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I'm in the market for a bench top metal lathe. But things have changed since my engineering days. Obviously cannot get a Colchester, Myford or Brittan in my shed, three makes I know are very good. 

So I'm left with pretty much no choice at all. Clarke, Sealey, Axminster, all stealth Chinese lathes. And then you have the cotrall of rubbish on Amazon and Ebay, all Chinese. There is one on Amazon a Z Zeus 8x14 lathe, auto feed 3500 rpm, variable speed but it has one review which is blank just 5 stars, obviously fake. Its around 800 quid, but looking at the picture its of pretty poor quality. The gauges look like they are stuck on.

The lathe I want is by Grizzly great reviews solid machine but Grizzly are American and don't deliver to the UK. I have not been able to find a UK supplier of Grizzly, they do some good products.

So can anyone recommend a good quality bench top lathe, thats not Chinese in origin. Because I can't find one.

 

Edited, Apparently Grizzly are re branded Chinese as well.😆

Edited by fatchap
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1 hour ago, fatchap said:

I'm in the market for a bench top metal lathe. But things have changed since my engineering days. Obviously cannot get a Colchester, Myford or Brittan in my shed, three makes I know are very good. 

So I'm left with pretty much no choice at all. Clarke, Sealey, Axminster, all stealth Chinese lathes. And then you have the cotrall of rubbish on Amazon and Ebay, all Chinese. There is one on Amazon a Z Zeus 8x14 lathe, auto feed 3500 rpm, variable speed but it has one review which is blank just 5 stars, obviously fake. Its around 800 quid, but looking at the picture its of pretty poor quality. The gauges look like they are stuck on.

The lathe I want is by Grizzly great reviews solid machine but Grizzly are American and don't deliver to the UK. I have not been able to find a UK supplier of Grizzly, they do some good products.

So can anyone recommend a good quality bench top lathe, thats not Chinese in origin. Because I can't find one.

 

Edited, Apparently Grizzly are re branded Chinese as well.😆

They are all chinese in origin but look up Warco, think they are a british company that basically do Chinese lathes that they bring in and fix then up to proper standard, they are about the best you will get for a bench top lathe

Edited by Rob85
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I'd love a lathe also and have been keeping an eye out for one at the right price. Facebook market place has had some real bargains but you have to be quick as the good stuff doesn't hang around long. 

I think some of the myford lathes are small enough to go on a bench but not t up on the model names. Drummond was another one that maybe suitable

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My Myford ML4 fits on a benchtop no problem, they're not all ML7 size.

I'm looking at going to a Clarke eventually, a friend owns one and he's rated it pretty highly. Warco are decent too and I've seen them make some impressive parts.

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Warco are out of stock, shame. but I have asked them to notify me when back in.

Clarke make some good gear, unfortunately their metal lathe is not one of them. If you go to an independent review site, not Machine Marts. They get some pretty scathing comments.

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2 hours ago, fatchap said:

....Clarke make some good gear, unfortunately their metal lathe is not one of them. If you go to an independent review site, not Machine Marts. They get some pretty scathing comments.

I can attest to that - slack is an issue on mine.

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51 minutes ago, figgy said:

Why can't you fit a Myford ML7 ?  Mine is on a bench top. 

They're not that big. 

 

Workshop available space quite limited. Well thats an understatement to be honest, should be workshop available space non existent.

 

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15 minutes ago, fatchap said:

Workshop available space quite limited. Well thats an understatement to be honest, should be workshop available space non existent.

 

You need to build one of those fold down workbenches with a lathe, grinder etc 😁

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Warco and Chester were where I looked maybe 20 years ago when I bought. I went for Chester but there wasn't much in it. Frankly, much of it looks just like Grizzly. I bet that at the very least the castings all come from China. I lost my machine's manual, and found a Grizzly one that is spot on.

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Watched a You Tube video last night where they had a brand new Chinese lathe just out the crate. They tested it to see how it run, and the noise it made! They stripped it down and the things they found wrong with it. Bent bolts, over spray on the bed. The worst was at the motor end, The motor wasn't even attached the only thing holding it in place was the drive belt. The actual motor housing didn't sit on the bed properly it was at an angle with two bent bolts forced in to hold it., This thing could never be accurate unless you carried out the work they did. But why bother? Send it back and get a good one.

This lathe was in a right old state, looked nice all painted blue and silver. But the things wrong with it just not worth the hassle in my opinion. Once they had repaired it and got it working properly and cutting accurately it was a very good little lathe, but it should have been anyway. You don't buy a brand new car and then spend hundreds of pounds getting it road legal, you expect it to be perfect in the first place.

So that put me right of anything Chinese or possibly Chinese.

Edited by fatchap
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3 hours ago, fatchap said:

So that put me right of anything Chinese or possibly Chinese.

Well that puts you at a bit of an impasse....

As others have mentioned, at your end of the market, they're all Chinese, the only thing that varies is what level of QC is in place.

If you're buying new, you'd be better off going to an established name with a proper UK presence, such Warco or Axminster.  At least that way you have some warranty and backup, and if it's below the standard you expect, back it goes.

But honestly, the benchtop lathes you talk about are always pretty poor in relation to a 'proper' lathe. 

If I were you I'd clear some space and get a larger lathe.  This gives you the option to go secondhand too.

In fact, and I know this probably not what you want to hear, but I'd be looking at a separate shed or annexe to the current shed.  Metal grinding dust from your beltsander/knife-making hobby is unlikely to do the ways on your shiny new lathe any good.

Myself, I bought an old Harrison, 1950s vintage but the previous owner had added a DRO.  These lathes were designed to be used in schools and colleges, and so the stand (allegedly) is rigid enough that the lathe doesn't require perfect levelling.  It does mean that it weighs 750kg and required the use of a pallet truck+bottle jack to install...

By the way, ignore the youtube machinsts who already have a shop full of tools, buying the cheapest Alibaba deal to make a 'how band can it be' type video.  You are not them.

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3 hours ago, udderlyoffroad said:

Well that puts you at a bit of an impasse....

As others have mentioned, at your end of the market, they're all Chinese, the only thing that varies is what level of QC is in place.

If you're buying new, you'd be better off going to an established name with a proper UK presence, such Warco or Axminster.  At least that way you have some warranty and backup, and if it's below the standard you expect, back it goes.

But honestly, the benchtop lathes you talk about are always pretty poor in relation to a 'proper' lathe. 

If I were you I'd clear some space and get a larger lathe.  This gives you the option to go secondhand too.

In fact, and I know this probably not what you want to hear, but I'd be looking at a separate shed or annexe to the current shed.  Metal grinding dust from your beltsander/knife-making hobby is unlikely to do the ways on your shiny new lathe any good.

Myself, I bought an old Harrison, 1950s vintage but the previous owner had added a DRO.  These lathes were designed to be used in schools and colleges, and so the stand (allegedly) is rigid enough that the lathe doesn't require perfect levelling.  It does mean that it weighs 750kg and required the use of a pallet truck+bottle jack to install...

By the way, ignore the youtube machinsts who already have a shop full of tools, buying the cheapest Alibaba deal to make a 'how band can it be' type video.  You are not them.

Fully get what your saying. I would love a big lathe Myford or a Colchester, CNC Machine and Mill. power hammer, fly press metal forming equipment but space and the wife are allways a problem. I have a Proxxon mill its a baby compared to what I used to operate back in the day. And having only a 3.2mm collet its pretty limited end mill and cutter wise. In fact if I'm honest its pretty useless. But for slotting work in knife finger guards and facing off spacers it will be staying.

I have contacted Warco and unfortunately they are out of stock of their bench lathe, They have its bigger brother but we are back to space and budget. Just waiting for them to contact me.

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