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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    melbourne
    Posts
    8

    Arrow Buying a lathe, finding materials

    Hi I’m new here and a relaive newbie to metalwork other than past secondary school work, but I’ve decided I’d like to invest some time and effort and money in to this fun craft… except for the fact that I’m having teething problems right from the outset in choosing which equipment to buy.
    http://www4.tpgi.com.au/users/p8king/tl4000.htm <- Are these guys trustworthy, I could be paranoid, but with a name like procon and not being able to afford a proper domain name I have my doubts…lol :eek:


    What I’m after:

    1. A decent quality first or second hand (risky?) mini lathe in the price range of 500-800AUD…I’ve found several possible options with google and ebay searches, however I can’t separate with any degree of certainty which is the best buy. As far as size goes, I think 7” x 12”, 7” x 14”, but that’s about all I could discern. There’s the odd much larger models popping up spasmodically on Ebay for my price range but it’s impossible to tell whether it’s “fool’s gold” or not.

    2. materials with which to work with:.

    Copper - sheet and bars (round, square and hexagonal perhaps) and tubing
    Brass - “
    Aluminium - “
    Steel (any grade) - “

    I’ve looked around extensively on the net for sources, but with little luck, however all suppliers basically just seem to be B2B outlets or require that you buy in bulk; which isn’t what I require as a beginning hobbyist AFA metalwork goes.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Western Sydney
    Posts
    0

    Default

    The lathes and milling machines at the web site you mentioned are the same as stocked by Carbatec, Hare & Forbes and several other conventional outlets. Since the prices are no better (in fact a little more), why would you not wander down to Carbatec or H & F where you can see, touch, feel and if satisfied, take away the one you like without being exposed to the risks and uncertainty of buying over the internet?

    Hare & Forbes also stock larger models generically the same as the several different types that you often see on eBay from "ozmestore" and others. When buying on eBay, don't forget to factor in the freight. For example, "ozmestore" is in South Australia. Lathes are heavy so you are probably looking at $100-$200 or more depending on the model.

    Also, just because you see one apparently going cheap on eBay doesn't mean you'll get it for that. You still have to outbid the other potential buyers. I've been tempted too and made a couple of bids but pulled out when I realised that with freight factored in, I was approaching the retail store price.

    I will leave the advice on which machine to buy to someone more knowledgable except to say that the smallest ones, referred to as "micro", are definitely too small. Jaycar Electronics in Parramatta had their display model marked down from $599 to $199. Tempting as a plaything but still a waste of $199 if it doesn't do what you want.

    For materials, I notice that there is a chap on eBay selling assorted packs of various metals at quite reasonable prices. You don't get to pick and choose the sizes but he sets out quite clearly what you will get. He arranges the sizes of the packs to optimise postage (e.g. to fit in a 3kg express post bag). I don't know if this will work but I will try to post a link here:
    http://cgi.ebay.com.au/SS-Pack-No-49...QQcmdZViewItem

    Disclaimer: I have no association whatever with any of the suppliers or eBay vendors mentioned.

    regards
    Coldamus

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    campbelltown NSW
    Age
    67
    Posts
    54

    Default

    G'Day Whatwastold,

    I have bought myself a small metal lathe, I got it from Glenford Tools for around the $1200 mark, it did not come with any cutting tools and that was an extra $80. It was my first and so far is proving to be the right size for me. It weighs in at 130kg so it is not the sort of thing I can move around easily. Also it came with a box full of spare parts and spare belts, I also had to buy a drill chuck for the tail stock that was about $30. I looked at the one in you post and the one I have is about twice the size, if you want an exact size get back to me and I'll do what I can.

    I don't know if you have a Glenfords in your area, but they are good up here and very helpful in after service and general enquires, also they delivered free. If you want anymore info I'll try to help, as I am like you my metal turning is limited to school, but I am fairly competent at most general aspects of it now.
    savage(Eric)

    Never, under any circumstances, take a sleeping pill and a laxative on the same night.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Brisbane
    Posts
    3

    Default

    g'day. you'll find these lathes all over the world sold under different names and with some slight differences to suit the local market (metric vs imperial) or the reseller (different colour, different accessories, etc).

    This web site covers the lathe in a lot of detail.
    http://www.mini-lathe.com

    You should be able to pick up a 7x12 for under $800 including shipping on ebay. i got mine recently for $650 all up from ebay. Very happy with the lathe and it's already made a few bits and pieces to solve a few mechanical problems around the house. It's a good bit of gear but be sure it's big enough for your intended use. It's not really much use for machining parts that are too big to comfortably fit in your hand.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Brisbane
    Posts
    3

    Default

    A quick look through a hare & forbes catalog shows their al-30 lathe for $800 including a set of cutting tools. From the photo it looks to be a sieg 7x12.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    melbourne
    Posts
    8

    Arrow

    Coldamus, I had a strong feeling that lathes of the same model under-the-bonnet were simply resold under different names judging from all the pictures I had looked at, thanks for clearing that up for me. Ill definitely contact the companies you mentioned and see what they have to say.

    I agree that the micro versions really would be found to be lacking when it comes to any sort of workshop versatility.

    That ebay seller you offered has everything I was after, I express to you my sincere thanks again. There’s little wonder I was unable to find the seller though as I could never have used search terms such as “SS-Pack No:49 - Lathe-Model-Hobbie-Mill-Bike-Boat-Dd”

    Savage, stop tempting me so! A much larger lathe, say, 22” would be a really nice piece of equipment, and at 1200 it might just prove to be too tempting.. I’ve actually seen 22” lathes on ebay for even cheaper than that, but of course as Coldmus already mentioned – freight cost, in addition to wear n tear is always a significant facter when ordering off Ebay or anywhere outside of driving distance; or rubber dingy distance if the goods merchant is located in a lighthouse.

    Not sure about Glenfords in Vic, Ill have a look in to it, as with Carbatec and H & F. Tyvm.

    Gpbrowne, I’ve come across mini-lath.com and the associated site relating to mini-mills at basically every turn – awesome site, I’m sure Ill visit there again for the copious quantity of info there, still tyvm mate!

    Ahh I feel much better now that the answers to my questions have been elucidated by people more knowledgeable than myself.

    Thanks all!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Central Coast, NSW, Australia
    Age
    61
    Posts
    98

    Unhappy Oh dear!

    Coldamus,

    saw your post and was on the phone to Jaycar Parramatta 2 seconds later.

    The guys I spoke to knew absolutely nothing about the display model for $199. Sure it wasn't $799 ??

    My dad's been after one of these as a toy, on the excuse that he might use it for his model railroad. At $199, I'm sure he and I would get some fun/use out of it, but it seems not to be.

    Really, really, really dejected now.

    Andrew

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Western Sydney
    Posts
    0

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by arose62
    Coldamus,

    saw your post and was on the phone to Jaycar Parramatta 2 seconds later.

    The guys I spoke to knew absolutely nothing about the display model for $199. Sure it wasn't $799 ??
    Sorry about the delay in replying. I've been busy elsewhere. I guess it has gone now as it was a few weeks ago when I saw it. Hang on, looking up my receipt for the goods I bought, it was on 26th March.
    I probably gave you the misleading impression it was just a couple of days ago.

    Looking at their web site right now, they have a number of "shop-soiled" or "ex-repair" "mini" lathes at $499 available from their techstore only. The normal list price is $749. From the specs. given, these are actually the micro lathes, the same as the display one I saw.

    When I was there, I nearly fell over at the price and had a really close look at the price tag to make sure I wasn't reading it wrong. I was sure it was $199 but it could have been very badly written. At $499 it would not have been a great bargain for a shop-soiled or ex-repair item.

    Carbatec have the same micro listed for $599, the much bigger 180mm x 350mm mini lathe at $995 and the 250mm x 550mm at $1,295.

    Hare & Forbes have a 180mm x 300mm mini for $799 and their 230mm x 500mm AL-50A for $995. The latter is a big hunk of machinery for the price.

    My apologies for getting your hopes up.

    regards
    Coldamus

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Perth WA
    Posts
    526

    Default

    There is a new seller on Ebay listing new steel up to 80 mm diam at what ever length you want.
    Try here;
    http://cgi.ebay.com.au/Steel-Round-B...QQcmdZViewItem

    I don't know how it goes for pricing as I get all my turning stock from scrap metal yards and second hand machinery outlets. If you scratch around second hand machinery outlets it is surprising the number of shafts you can find suitable for turning and milling work. The risk is you will not know what grade of steel you are buying but I figure old steel is probably better grade than new steel anyway. Rust and dents don't matter as you will be removing the surface anyway.

    Good luck with your new lathe
    Cheers,
    Rod

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Glenhaven, NSW
    Age
    82
    Posts
    205

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Coldamus
    Hare & Forbes have a 180mm x 300mm mini for $799 and their 230mm x 500mm AL-50A for $995. The latter is a big hunk of machinery for the price.
    Coldamus
    I bought a H&F AL-50A a while ago and am very pleased with it. With a lot of VERY helpful advice from rodm, I've made quite a few mods using the lathe itself which have improved it tremendously. Just because it's bigger doesn't mean you can't do small stuff -I'm making a small steam engine at present, some of the components are microscopic. Go look at H&F showroom this month, end of Financial Year, it's amazing what deals you can get when June 30th is looming. Do a search on 9x20 lathe in this forum.
    Cheers
    Graeme

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    melbourne
    Posts
    8

    Thumbs up Hafco AL-50A looks ideal

    The AL-50A looks like a really smart buy at $995AUD – especially being new! Pretty sure that’ll be my first lathe! Thank you! I must’ve skimmed over that when reading the online catalogue, but I just checked again and it's thare.

    As for the metal stock to be used, finding a local scrap metal yard sounds like a smart option before gaining some proficiency atleast. Ill check out the YellowPages and make some phone calls regarding the matter.

    Does anyone know offhand any local (I’m in the SE suburbs of Melbourne) outlets to deal with regarding scrap metal?

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Melbourne
    Posts
    1

    Default Procon Technology replies

    Hi, being the owner and manager of Procon Technology in Melbourne I have to object to the comments made my a forum member whatwastold. I don't know what he means by 'with a name like procon' but there are plenty of companies that use this name; Procon Engineering, Procon Pumps, Procon Instrument Technology. We also do have a 'proper domain name' - www.procontechnology.com.au

    I have been in business of over 15 years and pride myself on being honest and trustworthy in my business dealings and always strive to do better. I may not sell a lot to people living in the cities (because they can trot along to the big stores) but I sell plenty of lathes and milling machines to people all around Australia (sight unseen) and I've never had an unhappy customer. Besides we offer all the accessories for the small lathes that no one else handles and if I can't get something I will trot along myself to the big stores and buy it retail ... so I charge 10% extra for that service - big deal!

    Regards ... Peter King
    To see the face behind the name go to:
    www.procontechnology.com.au/pking.htm

    For fischertechnik robotic kits and other hi-tech gadgets go to:
    www.procontechnology.com.au

    PO Box 655, Mount Waverley, 3149, Melbourne, Australia.
    Phone: +61-3-98306288, FAX: +61-3-98306481
    Phone: 1300304125 in Australia for the cost of a local call.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Perth
    Posts
    16

    Default

    You might like to look to join the mailing list:

    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/aussie_9x20_owners/

    and read through the archives, as there was a lot of similar discussion from a novice on buying a similar lathe (he ended up with an AL-50GA).

    Also, I have a suppliers web page up at:

    http://www.peter.com.au/metalwork/suppliers.html

    And to gain more experience and information, you might also like to join the list at:

    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/9x20Lathe/

    which has a lot of very good content.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    campbelltown NSW
    Age
    67
    Posts
    54

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by whatwastold View Post
    http://www4.tpgi.com.au/users/p8king/tl4000.htm <- Are these guys trustworthy, I could be paranoid, but with a name like procon and not being able to afford a proper domain name I have my doubts…lol :eek:
    Quote Originally Posted by p8king View Post
    I don't know what he means by 'with a name like procon'
    Dear Peter,
    I am sure whatwastold meant no disrespect and it was only meant as a bit of tongue in cheek humor. Even I can see the funny side of it but it would not stop me from making a purchase if you had something that I was in need of, also it is good to know that companies make it known that they are there to assist members in obtaining goods. I am sure your customers are very apprieciative of the way you put yourself out to meet there needs, I myself have found some things hard to obtain in my local area, but through this forum and it's members I have had my problems solved.
    I hope you can take this in the nature that it was intended and that there is no bad feelings, I would also hope members in the future look to you for goods and a happy relationship between all.
    Many thanks for the links I will be sure to have a look myself.
    savage(Eric)

    Never, under any circumstances, take a sleeping pill and a laxative on the same night.

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