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  1. #1
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    Hi Folks....I am looking to get some pro's and con's on a 12x36 or 14x40 Central Machinery Lathe ...Harbor freight has them for a couple grand...and that about all I have to spend ...I have a 9x20 Jet that I'd like to ship back to China!.. lol..I just want to see if the C/M Lathe is any better....Thank you very much, Mark [img]smile.gif[/img]

  2. #2
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    Wow, that's a couple grand gamble, probably the highest stakes on a HF lathe IMHO, of all the "brands".

    -Matt

  3. #3
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    You are stepping in the wrong direction if you are looking to upgrade from a Jet.

  4. #4
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    why not look for a used South Bend?

  5. #5
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    Central Machinery is to Jet as Hyundai is to BMW. Need I say more?

  6. #6
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    The 9x20's are pretty limited lathes. Most have very light beds, no cross feeds, etc. So, even a Harbor Freight 12x36 is likely a signifcant upgrade.

    However, as noted above, Harbor Freight is probably the least trusted of the Chinese lathe importers -- they have a reputatoin of doing less checking of quality than Grizzly or Jet, often spec their machines a little cheaper, and may not do as good at replacing bad-on-delivery components (fairly likely).

    At the very least, you'll want to see the specific lathe you're buying and satisfy yourself there's not a nice used machine for the same money.

  7. #7
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    Well Tak maybe not BMW...more like say, a used toyota tercel with like 80k miles.

    Your refurbed lathe would be the BMW.

  8. #8
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    I wouldn't be too discouraged by the replies you are getting. A 12 x 36, virtually any brand, is better by an order of magnitude than any brand of 9 x 20, even a Jet. In fact the Jet 9 x 20 is all but identical to any of the other brands of 9 x 20s including the HF variety.

    I would disagree with the general assessment of the HF 12 x 36. In fact they are probably just as well put together as the other 12 x 36 lathes judging from the one I have owned for 3 years and the several others that I have knowledge of. I have used mine for hundreds of hours machining model engines and making a variety of tools and assorted things for home and shop. I have had no more problems (actually, almost no problems with mine) compared to the several hundreds of users I keep up with on the two Yahoo 12 x 36 lathe groups.

    I would admit that the support you get from Grizzly is probably better than what you can expect from HF (I own a number of Grizzly tools), however, the support you get from HF is probably on par with Enco, Wholesale Tools and several vendors which sell almost identical 12 x 36 lathes down to the parts being interchangeable on all of them. And almost of all of these vendors charge more for their version of the same lathe.

    I have no first hand knowledge of the HF 14 x 40 lathe, although based on my experience with the 12 x 36, I would certainly consider it.

  9. #9
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    mfly

    what are those groups?

    -jacob

  10. #10
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  11. #11
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    Very old post.
    I like my HF Central machine, made a lot of parts.
    Did need bearings one.

    Anyone know where I can get parts for one???

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Landmaster_1 View Post
    Very old post.
    I like my HF Central machine, made a lot of parts.
    Did need bearings one.

    Anyone know where I can get parts for one???
    Back in 2007, the owner of the site got tired of all the BS
    around these crappy little machines.

    And put this sticky up top in the general section, please read it:
    Machinery Discussion Guidelines

  13. #13
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    I hate to be the guy to point out the elephant in the room but, if you've already got a small lathe you've got enough space for a 14X40 and a start on tooling, right? If you're ready to pull the trigger for a couple grand on a Chinese gamble, why not start checking some shop sales & some of the used machinery sites? Buy some good old American Iron, nice & heavy, maybe in need of a little TLC, but still straight & true. There are a lot of good used machines out there that are close to a couple grand. If you can sell yours to someone else just starting out you can throw in a bit more and have something your grandkids can still use.

  14. #14
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    Back in 2000 I started looking for a 13 x 40 lathe for occasional use, and started with used lathes. When one of the lathes I looked at was run with no oil in the gearbox (which was obvious to me, but apparently not the owner), I decided to buy new. I bought a Jet, thinking at that time that it was made in Taiwan; turns out that only the sheetmetal base was made in Taiwan - the lathe itself was Chinese....

    It has done OK overall, but one thing I noticed when I checked it over prior to using it, was that a lot of the screws weren't tight! In one case tightening the screws locked up the mechanism.

    I too agree with other posters that HF is bottom of the barrel. It will probably work fine for a while, but as soon as something breaks don't expect to get good replacement parts, especially since it will probably be a few years down the road. The tools are cheap for a reason.

    Good luck with your purchase.

    -Jim


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