(Please Help) High school lathe suggestions or ideas
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  1. #1
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    Default (Please Help) High school lathe suggestions or ideas

    I have got three lathes in my Auto/Metal shop. One is a South Bend SB1002 which works VERY well and rarely breaks down (knock on wood). I also have two Chinese made lathes which are a constant source of problems. They have gotten to the point where my repairman cant find parts anymore and are only partially working. You also have to understand that my students have worn out the two Chinese machines, they are kids and they do screw up but they are generally very careful.

    Because I am unable to get parts what would you guys suggest I replace them with. I am thinking another SB1002 and one larger lathe with about a 12" swing. I am leaning toward South Bends because of quality and part availability. My repair guy is recommending King Industrial Lathes because of parts availability here (Abbotsford B.C. near Vancouver), but I am leary of buying Chinese. I know the South Bend stuff is made in China (as far as I can tell) but the quality seems to be better.

    Any ideas or recommendations would be great.

    Thankyou

  2. #2
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    I have a current "south bend" (basically the premium line for Grizzly) 14x40 - which a number of (careful) robotics students have been using for 8 months with no issues - I don't know about the smaller size. (We're talking new here - PRC/Taiwan machine with, according to adds, Japanese bearings...)

    Don't know about "king", but there is US importer called Kingston known for very stout industrial lathes - I don't think they make anything smaller enough for your needs.

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    I have some experience in the education sector (Engineering/Physics in a small liberal arts college) and we had a 1970s vintage 10X40 Rockwell lathe. The bandsaws, mill, drill press, grinder and belt sander were also Rockwell and all 1970s. Next to zero parts availability BUT Rockwell support would email scans of the original production drawings for any part or assembly I asked for! So... I was able to make or re-engineer most parts I needed... and they needed a lot.

    Long story(s) short: If you have a tool that works well for you and a good supply of parts then stick with the SBs. If the SB1002 is working well get another and get a larger machine that has more capability. You might want to add a taper attachment and collet closer for the larger machine.

    What other machine tools do you have in your shop?

    -DU-

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    My university shop has just gone through this. We settled on the SB1012F which is the 14x40 EVS with the readout installed. It is made in Taiwan with good electronics. We have had one for two years and just received 3 more. We scavenged Bison chucks and Aloris tool posts from our old lathes. The deciding factor on this lathe is the integrated chuck guard making it much harder to turn the lathe on with the chuck key in. So far we have been very happy with this lathe, but time will tell how durable they are.

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    The Op is in Canada, damn near every educational institution in this country has a Standard Modern lathe of various sizes in their shops. The most popular probably being 11 x 20 or the 13 x 40.

    Over the years I have been able to acquire 4 of them at very reasonable prices.
    Call around to the diff. school boards and find out how they are parting with their equipment after the idiots decide to shut down their shop classes.

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    At my high school you had to fix the lathe if you wanted to use it. And you had no budget for parts so you just welded gears back together or removed whatever was broken and interfering.

    After about the third time of rigging the thing into some amount of operation I just gave up trying to use it. No instruction and idiots breaking stuff for the fun of it meant nothing stayed operational for long.

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    I am not a big fan of high school shops partly because of the kids but mostly because, at least here, teachers are completely unqualified. Why don't you teach your students not to abuse the machines? And why do you need a "repairman" to maintain them?
    Bob

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    Quote Originally Posted by bob View Post
    I am not a big fan of high school shops partly because of the kids but mostly because, at least here, teachers are completely unqualified. Why don't you teach your students not to abuse the machines? And why do you need a "repairman" to maintain them?
    Bob
    My students aren't abusing the machines, they are kids and every now and then they make mistakes (2 in the last 3 years). They are learning to use the lathe to one thousands of an inch in grade 9. And the reason I use a repairman is to source the parts mainly, he also repairs them some of the time because I am already working 10 to 12 hours a day working with the students and the school drag racing team after hours. My job is to teach kids not to do lengthy repairs.

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    Thank you everyone for your suggestions and comments. I am looking into getting a couple of South Bends. I feel better about getting good quality equipment.

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