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Posted: 11/1/2009 6:08:31 PM EST
[Last Edit: 11/1/2009 6:10:05 PM EST by tyromeo55]
I know very little about lathes but am the kind of guy that just likes to jump in and get my feet wet. If I get good enough I'll send in a check to the ATF and try my hand at a form 1 suppressor.


Is there really any reason to buy one larger then 20" to start out with? What about one with a mill combo?

I've been looking at the grizzley and JET ones like this one http://cgi.ebay.com/Jet-321155K-BD-920W-9-X-20-Lathe-With-Stand_W0QQitemZ350272471712QQcmdZViewItemQQptZLH_DefaultDomain_0?hash=item518dddc2a0#

Any recommendations on where to buy?

Any advice is very appreciated.

Ty-
Link Posted: 11/1/2009 7:35:51 PM EST
Ones like that are like the Smithy lathes are are not what you are looking for. They have shit for power. You can not take a depth of cut worth your time. I am a production machinist with almost 15 yrs experience and have experience on modern cnc machines, older engine and turret lathes and a buddies Smithy which I can stop dead in its tracks w/o even trying. If you are serious save your money for something bigger in the $3000 dollar range. Your money.
Link Posted: 11/1/2009 7:36:14 PM EST
For light use, a 9X20 from Harbor Freight will do the job as long as you aren't wanting to work on barrels longer than 16" or so. I use a Jet 9X20 and it does a good job. For a lathe/mill combo I'd probably check out Smithy machines. If you get a cheap machine be sure to check out the replacement tool posts and compounds on Ebay. I've got them made by A2Z Machine and it's made a huge difference.
Link Posted: 11/1/2009 10:14:41 PM EST
[Last Edit: 11/1/2009 10:23:22 PM EST by Green0]
Link Posted: 11/1/2009 11:22:09 PM EST
watch your local craigslist like a hawk and find one that comes with all the extra crap

believe me you're going to want/ need them and finding them after the fact is a nightmare

find some old american iron and stay away from the chink bullshit

also check out this place just for fun: http://www.hgrindustrialsurplus.com/
Link Posted: 11/1/2009 11:39:38 PM EST
The smallest and least expensive that I would go with would be the Enco 9x20. It will run off 115V. The advantage of the Enco over things like the Harbor Freight (Horrible Fright) is that you can order replacement parts, and fix it yourself. Better if you have the room and power to get the 12x36. Again, stay with the brand name stuff and you will have parts availability and support. Some of the India and cheap China made lathes are put together strangely, and if you need to replace broken or worn parts . . . well I hope you have extra skin for your knuckles and large bottles of extra strength patience.
Link Posted: 11/2/2009 12:06:44 AM EST
Link Posted: 11/2/2009 4:10:55 AM EST
[Last Edit: 11/3/2009 2:38:17 AM EST by Bubbles]
We bought a used South Bend Big 10, delivered, with a bunch of tooling and accessories, for $3000. We had to have an inverter installed in the garage to handle three-phase power requirement.

It's not a CNC, but it's a workhorse and gets the jobs done. It's over 50 years old now, and will probably still be running long after we're dead.
Link Posted: 11/2/2009 8:39:26 AM EST
Somebody who isn't a machinst, and may only use the lathe a few times a year, probably won't have to figure in the extra time needed because they have to take lighter cuts. I wouldn't waste my time on a china made lathe if I were opening a shop or planning on using it on a regular basis, but if a guy is only planning on making a few cans for his self, I don't see where spending another digit in cost is going to justify the investment. I go out to my shop and start up the Jet lathe a couple times a year, and use a XY table with a vice instead of investing in a mill for my occasional milling functions. When you have a lot more time and flexibility than financial resources, you can end up ahead by selecting the cheaper machine. It seems like there are a lot of people here that have tons of money to toss around on whatever they want, and seem to knock anything less than what they feel is up to their standards. There are some of us here, who on the other hand, have to get by with what we can afford, and put a little more time into using something that will just get the job done. I actually enjoy seeing what I can come up with using my limited resources. I would suggest that if somebody were going to buy a cheap import machine, they should buy it new, since most of the machines I've seen used are not much cheaper than the new ones, and are usually problems that somebody wants to get rid of.
Link Posted: 11/2/2009 2:18:02 PM EST
Originally Posted By Tractiongrips:
Somebody who isn't a machinst, and may only use the lathe a few times a year, probably won't have to figure in the extra time needed because they have to take lighter cuts. I wouldn't waste my time on a china made lathe if I were opening a shop or planning on using it on a regular basis, but if a guy is only planning on making a few cans for his self, I don't see where spending another digit in cost is going to justify the investment. I go out to my shop and start up the Jet lathe a couple times a year, and use a XY table with a vice instead of investing in a mill for my occasional milling functions. When you have a lot more time and flexibility than financial resources, you can end up ahead by selecting the cheaper machine. It seems like there are a lot of people here that have tons of money to toss around on whatever they want, and seem to knock anything less than what they feel is up to their standards. There are some of us here, who on the other hand, have to get by with what we can afford, and put a little more time into using something that will just get the job done. I actually enjoy seeing what I can come up with using my limited resources. I would suggest that if somebody were going to buy a cheap import machine, they should buy it new, since most of the machines I've seen used are not much cheaper than the new ones, and are usually problems that somebody wants to get rid of.


IMHO the one advantage of a larger lathe is more HP available - specifically to allow the user to run carbide tooling. It is tough enough to learn how to run a lathe - and frikin impossible if you have to grind and harden your own HSS tools with no real guidance.

Open the box of carbide and screw one on. Real simple.

And light lathes are a curse upon humanity. I ditched a 10"x24" soon after I got it, moved up to some 16x18s, and finally got a keeper in my 21x72" Monarch toolroom lathe. I love running that thing more than the CNCs... It's so sweet.
Link Posted: 11/2/2009 9:26:10 PM EST
Originally Posted By Tractiongrips:
Somebody who isn't a machinst, and may only use the lathe a few times a year, probably won't have to figure in the extra time needed because they have to take lighter cuts. I wouldn't waste my time on a china made lathe if I were opening a shop or planning on using it on a regular basis, but if a guy is only planning on making a few cans for his self, I don't see where spending another digit in cost is going to justify the investment. I go out to my shop and start up the Jet lathe a couple times a year, and use a XY table with a vice instead of investing in a mill for my occasional milling functions. When you have a lot more time and flexibility than financial resources, you can end up ahead by selecting the cheaper machine. It seems like there are a lot of people here that have tons of money to toss around on whatever they want, and seem to knock anything less than what they feel is up to their standards. There are some of us here, who on the other hand, have to get by with what we can afford, and put a little more time into using something that will just get the job done. I actually enjoy seeing what I can come up with using my limited resources. I would suggest that if somebody were going to buy a cheap import machine, they should buy it new, since most of the machines I've seen used are not much cheaper than the new ones, and are usually problems that somebody wants to get rid of.


The problem is that the small cheap machines do not have the runout capability required to make a good can. Nor do they have the ability to handle large enough tooling to do the job correctly with good tooling. Then there is the fact that the tailstock on the cheap machines are literally junk when it comes to true precision. Precision is something I do know about. I regularly run tolerances of .0005" and .0004" almost on a daily basis and on heat treated steels from 1045 to 4140 to forgings. A tolerance of .001" is gravy to me.
Link Posted: 11/2/2009 10:31:08 PM EST
[Last Edit: 11/2/2009 10:45:01 PM EST by Green0]
Link Posted: 11/3/2009 4:04:31 AM EST
Wow, I guess the form 1 cans that I have built on my cheap Jet lathe are flukes? I wouldn't claim that I could keep up with the "big dogs" here, but with my limited vocational school training and a short time working in a machine shop in the early 90's, I've been able to build a few cans that perform about the same as the high dollar commercial cans that I've bought. For me, the time spent in the shop is just a getaway where I'm not being bothered. There is no pressure to get the parts done in metered times, and although I have to spend more time by taking more frequent measurements, I haven't had any issues with building something that meets practical tolerences. For me, it all comes down to the satisfaction I feel when I'm able to use something that I can say that I built, especially with limited resources.
Link Posted: 11/3/2009 2:21:10 PM EST
Originally Posted By Tractiongrips:
Wow, I guess the form 1 cans that I have built on my cheap Jet lathe are flukes? I wouldn't claim that I could keep up with the "big dogs" here, but with my limited vocational school training and a short time working in a machine shop in the early 90's, I've been able to build a few cans that perform about the same as the high dollar commercial cans that I've bought. For me, the time spent in the shop is just a getaway where I'm not being bothered. There is no pressure to get the parts done in metered times, and although I have to spend more time by taking more frequent measurements, I haven't had any issues with building something that meets practical tolerences. For me, it all comes down to the satisfaction I feel when I'm able to use something that I can say that I built, especially with limited resources.


The OP started with "I know very little about lathes", not "vocational school training and a short time working in a machine shop". If you had no familiaritiy, how long wout it take you playing with a lightweight import lathe and a box of HSS to get discouraged ?


Link Posted: 11/3/2009 2:44:53 PM EST
Link Posted: 11/3/2009 2:52:13 PM EST
[Last Edit: 11/3/2009 3:06:55 PM EST by Green0]
Link Posted: 11/3/2009 4:43:53 PM EST


With a lathe, two pieces of tubing, a bar of round stock, one outside turning tool, one parting tool, three drill bits, two taps, 8-15 cap screws, an allen wrench, and a hack saw, and some judicious application of elbow grease hacking it all up, you could make a silencer. So I guess I was just thinking in terms of making something market competitive, and not in terms of replicating some 14" long design from the 70's.

Wow, it looks like some folks would like people to believe that they can't make anything worth a crap without spending a fortune on equipment. I'm guessing that it could be in hopes that the person considering building their own would be moved to purchase something commercially made. Is it a coincident that some whoe are commenting ARE commercial entities? Here is something I built on a form 1 using an inexpensive lathe. For what it's worth, there are no cap screws in the design, and the entire barrel including the permanent suppressor is 16.2". To make it worse, I used a $7 airbrush to apply the Molyresin (I guess I should have just used Krylon?), but I guess I should have gone out and spent $100 on a Badger since I'm sure there is an airbrush snob here somewhere who doesn't think that a good finish can be applied by anything less. The end caps are interference fit with blind pins as a precaution. The 10/22 is quiet enough that all you here is the bolt and a click when the firing pin strikes.


Link Posted: 11/3/2009 7:18:30 PM EST
Originally Posted By Tractiongrips:


With a lathe, two pieces of tubing, a bar of round stock, one outside turning tool, one parting tool, three drill bits, two taps, 8-15 cap screws, an allen wrench, and a hack saw, and some judicious application of elbow grease hacking it all up, you could make a silencer. So I guess I was just thinking in terms of making something market competitive, and not in terms of replicating some 14" long design from the 70's.

Wow, it looks like some folks would like people to believe that they can't make anything worth a crap without spending a fortune on equipment. I'm guessing that it could be in hopes that the person considering building their own would be moved to purchase something commercially made. Is it a coincident that some whoe are commenting ARE commercial entities? Here is something I built on a form 1 using an inexpensive lathe. For what it's worth, there are no cap screws in the design, and the entire barrel including the permanent suppressor is 16.2". To make it worse, I used a $7 airbrush to apply the Molyresin (I guess I should have just used Krylon?), but I guess I should have gone out and spent $100 on a Badger since I'm sure there is an airbrush snob here somewhere who doesn't think that a good finish can be applied by anything less. The end caps are interference fit with blind pins as a precaution. The 10/22 is quiet enough that all you here is the bolt and a click when the firing pin strikes.
http://home.comcast.net/~tractiongrips/pwpimages/ten22suppressed.jpg



You can make a 10/22 sound like a pellet gun with a piece of tubing capped somehow on one end, threaded on the other and some window screen. A hacksaw, hand drill and a couple taps will make one. Not necessarily quality but workable. So what have you actually proved?
Link Posted: 11/4/2009 5:09:47 AM EST
Originally Posted By tyromeo55:
I know very little about lathes but am the kind of guy that just likes to jump in and get my feet wet. If I get good enough I'll send in a check to the ATF and try my hand at a form 1 suppressor.


Is there really any reason to buy one larger then 20" to start out with? What about one with a mill combo?

I've been looking at the grizzley and JET ones like this one.....


Exactly what the original post was asking about. The one I showed in the picture was made on a Jet, which was specifically mention by name before all of the comments making it sound like it is impossible. I've seen laughable silencers being used on youtube that were made out of all sorts of crazy things, like pvc pipe and other weird stuff, but I've been able to make cans that look great, and function extremely well. My last project was a removable .22 model and the most difficult thing involved was finding a metric tap. It's not like these things are rocket science, and it's pretty much as easy as copying a design somebody has already proven to work. If you were to see the shop space and equipment that I have you'd probably laugh, but anybody who's gone shooting with me seems impressed with the end product. No super expensive machine, no expensive finishing, and no expensive engraving. A $25 bottle of molyresin will go a long way, and engraving only costs $8 locally. For a larger caliber device I can get a friend to TIG weld a nice bead around the end cap and threaded interface. I won't claim that I can make something as pretty as some of the fancy ones out there, and I'm not comfortable enough with my skill to try rifle calibers right now, but as far as making something useful with the equipment the original post mentioned, it's very much possible regardless of what others may believe.

Link Posted: 11/4/2009 3:42:11 PM EST
Tank you guys so much for all the replies. I really did not think it would turn out to be such a heated debate. Seems that people are pretty passionate about their opinions on lathes. One thing no one mentioned (at least I did not see) is size. I would love to have a 40 X 100 shop in my back yard but that is just not the case. I am sort of a jack of many trades and already have a detached shop full to the gills with just about anything you could think of and still have to keep thinks like a sheet metal break and shear (Old heavy american made monsters.. green0 would be proud) at my office because I just have no room at home.

I have been looking for a used lathe suitable for gunsmith duty (I am an 01 FFL) but they seem to be far and few between and really would be overkill for how little it would be used. I think I'll look some more for an old dinosaur (I'd love a 3 phase monster!) but if nothing comes up in the next months I'll probably just buy the Jet...... If I really get into it maybe I start to save up for a big boy that will sit at the office

Thanks again

Ty-
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