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Thread: Lathe question

  1. #1
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    Lathe question

    Somewhat off topic but pertains to eventually building lights

    I have a lathe and mill that I can use at a friends, he lives 2hrs away so it is difficult to get time on it. Almost all my projects are on the size of light housings for bikes. Got $3k to spend

    Would you go with the Sherline package deal (mill, lathe, and tooling) for ~$2700

    Or search for a nice used lathe (no mill)

  2. #2
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    I run a Southbend 9A lathe built in 1943 for the Navy. Cost me 900.00 and its perfect. I say buy used but make sure it doesn't have too much lash.
    Chances are .. You're full of !$@&?

  3. #3
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    depends on what the market's like for used machines in your area. Some are awash with them (Michigan), others are complete deserts (Idaho? Who needs to machine potatoes!), which has a huge impact on price. If you're buying used, take along someone who knows a bit about what they're doing and make sure it has a decent amount of tooling (3 and 4 jaw, QCTP ideally, some cutters, live centre etc) as you can easily spend as much on that as you do on the lathe.

    It also depends on what power, space and haulage requirements/ facilities you have. There's no point buying a 10EE and not being able to fit it down the stairs to your basement, or a 3 phase machine without access to a VFD. You've said that most projects would be bike light sized, but would you ever do anything larger? They always say it's better to machine something small on a big lathe than something big on a small lathe That said, I can fit my lathe on the passenger seat of my car, so what do I know?!

    You might want to post the same question, with some info about the Qs I put above, on
    General

    they're generally pretty helpful, with a helping of cantankerous old gits and a preference for giant old American iron

    For really small stuff, those Sherline packages are really nice, but I wonder how long it would take for you to find the limit of their work envelope, then you'd be out $3k you could have spent on a 10x40 Grizzly instead. Tricky Q.

  4. #4
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    The Sherline is a remarkably capable lathe for it's size. I haven't used the mill (having a Taig mill myself) but I imagine it is just as capable. The great thing with them is that Sherline makes just about every attachment you can think of, so if all your work is inside the work envelope of the Sherline then I would highly recommend it.
    I would recommend also buying an ER32 headstock to hold bigger bar stock from these guys:
    Sherline ER Collet Headstock
    I don't have one myself, but it is definitely on my wish list.
    Posting on the basis that ignorance shared is ignorance doubled.

  5. #5
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    Thanks for the info. One of my concerns was that the tooling on the Sherline is only useful on the sherline, if I did upgrade to a larger lathe in the future then I'd be looking at new tooling to go with it. Though from my research most people dont find it that big of a deal as you would have both the Sherline and larger mills.

    The fact that you can get an ER collet headstock is a huge plus. Thanks for that link.

    I live in Denver so there is a supply of used machinery. I found a South Bend 9"x36" being sold for $700 that I'm going to take a look at on sunday.

  6. #6
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    that's funny, I meant to reference our resident Sherline wizard in this thread I wasn't meaning to diss their products, as The Understater has clearly shown that you can produce astonishing work from them, just that they will inevitably have their limits. Same with all machinery really, it just depends on what you want to do with it.

    Found a cute Unimat on eBay this morning
    Unimat DB SL Mini Hobby Lathe Milling Machine Gunsmith Model Maker Watchmaker | eBay

    that'd be an awesome starter machine and Unimats are well regarded with a decent supply of spare parts.

    Let us know how you get on with the SB9 and don't forget pictures, nothing like a bit of tool porn to brighten the day!

  7. #7
    more carbon=more awesome
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    Quote Originally Posted by mattthemuppet View Post
    that's funny, I meant to reference our resident Sherline wizard in this thread I wasn't meaning to diss their products, as The Understater has clearly shown that you can produce astonishing work from them, just that they will inevitably have their limits. Same with all machinery really, it just depends on what you want to do with it.

    Found a cute Unimat on eBay this morning
    Unimat DB SL Mini Hobby Lathe Milling Machine Gunsmith Model Maker Watchmaker | eBay

    that'd be an awesome starter machine and Unimats are well regarded with a decent supply of spare parts.

    Let us know how you get on with the SB9 and don't forget pictures, nothing like a bit of tool porn to brighten the day!

    I have that exact lathe too. It is absolutely terrible. The two rods that form the bed are far too flexible to support any depth of cut and the motor has no torque whatsoever.
    The Sherline is a about 100 times more capable than the unimat sl.

    Even I would frequently like a bigger lathe. For my work a 9x20 would be good for roughing out bigger stuff.
    Posting on the basis that ignorance shared is ignorance doubled.

  8. #8
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    well, scratch the well regarded part then

  9. #9
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    If you had to do it over would you go with a sherline over the taig?

  10. #10
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    I would buy the Sherline Larhe (long bed) every time. I had a Taig lathe and hated it. I do like the Taig mill but Iwould buy a Sherline for extra compatibility and because I would buy a metric one. That and you can turn it into a horizontal mill for cutting clock gears.
    Posting on the basis that ignorance shared is ignorance doubled.

  11. #11
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    Thanks for all the info. I live with my brother right now and he as a four car garage hence the reason for considering the southbend. However, he informed me earlier tonight that he will be selling this place next August. So going to go with the Sherline lathe, would like to do the combo mill and lathe package but kinda itching to get started.

  12. #12
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    Going to get the 4400C LATHE PACKAGE (Metric 4410C), which comes with:

    P/N 1040 3.1" 3-jaw self-centering chuck
    P/N 1069 3/8" tailstock drill chuck w/ key, #0 Morse arbor, #1 Morse arbor with drawbolt
    1074 Steady rest
    1191 Live center
    1270 compound slide
    3002 Cutoff tool and holder
    3007 1/4" HSS 3-piece tool set (RH, LH, boring)
    3020 Sherline 5/32" T-driver
    3021 3-piece center drill set
    3100 Thread cutting attachment

    Is there anything specific with regards to tooling that I'll need that it doesnt come with?

  13. #13
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    There'll be lots of stuff to add. Drills, taps, grinder to sharpen your HSS turning bits, measuring tools, dial indicator...... I've found there is more expense in all the supporting gear than in the initial machine.

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