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Old September 18, 2011, 08:49 PM   #1
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First machines to purchase

I am starting to buy some of the more expensive equipment for my shop. I am looking for some recommendations on brands of lathes and mills. I won't be doing deep hole drilling.
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Old September 19, 2011, 08:11 AM   #2
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Grizzly makes decent stuff for the price. Would not recommend buying table lathes..if you are going to get one then get one with its on stand and such. However, when buying a lathe bigger is not always better. Also, some lathes will cut threads other will not (I unless you change out gears and stuff ).

Milling machine..bigger is better.

I recommend grizzle because that is what I have. There are plenty of manufacturers that make better equipment. I just do not own any. I have worked on a lablond and bridgeport (I I think those are the correct names ). And they seemed to be better quality than mine but I don't have the cash for either and my stuff is second hand.

You will have better luck on a machinist forum or something.

If you have been trained to use the equipment mentioned then great.

If not then im not going to be able to teach you everything. But I will tell you this.


The above is to keep you from being........"machined"
Two weapons that was designed by the same man still in use by the us military 100 years later...1911 and there anything that comes annd maybe perhaps a sig sauer p226 tac ops edition..
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Old September 19, 2011, 08:27 AM   #3
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I have two JET lathes and a JET Milling Machine I got in the early 80s that are still going strong. I don't know about todays quality of the JET's but mine have held up quite well.

Don't forget other equipment, Belt Sander, Air Compresser, Arbor Press, Mig welder, metal cutting band saw, etc etc.

The AC gets more use then anything in my shop.
Kraig Stuart
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Old September 19, 2011, 03:16 PM   #4
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For myself,one "must have" on a lathe is approx 1 3/8 bore through the spindle.This is the size to take a 5C collet draw bar.It allows a long bar or barrel to go through the headstock.We also have a spider(a cap with centering screws,like a chuck) on the back end of the spindle,so both ends of a barrel can be indicated to no run out.
For some reason ,most all of the import lathes that come pretty close to the size/features I prefer are made as gap bed lathes.Maybe that is OK,but it turns me off.I would prefer one made with a solid bed.
It has been a while since I looked,but it seems like the brand I came up with that looked like a real nice lathe was a Sharp,but it was about $12k.
For myself,I would likely look till I found a good,sound,not-worn-out Bridgeport.While thereare definite advantages to the variable drive head,the step pulley heads are single phase,and probably more long term durable.
How hard will you work them?10 hours of light duty a month ,and decent care,it does not take a lot of machine to last a long time.
But,it takes a certain level of quality to single point nice,accurate threads,etc.
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Old September 24, 2011, 11:03 PM   #5
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Manual, Conversational, and CNC machinist, here.

For a mill, start with a Bridgeport in good shape with a decent DRO. There is no better option unless youre willing to spend the coin on a Prototrak. Its the best of both worlds,good old fashioned reliability, and for a couple grand you can buy a prototrak addon later on to augment your capabilities and have at least some CNC capability if you want/need it. Prototrak is conversational and if you get used to how a DRO works over time, you'll pick it up quick. If you've really got coin to burn, pick up a HAAS TM-1. Still has the handles like a regular mill, but unlike the Prototrak has FULL CNC capability. Also, it has a conversational aspect to it that youd pick up quickly.

As far as lathes go,a Sigma or a LeBlond will serve you well. Theres also a Proto version called Protopath, but I dont know off the top of my head which manual lathes the upgrade kits can attach to. I would be very hesitant about getting into a HAAS VL-1 or a ProtoPath because CNC lathe work is a bit more complicated to get into, hire a CNC lathe guy to teach you before you get away from turning the handles yourself. As always, with either choice on mill or lathe, do your research into work and tool holding as they are just as important and arent universally compatible in regards to collets and chucks. When buying a lathe, pick up all the tool holders and chucks and other sundry attachments at the same time from the same company because theyre usually fit to the ways of your lathe.
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