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Joe Portale
August 31, 2000, 10:34 PM
This maybe a stretch for this forum. I was looking through an auction list from the county, hoping to find a lathe. The paper had a picture of what looked like a fatter and squater version of an engine lathe, but it was called a "turning center". Of course my curiosity popped up. SO the questio is:

What is the difference between a turning center and a engine lathe?

I know that you can make gun parts on an engine lathe, so this is gun related...sorta...well kinda.... ;)

thanks.

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Joe Portale
Tucson, Arizona Territory

"Those who turn their swords into plow shears,
end up plowing the fields of those who didn't"
Thomas Jefferson

Dangus
September 1, 2000, 12:33 AM
On this note, a question I've been meaning to ask is:

What do you guys consider to be the very best overall gunsmithing lathe? Does anyone actually even make lathes for that express purpose?

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The Alcove (http://www.alcovetech.com/)

I twist the facts until they tell the truth. -Some intellectual sadist

The Bill of Rights is a document of brilliance, a document of wisdom, and it is the ultimate law, spoken or not, for the very concept of a society that holds liberty above the desire for ever greater power. -Me

George Stringer
September 1, 2000, 05:44 AM
Joe, I don't know. I know they are different otherwise they'd call the turning center a lathe but I don't know what they are used for.

Dangus, for gun work you need at least a 1-1/2" hole through the headstock spindle and a bed length of 36". Quick change gears are nice to have. My lathe doesn't have that feature and I have to change the gearing everytime I want to change feeds or threads. Takes about 10 minutes to change over. A custormer (one of our TFL members) asked me day before yesterday if mine was 100 years old. Actually it is pre-1930s but it was well cared for. I got it for a song. If you shop carefully, hit a few auctions, etc you can usually find a good deal. George

Dangus
September 1, 2000, 09:00 AM
Any estimates on what a "good deal" may range in? I'm poor :)

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The Alcove (http://www.alcovetech.com/)

I twist the facts until they tell the truth. -Some intellectual sadist

The Bill of Rights is a document of brilliance, a document of wisdom, and it is the ultimate law, spoken or not, for the very concept of a society that holds liberty above the desire for ever greater power. -Me

Brett Bellmore
September 1, 2000, 10:21 AM
I've asked around in the shop, and the consensus is that there really isn't much of a difference between a lathe and a turning center, except that a turning center might have some additional features like a tool changer, or the ability to handle larger diameter work. No hard and fast definition, anyway.

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Sic semper tyrannis!

griz
September 1, 2000, 01:02 PM
I think the "turning center" is meant for items that are not long, like brake drums, flywheels etc. I haven't heard the term turning center before but

George Stringer
September 2, 2000, 07:07 AM
Dangus, naturally that's a relative term. Most guys buying a lathe with any amount of tooling expect to spend $2000 up. I got mine for $750. But I don't think you'll find a quick change type for that. Keep an eye on auction sites like www.machinetoolsauctions.com (http://www.machinetoolsauctions.com) I got a milling machine from that site for $781 but it cost $570 to ship it. You might also check around with machine shops in your local area. Sometimes they have an older one or two just sitting in a corner that they might be willing to part with. George

Clark
September 2, 2000, 12:49 PM
George seems to be handling this, but I do know where there is allot of this kind of info:

email to: gunsmith-list@swcp.com

email to: gunsmith-list-digest@swcp.com

subscribe: rec.crafts.metalworking

Joe Portale
September 2, 2000, 05:51 PM
Thanks for the input folks. Here is what I turned up by poking around the internet for a time.

Engine lathe: use differential gears to allow for the cutting of threads and other stepped turned functions. A turning center does not have these gears or belts to advance the work or cutting arm. Any thread cutting or twist cutting must be manually moved. A couple of you made references to a flywheel or brake lathe. Close but not really true. Both of these machines use diffential gearing so they would be considered an engine lathe.

The "Modern" definition of a turning center is now taken to mean a CNC controlled lathe.

Ain't the internet grand? ;)

thanks

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Joe Portale
Tucson, Arizona Territory

"Those who turn their swords into plow shears,
end up plowing the fields of those who didn't"
Thomas Jefferson

Alex Johnson
September 4, 2000, 02:27 PM
Joe I don't know exactly what you saw, but the places I have worked at generally refer to the CNC lathes as turning centers. The ones that I have seen generally have large spindle bores, and relatively short distance between the centers with a multi tool changer. I can't really see a whole lot of uses for these in general gunsmithing and they are super expensive to boot. Some people might also refer to the older turret lathes as a turning center. These were used in production shops for repeat parts and also have limited use in gunsmithing. If your looking for a good used lathe check out Ebay as they usually have some pretty decent deals their. Also it wouldn't hurt to check out www.mermac.com/ (http://www.mermac.com/) which is Meridian machinery. I believe their located in New Jersey and they have some really nice pieces come through their shop. I've also talked to the owner on the phone and he's a really nice guy and very helpful. That's about it, hope you find what your looking for.