticizing you for one second, but you're going from a really easy peasy basic machine, to something with a LOT of moving parts and engineering (process and programming) "issues" that you just won't understand at this stage.
    Added into the mix that lathes get crashed for a past time, if you're looking at that old a machine, you really have to know what you're looking at.
    Or you've just bought a boat anchor.

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    Quote Originally Posted by barbter View Post
    Hmmm....not criticizing you for one second, but you're going from a really easy peasy basic machine, to something with a LOT of moving parts and engineering (process and programming) "issues" that you just won't understand at this stage.
    Added into the mix that lathes get crashed for a past time, if you're looking at that old a machine, you really have to know what you're looking at.
    Or you've just bought a boat anchor.
    I agree, and I'm quite nervous about it. It's why this thread is 7 months old and I'm still researching, learning all that I can, and wringing my hands over my options. At least I have the advantage of not needing something immediately, so I have time to learn and hopefully the right deal for the right machine will come. I've been through this process before with my S2B and it worked out better than I could have ever hoped, thanks to the help of members on this board.


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