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Ordered my first lathe. Any recommendations for gear/add ons?

Forums All Other Equipment Ordered my first lathe. Any recommendations for gear/add ons?

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    Sqwirlfugger57
    Participant
    Member
    United States
    Accuracy: +10

    I bought a cheap 8×16 mini lathe off of ebay with the end goal of learning to make my own guides, pistons, sleeves, moderators, etc. Basically anything that a lathe can handle. Does anyone with experience have any recommendations on where to start with learning this thing or what else I should could concider getting to make this easier. Thanks in advance!

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    Metalmaniac
    Participant
    Member
    United States
    Accuracy: +22

    I have been a machinist 32 years. You need to start with a machinist basic operations book. They can be found at the library. Or you can buy one used on EBay for cheap.                                                             Always file or emery cloth left handed on the lathe or you will get busted knuckles or worse. Safety is paramount on a lathe. Use eye protection no gloves or loose clothing. Good luck! Be safe!  MM

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    Airman-of-the-Board
    Participant
    Member
    United States
    Accuracy: +0

    I learned a lot through a local community college that offered “manufacturing technology” classes.  Might be something to consider.  
     

    Upgrading to a quick change tool post made my lathe easier to use.   

    Pay attention to cutting speeds, which depend on the type of cutter and material being cut, as well as other considerations (depth of cut, feed rate, etc.).

    “CRC 3-36” has been working well for me as a corrosion inhibitor to keep the lathe rust free.

    Enjoy the new tool. 

     

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    plingpling
    Participant
    Member
    Denmark
    Accuracy: +6

    Ditto.

    Got my first metal fabricating education in 1987 after a 3.5 year apprenticeship.

    A "big" lathe can kill you, a small hobby one i assume can also still take a serious bite off you.

    Dont touch shavings while the lathe spin, they are like rope razor blades and will lay bare your bone in a heartbeat

    I assume you will only use HS bits, i dont think a hobby grade machine can push the big boy cutting tools,,,,, HS is also fine i often used it as you dont have as big a cutting pressure and so can lathe thinner long things.

     

    Biggest lathe i ever operated had train wheels in it, thats 4-5 foot diameter, biggest grind i ever did,,,, okay helped with was train engine crankshafts.

    Still peanuts compared to the ship engine crankshafts i have been standing on / crawled / walked around below, you look up and think " no wonder this SOB top out at 95 RPM "

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    nervoustrig
    Participant
    Member
    United States
    Accuracy: +120

    Carbide insert tooling works quite nicely even in a small lathe.  But yeah, HSS is perfectly good for a lot of the hobby type cutting, and will generally produce a better surface finish.  Especially on plastics (poppets, lightweight hammers, etc.), I much prefer HSS.  Check out the video on YouTube by This Old Tony for a good introduction on grinding your own HSS cutters.  Once you know how to do it, you can tackle almost any conceivable turning job that comes up.  

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    Sqwirlfugger57
    Participant
    Member
    United States
    Accuracy: +10

    Metalmaniac

    I have been a machinist 32 years. You need to start with a machinist basic operations book. They can be found at the library. Or you can buy one used on EBay for cheap.                                                             Always file or emery cloth left handed on the lathe or you will get busted knuckles or worse. Safety is paramount on a lathe. Use eye protection no gloves or loose clothing. Good luck! Be safe!  MM

    I will find the book! Appreciate the info!

    Airman-of-the-Board

    I learned a lot through a local community college that offered “manufacturing technology” classes.  Might be something to consider.  
     

    Upgrading to a quick change tool post made my lathe easier to use.   

    Pay attention to cutting speeds, which depend on the type of cutter and material being cut, as well as other considerations (depth of cut, feed rate, etc.).

    “CRC 3-36” has been working well for me as a corrosion inhibitor to keep the lathe rust free.

    Enjoy the new tool. 

     

    I've seen a few people on YouTube who swapped out for a quick change so that is definitely on my list. I'll start looking for some reference material for cutting speeds and materials. Thanks for the advice man!

    plingpling

    Ditto.

    Got my first metal fabricating education in 1987 after a 3.5 year apprenticeship.

    A "big" lathe can kill you, a small hobby one i assume can also still take a serious bite off you.

    Dont touch shavings while the lathe spin, they are like rope razor blades and will lay bare your bone in a heartbeat

    I assume you will only use HS bits, i dont think a hobby grade machine can push the big boy cutting tools,,,,, HS is also fine i often used it as you dont have as big a cutting pressure and so can lathe thinner long things.

     

    Biggest lathe i ever operated had train wheels in it, thats 4-5 foot diameter, biggest grind i ever did,,,, okay helped with was train engine crankshafts.

    Still peanuts compared to the ship engine crankshafts i have been standing on / crawled / walked around below, you look up and think " no wonder this SOB top out at 95 RPM "

    Ive been a mechanic for a little over a decade now so "keep your fingers away from the spinning sharp stuff" is definitely some good advice. Thank you!

    nervoustrig

    Carbide insert tooling works quite nicely even in a small lathe.  But yeah, HSS is perfectly good for a lot of the hobby type cutting, and will generally produce a better surface finish.  Especially on plastics (poppets, lightweight hammers, etc.), I much prefer HSS.  Check out the video on YouTube by This Old Tony for a good introduction on grinding your own HSS cutters.  Once you know how to do it, you can tackle almost any conceivable turning job that comes up.  

    Awesome! Exactly what I was looking for. I'll check This Old Tony when I get home. Thanks for the info!

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    AirShot
    Participant
    Member
    United States
    Accuracy: +18

    For plastic msterials use high speed or cobalt cutting tools. If you have a source and reasonable cost use carbide insert cutting tools for steel. To start, take light cuts to get the feel, you can take heavier cuts after you get some experience.  Lots of videos on beginning lathe turning as well as books, so start reading!!  Saftey glasses a MUST, never use gloves!!!  Use junk material to play with your lathe and learn its functions…You will need a dial indicator sooner or later to be able to check items you put in the chuck to check concentricity. You will need some decent files, use single cut files to get a better cut and finnish. Emery cloth will also be usefull. Get some different size " center drills" these will allow you to start drills right on center. Of course some decent drill bits and probably some thread taps for threading holes. Turning threads on the od is a whole different story so get some experience on basic turning first.  Have fun but be safe!!!!

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    Sqwirlfugger57
    Participant
    Member
    United States
    Accuracy: +10

    AirShot

    For plastic msterials use high speed or cobalt cutting tools. If you have a source and reasonable cost use carbide insert cutting tools for steel. To start, take light cuts to get the feel, you can take heavier cuts after you get some experience.  Lots of videos on beginning lathe turning as well as books, so start reading!!  Saftey glasses a MUST, never use gloves!!!  Use junk material to play with your lathe and learn its functions…You will need a dial indicator sooner or later to be able to check items you put in the chuck to check concentricity. You will need some decent files, use single cut files to get a better cut and finnish. Emery cloth will also be usefull. Get some different size " center drills" these will allow you to start drills right on center. Of course some decent drill bits and probably some thread taps for threading holes. Turning threads on the od is a whole different story so get some experience on basic turning first.  Have fun but be safe!!!!

    Luckily I'm a mechanic already so dial indicators, taps and dies, and drill bits have been bought and paid for already. Woo!

    I've used lathes before but mostly just for turning brake rotors and drums. I figured this would be similar but give me a much broader range of uses. Appreciate the tips man and I will definitely be doing plenty of reading and YouTube videos for the next month to get used to the procedures.

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    biohazardman
    Participant
    Member
    United States
    Accuracy: +95

    Good for you!  It's crazy the things you can do with even a small lathe, drill press, Dremel and a few hand tools.  Opens up your world to new projects it does.

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    Sqwirlfugger57
    Participant
    Member
    United States
    Accuracy: +10

    biohazardman

    Good for you!  It's crazy the things you can do with even a small lathe, drill press, Dremel and a few hand tools.  Opens up your world to new projects it does.

    Thanks man! Its always fun learning a new tool and definitely hope to get my monies worth out of it. From what I've seen that I should be able to do, that won't be too difficult. 

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    steve-l
    Participant
    Member
    Netherlands
    Accuracy: +20

    You have made a huge step that could affect the rest of your life dramatically. Buying that lathe is the start of a lifelong addiction worse than golf and drugs. You will shorty discover that your new lathe was a waste of money. It is too light for 99% of what you will want to do. You will also discover that the cost of any machine tool represents only 50% of that tool's total required investment. The rest will be the cost of accessories and tools. After you discover that your lathe is inadequate, you will discover you will need a tool grinder to sharpen the lathe tools, Then you will need a milling machine and then tools for that. This will continue for the rest of your life. You will never have enough tools or capability. I feel sorry for you…………ask me how I know these things.

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    Sqwirlfugger57
    Participant
    Member
    United States
    Accuracy: +10

    steve-l

    You have made a huge step that could affect the rest of your life dramatically. Buying that lathe is the start of a lifelong addiction worse than golf and drugs. You will shorty discover that your new lathe was a waste of money. It is too light for 99% of what you will want to do. You will also discover that the cost of any machine tool represents only 50% of that tool's total required investment. The rest will be the cost of accessories and tools. After you discover that your lathe is inadequate, you will discover you will need a tool grinder to sharpen the lathe tools, Then you will need a milling machine and then tools for that. This will continue for the rest of your life. You will never have enough tools or capability. I feel sorry for you…………ask me how I know these things.

    Hahaha I know you are right. I know this because I haven't even had it delivered yet and have already started looking for a milling machine. Thank you for your comment because now I am even more excited to get started than I was before!

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    nomojo65
    Participant
    Member
    United States
    Accuracy: +23

    I just purchased a Chinese mini lathe myself for a Christmas present!, have very much to learn! I have a basic machinist handbook on the way.

     I have some machinist’s in the family and they advised against buying a Chinese lathe, I did anyway… both said use only HSS tooling and buy a QCTP, so I did!

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    Sqwirlfugger57
    Participant
    Member
    United States
    Accuracy: +10

    nomojo65

    I just purchased a Chinese mini lathe myself for a Christmas present!, have very much to learn! I have a basic machinist handbook on the way.

     I have some machinist’s in the family and they advised against buying a Chinese lathe, I did anyway… both said use only HSS tooling and buy a QCTP, so I did!

    Awesome man. Congrats! Which one did you go with? 

    My thoughts were this on the Chinese one. It probably works fine and will be good enough to learn on. If I decide to step up I always can later. I can sell the old lathe or just keep it so I can run two projects at a time. Time will tell if that was a mistake.

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    nomojo65
    Participant
    Member
    United States
    Accuracy: +23

    It’s a 7×14 mini. That’s some of the custom indexable tooling and fixtures they machine, I’m best to listen! They commented the small Chinese lathes can’t handle carbide tip tooling “to flexible and not enough power to utilize them.

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    heavy-impact
    Participant
    Member
    United States
    Accuracy: +111

    If it has change gears for threading you're gonna hate them. Have a look at making your own electronic lead screw.

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    Sqwirlfugger57
    Participant
    Member
    United States
    Accuracy: +10

    heavy-impact

    If it has change gears for threading you're gonna hate them. Have a look at making your own electronic lead screw.

    Good information. Thank you!

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