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PostPosted: Thu Aug 19, 2010 6:16 pm 
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ToddJohnson wrote:
Wait, I should note that Rad has injured himself on a metal lathe a couple of times and I think he once used it to burn his shop down, so maybe it's not completely idiot proof, but mostly so. :D

TJ


I only injured myself once. And it was the dust collector that I used to start the fire. :lol:

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 19, 2010 6:40 pm 
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Since this is going to be a sticky, I was wondering if the experts could teach the dunce a little more of the basics. I have been looking around at a lot of lathes and lathe references but I haven't been able to find any clear definition of what the distinctions mini-(I am assuming "small in size") and midi-(maybe medium sized?) mean in terms of lathes. Anyone want to weigh in on that one?

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 19, 2010 7:38 pm 
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Mini and Midi can actuallybe the same size in terms of wod lathes - Delta calls their version Midi, and Jet calls it Mini. By and large, these are marketing terms that have only a basic relationship to actual physical size.

The Jet and Delta midi/mini are 10" swing and 14" distance between centers. It's a comfortable small lathe for a lot of woodturning projects.

Other than that, you're best served by looking at swing over bed, swing over cross slide (in the event it's a metal lathe), and distance between centers.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 24, 2010 5:04 pm 
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ToddJohnson wrote:
4. Custom made 2-jaw chuck
This is a must if you're going to be turning shapes on the lathe rather than drilling them "freehand." Ken Lamb sells one as does Trent Rudat. Every one I've seen from both of these sources, however, is flimsy and imprecise. Others may have had a different experience. My advice would be to have one machined by a local tool and die company.



Oh thanks; you just saved me a pile of cash. :)


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 31, 2010 9:17 am 
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Here is a few PDFs I found on lathes including the text Todd J. refered to;

http://www.wswells.com/data/howto/howto_index.html

I just got a Jet 920 as it was backordered for months, now I am looking for information on it and purchasing the tools needed.

A great DVD online rental store with tons of metal/woodworking dvds;

http://smartflix.com/

As a novice in both feilds I have a lot to learn.


Last edited by EBK on Tue Aug 31, 2010 9:25 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 31, 2010 9:23 am 
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While were on this topic what is the best brand of grease and oil to lubricate a lathe?

Jet's manual says #2 tube grease and 20w machine oil, The guy at home depot looked as lost as I was so I decided to do some research.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 31, 2010 10:16 am 
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Neither of those you'll find at Lowes, Home Depot, or other "big box" hardware stores. Your local mom-n-pop might be able to order you some, or you can get both online from McMaster-Carr, Enco, or any other place that caters to fabricators. I don't know that brand really has any meaning as long as it's a quality lube.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 01, 2010 8:34 am 
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Thanks!


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 23, 2010 12:11 am 
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Okay, the village idiot votes to ask another dumb question on the sticky.
What are the major differences between wood and metal lathes, mechanically? I would hazard to assume torque, at the least?
Reason for asking, is the substantial price jump from a decent wood lathe to a shoddy metal lathe of much smaller proportions.

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 23, 2010 7:10 am 
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Dixie_piper wrote:
Okay, the village idiot votes to ask another dumb question on the sticky.
What are the major differences between wood and metal lathes, mechanically? I would hazard to assume torque, at the least?
Reason for asking, is the substantial price jump from a decent wood lathe to a shoddy metal lathe of much smaller proportions.


One word really. Precision.

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 23, 2010 10:45 am 
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Along with precision, there's the obvious stuff.

Metal lathes:
- have a carriage and compound slide for manipulating the toolpost
- have toolpost where the cutting tool is secured
- are usually much more rigid than similarly sized wood lathes
- are geared to turn slower (typically)
- have larger spindles for passing stock through
- can employ gears for thread cutting

Wood lathes have none of this. But that is not to say that wood lathes aren't useful. They are, very much so. I have one of each, and use them both when making a pipe.

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 23, 2010 2:05 pm 
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Thanks Kurt, that's what I was looking for.
Tried good ol' wikipdeia and they weren't much help.
I'm trying to decide what I should be saving up for realistically comparing wood and metal lathes.
The Micro II Taig lathe is a viable option financially, but damn it's small.
I also get what Simeon was saying about starting with the plan to upgrade later on, it usually becomes malarki in the end.
I do know that if I go with the wood lathe, I'll go for a mid-high grade lathe. On the flip side, given my $300-$450 price range, the metal lathes in that price range are so small.
Hell, there's a wood lathe on amazon with 40" between centers and a 14" swing over bed for $90, now THAT, has got to be a quality product :)
Cursed choices and indecisiveness! If my ol' lady ever finds a job, things of this nature will be much easier to afford. :roll:

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 23, 2010 3:00 pm 
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You can get a very nice wood lathe indeed for $450. However, it won't come with anything to make it particularly useful. :)

If your budget is indeed $450, I'm afraid you're not going to find a metal lathe in that price range that can also be used for drilling or shaping bowls. At least nothing new, or in particularly good condition, or worth buying. The starting price for metal lathes suitable for bowl drilling/turning is about $1000 (the Jet 9x20 is an example) .

If you decide to get a wood lathe, look at the Jet 10x14 model - so called "mini lathe". It's not exactly mini, and is the starting point for a lot of pipe makers that decide to get a lathe for drilling and turning bowls. These can be found for around $350, and the rest of that $100 will get eaten up quickly in buying a chuck, chuck jaws, lathe chisels, drill bits, etc. In fact, you're going to spend at least another $200 (but probably more) in accessories for your lathe that you currently have no idea that you'll need. If I were to tally it up, I'd estimate that I have about $500 in wood lathe accessories for my $350 lathe.

And this isn't restricted to wood lathes either. I probably have an additional $1000 worth of accessories for my metal lathe after everything is said and done. Pipe making is a great hobby, and lots of fun, but it's not exactly a good way to save money. :)

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 23, 2010 3:38 pm 
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Ah, I see said the blind man.
I'm glad you mentioned the Jet 9X20, I've been at a slight dilemma concerning size, brand, et cetera, et cetera.
I'm not looking to make this a means of paying my mortgage or anything, my actual goal is to make it at least a self sustaining hobby within the first few years, once, if it surpasses that point I'll hopefully upgrade. If not, a lathe is useful for many many things.
I've been keeping an eye out on eBay for Jet lathes in good condition. Thankfully given the prices when they're new, most people take care of them while in use.
One other lathe I wanted to ask about because I can't find any reviews, a Rockler excelcisor (may have the model name wrong, it's an odd one) I've heard tale that rockler is a subsidiary of delta or one of the better makers. Any knowledge of this particular machine? It's about $100 cheaper than the Jet, just gathering valued opinions while still researching the MULTIPLE aspects of the tools needed.

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 23, 2010 6:38 pm 
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Get the best metal lathe you can afford. PERIOD!
Not only will you be able to make pipes, but tools, widgets and whatchamacallits.

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 23, 2010 6:51 pm 
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I've given that view consideration as well. I do like those whatchamacallits, I bet a metal lathe would even be capable of whatchgiggits and doodads! Of course, things of that complexity would come after many moons of practice with lots of profanity and the occassional fustercluck :lol:

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 23, 2010 7:53 pm 
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Bruce is right. If you go decide to get a metal lathe, get the best one you can afford.

Funnily enough, the only thing I use my metal lathe for (in terms of pipe making) is turning the tenon of stems. It actually sees more use in the making of tools, sandblasting nozzles, mechanical pencils, reproduction hardware for antique doodads, and a dozen other things I can't recall at the moment. But if you get a big metal lathe instead of a wood lathe, you'll be able to turn and shape the pipe bowls on it as well - which is why you should get the biggest one you can afford.

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 24, 2010 4:09 am 
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So what would be the smallest size of metal lathe good for all the pipe making procedures?
This idea may eat up a tax return after all :twisted:

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 24, 2010 5:07 am 
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I do all my pipe making on a Myford super 7, not really a very big lathe at all but certainly handles nearly everything I can throw at it. The only limiting factor for me is the swing, its 3.5" (Americans would call it a 7"), so this effectivly limits my stummel length to about 4" or so depending on the shape etc. To be honest 99% of pipes fit this size scale and on the odd occasion where i need a little bit more i drill/turn the shank on the lathe then finish up the bowl drill on the drill press, always works out fine and probably adds an extra 15mins of work time.

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 24, 2010 10:24 am 
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Based on my experience, and the way I like to make pipes, I would suggest a 9x20 metal lathe as a minimum (9" swing, 20" between centers). That's just me though. I dream of one day having a 12x36 metal lathe with a 1.5" spindle bore (along with a bill mill, and a host of other gruntworthy tools).

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