Best size lathe for home use / new import

Junkman Noparts

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Junkman, welcome to HM - forgot to welcome you.

If you can at all come close to affording it, look at the PM 1440GT or the Eisen 1440E. Both are Taiwanese lathes and will give you some serious bang for the buck. The difference in quality of Chinese vs Taiwanese lathes is significant and the collective experience on this forum strongly points to Taiwanese lathes as having much better quality. At this price point, it is a good idea to give Eisen and PM a call to discuss these lathes before buying.

I will offer one more bit of advice. Figure out what size lathe you need and then learn all you can about which features are important on those lathes and why they matter. Camlock spindles, bigger spindle bores, the type of gearbox, the travel of the cross slide and the tailstock ram, width between the rails, weight, HP of the motor and phase, and many other things matter. You cannot put these things on afterwards; they must be there to begin with so take your time, learn all you can, and then talk to the guys on the forum who own the lathe you are interested in. You cannot tell how good a lathe is from reading hype on a web page; the guys will tell you what's what for real.

If you cannot afford the lathe you really want then wait and save up until you can. Don't "make do" just because of money. You will not be happy in the long run.
 

Larry$

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I went with a PM1440HD about 5 years ago. I do some repair work on factory tools. But I'm retired so I don't have to do that stuff. I'm glad I went with the 1440 size. It is Chinese and has worked fine but you can tell quality control wasn't high on their list. Nothing that has affected the accuracy. Almost all imperial threads can be run with out change gear fooling around. Metric requires varying the change gears. The D1-4 spindle has been fine, quick, easy chuck changes. It only has a 1 1/2" spindle bore but that really hasn't been much of an issue for me. The # of spindle speeds from 40 to 1800+ has been fine. Threading works fine, easy to engage the half nuts. The DRO it came with has worked well. So have the tool holders and QCTP. I got a very nice collet chuck and set of collets as an accessory when I bought the lathe. The taper attachment has a minor issue that I still need to improve. The bed is wide and heavy, nicely ground. 3hp, 3 phase, plenty of power. I've added an 8" 3 jaw so I don't have to use the 8" 4 jaw unless I really need the accuracy or for odd parts. The jump from included 6" to the 8" is big.
 

Junkman Noparts

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Thanks for your input and i agree with all . I'm 60 and might settle with PM 1236 it's paid for and I'm waiting for them to ship it i think if i call Monday they might let me upgrade to PM 1440LB . If they do it's just under two grand more that's it for me .
The other thing is at my age I'm trying to justifying the expense of a 1440 size machine .I do have some legit projects on my tractor i built a front end loader from scratch for it . i need to make a drive shaft and couplers for the HYD.pump and turn down some 1 1/2 - 1 3/4 steel pins after that it's a new hobby .
So anyone own a 1236 chinese machine and regret not getting the 1440 size chinese . Thanks JM
 

talvare

Ted A
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Thanks for your input and i agree with all . I'm 60 and might settle with PM 1236 it's paid for and I'm waiting for them to ship it i think if i call Monday they might let me upgrade to PM 1440LB . If they do it's just under two grand more that's it for me .
The other thing is at my age I'm trying to justifying the expense of a 1440 size machine .I do have some legit projects on my tractor i built a front end loader from scratch for it . i need to make a drive shaft and couplers for the HYD.pump and turn down some 1 1/2 - 1 3/4 steel pins after that it's a new hobby .
So anyone own a 1236 chinese machine and regret not getting the 1440 size chinese . Thanks JM
For the type of work you are describing, I would absolutely go for the 1440. Mostly for the extra mass of the machine. Mass generally equates to more rigidity which is one of the most important attributes of a lathe. Also, you will come to really appreciate that 2" spindle bore (especially when turning those 1 3/4" pins you're talking about). The D1-5 spindle mount is also a nice upgrade. Anyway, just my two cents.
Ted
 

Junkman Noparts

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Thanks Again to everyone
I sent an E'Mail to PM. asking if it was too late to change my order i will also call there's 3HR time difference . It's Sunday.
One thing that caught my eye was the max diameter of the follow and steady rest the 1236 is 1/4-3/4 and 1 1/2 the 1440 is 1in. and 3in. max .
To me something like this is big because i want and will use these also having a 2 inch through spindle bore .
I was reading some post of the 1236 but wish there was someone that own a 1236 to give some input .

I also bought a Bolton zx45 mill base model 6 months ago and am not real happy with it wish it was a knee mill . It has 4 axis DRO X axis power feed have the parts for Z axis power feed off lead screw and power feed for the quill and when i get that done i want to add a two pulley belt drive for slower and higher speeds . One thing i found the keyway coupling to the motor pickup harmonics from using a 3in facing cutter . so i packed some grease in the shaft this support my belt drive upgrade .

On a side note i rode motocross all threw the years and I'm paying for it and know guys that bought UTV Razors 25 Grand or new mx bikes 8 to 10 Grand so to me this is not much different .Thanks Steve
 

7milesup

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Sounds like you are committed to the PM machines. I purchased an Eisen 1440E a little while ago for $7500 delivered. Taiwan machine. Only possible down side is the 1-9/16" spindle bore. Their website lists a higher price but I called them and haggled it down.
As you have already discovered with the Bolton mill, too small of a machine costs money.

None of us know your financial situation, but if you can afford to go bigger, that is the route to pursue. The Razors etc that you pointed out above will be worth nearly nothing in 10 years. Your lathe will likely be worth what you paid for it, or more. I just sold my PM1022 lathe for $700 more than I paid for it after owning it for 4 or 5 years.
 

Junkman Noparts

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Ye I'm committed to precision matthews after making a deposit and like i said I'm going to go for the 1440 chinese machine it's like $7000 shipped. I would like the taiwanese one but i need to stop here.
Thanks JM
 

.LMS.

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For that money, you can get a taiwanese machine. 1236T for sure, maybe 1340GT.
 

7milesup

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$500 more you can get an Eisen 1440E made in Taiwan with DRO installed and shipped to your door.

Not sure how you made the deposit but if by credit card it would be easy to get out of. I would not spend $7k on a Chinese lathe. YMMV
 
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