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PM-1236-T 12″x36″ Ultra Precision Lathe-Good Machine?

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Titanium Knurler

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Hello All, I am considering purchasing the PM-1236-T ULTRA Precision lathe. I am wondering if anyone out there has experience with this machine and what your thoughts are? Thanks
 

.LMS.

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Folks seem to favor the 1340GT over this. Not much more money, better warrantee, a bit more hardy. I also asked a similar question a while back on another thread. I still scratch my head a little on why more folks aren't buying these, but I am also leaning towards the 1340GT for my upcoming purchase. Go figure....
 

wrmiller

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I don't have any personal experience with the 1236, but I do own a 1340GT. If you can do the stretch financially, it is one heck of a lathe in it's size range. I can repeat a dimension on mine to within a couple of tenths. And the spindle is short(er) for through-head work, yet thick enough to hang a 8 1/4" Pratt Burnered setrite chuck on it with zero issues. This machine is capable of daily/commercial work, and will last a hobby machinist like me a lifetime.

The 1236-T is also Taiwan made, and may even be from the same factory that the 1340GT is built in, which means it will have a similar quality level, if not the stoutness and work envelope of the 1340GT.

If you want the straight scoop, call PM and talk to Matt. He'll be able to answer your questions.
 

Titanium Knurler

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Thanks for your input! It does appear that many go for the bigger, more robust 1340GT. Just curious if anyone has any experience with the 1236 as part of my quest for a new lathe.

Thanks again!
 

davidpbest

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I went through this 2 years ago and ended up getting the 1340GT. Absolutely terrific machine - highly recommend it.
 

Titanium Knurler

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Thanks for your input everyone. I hear many good things about the 1340GT but I have been unable to get any feedback from a 1236T owner as part of my due diligence before a large purchase. I guess I will be the first since I ordered one last night!
 

T Bredehoft

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Expect to be pleased with the lathe and the support. I'm a fan of PM, not knowledgeable about their lathes. Yet.
 

.LMS.

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Thanks for your input everyone. I hear many good things about the 1340GT but I have been unable to get any feedback from a 1236T owner as part of my due diligence before a large purchase. I guess I will be the first since I ordered one last night!
Awesome! Please post your experiences when you get it.
 

gman10259

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Sorry but you'll have to be second. I ordered a 1236-T last week and it shipped today. They are made made at the same place. the 1236-T is identical to the 1340 GT except for the stated sized difference, hp, hardened shafts and gears. PM's manual for the 1236 is the 1340 manual with red lettering indicating the specs that are specific to the 1236.
 

.LMS.

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Sorry but you'll have to be second. I ordered a 1236-T last week and it shipped today. They are made made at the same place. the 1236-T is identical to the 1340 GT except for the stated sized difference, hp, hardened shafts and gears. PM's manual for the 1236 is the 1340 manual with red lettering indicating the specs that are specific to the 1236.
Awesome! Please post your experiences when you get it.
Ditto for you Gman! :grin:
 

Kiwi Canuck

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Wow, you show up here a week or so ago and now you have ordered a PM 1236T. !!:congratulate:

Most folks, myself included tortured ourselves for a few months going back and forth before ordering, I like your style.

That is a very nice machine, and I'm sure you will be happy with it, I look forward to hearing your feedback once you get it up and running.

BTW welcome to the forum.

David.
 

Titanium Knurler

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Thanks for the “welcome” David.

I had some guidance from another HM Forum member “Mikey” through private messaging, I believe it is called, that was very helpful to me in making my decision.
To be honest, just about any machine exceeds my capabilities at the moment but I hope to change that. The PM 1236T just seemed to have all the right characteristics for me, I had already gone up a size from the PM 1228 and just wasn’t willing to go up one more to the larger 1340G even though hardened gears, etc. we’re hard to pass-up.

It’s an obvious statement but I think the machine operator is much more important than the machine. When I was about twelve years old my father bought a Crafstman drill press. It was our only “large” power tool for years. I could not leave it alone. Not only did I use it to bore holes, I used it as a drum sander, a “vertical lathe” shaping metal with a file, I even bought a machine vise and used it as a milling machine. I beat the crap out of that machine but I got a tremendous amount of enjoyment out of it and made some pretty nice little projects. It was also a springboard to my interest in metal and woodworking. I guess my point is that the drill press was not a great machine but I knew it inside and out and used it to its limit. I am not exaggerating when I say this new lathe is WAY more capable than I am right now but I hope to know it as I knew that old Craftsman drill press some day. If I outgrow the 1236T, great, I’ll get a bigger and better one but that will not happen for a very long time so I didn’t perseverate over which was absolutely the best machine for me.
 

Kiwi Canuck

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Thanks for the “welcome” David.

I had some guidance from another HM Forum member “Mikey” through private messaging, I believe it is called, that was very helpful to me in making my decision.
To be honest, just about any machine exceeds my capabilities at the moment but I hope to change that. The PM 1236T just seemed to have all the right characteristics for me, I had already gone up a size from the PM 1228 and just wasn’t willing to go up one more to the larger 1340G even though hardened gears, etc. we’re hard to pass-up.

It’s an obvious statement but I think the machine operator is much more important than the machine. When I was about twelve years old my father bought a Crafstman drill press. It was our only “large” power tool for years. I could not leave it alone. Not only did I use it to bore holes, I used it as a drum sander, a “vertical lathe” shaping metal with a file, I even bought a machine vise and used it as a milling machine. I beat the crap out of that machine but I got a tremendous amount of enjoyment out of it and made some pretty nice little projects. It was also a springboard to my interest in metal and woodworking. I guess my point is that the drill press was not a great machine but I knew it inside and out and used it to its limit. I am not exaggerating when I say this new lathe is WAY more capable than I am right now but I hope to know it as I knew that old Craftsman drill press some day. If I outgrow the 1236T, great, I’ll get a bigger and better one but that will not happen for a very long time so I didn’t perseverate over which was absolutely the best machine for me.
Thanks for the detailed response, it's always interesting to find out what journey other's took to get them here and then the rationale to buy the machine they chose.

I usually buy tools as you did, look, choose, buy, done, but with the lathe and mill I felt I needed to learn about them first.

To help with all the choices, I ended up putting together a spreadsheet so I could keep all the info straight in my head, it became overwhelming.

But to backup a bit the reason I "needed" a mill was that I too had outgrown 2 drill presses and was frustrated that I couldn't drill a series of holes were I wanted.

If I was looking to buy today the PM1236T would be very high on my list.

I think the biggest thing I've learned (or confirmed) was something Mark Jacobs (mksj) said in an email to me.

“VFDs are not inexpensive to install correctly”. I think this applies to machining in general, and it's been said many times on here.

I have been ordering all the bits and pieces for a VFD install on 2 machines and it feels like it's never ending, same for tooling, I've read it here many times but until you are the one pulling out the credit card it doesn't sink in.

As you said in one of your posts spending $1,000 to solve a $10 problem or something like that.

Good luck and have fun.

David.
 
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gman10259

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Will Do Titanium Knurler, right now I'm scheduled to receive my PM 1236-T this Thursday.....if all goes well :)
 

JohnnyTK

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I can not wait for the updates on this model, as I have been looking at this one also.
 

Titanium Knurler

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Congratulations! Looks like a beauty. I bet you were playing around with it all weekend.

Keep us posted,
Mike
 

gman10259

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Just doing my first oil change so I decided to take a look in the gear box after hearing and seeing some stories of how filthy (Chips, busted drill bits, etc) the inside of some the Chinese gearboxes have been. I was pleasantly surprised how good this Taiwanese gearbox looked inside. Been impressed with it so far.

PM1236-T HeadStock Gears.jpg
 

navav2002

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So how is the 1236t?? Can you give us any feedback at this point?? I am dreaming of upgrading my current 9x20 lathe. I've basically decided on either the 1236 w/preffered package or 1236t. There is a Whole Lotta bang for your buck with the standard 1236 coupled with the preffered package. It's probably the most logical choice for my needs but deep down I really want a Tiawanese machine. Of course my dream lathe would be the 1340gt, but I don't need the added capacity nor the hardened gears (ie: can't afford it). That's what makes the 1236t so attractive, it's basically my dream lathe but more within reach.

Oh well, it's all a dream right now anyway but hope I can upgrade someday..
 
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Titanium Knurler

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Navav2002, my 1236-T is cleaned-up but still on the pallet so not much to report yet. Gman has been up and running for a while with his new 1236-T so he is a much better source of information at the moment. I will keep you posted.
 

wrmiller

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So how is the 1236t?? Can you give us any feedback at this point?? I am dreaming of upgrading my current 9x20 lathe. I've basically decided on either the 1236 w/preffered package or 1236t. There is a Whole Lotta bang for your buck with the standard 1236 coupled with the preffered package. It's probably the most logical choice for my needs but deep down I really want a Tiawanese machine. Of course my dream lathe would be the 1340gt, but I don't need the added capacity nor the hardened gears (ie: can't afford it). That's what makes the 1236t so attractive, it's basically my dream lathe but more within reach.

Oh well, it's all a dream right now anyway but hope I can upgrade someday..
The 1236t is basically the same as a 1340GT, just in a (slightly) smaller package and without the hardened gears in the headstock. Had this lathe been available when I was shopping for a lathe, I may have gotten this one instead of my 1340GT. What I do is not hard on my machines, and much of my lathe work could be done on your 9x20. :)

But the difference in quality between my old chinese lathe and the 1340GT is day and night. With proper care that 1236T should last you a long time, if you can swing it (pun intended). :)
 

gman10259

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Well so far it has been a positive experience with the PM 1236-T compared to the negative one I had with the Weiss WBL290F.
All the hand wheels turn smoothly. Shifting speed selector gears on the head stock are also smooth as is switching between the feed power rod and lead screw. The clumsiest feature on the lathe is moving to different feed rates with the Norton style gearbox levers. I wind up using both hands to slide the lever over to the position I want. It slides smoothly but I cant seem to master it with one hand. I've been turning on some one inch steel stock right now. Playing around with speeds and feeds with carbide inserts. I had purchased an AXA QCTP when I purchased the Weiss lathe so I put that on the 1236-T for now. Have two minor issues with the lathe. The sheave (pulley) on the motor is defective and full of rust and the drive belt rubbed upside the electrical cable for the end gear cover safety switch. Both items are being replaced by PM. I like that the head stock and end gear cover plates are cast iron vice aluminum or sheet metal. For a small lathe it is robust and looks to be well built and power seems to be there when making heavier cuts.

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gman10259

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I also found the lathe bed had a slight twist from the head stock to tail stock. I had to shim the left side of the bed on the tail stock end 25 thousandths.

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wildo

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I had purchased an AXA QCTP when I purchased the Weiss lathe so I put that on the 1236-T for now.
Really pumped to finally find some reviews of this lathe. I asked about this lathe probably a year ago, and while Matt did give some good feedback, there just wasn't anyone to provide a user review. Well I wasn't able to come up with the $$$ needed at that time and am once again considering this lathe. I have two questions which looks like you can easily answer:

  1. I can't find the specification for the center height on the 1236T. Center height is the vertical distance from the top of the compound rest to the centerline of the lathe. I already have a sizable investment in my AXA setup for my SB 9a and am wondering if you have had no issues with using the AXA size QCTP on the 1236T? For the small, detailed work I do, I would prefer to not invest in BXA stuff.
  2. I'm pretty confident in my steel benchwork, and even recognize that this lathe is actually intended for bench mounting (unless the stand is ordered). I see that your lathe is sitting in the middle of the span of your bench. I have read that long bench spans can allow vibrations to effect surface finish. Given that this is a heavy 850 lb machine- are you having any issues with surface finish with the machine bench mounted across a wide span like that?
Thanks!
[EDIT]- by chance do you have any videos on youtube of using the lathe?
 

Titanium Knurler

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Hi Wildo, I recently ordered a 1236-T. It is uncovered but still sitting on the pallet. I would be happy to measure the distance between the compound and the centerline for you tomorrow. I ordered and installed the BXA setup and sent some photos to Matt to ask if it was done correctly. It was VERY easy to install. I will attach the photos I sent to Matt.

BTW, I ordered the PM bench and will post some info on the bench and lathe when I am able. So far very happy with both.

MikeC396DD31-4B69-46F8-A463-5CA22A7D0C7B.jpeg80CA993F-997A-452E-8E02-2178EB151E8A.jpeg630B2E47-7F9E-43D2-A12C-F653E952E139.jpeg87AA9F26-8E32-460F-9886-ACA0062BE25C.jpeg

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john.oliver35

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There are some nice looking finishes on the parts of the lathe shown in your pictures. I am looking forward to hearing about the chips!
 
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