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Discussion Starter #1
Fellow machinists,
I have a quandry. As I plot my cb450 build, I'm wondering how big a lathe I will need for most of the parts I would make or modify. I'm a little space-constrained, so a mini-lathe (9x20) is tempting, but small = lightweight. Can anyone anticipate parts or ops I would need a full-size lathe for?
Thanks!
 

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What do you intend to NEED the lathe for?...... The size of those parts would determine the necessary "throw"......
 

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I have a 10" Atlas lathe with a 36" bed, and it will do most anything I have ever wanted to do. However I have had to send a few things out to a machine shop.
TOOLS
 

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Discussion Starter #4
The size of parts is exactly my point: I can imagine turning grip ends, spring seats, etc., and for that a 7x10 would be more than adequate. I'm curious what parts TOOLS1 ran into that required all or more of the 36" ways. If I can't easily justify a full-size machine, I can use the extra space well in the shop.
 

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It was not the 36" bed that was too small, it was the 10" turning radius. Even though it could turn 10", you are limited by the chuck. I have a very large 8" diameter 4 jaw chuck, but I have to watch that the jaws do not extend past the chuck so far that they hit the bed. Also it is hard to get the carriage, and tool post to move that far out. Most of my work is 3' or less. I would not waste my time on a mini lathe, unless you are just going to do model work (1' or less.) The Atlas 6" lathe is very popular, and a lot better machine then the mini lathes, but I would not buy anything less then a 9" lathe.
If you do not have any experience with a lathe, you might want to check out mrpete222 on youtube. He has some great videos on running a lathe.
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P.S. If I had the $$$$$$ to spare, this would be my new lathe. http://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-Cra...715?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item567647702b

This is similar to the lathe I have now. http://www.ebay.com/itm/Atlas-TV48-...217?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item54205eee81
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Hi TOOLS,

Thanks for the input, it validates my worries about a mini lathe. I was trained on a big Clausing with a foot brake. I didn't realize then how spoiled I was! I saw the 12 x 20 on Ebay - a great value, actually, and in great shape. Of course, my luck I'm on the wrong side of the country... I'll keep hunting. Meanwhile, I believe I can figure out how to turn the little stuff on my mill.

Again, thanks, I'll put my wallet away until I can get the right tool.
Cheers,
GMog44
 

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small lathes take MUCH longer to work a piece with... there's just no substitute for mass when it comes to speed and precision.

I don't own a lathe currently. Luckily I have two neighbors with them that are on my street. one neighbor has a small craftsman lathe...the other has a massive (forget the brand) industrial one. doing the same part on the craftsman one takes about 4x as long and doesn't turn out as nice as the big commercial one.
 

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Oh I am jealous of you folks with your lathes! I am doing things with drills and files, sometimes with dremel tools, otherwise off to the machine shop and sometimes to the laser cutting shop. The "Chief Financial Officer" would have a fit if I ever came home with a lathe... :)
 

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I wouldn't consider it a mini-lathe, I have a bench top lathe. An Emco V10P. It has a 10" swing. It also has a milling head. Most of the stuff I fabricate are little bits n bobs so it suffices for me. The milling head is a little lacking but I can get done what I need to. For the at home hobby tool making and fabricating it's perfect. 2 people can move it. I don't use it for any type of motor modification work. Well so far I have not had to.
 

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I have a Craftsman 6 x 18 circa 1953. These are made by Atlas but they are not the same. The Atlas has tapered head stich bearings and the Sears has bushings. I have owned two Craftsmans over the years. Both had a fair amount of wobble in the headstock. It is very difficult to get a good surface finish on steel, it is OK on soft alloys.
I also have a Chinese mill drill and it is very stable. I think I would prefer a new Chinese 9 x 20 lathe over the Sears.
The Sears is fine for making bushings and such. That was all I needed for the 450. I'm also restoring an '81 GL1100. That bike has several special tools needed to do the head stock bearings, swing arm and drive shaft. I have been able to make what I have needed with the lathe and mill. Others have made the same tools by welding bits of metal together. The only thing a big lathe might be needed for would be if you wanted to rebuild cranks or maybe bore cylinders.
A couple of things to remember, these machines take up valuable shop space. That is why I got rid of my first Craftsman.
The other item is needed tooling. I bet I have spent twice as much for tools, upgrades and accessories. And I really need more. I am not a professional, only a hobbist who was lucky enough to run a lathe in HS shop class.
You can see what I used the lathe for in my build logs, here and on the Steve Sanders GL site. My handle is the same there too.
 

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Atlas ( i had a 40's vintage one a while ago -10 x 36) had models with plain bearings.....The trick to plain bearings is that you can adjust them. They should be Babbit over steel bearings. The caps can be slightly reduced in size, making them tighter. My Atlas had an adjustment. Adjusted correctly, they can be very smooth.
 
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