first lathe

  1. postie jon Member

    Aberdeenshire, Scotland
    Are there any small lathes on the market that are worth purchasing ,or are the bulk of the chinese carp thats for sale worth avoiding, havnt done any lathe work since evening classes when i left school at 16 , 50 this year and fancy having 1 to play around with, have a classic tractor so fancy making my own pins etc for it. did see a few in machine mart. thanks J.
    zx9 likes this.
  2. daleyd

    daleyd Member

    Wrexham, North Wales
    I’ve got a denford viceroy - these and the similar Boxford lathes are good for home/hobby use if your space restricted. A step up size (and capability) wise from myford lathes but not as big as Colchester’s/Harrison’s etc. They were used quite a lot in schools so you can sometimes find fairly lightly used ones.

    Weight wise they are movable with a small engine crane, whereas the bigger size ones take a bit more thinking about.
    slim_boy_fat likes this.
  3. My Old Landy

    My Old Landy Member

    Buckinghamshire UK
    I think it is budget dependant. I've been looking also and the Warco WM 250 has good reviews but at over a grand and a half its not cheap!
  4. optima21 Forum Supporter

    halifax, England
    depends on the space you have available, what you want to make and your budget. my definition of small might be a bit smaller than yours, but if you're into restoration I'd be getting the largest you can
    daleyd and Retired like this.
  5. dobbslc

    dobbslc Member

    Hertfordshire UK
    I'd stay away from the Machine Mark Clarke ones, bit crappy and you're better off spending the same money on an old British lathe as said above like a Denford etc.
    If you're restoring a tractor I'd go for as big a lathe as possible!
    I have Chester lathe / mill (bit like the Clarke ones but a bit better I think) that's ok but I'm after something more robust at some point.
    Hopefuldave, zx9 and Retired like this.
  6. Brad93

    Brad93 M J B Engineering

    Box ford are a good size or warco are Chinese but half decent
  7. Retired Forum Supporter

    Huddersfield. UK.

    I've worked on or owned lathes for over 55 years and never tire of using them. I currently own two woodturning lathes and a metal turning lathe. Wood lathes are Record Power DML24" and Union Graduate my metal lathe is a very rare Lorch Schmidt precision floor standing model.

    I used to have a Colchester Triumph but it was simply too big to keep taking up a lot of space so I sold it; to bridge the gap between buying another lathe my wife bought me a Clarke CL300M as a Christmas present. Being so used to lathe work I didn't read the instructions simply plug it in and play; I dialed a light cut of 60 thou on and thought this isn't a bad little lathe at all and it proved to be accurate; I was starting to enjoy this little lathe when it suddenly expired with a big bang and a cloud of smoke. Oh dear I think I hurt it.

    Now with hindsight I did read the instructions; I believe maximum cut was 10 thou? I'm not surprised it expired with a 60 thou cut; on the Colchester a 60 though cut is very light indeed but a 10 thou cut was just a scratch? I found both the Clarke motor and circuit board had been destroyed; a new circuit board alone at the time cost over £100 so no point in me buying a new motor and circuit board that I could so easily destroy.

    My answer was rather drastic; scrap both the motor and circuit board and modify the lathe to take a decent cut. I spent £160 on a brand new servo motor it being industrial heavy duty for use on sewing machines; no way could this new motor be mounted in the tiny motor compartment within the lathe but it could be mounted if I installed a countershaft which is what I did; I temporarily rigged up the servo motor to drive the lathe and turned the new countershaft and designed and built the new drive. Once the modifications were carried out this little Clarke was now a decent lathe and I ran it until buying the Lorch when I then sold the Clarke for a very good price; the new owner of the Clarke was delighted with it; I had installed a throw over control lever allowing the servo motor actuating arm to be engaged and disengaged without having to stop the motor running.

    It was entirely my own fault due to my many years running industrial lathes but I would never ever buy another lathe with a circuit board because I don't trust circuit boards wherever they are installed.

    I would always buy the biggest lathe I could afford and have the space for because small items can be turned on a big lathe but big items can't be turned on a small lathe. If you need to bore into the end of a shaft then the small lathes are a real pain needing setting up with center steady etc because the bore of the mandrel is very limited in diameter; 12" between centres doesn't mean boring into the end of a 12" long bar.

    Once you do buy a lathe then you'll never be without a lathe because lathes are addictive; I used to own five lathes.

    Kind regards, Colin.

    Clarke CL300_0001..JPG

    Clarke tiny motor housing.

    Clarke CL300_0004. (2).JPG

    New countershaft mounting bracket.

    Clarke CL300_0002..JPG

    New countershaft assembly.

    Clarke CL300_0006. (2).JPG

    New countershaft turned on the destroyed lathe. Just because the original motor and circuit board has expired the lathe can still be used with a little imagination.

    Clarke CL300_0005.JPG

    Don't forget to install the drive belt?

    Clarke CL300_0003.JPG

    Still a small motor by my standards but a big motor compared to the Clarke original.

    Clarke CL300_0007.JPG

    An elegant solution heavily modifying the lathe where it won't burn out another motor or circuit board.

    Clarke CL300_0009.JPG

    Here's the set up used to turn the new countershaft so as I say just because the original drive isn't working the lathe can be rigged to run even here it's better than the original.

    I've rebuilt and heavily modified both my Graduate and Lorch if anyone is interested.
  8. spencer 427 Member

    uk colchester
    Get ya self a big ol dsg. Holbrook. Or pratt and whitney.....job done.
    Hopefuldave, barking mat and Retired like this.
  9. R-D-R Forum Supporter

    Derbyshire - England
    What space do you have? That will drive part of the decision. If you can accommodate a floor standing lathe I would go for a second hand one you will get more bang for buck.

    I wanted a small lathe, ended up with a Harrison m250 and I’m very happy with it. I did look at new ones from the usual culprits they just didn’t seem to compare regarding quality of engineering and rigidity.
    Hopefuldave, Retired and eLuSiVeMiTe like this.
  10. slim_boy_fat

    slim_boy_fat Forum Supporter

    Don't overlook the work required in installation, access etc. Although almost anything can be achieved, it'll make the job much more difficult if you have narrow gaps, slopes, steps etc to negotiate.

    That said, once in place you'll have loads of fun with your chosen machine. :thumbup:
  11. minimutly Member

    Pembrokeshire Wales
    Buy a myford at the right price, it will never lose you money, and easy to shift on or upgrade with a miller attachment (amolco). A bit small, so depends what your going to do?
  12. addjunkie

    addjunkie Member

    Northumberland. Reet oot in the sticks
    Tell us how much space you have, how much money, and what you want to make.
    Retired likes this.
  13. chrisg3103

    chrisg3103 Forum Supporter

    +1 for denford, good size to move about big enough to do real work, and proper lathe features such as power feed shaft and screwcutting gearbox. Plus the benefit of being obscure enough to not command fanboy prices :D
    I have a thread here fixing one up, picked it up not far from you in Banff!
    slim_boy_fat, Retired and daleyd like this.
  14. postie jon Member

    Aberdeenshire, Scotland
    7 miles away then.
  15. chrisg3103

    chrisg3103 Forum Supporter

    440 mile round trip for me, and i only live in ayrshire! had a quick scan but the only examples are rather 'enthusiastically' priced shall we say, did find this in your neck of the woods, no idea what it is looks a complicated beast. this is my viceroy, as shown can be moved by a cheap engine crane at full extension, only weighs about 350kg. They do come up cheap from time to time on ebay and the like, just not at the minute
    slim_boy_fat, Retired and daleyd like this.
  16. atomant48

    atomant48 Forum Supporter

    Salisbury, UK
    I liked the bit about your wife buying you a lathe from MM. my (then) GF bought me a tool chest from MM one birthday and I knew at that moment she was a keeper.[/QUOTE]
    Retired likes this.
  17. CornishPete Member

    If my wife bought me a tool box it would definitely not be one I wanted, just like if I bought her underwear it's definitely not what she wanted!
    I buy what I want, and hide it in the garage amongst the other tools I already have but don't need, she buys what she wants and hides it amongst the other shoes she already has but doesn't need and we both couldn't be happier!
    Retired likes this.