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Old 12-10-2008, 12:07 PM #1
mccockerboy
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milling/drillpress/lathe combo machine

Back in HS, i took machine shop every single semister, so i know the basics and ive made some pretty nice things...but I need some help.

Ive been doing the gun tech thing for awhile now, and ive been "ACEing" guns and such for local people, but i use an old pos drill press, and it gets me by...barely.

I have made alot of bolts for misc guns out there when i was in hs, but now id like to get my own small lathe...its nice to be able to cut my own threads neatly without using dies, and its nice to make a bolt or a cocker push rod or something when i need one.


I read through the sticky at the top of the page, but i didnt really see anything about these mill/lathe combo machines..I assume they are a pos, but for my needs and budget are these a decient alternative to buying a drill press, a mill, and a lathe seperately? Im not running a machine shop here, but for the times i need to halblock a cocker, or thread something i could really use it without sending it to someone else when I have the ability to do it myself.

Ive read some misc reviews on these machines and basicly people say they are worth the money for a hobbist/garage bred project...but not much more.

I have about 1200 to spend on the machine alone, and i will buy my acessories as i need them. Any suggestions?
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Old 12-10-2008, 12:35 PM #2
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Honestly they are not the best machines. They afford a certain amount of flexibility but that's about all they afford. Later, if you decide to get more serious you may want to get machines devoted to single tasks.

Rainman229 (of www.rainman229.com) has been using a multi-machine for years but his is of superior quality to the average hobbyist machine. He's pumped out some really good stuff, but I bet some days he wishes he had a seperate mill and lathe.
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Old 12-10-2008, 01:09 PM #3
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Yeah, I know of a few guys that use them, and they are able to "get by" but i was jsut hoping for some aditional suggestions about these mill/lathe machine before i drop over a grand on one.

thanks for the input though, odds are, i wont upgrade in the near future, i dont really make any money from the stuff I do, i pretty much do it as a favor, and for something to tinker with myself.
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Old 12-10-2008, 01:47 PM #4
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As a tinkering machine it's probably the best for you. You could get a lathe which would be a little handier and maybe a dividing head and milling attachment. That's about as close as you are going to get for a 3-in-1.
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Old 12-10-2008, 02:14 PM #5
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are you talking about something like a smithy?
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Old 12-10-2008, 02:56 PM #6
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Quote:
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are you talking about something like a smithy?
Yeah, but they are way over priced...

He's got $1200 to spend.
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Old 12-10-2008, 03:30 PM #7
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In my little experience with those sorts of cheaper X-in-1 machine, I've found them profoundly underpowered and sort of sketchy. I'll stick to the individual machines.

But in your case with little funding, I would wait a bit until you have more cash. Quality is everything, and starts with the machine.
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Old 12-10-2008, 04:00 PM #8
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I agree with these guys, multi machines are NOT the way to go. I'm with Spitlebug on this one; buy yourself a small lathe and get a milling attchment for it. It'll be the "bang for your buck" and will work quite well.

as for the lathe itself, I HIGHLY suggest you look at the harbor freight 8X12 (really a 8x14). this is the lathe I use, and for the price it's a great "little" machine. now I know, it says harbor freight on the side of it, but this machine is far above the standard HF quality since it's just a rebadged chinese lathe. only down side is that it only comes with a crappy 3 jay "self centering" chuck, which does not do a wonderful job at selfcentering. HOWEVER, you can order this unit at any HF outlet center and you won't have to pay shipping, and often HF has 20% coupons you can use towards it.

If you want to spend a little bit more money, you can get the lathemaster 8x14. this is the EXACT same unit as the HF 8x12, but in addition to everything the HF comes with, it comes with a 4 jaw independent chuck, a steady rest, and a parting rest.
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Old 12-10-2008, 04:32 PM #9
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The lathemaster also has the option to get some really cheap (and accurate) DRO modules for them. I think mini-lathe.com sells them.
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Old 12-10-2008, 04:35 PM #10
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they will work on the HFs as well.

littlemachineshop.com might also have them.
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Old 12-10-2008, 04:39 PM #11
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Quote:
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they will work on the HFs as well.

littlemachineshop.com might also have them.
Yeah that's the one I was thinking of, they seem to be out of the $149 kit though. I thought there was a cheaper $129 kit that was virtually the same but had a resolution of 0.0005" and accuracy of 0.001".
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Old 12-10-2008, 05:36 PM #12
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just looked it up. those DROs are only for the 7" series. the x axis probably doesn't have the length for a 8x14. one more reason just to CNC it.
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