Results 1 to 7 of 7

Thread: Anyone have one of the small mini metal lathes

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    GTA Ontario Canada
    Posts
    12,247

    Anyone have one of the small mini metal lathes

    Hi All

    Well I know this is not a metal working site but I was just wondering if there are any family members out there that have one of the small mini lathes like Harbor Freight and Grizzly sell.

    Then if you do how have you found the quality and functionality. By functionality I am thinking has it served to turn metal parts to a decent usable tolerance, anyone made a thread on a rod on one of them?

    I have a hankering for one (secretly always wanted to be a toolmaker) and often get to looking at them have seem the site dedicated to them but wondered about family members opinions. Dont neccessarily want to go joining multiple forums etc.
    cheers

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Sacramento, CA
    Posts
    1,367
    I have the Grizzly one. I have read all over mini-lathe.com and several others (varmint al, vickie ford, gadgetbuilder, etc). I'm also a member of just about all of the mini lathe yahoo groups (except the 7x10minilathe one, which is 99% politics and religion anymore, 7x12minilathe is always on topic).

    These lathes are pretty much all made by the same company, SIEG, and are pretty well interchangeable. The various companies change more than just paint color, though. Micro-Mark adds a digital read out and some metal gears, maybe even a cam-lock tailstock, but in the end they're the same machines inside. Lots of parts from one fit the others.

    Most consider this class of machine to be JUST enough to get you started. That is, out of the box, they may not be quite ready to go machining press fits and such. They have a lot of sliding/moving parts that need to be adjusted finely to operate well. The downside is that most of the sellers don't do this for you. The upside is that you REALLY get to know your lathe during this process.

    Once setup, cleaned and tuned nice and tight, you can machine to quite fine tolerance ... a thou or less, I'd say, if you're careful with things.

    They're not rigid enough to take a 1/8" deep cut in stainless, of course, but you can really move along with aluminum. My first threads turned were in CR steel and they sucked big time - turns out it was the steel, not the lathe. My next set of threads in aluminum did fantastically. I've since turned a half dozen or so more threads and all of 'em are very clean and functioning very well. The nice thing about turning your own threads is you can make 'em as tight as you want so there's very little play when tightening 'em.

    The grizzly's a nice lathe because it comes lots of accessories. The best price out there, thoguh, is toolsnow.com - they have the most accessories.

    Also - beware of the designation 7x10 ... it's actually 4" shorter than the 7x12 lathes. Someone had a math goof somewhere back in the day.

    It's perfect for little stuff. It does a great job on aluminum (6061), brass and delrin. I'm told it does really well on 12L14 steel, too - i'm still keepin' an eye out for that.

    If yer interested, it's a great way to get started.
    Jason Beam
    Sacramento, CA

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    GTA Ontario Canada
    Posts
    12,247
    Thank you very much Jason. You hit the sweet spot in what I was wanting to know. I appreciate you taking the time to post such a comprehensive response.
    cheers

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Tokyo Japan
    Posts
    15,807
    Jason that was a most informative post

    I've been wanting to add a small metal lathe to my Dungeon for some time now, so thanks for the info!
    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
    William Arthur Ward

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Kea'au Hawaii. Just down the road from Hilo town!
    Posts
    1,357
    Quote Originally Posted by Stuart Ablett View Post
    Jason that was a most informative post

    I've been wanting to add a small metal lathe to my Dungeon for some time now, so thanks for the info!
    Keep it up Stu and I can see a "sub" dungeon to the dungeon! How deep can you go in the ground in Japan??
    Aloha,

    What goes around, comes around.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    East Freeetown, Massachusetts
    Posts
    3,016
    Jason,

    WOW - what a great post.

  7. #7
    Rob,
    Jason has the bases covered. I would only add reading through the user guide at Little Machine Shop. It will give you a good feel for the lathes.

    http://www.littlemachineshop.com/Inf...UsersGuide.pdf

    Wes

Similar Threads

  1. Mini Lathes
    By Drew Watson in forum Turning Tool Questions and Show & Tell
    Replies: 19
    Last Post: 02-07-2008, 08:11 PM
  2. Home made hollowing tool for mini lathes
    By Chuck Beland in forum Turning Tool Questions and Show & Tell
    Replies: 9
    Last Post: 01-13-2008, 08:42 PM
  3. Bulk Small Metal Storage
    By Boyd Gathwright in forum General Woodworking Q&A
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 11-20-2007, 05:31 AM
  4. Two new(old) lathes
    By Jeff Horton in forum Old Iron
    Replies: 13
    Last Post: 01-07-2007, 09:19 PM
  5. WoodRat Mini-Mini Review
    By Frank Pellow in forum New Tools
    Replies: 19
    Last Post: 11-23-2006, 06:41 PM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •