What to look for in a metal lathe? - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 4 Old 01-27-2014, 05:44 PM Thread Starter
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What to look for in a metal lathe?

I know this is a woodworking forum, but I expect some of you have a metal lathe.

I am considering getting a metal lathe to augment my hand plane restorations as well as possibly help to make some wood turning tools.

I have been searching on the internet. No surprise, information overload and so many contradictions.

I am looking for a bench lathe for hobby use. I want at least 1in spindle bore since my wood lathe uses 1in post.

I want to be able to turn threads, especially for some of the old now odd-ball threads in hand planes. I was thinking at least 8 tpi.

I see belt drive with x speeds, variable speed, gearhead. Does gearhead mean no belts to drive the headstock?

Let me know if you have a favourite metalwork/lathe forum which may point me in the right direction.
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post #2 of 4 Old 01-27-2014, 05:56 PM
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I know bogeyman has a metal lathe (or a few to that matter) and I think one of them is a grizzly. Might be worth shooting him a pm to see what he thinks.
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post #3 of 4 Old 01-27-2014, 07:21 PM
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Do you have access to a Community College that offers a machine tool course. Taking a Lathe course would get you more familiar with its operation and help you know more about what you want. You should know something about the "care and feeding" before you start. Metal lathes can get very pricey real quick.
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post #4 of 4 Old 01-28-2014, 06:30 AM
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I have owned a two metal lathes, a Harbor Freight 7 x 10 and a Grizzly 11 x 26. Both of these machines need some TLC to work as they should but consider them to be 90% finished when you buy them.

I cut threads with both of them. Fine threads such as 24 or more threads per inch are easy. Cutting 8 threads per inch is more difficult because the speed that the carriage move relative to the spindle is much quicker than the fine threads. I made a speed reducing jack-shaft for both lathes in an attempt provide more torque and slow the spindle down.

My advice is buy as large a lathe as you have space and power to support. Small work on a big lathe is the way to go. Have power to spare. Also, a mechanical reverse of the carriage direction is great if you want to cut left hand threads.

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