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Metal Lathe, do you machine wood

Automata Magazine
 

1 & 2. I have two lathes -- a Taig 3” lathe and a 9” South Bend made in the 1950s, which is my favorite tool in my shop. I love it and couldn’t do what I want to do without it. The Taig is also an excellent precision machine, but good mostly for small parts. You can make small parts on a big lathe but you can’t make big parts on a little one.

3. I prefer to work with brass or free-machining steel. Aluminum machines well but I don’t like the material.

4. I have machined wood but don’t like to on my lathes for the reasons Vance outlined. I ALWAYS use a vacuum in close proximity to the cutting tool when machining wood, and thoroughly clean up afterward. If it’s a larger part, I’ll put some protective plastic over parts of the lathe.

5. I also have two milling machines -- a Taig, which is excellent for most things that I do, and a Rusnok for larger or heavier work.

—Marc

On Jan 18, 2020, at 8:34 PM, Jim Coffee <jim@...> wrote:

Greetings...
It would be interesting to know which of you own a metal lathe.  If so my questions would be...
  1. Do you appreciate owning it?  Practically speaking...does it help you?
  2. What size/brand is it?
  3. Do you have a 'favorite metal' that you like to work with?
  4. Do you also machine wood?
  5. Do you also own a milling machine?
Thanks in advance.
-Jim Coffee-


V Bass
 

1. Metal lathes are incredibly useful for the tasks for which they're designed. There are some turning jobs you could do with, say, a drill press, but for precision, consistency and ease of production, nothing can beat one.

2. I own a Harbor Freight 7x10 lathe. It's  plenty for the kinds of small hobby projects I do. I have changed the handwheels to a set from MicroMark, which have accurate .001 inch markings, which the originals did not. Before, I had a Taig Micro Lathe, which is a simple, inexpensive machine that will do small jobs well. It's not much on material much over 1 inch diameter, however.

3. I prefer to work in brass. It's weighty and substantial, which is a plus in the kinds of projects I do, and it's very easy to machine.

4. I have not machined wood, and it's not advised for metal lathes because the sawdust gets into crevices and the wood chemicals can corrode precision surfaces. That said, I know that there people do use them for wood, presumably with a good vacuum attachment and fastidious cleaning.

5. I had a milling machine before we downsized. Like the lathe, it's a wonderful tool to have when you need to do what mills do. I paid for mine about a week after I got it, by reproducing a part that broke on our home heating furnace. The unit was old enough that we would have had to replace the whole thing, at a cost of probably 5 times what I paid for the mill. That convinced everyone in the house that it was a good purchase.

 

Greetings...
It would be interesting to know which of you own a metal lathe.  If so my questions would be...
  1. Do you appreciate owning it?  Practically speaking...does it help you?
  2. What size/brand is it?
  3. Do you have a 'favorite metal' that you like to work with?
  4. Do you also machine wood?
  5. Do you also own a milling machine?
Thanks in advance.
-Jim Coffee-