Lathes

Derek

Member
Location
UK, Midlands
I have to say- written from the perspective of someone with limited knowledge- that Warco lathe looks really rather impressive, especially having DRO. It has two bigger (and more expensive) brothers and there is a convertor kit to add a milling machine to it.

The problem with equipment like this is 'mission creep'- for a few hundred pounds more, you can have this, for a few hundred more on that you can have... Where do you stop? I've bought a lot of equipment for work lately and in most cases I've decided (much to the Director's irritation) to go for the very best of everything on the basis that buying a tool that will see me to retirement and then my successor most likely too. But with lathes you can quickly spend thousands- which is fine for an engineering company, but not the rest of us.

Derek
 
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Hi Derek,
Digital readouts are great for milling machines but, in my opinion, not as great an essential on a lathe. On a milling machine you may often move around the work drilling holes and then go back to tap threads in them and being able to find the hole centres without constantly counting turns of the handwheels is a major plus point. The work is often bigger on the mill and the scope for miscalculation of the position is greater. On the mill it is like using coordinates on the work to locate feature and holes

On a lathe the normal practice is usually to measure the work and then use the handwheels to take cuts up to the desired size, checking with calipers/micrometer as you go. The DRO is telling you where the lathe saddle/compound slide and cross slide are positioned - not the size of the work you have in the chuck. If the lathe comes with an option for a DRO ( and somebody else is paying for it ) then you have the best of both worlds of course.

Most, if not all DRO's, can be switched from metric to imperial and vise versa so can be handy when wishing to use either set of measurements. Just don't use the handwheel markings (which will be metric in most new lathes ) along with a DRO set to imperial or you may well end up in a pickle :confused:

Rob
 
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Martin Wynne

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The problem with equipment like this is 'mission creep'- for a few hundred pounds more, you can have this, for a few hundred more on that you can have... Where do you stop?
@Derek

Hi Derek,

Whatever you buy, you won't get very far without some sharp cutting tools. Lathe tools and roughing drills can be sharpened by hand on a bench grinder, but a milling machine is an expensive thing to own if you have to buy new milling cutters every time one gets blunt.

"for a few hundred pounds more" you might consider a tool and cutter grinder:

516fxBu-dPL._AC_.jpg


U-2-600x450.jpg


https://wldtools.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/77U2.pdf

Various re-badged suppliers:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/RDGTOOLS-Universal-Tool-Grinder/dp/B00TSAHR8Q

https://www.zoro.co.uk/shop/power-tools/bench-grinders/gh20t-drill-grinder/p/ZT1091415S

With such a machine you can re-sharpen drills, slot-drills and end mills, ball-nose cutters, make D-bits in all sorts of shapes and sizes, sharpen lathe tools and form tools, sharpen slitting saws, gear cutters, etc.

If I was setting up a small toolmaking workshop, a cutter grinder would be near the top of the list, before spending extra on DRO, CNC, etc. Without those a job takes longer, but without a sharp cutter of the right size, it can be impossible.

There are also cutter grinder attachments available as lathe accessories, but you need to take extra precautions to prevent the grinding dust getting onto the ways and lead screws. It is also very inconvenient to break down the job you have set up in order to sharpen a cutter.

cheers,

Martin.
 
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Location
Sandbach, Cheshire
Info
Builder of Finescale Signals in 2mm scale to 7mm scale, Trackwork, Turnouts and Layouts.
Yes grinding is best carried out as far away as possible. The minimum you really need for sharpening lathe tools and drills are a 5 inch grinding stone wheel and for carbide tips, (assuming you are not using disposables) a greenstone wheel. Early on I purchased a double ended Sealey and replaced one of the wheels accordingly. For drills you need a special jig.
 
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Kenilworth59

Member
Location
Oxfordshire
The Warco lathe you mention is in comparison sounds aa bit smaller than a Myford, so it all depends what you might want to do with it. There were various types of ML lathes, basically an ML7 (of some specification) or ML10. There were earlier types but not of interest here I think. If the bed doesn't have a gap near the end then it it is probably an ML10, otherwise likely to be an ML7. The most desirable being an MLsuper7.

The spare parts for an ML7 are not cheap. If you do decide on a new lathe bear in mind that the Warco has an MT3 spindle whereas Myfords are MT2. I think you can get converter sleeves to use a Morse Taper 3 tool on a Morse Taper 2 but not sure if you can get one the other way.

I have both types of machine but generally prefer the Myford. The only reason I have the small one, is the fact that it just cost me a new electronic control unit and fuel for collection of the lathe.
Hi Stephen.

Yes, it has a gap but I'm not sure it's a ML7. I would have to do a bit of digging to confirm it.

To be honest I don't know yet what I'm intending to machine so I do realise that I am putting the cart before the horse but the Warco180 feels to be the right size for 00 gauge modelling that I'm intending doing in the future. I'm pretty sure too that I'd be selling on the ML as is; I have had offers in the past but sentiment ruled my head then. Obviously then when I do get serious about a lathe the specs will be my primary guide.

Cheers

Paul
 
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message ref: 3193
Location
Sandbach, Cheshire
Info
Builder of Finescale Signals in 2mm scale to 7mm scale, Trackwork, Turnouts and Layouts.
Yes, the smaller lathe will probably suit you better, there are times when I find the Myford a bit big for small jobs. I would say that if one is not included a quick change toolpost is probably the best upgrade you can make.
 
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Kenilworth59

Member
Location
Oxfordshire
Yes, the smaller lathe will probably suit you better, there are times when I find the Myford a bit big for small jobs. I would say that if one is not included a quick change toolpost is probably the best upgrade you can make.
Yes, I've seen the quick change on some Youtube videos. I would convert to one.

For very fine stuff there's also the Toyo ML1. The foot print is a little longer than a sewing machine! Our Chief Engineer used one back in the 80's for stainless needles (cathode in a precision X-ray system). Not sure if they are still available.
http://www.lathes.co.uk/toyo/page5.html
 
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Kenilworth59

Member
Location
Oxfordshire
Hi Derek,
Digital readouts are great for milling machines but, in my opinion, not as great an essential on a lathe. On a milling machine you may often move around the work drilling holes and then go back to tap threads in them and being able to find the hole centres without constantly counting turns of the handwheels is a major plus point. The work is often bigger on the mill and the scope for miscalculation of the position is greater. On the mill it is like using coordinates on the work to locate feature and holes

On a lathe the normal practice is usually to measure the work and then use the handwheels to take cuts up to the desired size, checking with calipers/micrometer as you go. The DRO is telling you where the lathe saddle/compound slide and cross slide are positioned - not the size of the work you have in the chuck. If the lathe comes with an option for a DRO ( and somebody else is paying for it ) then you have the best of both worlds of course.

Most, if not all DRO's, can be switched from metric to imperial and vise versa so can be handy when wishing to use either set of measurements. Just don't use the handwheel markings (which will be metric in most new lathes ) along with a DRO set to imperial or you may well end up in a pickle :confused:

Rob
Good point Rob.
 
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