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Old 07-14-2017, 10:23 PM
Glowzinski Glowzinski is offline
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Glen Burnie, MD
Posts: 5
Default Metal lathe

Hello, I got a metal hammer from Northern Tool a week or so ago. Once I get the 60 gallon air compressor next month, I will finally have a change to try the thing out.

I found I enjoy working with metal. I was looking at a metal lathe on grizzly. They have one that is from $5-$600. Is it any good? I have a lack of space. My mom will be putting the air compressor in her shed. Haha. I just want a metal lathe, that will allow me to get an idea of how they work.

Also, I got two metal working magazines. Free copies. I realized they were for pros. Haha. But, I found a site that sold metal for a lathe. The metal had lead in it. I watched a documentary a few years ago, about people who used led and died from it. Awful to see the poor women. Do I have to use stuff with lead in it?
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Old 07-15-2017, 01:10 AM
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racer-john racer-john is offline
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Shop is in "Asnorveldt"( the "Marsh"), Ontario, Canada
Posts: 214
Default Metal lathe

The lead is in the steel to facilitate machining. It is not weldable.
John S. E

Torque is nothing, unless you can get it to the road.
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Old 07-15-2017, 07:53 AM
KAD KAD is offline
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Virginia
Posts: 202

Hi Joshua,

First off I recommend that you get together with someone in your area that has a shop and is willing to show you around.Perhaps if you put out a request here and other machining sites on the web someone would surely step up to help you get started.

This site is technically devoted mostly to sheet metal shaping (think automobile bodies) even though it can be a little confusing in that it's named "AllMetalShaping" but lots of people on this site also have lathes.

Machine tools can be dangerous if you don't know how to use them properly.

Welcome to the big world of "metal working"

Last edited by KAD; 07-15-2017 at 02:13 PM.
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Old 10-20-2017, 11:02 AM
Hillbilly Hillbilly is offline
Join Date: Oct 2017
Location: S.E. Ohio
Posts: 4

I have to agree with Kad. A lathe can put a hurtin on ya real quick. I've got a lathe and a milling machine. First thing I'll tell you is to not wear any loose clothing around them. They can get caught in the machinery and at least get ripped of worse they can grab it and break your bones. Wear safety goggles as they both throw metal chips and if they get into your eye you won't like how they have to come out.

By learning from someone you get to know feed rates and how far and deep and fast you can cut. These all vary with different metals.

A lathe has to be set on a level surface. A precision level must be used to level it not some level you get at a hardware store.

By befriending a guy at a machine shop he can help you with all these and many more questions you'll have.

Good luck
Gene Barr
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Old 10-20-2017, 04:00 PM
Ken Hosford Ken Hosford is offline
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: South East Michigan
Posts: 347

as to the grizzly lathe it will be just like any other small / cheap lathe there is not enough mass/weight to allow any rigidity . That said there has been a lot of things made on them with a lot of patience and light cuts . By rigidity I mean stability from self exciting harsh vibrations . That said often some lathe better than no lathe , both can be frustrating . one of the problems with lathes is we to often need for the job on hand a bigger lathe , and there is no end to that. I have made parts on worn out lathes big and small so how bad can new Chinese be ? So I say go for it you can upgrade later if you find the need/desire . What I find often is it is harder to get your first of anything the rest just follow along. I am waiting on the rest on some of my thing and not others .
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Old 10-21-2017, 10:03 AM
billfunk29 billfunk29 is offline
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 142
Default Homeshop machinist

This forum may prove useful:

Personally, I would look for an old Atlas or Southbend before I got a China lathe. Get as much tooling as you can with the machine. Expensive to buy one at a time.

I have used a lot of domestic and import machinery. If you do get an import, plan to work on it right out of the box. Sharp corners and crappy handles can be fixed. I have found the basic iron to be adequate.

I have hand scraped several machines and Mid 20th century iron is the best. You can really feel the difference as you scrape. That said, you can still learn a lot from a cheap import tool.
Bill Funk
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Old 10-21-2017, 10:15 AM
dwood dwood is offline
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Atascadero California
Posts: 43

Something to keep in mind is that buying a lathe is just the beginning of the expense. You can easily spend an equal amount or more on the tooling required: chucks, tool holders, etc.

I've owned a machine shop for over 40 years and I could not live without a lathe and my other machine tools. I'm retired . . . but my personal projects require their use.

I'd also recommend finding a friendly machinist and get to know more before purchasing a lathe.
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Old 10-21-2017, 04:40 PM
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Joe Hartson Joe Hartson is offline
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Pass Christian, MS
Posts: 4,897

dwood comment X2
Joe Hartson

There is more than one way to go to town and they are all correct.
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Old 10-21-2017, 06:41 PM
hlfuzzball hlfuzzball is offline
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Plymouth, mi
Posts: 133

I suggest you take a basic machine shop evening class at your local High School or Community College. Maybe you can make a contact with someone with a "real" lathe you can use.
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