older Logan lathe for newbie - to buy or not to buy
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  1. #1
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    Default older Logan lathe for newbie - to buy or not to buy

    Hi all, I will preface this by saying I know very little about machining and gunsmithing, outside of the internetting I've done over the past few weeks. My partner would like to learn more gunsmithing and other metalworking (jewelry, furniture, you name it). He mentioned wanting a lathe and/or milling machine to get started, but he's not in a financial position to make a big purchase. I've been toying with the idea of finding something that he might be able to fix up and use at least for a little while.

    Yes, I know this is probably not a decision I should make on my own �� I will likely be discussing with him before buying anything for Christmas. I just thought I would tap into the expertise here since he also won't really know what to go with initially...

    The reading I've done seems to recommend manufacturers like South Bend, Bridgeport, Hardinge, etc. I've seen some recommendations for Atlas and Logan as beginner machines. Mixed reviews on the Chinese stuff but that's more where my budget is right now, of course. So, an older machine seems to make sense for monetary purchases while maintaining some quality.

    I found a 1946 Logan Lathe listed for $900, now reduced to $650. It looks like it needs some TLC, but for the price I'd expect that. The motor is detached from the last time it got moved, and the current owner says he has gone in a different direction with larger machines and so that's why it's still disconnected. I've asked him if he would be willing to connect the motor but I have a feeling he's trying to just sell as is, on the cheap.

    Hoping to get opinions based on the above and the pictures here Logan Metal Lathe - Tools - Natrona Heights, Pennsylvania - Marketplace | Facebook I'm trying to find out the actual bmodel, at the moment. Any and all feedback is welcome, I appreciate it!

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    That could be a nice beginner lathe. You need to have change gears. Make sure they come with the machine. Would not take long to get that machine making chips. $500 would more than fair for that machine. $400 without the change gears.

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    Looks like a Model 200. I had one a few years ago and though it lacked a QC gear box, I liked the layout and how simple it was. I never had a chance to do any threading on it so It just kept a gear set on that gave a nice feed rate for mild steel.

    Logan's a nice machine IMO. Just as good as South Bend. Once you learn how to level the bed and adjust the tail stock, it'll do just as accurate work as any other basic tool-room lathe. I'd agree, it's a great beginner machine because you can quickly learn the important stuff with it (speed/feeds, tool geometry, machine adjustment), and still use it for finished product once you know what you are doing. My Logan 200 manual had some really good info on all of the above points.

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    thanks for the feedback. it does come with different gears. seller said he would try to get the motor attached tonight so I can see it run (it's 2.5 hours away so I'm trying to avoid the trip unless I know I'm buying). would there be any reasons not to buy it if it does run? I expect he will mainly do pistol work initially and so I'm not overly concerned with him not being able to put a rifle barrel in it. but, aside from that, how quickly might a beginner outgrow this? would it be better to just save the money, or would this be good money spent for tinkering?

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    Make sure there are no broken teeth in the gear train and everything moves freely. Make sure there haven't been any major crashes (broken and welded castings). Check for bed wear, although it can be compensated for. Check the cross screw and lead screw and the nuts for back-lash.

    There's lots of online tutorials and videos on how to evaluate a lathe. It's value is going to depend on how quick you want to make parts and how charmed you are by the old-iron. Logan still sells parts and there's a bit on Ebay. I'm a sucker for projects, but then again I haven't been lucky enough to find a deal that didn't need some work.

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    Having a headstock center and a center in the tail one can point to point and get an idea if the tail will match the head at that one place.

    Gears and the thread dial also a 3 and 4 jaw chuck..
    For any thing lacking then think about what it may cost to bring it up to your needs.check EBAY for parts prices.
    Check the gear chart to see what gears you need perhaps there arr 9 gears to do threads.
    That machine seems lacking the half nut for gears.
    Last edited by michiganbuck; 12-14-2018 at 05:51 PM.

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    I have a 2555VH and my only complaint is it's only 23" center-to-center, but that is not its fault and I have adapted to it mostly.

    There is still a descendant of the original Logan Engineering around called Logan Actuator, and they support a website called lathe.com. There are also at least two yahoo groups that cater to Logan owners: lathe-list which was moderated by Scott Logan and loganlathe, of which I know little beyond finding its name while doing a group search at yahoo.

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    Quote Originally Posted by katertater73 View Post
    Hi all, I will preface this by saying I know very little about machining and gunsmithing, outside of the internetting I've done over the past few weeks. My partner would like to learn more gunsmithing and other metalworking (jewelry, furniture, you name it). He mentioned wanting a lathe and/or milling machine to get started, but he's not in a financial position to make a big purchase. I've been toying with the idea of finding something that he might be able to fix up and use at least for a little while.

    Yes, I know this is probably not a decision I should make on my own �� I will likely be discussing with him before buying anything for Christmas. I just thought I would tap into the expertise here since he also won't really know what to go with initially...
    My take is that your first machine should be a small mill. Not a lathe at all. Might sound simplistic, but lathes do "round stuff", and that is NOT what one needs to most often make, DIY, nor even modify. "Round stuff' is easier and more affordable to "just buy", and its cheaper to HAVE made than "stuff that is NOT round".

    Take "beginners" and pistolsmithing, for example. A barrel is either "already there" if doing a repair or modification, ELSE best purchased from those already expert. It can be long YEARS, if EVER, before a new entrant can match their quality or proven safety record at any reasonable time or effort vs the purchase cost of a barrel. There are so many good choices already out there making your own is sort of like making your own rubber tires for the motorcar. Even if you could do, why wouldyah?

    Mounting sights, OTOH, is work for the mill. Same-again if a broken fastener needs extra precision to be drilled or milled out or a hole made or tapped for a new accessory, or a frame reshaped.

    Give a "joint" think, the two of you as to what it is that is meant to be taken-on as projects, and then whether or not some "subset" of an area of interest might be the best starting point.

    Ex: Is there a market where you are to do only FINISHING of firearms? Shaping, buffing, Blueing, Parkerizing, Starvel or other plating, cera-coating, etc.? How about custom cases or storage safes? Grips? Sight mounts?

    "If only I had a lathe, I could < do | be | waste my time >" might apply? It can be a mere toy - not on its merit, but on where it fits into a life. And it isn't the type of toy as is easily enjoyed by couples, so what does it REALLY do for the relationship?

    For the moment, it isn't so much the lathe you need. It is more likely to be a set of goals not quite so vague.

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    I bought a lathe first and though the mill makes more sense, you'll need both eventually anyway. My simple Logan has served me well for many decades. I think it's a 1947. I prefer a change gear lathe as I can cut just about anything and I think the thread quality is a tad higher because the gear train is more direct. A bit of a write-up here- Logan model 211 lathe

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    Default Logan lathe comment

    Quote Originally Posted by katertater73 View Post
    Hi all, I will preface this by saying I know very little about machining and gunsmithing, outside of the internetting I've done over the past few weeks. My partner would like to learn more gunsmithing and other metalworking (jewelry, furniture, you name it). He mentioned wanting a lathe and/or milling machine to get started, but he's not in a financial position to make a big purchase. I've been toying with the idea of finding something that he might be able to fix up and use at least for a little while.

    Yes, I know this is probably not a decision I should make on my own �� I will likely be discussing with him before buying anything for Christmas. I just thought I would tap into the expertise here since he also won't really know what to go with initially...

    The reading I've done seems to recommend manufacturers like South Bend, Bridgeport, Hardinge, etc. I've seen some recommendations for Atlas and Logan as beginner machines. Mixed reviews on the Chinese stuff but that's more where my budget is right now, of course. So, an older machine seems to make sense for monetary purchases while maintaining some quality.

    I found a 1946 Logan Lathe listed for $900, now reduced to $650. It looks like it needs some TLC, but for the price I'd expect that. The motor is detached from the last time it got moved, and the current owner says he has gone in a different direction with larger machines and so that's why it's still disconnected. I've asked him if he would be willing to connect the motor but I have a feeling he's trying to just sell as is, on the cheap.

    Hoping to get opinions based on the above and the pictures here Logan Metal Lathe - Tools - Natrona Heights, Pennsylvania - Marketplace | Facebook I'm trying to find out the actual bmodel, at the moment. Any and all feedback is welcome, I appreciate it!

    Hi,

    I saw your question this afternoon.
    I have a Logan 200 built in the 40s.
    My lathe does not have a gear change box, but I find that I use mine rarely to cut threads. I have found that gear change is not a problem, if you have room on that side of the lathe. A gear box is nice, but not essential.

    However,the 12 inch Logan lathe has a spindle that is less than 1" id. It will not handle most rifle barrels.
    A Logan 14" would be the lathe that would be best for barrel work.
    I have used my lathe with barrels, but it takes some work arounds, which will work for "some" operations.

    If you find one without a lot of bed wear they are good little lathes that are very handy to have.

    Hope my info helps.

    Regards,

  13. #11
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    The only good thing I have to say about the smallest Logan and South Bend lathes is that they are easy to carry down basement steps. They simply don't have enough mass and are so flexible that normal operations on other lathes can be extremely difficult on them. I started as a teenager with a Logan 400, 9" swing, mounted on a wood shelf. I grew up wondering why I couldn't do things others seemed to have little trouble with. Along the way I had similar experiences with similar lathes belonging to other people. The only exception was a 9" South Bend that I bought for a trade and set up for the new owner bolted to a 1/2" steel plate. The improvement was dramatic. I later found that during WWII the government issued instructions for mounting these light lathes on massive concrete bases to damp vibration. By then I had acquired a larger South Bend, which acts like a real lathe so I had a comparison. I have not run a South Bend heavy 10, but one should do fairly well. I have a lot of hours on a 14 1/2" South Bend and found it was capable of good work, not in the same class as a lot of heavier (and much more expensive) machines, but quite usable.

    I don't recommend the light lathes for beginners because they will learn bad habits coping with the lathes inadequacies that they will have to unlearn later.

    Bill


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