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I need a manual lathe with DRO. No CNC please.
What do you have?
What do you like?
What do you hate?
Why?
Should I buy something new with warranty?
Should I find something old and classic?
 

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A South Bend 10" belt-driven engine lathe is a good start. Usually with a single-phase 220V 1HP motor. Mine is fully tooled with the lazy dog rest,3 and 4 jaw chucks,2" thru spindle, 4' bed and a 2" drill chuck. It's about 65-yrs old...younger than me...LOL.
Also have a Logan 10" turret lathe and a 14" Logan engine lathe. A small table top Craftsman lathe is used for smaller work.
I had to teach myself how to run them and I'm nowhere near being a skilled machinist.

For tougher and larger work I have a 1952 Bridgeport J-head knee mill. Again,I had to teach myself how to operate it safely. It had a 3-phase 1-HP 220V motor and I had to get a phase convertor to run it.

I'd suggest a 9"-to12" engine lathe to start with. An older lathe is a crap shoot...,but if kept in good condition and cared for,will give good service. Getting one from a retired machinist is probably the best way...and safest way...to buy these machines. A new lathe is expensive. Just remember...a lathe can rebuild/repair itself with a knowledgeable machinist at work.
 

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An old well cared for lathe is way better than the new Chinese cheap crap, because it is just that crap!

I have an old english Crowthorn gap bed lathe. IIRC if I take the bed section out it will turn 30" dia max. It'll do way better than what my crappy non machinist skills can do. It came to me on a deal where I was cleaning out a machine shop that moved. Most machine shops are getting rid of most of there manual equipment these days and putting in cnc stuff. Most are keeping only one manual lathe and mill and the rest are headed out the door.

Steve
 

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What size are you looking to get?
I have the G4000 9x19 and have ran it a lot since 2008. Its worn out but still working. I have no complaints for the price. I have had old German and US lathes and in my opinion the g4000 is a good basic hobby lathe.
 

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FWIW from an electrical standpoint a dirt cheap east-Asian VFD will easily allow conversion between single and three phase. Don't shy away from a nice machine just because of the input requirements. I got my 1955 Bridgeport for a song because it had the original three phase pancake motor on it and the home gamer types didn't want it.

Another really nice aspect of the three phase/VFD route is you gain another option for speed control, on my belt drive head with no transmission I would normally need to move the belt to get different head speeds. But with the VFD I can set it to the highest speed and vary it with the drive instead. Sure I can't go down to almost no tool speed but the actual controllable range is quite wide.
 

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There is a heavy 10" South Bend engine lathe in Oragon,OH for about $4,500.00 on ebay. It's not very close to me...but a looog way from AZ....LOL.
 

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Mike if you want new try KBC Tool, they are based in Michigan but have an office in chicago. Under 5k for lathe w/ 40" between centers. DRO extra but not really needed

Troy
 

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The one I wanted to buy several hundreds of dollars ago.


Stay Safe

Later 42rocker
 

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Buying a machine tool is like buying a collector firearm. Look for quality and condition and you will always be able to get your money back out. If you buy a POS it's money down the drain.

Steve
 

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The G4003G is a decent lathe. Is it better than a good used HLV or 10EE? Not even close. Is it better than a worn out South Bend or other old US iron? Yes.
I have owned lathes from all 3 of these categories.

They're kind of the Glock of the lathe world. They work, they aren't pretty or held to extremely tight tolerances. Old US lathes are like 1911s. There are really nice ones out there and there's a bunch of rattletraps...
 

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I have a South Bend Heavy 10 and like it. I put a variable frequency drive on it. It was a tool room lathe and shows no appreciable wear. A Craig's list purchase for under $1,000 some 10 years ago.
 

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I've had a South Bend Heavy 10 for about 20yrs. Overall fairly simple to run. A plus, Darrell Holland did a nice lathe training series for AGI - on a SBH10. Looks like it's still available but pricey. I originally bought on tape but it's now on DVD (although still tape quality unless they've redone it).

 

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@Mike Duke I was in the same boat as you recently. Also I am not a machinist**
I honed in on buying a South bend heavy 10 as the headstock pass through diameter is larger then the smaller units. Plus it seemed to be the right size for the space I wanted to dedicate too it.
Jump ahead I came across a great condition SB 13 tool room model with a good variety of tooling that came along with it. I have learned that whatever you spend on the lathe expect the tooling to cost as much or more. So anything extra can be a big plus on a lathe purchase.

As far as power I went the VFD route ( very easy to hook up).
Now I’m just starting the learning process by watching a ton of YouTube video plus just making random widget to practice. It one of those things where I know how everything works but getting it to make a part or the right steps will take a little bit of time.

Overall all of the feedback above is great. I think finding a machine that works with you space wise and is in good condition is the key. For me I will never become a skilled machinist so if I need a really complicated part I will still be going to one the the many shops that do it for a living. For everything else I hope to be able to make it or thread or cut myself.

I am now looking for a Bridgeport J head mill. I should probably ask the same question on another thread.

Keep us updated!

Sorry my phone always flips photos. This is a photo of my SB13 when first getting it in my garage.

101775
 

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I've run a SB Hvy10 for quite a few years here. Self taught like many of us here.....but it has worked very well for me and done almost anything I needed done. Used to regret not going for a 13" model, but space was limited, and didn't really need a big engine lathe so I gave in to the 10. No regrets.

Oh....it's not nearly as clean as it was when this pic was taken.:rolleyes:

101777
 

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haha I was about to say, that lathe looks unused! I am jealous of the shelving. I need to built some drawers or shelves underneath mine.
 

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This is actually what it looked like at the shop where I went and picked it up in Iowa when I purchased it. Even THIS pic is cleaner than it has been many times since I began using it. {chuckle} A little paint after a lot of elbow grease made it look much better.

101816
 
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