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Thread: Lathe Upgrade

  1. #1
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    Default Lathe Upgrade

    Having possessed my AL-54B for about 5 years and running a profitable side project with it, I am now considering upgrading to something more substantial. I am thinking of something the size of a Hafco AL-336D or a smidge bigger.
    Currently I make small components for farm machinery and if I upgrade my setup, I would expand my market to more agricultural parts, general manufacturing, one offs and other small components.

    So my questions are:
    Is a machine that size and with those specs suitable for a small machining business?
    What would be a suitable model?
    What features etc. should I look for?
    Is digital readout worth the extra coin?
    Is it worth swapping my 12mm tooling for 16mm? Will they be more rigid etc.?
    Is three phase power necessary? I'm sure I could set it up, it would just be inconvenient and possibly crippling in future

    As this is only a side project and not a full time business I can't justify paying too much and as such, I am leaning towards a second hand machine. My budget is about $4000 (flexible)

    So the big question is:
    Is buying a decent machine in that price bracket feasible? If so, where should I be looking for one?

    Andrew

    Also, I do realise that it has been a long time since I have been on the forums

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    Hi Funky,
    You can definitely get a good used machine in that price range. I dislike the H&F machines, but if you had to buy one the 960b would be the best choice IMHO. As for suitability, you have given no clues as to what sort of work you will be doing. The last few "real" jobs i have done have been all under 1" in dia, but sometimes i need all the swing i can get.
    Personally i don't own a DRO so i can't comment, although i seem to be getting by just fine without one.
    The main features for me are-Camlock spindle nose, QCGB with a good range in both metric and imp, QCTP and a clutch/brake or foot brake.

    There are HEAPS of second hand machines around at the moment. Keep an eye on eBay, Gumtree and Grays. Have a look at machines4you to get an idea of dealer prices. You may need to transport a machine up to you though.

    Chhers,
    Ew
    1915 17"x50" LeBlond heavy duty Lathe, 24" Queen city shaper, 1970's G Vernier FV.3.TO Universal Mill, 1958 Blohm HFS 6 surface grinder, 1942 Rivett 715 Lathe, 14"x40" Antrac Lathe, Startrite H225 Bandsaw, 1949 Hercus Camelback Drill press, 1947 Holbrook C10 Lathe.

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    Default size

    Quote Originally Posted by Ueee View Post
    There are HEAPS of second hand machines around at the moment. Keep an eye on eBay, Gumtree and Grays. Have a look at machines4you to get an idea of dealer prices. You may need to transport a machine up to you though.

    Chhers,
    Ew
    There was a Holbrook D15 on gumtree a few days ago . For $1500 in Melbourne . Mike

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    Still there http://www.gumtree.com.au/s-ad/cante...d15/1046229444
    Thats a LOT of lathe though. 3800Lbs according to the brochure. I'm surprised Harty hasn't bought it as a 3rd one......

    Ew
    1915 17"x50" LeBlond heavy duty Lathe, 24" Queen city shaper, 1970's G Vernier FV.3.TO Universal Mill, 1958 Blohm HFS 6 surface grinder, 1942 Rivett 715 Lathe, 14"x40" Antrac Lathe, Startrite H225 Bandsaw, 1949 Hercus Camelback Drill press, 1947 Holbrook C10 Lathe.

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    I can't really say what work I will be doing as I do not know. It would surely change over time, so I couldn't say anything specific anyway.

    I should also say that I am after a more modern machine

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ueee View Post
    The main features for me are-Camlock spindle nose, QCGB with a good range in both metric and imp, QCTP and a clutch/brake or foot brake.
    All that *AND* as big a spindle bore as you can get. There is no such thing as too large a spindle bore.

    I don't have a DRO either but I'd dearly love one. Or 3....

    If you'd been a bit quicker, you could have had a nice CVA for your budget.

    One thing to consider is that the bigger and more capable machines are going to be 3 phase. If you have 3 phase power, no dramas. Otherwise you need to consider your options WRT using a VFD or similar. Some motors are easy to swap from 415V to 240V 3 phase, others difficult to verging on impossible, or at least totally impractical.

    PDW

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    Quote Originally Posted by funkychicken View Post
    I can't really say what work I will be doing as I do not know. It would surely change over time, so I couldn't say anything specific anyway.

    I should also say that I am after a more modern machine
    Than that Holbrook? Fair enough. But - do not confuse 'modern' with 'good', that only applies to machines made in the USA, Europe including the old Eastern Bloc countries and the like. Japanese, Taiwanese and Korean machines are generally excellent, Chinese machines are of highly variable quality in the smaller sizes regardless of whose badge is on the side.

    I'd take my 70 year old Monarch 16" lathe over any of the brand new machines Hare & Forbes are selling in that size. Ditto my Chipmaster over any modern lathe with the same work envelope (OK some of the Eurotrash machines excepted but you're not getting one for $4000).

    If you want a new machine, you're SOL on high quality with your budget. The best you'll get is 'adequate'.

    PDW

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    Andrew good to see you post again and have gone to the heavy metal

    The fellow I bought the Myford ML7 off bought that machine due to access to his home they had to plan every step from the front drive into the garage. I hope your flooring is strong enough to take the weight I recall your problems when you bought the first one.

    Ray

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    Quote Originally Posted by funkychicken View Post
    I should also say that I am after a more modern machine
    Why? And what do you call modern?

    I understand that you may not want a machine with a low top end speed, and you don't want a line shaft machine that has been converted.
    That d15 tops out at 1000RPM. But has a single tooth dog clutch with auto stops for threading, 60 pitch QCGB, auto stops for both long and cross feeds, TTA, D1-5? nose (thats a bit of a bitch) 1 1/2 bore etc. In no way is it lacking compared to a newer machine, other than that top speed.

    There is a Hercus AR for sale in QLD at the moment. I would say too light and soggy, but some would disagree.

    If you have problems with your floor that may well limit the wight of what you can buy.

    Ew
    1915 17"x50" LeBlond heavy duty Lathe, 24" Queen city shaper, 1970's G Vernier FV.3.TO Universal Mill, 1958 Blohm HFS 6 surface grinder, 1942 Rivett 715 Lathe, 14"x40" Antrac Lathe, Startrite H225 Bandsaw, 1949 Hercus Camelback Drill press, 1947 Holbrook C10 Lathe.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PDW View Post
    One thing to consider is that the bigger and more capable machines are going to be 3 phase. If you have 3 phase power, no dramas. Otherwise you need to consider your options WRT using a VFD or similar. Some motors are easy to swap from 415V to 240V 3 phase, others difficult to verging on impossible, or at least totally impractical.
    While thinking power, a VFD can drive a small 3 phase machine but unless you pay for a sparky to put in a 20 or 30 amp supply, the biggest 3 phase motor a VFD can drive off single phase is roughly around 2HP so that will also constrain what you can get.

    Michael

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    I talked to my boss today and he can set me up with 3 phase power so that's not an issue

    As for modern, I'm thinking something Asian, rather than an old Myford type lathe. Let's say, nothing older than 20 years. I'm sure many of you will complain about that

    At the moment it's just an idea and nothing is really definite. I think anything between an AL-356 and a TM-1740G could work. Obviously there's a massive difference between them, but that just part of the brainstorming process

    What about this one? Would you go anywhere near this one?

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    Quote Originally Posted by funkychicken View Post
    I talked to my boss today and he can set me up with 3 phase power so that's not an issue

    As for modern, I'm thinking something Asian, rather than an old Myford type lathe. Let's say, nothing older than 20 years. I'm sure many of you will complain about that

    At the moment it's just an idea and nothing is really definite. I think anything between an AL-356 and a TM-1740G could work. Obviously there's a massive difference between them, but that just part of the brainstorming process

    What about this one? Would you go anywhere near this one?
    I'd stay a long way away from the $1500 Chinese lathe. There is no way that any business is going to be selling a good machine of that size, at that price.

    The other one looks like it came from the same plant that we bought a machine from about 8 years ago. It was a H&F geared head 415V machine made in Taiwan. Quite a nice lathe, my machining people were quite happy with it - once they accessorised it with a DRO and a Multifix (genuine!!!) QCTP. I used to use the machine on occasion and I have nothing bad to say about it - I think it was around the $6000 mark at the time.

    Any used lathe needs to be run under power through all its speeds & feeds, and take some test cuts. Especially if it's being sold by a dealer!

    PDW

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    If you are looking at new lathes definitely have a good look at the AL960B, they are better finished than the chinese equivalents in my experience and have been around for many years in one guise or another. D1-4 camlock, 40 mm spindle, 3MT tailstock and QCGB. Mine has done a lot of work and is still as good as new. There seem to be a lot of blokes on the board with one.

    I only wish I'd had the coin for a DRO when I got mine but I've since made up a "poor man's" equivalent with dial gauges on the cross slide and ways. One day when the wallet has recovered from the pending purchase of a welding table (and the missus is consenting) I might retro-fit one - maybe.

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    If they are the type of lathes you are looking at i would recommend a mass of 1T at least, and 5hp or more.

    The 356 is not much lathe for a lot of money IMHO. Only 2.5 hp and on a pressed metal stand. I would be looking at a machine like this one http://www.machineryhouse.com.au/L191D# If you can get a used one all the better.

    For the money though i'd be finding a nice used DSG.....

    Ew
    1915 17"x50" LeBlond heavy duty Lathe, 24" Queen city shaper, 1970's G Vernier FV.3.TO Universal Mill, 1958 Blohm HFS 6 surface grinder, 1942 Rivett 715 Lathe, 14"x40" Antrac Lathe, Startrite H225 Bandsaw, 1949 Hercus Camelback Drill press, 1947 Holbrook C10 Lathe.

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    no way would you want a Myford for the work you seem to have in mind its just an Model makes lathe

    You sure missed what I was saying there.

    Just to mention again the bigger the lathe the stronger the footing it sits on unless you over compensated when you did the floor for the little one you have now then thats something to consider.

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