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Newsgroups: rec.crafts.metalworking
Subject: Re: 'Hobby' lathes
From: Robert Bastow <"teenut"@>
Date: Sat, 06 Nov 1999 17:00:17 GMT

Real good point there Ted!

A useful point to hold in mind..and one which often escapes we HSMers..Far
better to get a small, high quality machine, that will do 90% of our machining
and "Put Out" the odd large job.

Too often we try to get machines "Big enough for everything"  Let me tell
you...Such a machine doesn't exist!!  So we finish up buying, hauling, rigging,
installing and tooling up a machine that we don't need 90% of the time..and then
find it STILL isn't big enough!



Ted Edwards wrote:
>  My wife pointed out that if we got the
> Smithy, I could go to a professional machine shop for the odd job that
> was too big/fine/accurate/whatever for my own machine.

Newsgroups: rec.crafts.metalworking
Subject: Re: 'Hobby' lathes
From: Robert Bastow <"teenut"@>
Date: Sat, 06 Nov 1999 17:58:10 GMT

John Miller wrote:

> Point well taken.  So how small is still "big enough" for the 90%?  My
> concern with the small lathes is not so much their dimensional capacity as
> their lack of "grunt."

"Grunt" I take it is the ability to hog metal off!

Bear in mind, that every machining job ends with a fine finishing cut..!

If your big "Grunter" can hog off metal and finish to fine limits..great! But it
is going to cost an arm and a leg more than buying TWO machines...A small
precision lathe for finishing and a clapped out old "Scrap Yard Queen" for
roughing things out to size.

It is no coincidence, that in the hundred years of history enjoyed by HSMers,
the lathe of, has proved to be somewhere between 6" and 12"
swing..Craftsman, Atlas, Portass, Zyto, Southbend, Myford, Boxford, Hurco...etc.

The shop of most ESTABLISHED HSMers includes at least TWO even THREE
lathes..This doesn't just point to a surfeit of either wealth or space..but
rather to the fact that there IS no all round perfect "Machine for all seasons"

When we are starting up, it is natural to want to be able to do "everything" for
the minimum expenditure and in the limited space we may have available.  Having
"Started over" and equipped three or four Home Shops from scratch..I can assure
you that that perfect machine doesn't exist except in the minds of certain
machine purveyors.

My Considered, non snobbish, experienced and caring advice to the beginner, is
to start with a lathe of around 7" to 12" swing and a good book on "milling in
the lathe without special equipment"!!  Build up gradually from there as funds
and space permit.  Be patient and limit the scope of projects within reasonable
expectations. Believe me.."It will Come"

I know we live in an age of instant gratification..but if anyone wants to jump
straight in and do everything from the get go..I would expect them to show me a
400 square foot empty shop space and a $20,000.00 cash budget before I wasted a
minute of my time trying to advise them what to buy.


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