New to machining looking at 3 in 1 lathe, help

Ray C

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It may be the perfect thing for you. The price is fine as long as nothing is broken. On the flip side, it may be a curse to own as many people feel that multi-purpose machines do three things poorly.

I am very familiar with these as, they are used at the high school where I donate time to the machine and carpentry shop. For basic, simple things that do not require precision they're fine. If you're serious about model building or making finely finished parts, forget it; the are inadequate.


Ray
 
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Do what you will on that machine buy but be forewarned It may so three things but none will be as good as a single machine doing the same job. The multi-machines were made for people with limited space. This is my opinion of these machines. Yes, the price is right.

"Billy G"
 

xalky

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It"s probably a great starter machine to get your feet wet. Like Ray said, if you want to get serious about this hobby, you'll find that machines limitations really quick. I think it would be a great little starter machine for someone if it's in decent shape. You can't go wrong though for $350, if it's all there and in decent shape. When you outgrow it, and you most probably will, I doubt you'll lose any money on it when you go to sell it.

Marcel
 

DaveSohlstrom

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The big problem with these machines is if you are set up in mill mode with a job in it and you find that you need to use the lathe for a short job. You will have to take the mill job out and put the lathe job in, then you have to set the mill job back up again and errors can happen doing that.

This is not a problem if you have separate machines. I owned one for a short time and had to sell it at a lose because of a move. In retrospect that was good because I now have separate machines.

Dave
 

xalky

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:agreed: That's the biggest PITA with a multipurpose machine.
 

Cobra

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I had a similar machine (Grizzly 9729) that I purchased because I didn't think I could afford both a lathe and a mill. I kept it for two years and then sold it to buy separate mill and lathe about a year ago. The machine worked fine as a lathe but the mill head is fixed and the only Z axis movement you get is with the spindle. This means a lot of packing under the vise to move it up and down depending on the part. Every time you do that, your back to squaring the vide to the table.
Even at $350 I would think long and hard about that unit (looks to have the same kind of fixed head). If you are set on a 3 in one, look at the machines that have the mill mounted on a columm AT&T he back of the lathe bed.
Best of luck.
 

Metalbender

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The machine just be enough to make you want better. Machining isn't a cheap hobby. If that one comes with any tooling it may be worth it. It may also frustrate you to the point of total disgust. Others have valid points.
 

Dragon Soaring

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Awsome thanks,

I think i will pick it up.

I have no need for precision right now. I will be using it to make parts for my vintage motorcycle hobby. Nothing to complicated. Brackets to mount brake calipers, lathe plugs for joining tubing and other one off pieces for the various hobbies I'm into.

I don't want to drop a grand till i know what i am doing and what i really need.

I am looking at a lathemaster 8x14 as it seems to be a good start up package. It looks as if i could unpack it and start learning with what it comes with.

I was going to buy a horizontal/vertical band saw and saw this as i prowled around Craig's list.

Thanks

Chris K




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chuckorlando

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Around here you could buy that, use it for a year, and sale it for no less then what you paid. It aint a gamble if theres nothing to be lost.
 

Ray C

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I think you'll do OK at the price it's offered for. You may or possibly may not get your money back but, the loss would not be great.

If you have questions about how to use it, just ask -and you'll get plenty of legit help and answers.

Let us know when you get it...


Ray




Awsome thanks,

I think i will pick it up.

I have no need for precision right now. I will be using it to make parts for my vintage motorcycle hobby. Nothing to complicated. Brackets to mount brake calipers, lathe plugs for joining tubing and other one off pieces for the various hobbies I'm into.

I don't want to drop a grand till i know what i am doing and what i really need.

I am looking at a lathemaster 8x14 as it seems to be a good start up package. It looks as if i could unpack it and start learning with what it comes with.

I was going to buy a horizontal/vertical band saw and saw this as i prowled around Craig's list.

Thanks

Chris K




If we are all the same who would laugh at me?
 

Dragon Soaring

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$350 is opening offer. Its been on craigs list for almost a week. I will try to bargin for a better price.

Can some one tell me what model this is? It just states Central Machine.

I figure at the very least it will be a decent lathe, the next machine would be a mill.

Thanks

Chris K
 

Ray C

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Chris,

I'm being brutally honest here...

Central Machine is the "house brand" for Harbor Freight but, it is also sold by many other discount houses. The factories which produce those machines are at the low end of quality but at the high end of production rate. For many people, it simply "good enough" for short term use. The bearings in the headstock will not even hold an ABEC rating. None of the critical surfaces are hardened and the surface grinding is not QC checked. I guarantee that. Anyhow, I cannot tell you what model it is because, there are many variants of the same thing.

Ray



$350 is opening offer. Its been on craigs list for almost a week. I will try to bargin for a better price.

Can some one tell me what model this is? It just states Central Machine.

I figure at the very least it will be a decent lathe, the next machine would be a mill.

Thanks

Chris K
 

Rbeckett

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I have the HF 5980 Mill/drill/lathe and can tell you from experience that it is the bottom of the line as far as options go, but it has made a few very nice parts along the way also. Generally speaking the multi machines do give away some utility and some accuracy to be able to provide all three functions, but for the average fellow building a small steam engine or making parts for RC planes, trains, and cars it will do just fine. If you wish to do more precise and larger projects you should consider if you can afford it going with three entry level separate machines. Then as you out grow and need larger or tougher equipment you can replace just one piece of the puzzle at a time and not bring your shop to a complete standstill while you are waiting for the replacement to arrive. If you watch the want ads, Craigs list and Ebay as well as the Estate Auctions in your area you might find a small shop that has gone out of business or the owner has passed and can pick up the machines for just a little more than the price of scrap. I have been especially lucky at the Estate sales because the auction companies usually do not list those kinds of items so you are not competing against too many fellows for the same piece of equipment. So I look for Farm and small business auctions primarily and have been on the auction list for the state and several counties in the area too. It really helps expand your possibilities and it is usually free to get on the lists.

Bob
 

Dragon Soaring

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Thanks Ray

I am aware of the house brand for HF and using the word "precision" with either one. I have learned to expect a certin level of quality from them.

Hi Bob

My thought was that i cound find a mill first and use the lathe function tilll im ready to upgrade.

There is also the SAF (spousel approval factor) Normaly its alot easier to get $350 granted than $2k :)

All that being said I wasnt looking to buy a machine right now, I am/was going to get a band saw. CL had this up and i just joined the forum. Seemed like a good question to ask. Normaly I would lurk for awhile and do lots searching and reading as most forums seem not to like the same questions asked of beginers. I saw that questions and participation is encouraged.

So the question really is to buy this or a horizontal/vertical bandsaw. If i get this then i get a chop saw. Im thinking I can do more with this and a chopsaw vs a bandsaw.

Opinions?

Thanks

Chris K
 

awander

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That machine looks like the absolute bottom-end 3-in-1.

I have a 3-in-1 so am familiar with the limitations that others have mentioned such as needing to break down and set up again between mil and lathe use.

That is inconvenient, but van be worked around. More important, in my mind, are the actual limitations that that low-end machine will impose. One of the most important is that I believe that machine has no power axis feeds, and even worse, no threading capability. Being able to thread on a lathe is a basic operation whose importance cannot be overstated.

Also, the fixed distance from mill head to the table/vise is going to severely limit the work that can be done.

I owned a machine much like that one at first, and as others have said, it taught me very quickly that I wanted a better machine!
 

SEK_22Hornet

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The price is probably fair - however, if you really aren't looking for a lathe - well, maybe you should put the money toward what you are looking for. As far as the machine is concerned, one limitation that has not been mentioned is the fact that it appears to have no threading capability. I only mention this in respect to using it as a learning tool - it will not allow you to learn to thread. Basic turning, milling, and drilling only. Just something to think about. If you do decide you are still interested - does it include any tooling? You can easily spend that much and much more to get tooled up and making chips. Just my $.02 worth.
 

Dragon Soaring

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Alrighty then,

band saw it is more versatility than a chop saw

look for deals on lathe or mill.

Humm lathe or mill? I could use both.........

Thanks for all your input.

Chris K
 
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