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 mini lathe 
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Joined: Wed Feb 20, 2013 11:38 pm
Posts: 403
I've been thinking about getting a mini lathe and wondered about accuracy issues. They all seem to be made in China and most look like they're made by the same company, then rebranded/painted. Anyone here use an offshore mini?


Wed Oct 28, 2015 11:33 am
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Joined: Mon Dec 29, 2014 1:26 am
Posts: 433
Yep, they're all made by Sieg. Grizzly's 7x12 & x14 are on sale (http://www.grizzly.com/search?s=category:Metal%20Lathes)... I think the x12 is better value. $100 cheaper and better accessories. Tailstock on the x14 is fancier and has a digital tach but doesn't come with a faceplate for mounting 'real' chucks, not enough difference to justify the money. You can get an add-on tach for ~$50 (http://www.machtach.com/).

The 'they're all the same' thing isn't necessarily all bad. Parts for one will fit them all, everything from headstock bearing upgrades to longer 16" beds (http://littlemachineshop.com/products/p ... 1070498684).

This is THE ONLY toolpost holder to even consider for the tiny lathes: http://littlemachineshop.com/products/p ... -419988835
All steel, wedge style, smaller than the more common AXA-size. The cheaper QCTPs are aluminum.

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Thu Oct 29, 2015 2:50 am
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Joined: Wed Feb 20, 2013 11:38 pm
Posts: 403
I noticed that almost all of them are metric, so the handwheels aren't in thousandths. This chart shows that only the Micro Mark 7-16 is in inches, but it doesn't have a faceplate. Can't faceplates be added to the lathes that don't come with one? Some of the youtube videos make them look really junkie. Some look like they have run out on the head stock and the tail stocks wobble on some.

http://littlemachineshop.com/info/minilathe_compare.php


Thu Oct 29, 2015 11:55 am
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Joined: Mon Dec 29, 2014 1:26 am
Posts: 433
I believe all have the same spindle design, that being a 3-bolt (stud in the chuck, nuts on the backside, actually) pattern. Faceplate mounts just like the original tiny chuck, studs in the faceplate with nuts behind the spindle flange. Then a real chuck mounts to the faceplate like normal.

LMS has a kit to convert the cross slide & compound to 20tpi: http://littlemachineshop.com/products/p ... 1070498684
(edit: originally said 1/4-20, it's probably bigger than that looking at the pics)

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Fri Oct 30, 2015 12:23 am
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Joined: Mon Dec 29, 2014 1:26 am
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If you're swapping chucks & using a faceplate, spindle runout becomes irrelevant. A flat-back chuck doesn't locate on anything on the faceplate, it floats around on the bolts until you tighten it down. If you still have runout after that then it's your fault, not the spindle's!

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Fri Oct 30, 2015 12:34 am
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Joined: Wed Feb 20, 2013 11:38 pm
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cat herder wrote:
If you're swapping chucks & using a faceplate, spindle runout becomes irrelevant. A flat-back chuck doesn't locate on anything on the faceplate, it floats around on the bolts until you tighten it down. If you still have runout after that then it's your fault, not the spindle's!

I see. Some have brushless motors and supposedly they provide more torque at lower rpm's. Sounds like a good thing, agree?


Sun Nov 01, 2015 4:05 pm
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Joined: Mon Dec 29, 2014 1:26 am
Posts: 433
I dunno. I used a 2HP brushed motor & speed controller (PWM) from a treadmill on my drill press/mill, hard to see where the brushless would be better. It'll run from 30 RPM to 8000+ depending on the pulley ratio (I bored the original stepped pulley to fit the treadmill motor).

But I just like to tinker and make things even when logic says it would be cheaper & quicker to buy something already 'done'. So I'm probably not the best judge of those fancy HT machines.

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Mon Nov 02, 2015 12:21 am
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