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My new Taiwanese lathe

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Skierdude

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#1
So I'm new to machining. I've cut, bashed, bent and welded metal for quite some years now. Purely for fun to give me a diversion from the pain of being part of the IT industry. I've been looking to add a lathe to the workshop for a few years now. I've been looking for a good second hand machine for a while now but here in New Zealand there hasn't been a lot available that's in good enough condition. I've watched YouTube videos, read website blogs and wandered through dozens of forums gathering information to make that first purchase. I hate buying any tool only to find it isn't quite up to the job. So after much reading and with a little bit of apprehension I purchased a new Taiwanese 12x36 2hp lathe - a Hafco AL-960B.
I have read horror stories about Asian lathes having casting sand in the gearbox, out of tolerance components and other assorted nasties so this lathe got a thorough going over as it was uncrated. I have been very pleased with what I've found so far. Castings are pretty good and certainly better than some Chinese lathes I've seen. Once the lathe was mounted on its stand and given an initial alignment I ran the DTI over most of the moving parts and it was well inside the tolerances for this unit so I was quite happy. There's a few annoyances such as the Drive belts are very difficult to change as the motor won't move as far as it should as it runs up to the rear splash guard and into one of the headstock adjustment screws. Second and more important issue is that the motor control is a simple FWD / OFF/ REV switch. Turn the power on while the switch is in FWD or REV and the spindle starts to turn. I've already bought some contractors and will be building a new electrics system. I'm learning how to grind tools and chips have started to fly so let the fun begin.
One question, if anyone is still reading, do people use the chuck guards that seem to be supplied with new lathes. I don't see what real purpose they serve covering just the chuck and I'm not usually standing in front of the chuck. I don't recall any videos where a chuck guard is in use.
 

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Chipper5783

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I use my chuck guard about 20% of the time. The wat it is set up, it just flips up out of the way. I don't have a splash guard, and most of the flying chips are launched bu the chuck - I like the guard because it reduces how many and how far the chips fly. It also reduces the spray of various oils & lubes. I do not think of it as a safety device, it simply contains stuff that would fly around more. Even if I had a splash guard (on the project list) I would still keep the church guard.

I see you have a splash guard. Try out the chuck guard for a while - you may find you like it.

I agree, don't stand in the line of fire off the chuck.
 

mikey

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#3
So I'm new to machining. I've cut, bashed, bent and welded metal for quite some years now. Purely for fun to give me a diversion from the pain of being part of the IT industry. I've been looking to add a lathe to the workshop for a few years now. I've been looking for a good second hand machine for a while now but here in New Zealand there hasn't been a lot available that's in good enough condition. I've watched YouTube videos, read website blogs and wandered through dozens of forums gathering information to make that first purchase. I hate buying any tool only to find it isn't quite up to the job. So after much reading and with a little bit of apprehension I purchased a new Taiwanese 12x36 2hp lathe - a Hafco AL-960B.
I have read horror stories about Asian lathes having casting sand in the gearbox, out of tolerance components and other assorted nasties so this lathe got a thorough going over as it was uncrated. I have been very pleased with what I've found so far. Castings are pretty good and certainly better than some Chinese lathes I've seen. Once the lathe was mounted on its stand and given an initial alignment I ran the DTI over most of the moving parts and it was well inside the tolerances for this unit so I was quite happy. There's a few annoyances such as the Drive belts are very difficult to change as the motor won't move as far as it should as it runs up to the rear splash guard and into one of the headstock adjustment screws. Second and more important issue is that the motor control is a simple FWD / OFF/ REV switch. Turn the power on while the switch is in FWD or REV and the spindle starts to turn. I've already bought some contractors and will be building a new electrics system. I'm learning how to grind tools and chips have started to fly so let the fun begin.
One question, if anyone is still reading, do people use the chuck guards that seem to be supplied with new lathes. I don't see what real purpose they serve covering just the chuck and I'm not usually standing in front of the chuck. I don't recall any videos where a chuck guard is in use.
Welcome to HM! That's a nice looking lathe. Most guys don't seem to like the chuck guard but some do. It has more to do with preventing the lathe from running if you forget your chuck key in the chuck. It also reduces the vertical stripe of oil you get on your shirt and face when you first run a freshly oiled chuck. I don't really care for them but mine is still in place; it doesn't really get in my way ... much.
 

kvt

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Like mikey said, they will prevent the oil sling on the shirt from fresh oiled chuck. I got those, as my old lathe did not have sucha thing. Have never used one but my though is how do you keep it clean so you can see through it. Scratch city. Welcome to the site and have fun.
 

Chipper5783

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I don't try to see through mine. I might clean it once a year. The way I have the guard adjusted, I can see just fine. Like I said in my earlier post, I don't use it all the time - it just flips up out of the way. I don't think of this as a safety item, the purpose is to reduce the spray off (shirt, wall, ceiling).
 

mikey

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It's good to know that I'm not the only one with an oil-striped T-shirt!
 

kvt

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Yea, I have two lathes back to back, The front side of the back splash on one is acrylic and wipes down. The problem is the back side which the other lathe sits is not, It has a nice strip of oil from the chuck. Of course I got it from both. I even though I was standing to the side when I started it up after oiling, but still got it. I also figured out a put to much and lowered the amount I put in.

One lathe I saw with it would not start or run with the shield up, Thus I did not like it.
 

richl

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Chuck guards are strictly optional, I prefer them, though not the factory model. If you find you prefer something between you and the spinning metal in front of you ... well you might consider something like this
http://www.hobby-machinist.com/threads/flexbar-lathe-chuck-shield.61384/

Nice looking lathe, hope you get the little niggles all sorted out.

Rich
 

markba633csi

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#9
Chuck guards are good for cutting certain metals like brass which emit a spray of pernicious little chips; I had a brass chip bounce off my eyeball once
and wished I had had a guard.
Mark S.
 

darkzero

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#11
Striped t-shirt & wall means you're doing it right! ;)

No striped shirt for me though, I was taught to never stand in the line of fire of the chuck.

I'm one of those who don't care for chuck guards/shields. My lathe came with one stock, it was connected to a safety switch. So if the guard was not down, spindle won't power on. Like mentioned it also prevents me from running the lathe with a key in the chuck as the guard can't come down far enough to disengage the safety switch.

I used it for like 8 months or so & thought nothing of it. Mine blocked a lot of the oil flung from a chuck but it was not wide enough to shield from chips. Then when I started making multiples of things, as I would doing an op on each part then change to the next op, I got really tired of the chuck guard as I was swapping each piece in for each op to save time on tool changes & setup. All the chuck guard did was slow me down. Taking mine off was one of the best things I did to my lathe as it saved me so much time when do a run of parts. It served me no real benefit to keep it on so off it stays & has been for years.

I've seen a number of guys here use the flexbar shields which look very nice, pretty expensive too. Having it not connected to a safety switch will allow you to only use it when needed & still run the lathe. Still I prefer not to have one.

You can always try one & see if it's suitable for you. Do you have one for your lathe, it looks like the mounting arm is there.
 

Skierdude

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Thanks to everyone for the feedback. I’ve been busy with a sick grandson the last couple of weeks so only just got back into the shop.
My lathe doesn’t have a safety interlock on the chuck guard so I can run it with guard up or down. I’ve gone ahead and fitted the guard so will see how it goes from here.
 

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brino

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#13
I have never used a chuck guard.
My lathe did NOT come with one, and I've seen no requirement for one.

But I did want to say......Congratulations on the new lathe!
I am glad you did your research, paid attention to details, looked it over close during unpacking/assembling and ended up with a good one.
New tools are very exciting times.

-brino
 

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#14
Chuck guards are good when you run the lathe. The ones I wouldn't have are the SAFTEY interlocking . If it we're on my own lathe I'd bypass it. But I'd use it if my chips are flying all over. No reason not to , it's only in the way when setting up. Oh and hi it is a nice looking lathe. Welcome to the site.
 

westsailpat

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Congrats on the lathe Skierdude , good looking machine and love the DRO . Question , why do you have to mess with the belts ? I ask because I'm seeing spindle gear box shift handles . For me (when I had my shop) my lathes had the chip guard except I didn't really think of them as a chip guard more a coolant guard , when blasting a short part from two different angles with water soluble oil you will be glad to have it . I even had "mud" flaps on mine front and rear , that water sol. was expensive so I wanted to contain it as much as possible .
One more question what stuff are you making ?
 

Skierdude

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Congrats on the lathe Skierdude , good looking machine and love the DRO . Question , why do you have to mess with the belts ? I ask because I'm seeing spindle gear box shift handles . For me (when I had my shop) my lathes had the chip guard except I didn't really think of them as a chip guard more a coolant guard , when blasting a short part from two different angles with water soluble oil you will be glad to have it . I even had "mud" flaps on mine front and rear , that water sol. was expensive so I wanted to contain it as much as possible .
One more question what stuff are you making ?
I was extra lucky to get The DRO. It wasn’t in my initial budget but the supplier had a mix up in their import shipment and ended up with one lathe with DRO so rather than make me wait for the next shipment they gave me a super discount.
The lathe has 12 speed spindle with 2 x 3 speeds in the spindle gearbox giving 6 speeds but then also high and low speed pulleys so I need to swap the pulley belt depending on what speed I need. Usually I can run on the slow speed pulley - mostly depends on the stock size etc..
So far I’m still developing machining skills so I’ve mostly made a large box full of chips and curls. Having lots of fun so that’s what counts.
 

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#17
Skierdude.

Welcome to this interesting and informative and very friendly site. Congratulations on your new lathe. It looks pretty much like mine although mine is a bit shorter only a 1216. As you can see mine is a different colour. I didn't get mine from hafco, but from modern tools in melbourne and they get their machines direct from the Liang Dei factory in Taiwan. I've had a look at the specs on yours and they read exactly the same as mine, except mine is a bit shorter and no Dro. I don't have the room for a longer machine and didn't want the Dro.

I hope you enjoy your lathe. Don't ever hesitate to ask the guys here if you have any questions about machining. They say the only silly question is the one you didn't ask.

By the way I'm the other side of the ditch in Adelaide S Australia.
 
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None of the machines in HS shop had them back in the 70-early 80's. Learned to ALWAYS remove the key of be disciplined. The Navy machines I used didn't have them. My 1440 was purchased new in 2001 didn't come with one. If and when I purchase a new lathe it will be removed if one is supplied with the new machine. Safety glasses, common sense and overall good practice is more than enough.
Some safety upgrades are warranted but others have been silly. I removed the spring loaded idiotic device from my Bison chuck wrench that prevented the key from being used unless you pressed down while using. Yea, the key can be left in place now, but I don't.

Remember this cartoon from the 70's?
http://www.aeroelectric.com/Pictures/MiscTemp/Cowboy_after_OSHA.jpg
 

Dabbler

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#19
I've never used a machine with a 'safety shield'... The only one that I have seen was permanently stored (for safety) behind the lathe.

Purely for fun to give me a diversion from the pain of being part of the IT industry.

I began this hobby in 1979 for the same purpose... Now that I am retired, it has become an endless source of entertainment!
 

Skierdude

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Skierdude.

Welcome to this interesting and informative and very friendly site. Congratulations on your new lathe. It looks pretty much like mine although mine is a bit shorter only a 1216. As you can see mine is a different colour. I didn't get mine from hafco, but from modern tools in melbourne and they get their machines direct from the Liang Dei factory in Taiwan. I've had a look at the specs on yours and they read exactly the same as mine, except mine is a bit shorter and no Dro. I don't have the room for a longer machine and didn't want the Dro.

I hope you enjoy your lathe. Don't ever hesitate to ask the guys here if you have any questions about machining. They say the only silly question is the one you didn't ask.

By the way I'm the other side of the ditch in Adelaide S Australia.
Thanks for the welcome and comments.
I’ve been pretty happy with the lathe and having so much fun learning the skills of machining. I was planning to use carbide insert tools but decided to man up and learn to bring HSS. It took a while to get it right but I can put together a pretty good tool now. I went down the path of fabricating a guide tool but found much more success leaving the grinder rest horizontal and hand grinding resting my hand on the table.
I had some fun last week turning my first thread. I was using a piece of structural steel so wasn’t bothered about the hairy finish, the problem was The tread was more a ramp rather than 60 degree peak. I checked and double checked everything, it seemed I was losing synchronisation with the leadscrew. After reading through more articles online I finally realised 30 deg mark on my lathe is actually 60 deg from perpendicular - so obvious when you look at it. Anyway threading skills progressing now.
Main project at present is to build a new electrical system for the lathe. Only having a Fwd / Rev worries me every time if switch on - have I set the control to off?
 

Skierdude

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I've never used a machine with a 'safety shield'... The only one that I have seen was permanently stored (for safety) behind the lathe.




I began this hobby in 1979 for the same purpose... Now that I am retired, it has become an endless source of entertainment!
I've never used a machine with a 'safety shield'... The only one that I have seen was permanently stored (for safety) behind the lathe.




I began this hobby in 1979 for the same purpose... Now that I am retired, it has become an endless source of entertainment!
 

mksj

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#22
Your lathe looks identical to several models that are sold here in the US, the Eisen 1236 and the PM 1236GT. All of these, and any modern new lathe would have an interlock system to prevent a restart when powering up the lathe. I would be very concerned if you purchased this "new" and it did not have this feature. I would contact the dealer you purchased it from, as I think almost every country has some form of safety standards that would prohibit this. Maybe you have no relays or contactors, who knows? If you were to use a VFD with a 3 phase motor, some have an auto-restart lockout feature that can prevent this, or there are some very simple relay designs to prevent this from occurring. If you were closer, I would send you a spare control board for this lathe which is modified for VFD use.

I do use a splash guard (not a chuck guard) on my lathe and it significantly cuts down on the oil and hot chips flying all over the place (and in my face). I have the option to use it or not, so for something like threading I do not use it. Like Firestopper, I throw away the "safety spring" on the chuck keys, and I practice proper due diligence in always removing the key. As I get older, I have a few of those short term memory lapses, and think well I will remember blah blah blah.... as something goes flying across the room.
 

Downunder Bob

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#23
Thanks for the welcome and comments.
I’ve been pretty happy with the lathe and having so much fun learning the skills of machining. I was planning to use carbide insert tools but decided to man up and learn to bring HSS. It took a while to get it right but I can put together a pretty good tool now. I went down the path of fabricating a guide tool but found much more success leaving the grinder rest horizontal and hand grinding resting my hand on the table.
I had some fun last week turning my first thread. I was using a piece of structural steel so wasn’t bothered about the hairy finish, the problem was The tread was more a ramp rather than 60 degree peak. I checked and double checked everything, it seemed I was losing synchronisation with the leadscrew. After reading through more articles online I finally realised 30 deg mark on my lathe is actually 60 deg from perpendicular - so obvious when you look at it. Anyway threading skills progressing now.
Main project at present is to build a new electrical system for the lathe. Only having a Fwd / Rev worries me every time if switch on - have I set the control to off?
You've begun a learning curve that will never end. Learning to hand grind HSS tool bits is just the beginning, but a skill well worth having, some jobs just work better with HSS, particularly single point threading. The next thing to learn is hand sharpening of drill bits, it's not hard, just takes a bit of practice, once you start doing it regularly you'll find it becomes fairly easy. Start with an old drill somewhere in the 3/8 -1/2 inch range and using a brand new drill as a pattern. There are also some good guides on youtube and instructables and on this forum plus others

Scrap structural steel is great for practicing on, most fabricating shops throw away a large amount of scrap, that is quite often big pieces, cut it up and use it for practice, I even use it for projects where appropriate.

Don't feel too bad about being caught out by the 60* 30* trick At least now you understand the difference. About half the lathes in the world are built one way and the other half built the other way, so anyone can get caught by it.

I'm surprised that Hafco sold you a machine without a dead switch, I'm asuming you bought it from the agent in NZ, check with the relevent electrical authorities in NZ . I'm pretty sure here in Aus its a legal requirement that you have to reset the main switch when power is restored. I'm also pretty sure your laws and ours are the same in electrical standards. My lathe, drill press and band saw, and that is hafco, all came with dead switch as standard.

Also don't stress too much about the belts being difficult to change. I put mine onto the low speed pully when I first got it, for screw cutting and it's still there, you'll find that the 6 speeds from there are generally all you'll need unless you are doing some very small work.

The lathe I used when doing my apprenticeship only had six speeds and the fastest was only 350rpm
 

Downunder Bob

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#24
I've never used a machine with a 'safety shield'... The only one that I have seen was permanently stored (for safety) behind the lathe.




I began this hobby in 1979 for the same purpose... Now that I am retired, it has become an endless source of entertainment!
I sometimes run with the safety shield on and sometimes off, I like it when machining with flood coolant as it stops the stuff being flung all over the shop which makes a mess, but it's also wastefull. At other times, particularly screwcutting, I like to be able to see what I'm doing.
 

Moper361

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#25
So I'm new to machining. I've cut, bashed, bent and welded metal for quite some years now. Purely for fun to give me a diversion from the pain of being part of the IT industry. I've been looking to add a lathe to the workshop for a few years now. I've been looking for a good second hand machine for a while now but here in New Zealand there hasn't been a lot available that's in good enough condition. I've watched YouTube videos, read website blogs and wandered through dozens of forums gathering information to make that first purchase. I hate buying any tool only to find it isn't quite up to the job. So after much reading and with a little bit of apprehension I purchased a new Taiwanese 12x36 2hp lathe - a Hafco AL-960B.
I have read horror stories about Asian lathes having casting sand in the gearbox, out of tolerance components and other assorted nasties so this lathe got a thorough going over as it was uncrated. I have been very pleased with what I've found so far. Castings are pretty good and certainly better than some Chinese lathes I've seen. Once the lathe was mounted on its stand and given an initial alignment I ran the DTI over most of the moving parts and it was well inside the tolerances for this unit so I was quite happy. There's a few annoyances such as the Drive belts are very difficult to change as the motor won't move as far as it should as it runs up to the rear splash guard and into one of the headstock adjustment screws. Second and more important issue is that the motor control is a simple FWD / OFF/ REV switch. Turn the power on while the switch is in FWD or REV and the spindle starts to turn. I've already bought some contractors and will be building a new electrics system. I'm learning how to grind tools and chips have started to fly so let the fun begin.
One question, if anyone is still reading, do people use the chuck guards that seem to be supplied with new lathes. I don't see what real purpose they serve covering just the chuck and I'm not usually standing in front of the chuck. I don't recall any videos where a chuck guard is in use.
This is an old thread but on the chuck guard I firstly thought the same as you was it useful however the more I learn I left mine in as personally I think it helps preventing leaving the chuck key in as this chuck guard will not let the lathe start with it up and if you left the chuck key in you can't lower the guard 'This is just my thoughts on it.
 

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#26
Looks like a nice lathe.
When I was turning some long shafts the other day, I wish I had a guard that moved with the spindle. The lathe at work has a chuck guard which is good when working close to it, but the hot chips fly everywhere once you move away.
Take like this job below. Need more chip control/protection!

The photo shows the new work rolls that I am making for a new 4 high hot rolling machine. Total length of 18” 1.25” A2 steel. Lots of chips when done! Still have to be hardened etc.
D490B139-DCC5-47E4-8A73-274507E7FFE5.jpeg
 

Skierdude

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#27
I’ve mounted the chuck guard and find it can be quite useful. The guard doesn’t have an electric interlock so I can run the lathe with the guard up or down so depending on what I’m doing I can set the guard as best suits.
Yep, I have to be extra careful about where I leave the chuck key. When I first got the lathe the chuck key had a spring so the key wouldn’t stay in the key way, the spring would push the key out. I found that so unbelievably annoying so off came the spring.
 

Downunder Bob

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#28
I’ve mounted the chuck guard and find it can be quite useful. The guard doesn’t have an electric interlock so I can run the lathe with the guard up or down so depending on what I’m doing I can set the guard as best suits.
Yep, I have to be extra careful about where I leave the chuck key. When I first got the lathe the chuck key had a spring so the key wouldn’t stay in the key way, the spring would push the key out. I found that so unbelievably annoying so off came the spring.
I'm contiually surprised by the lack of electrial safety with a taiwan lathe especially from an Australian supplier, I can only assume that they use different rules in NZ. because even my cheap chinese bench drill has a cut out and my taiwanese band sawe supplied by Hafco has an eklectrical cut out. Check with the NZ authorities, you might have claim for hafco to fix it free.
 

downeast

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#29
So I'm new to machining. I've cut, bashed, bent and welded metal for quite some years now. Purely for fun to give me a diversion from the pain of being part of the IT industry. I've been looking to add a lathe to the workshop for a few years now. I've been looking for a good second hand machine for a while now but here in New Zealand there hasn't been a lot available that's in good enough condition. I've watched YouTube videos, read website blogs and wandered through dozens of forums gathering information to make that first purchase. I hate buying any tool only to find it isn't quite up to the job. So after much reading and with a little bit of apprehension I purchased a new Taiwanese 12x36 2hp lathe - a Hafco AL-960B.
I have read horror stories about Asian lathes having casting sand in the gearbox, out of tolerance components and other assorted nasties so this lathe got a thorough going over as it was uncrated. I have been very pleased with what I've found so far. Castings are pretty good and certainly better than some Chinese lathes I've seen. Once the lathe was mounted on its stand and given an initial alignment I ran the DTI over most of the moving parts and it was well inside the tolerances for this unit so I was quite happy. There's a few annoyances such as the Drive belts are very difficult to change as the motor won't move as far as it should as it runs up to the rear splash guard and into one of the headstock adjustment screws. Second and more important issue is that the motor control is a simple FWD / OFF/ REV switch. Turn the power on while the switch is in FWD or REV and the spindle starts to turn. I've already bought some contractors and will be building a new electrics system. I'm learning how to grind tools and chips have started to fly so let the fun begin.
One question, if anyone is still reading, do people use the chuck guards that seem to be supplied with new lathes. I don't see what real purpose they serve covering just the chuck and I'm not usually standing in front of the chuck. I don't recall any videos where a chuck guard is in use.
on my Asian lathe the guard is also the safety switch machine will not turn on until the guard is down
 
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