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  1. #1
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    Default Old McPherson lathe for learner?

    I've been debating for a while whether to get a mini lathe like the Siegs to see if it's useful for making occasional odds and ends and whether I can learn the necessary knowledge and skills, but this old Mc Pherson just popped up on Facebook Marketplace for a lot less than the mid-range Sieg types would cost new. It's bigger than I want or need, but I can live with that.

    Although it's very old, I'm guessing that it might still be more durable than modern relatively cheap machines out of China with plastic gears and, according to various reviews I've seen on Sieg type machines, somewhat uneven manufacturing standards, accuracy and reliability.

    No tail stock is illustrated but there are two boxes of lucky dips under the lathe, so there's a pretty fair chance that there's more there than I'm likely to need.

    First picture looks like a couple of teeth missing on bottom row about 8 or 9 teeth to right of motor / belt cover. If so, I wouldn't buy it.

    Assuming that the motor spins the chuck without obvious run out and that the sliding parts are tight, would I be wasting my money buying this or should it be able to do the pretty simple work I'm likely to do?

    Apart from the motor and bearings which can probably be replaced from current stock, is there anything that could break or wear and not be replaceable nowadays?

    Would the tool holder accept modern carbide tools etc or, if not, could it be readily modified to do so?

    Are there hidden traps for young players, like weird and no longer available taper sizes for the tailstock and so on?

    https://www.facebook.com/marketplace...3-062787854102

    Thanks for any advice or informed comments.

  2. #2
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    Personally, I donít think that would be a good lathe for a beginner (or probably engine else for that matter).
    Iíd say this would be a much better buy:

    https://www.facebook.com/marketplace...ibextid=6ojiHh

    Steve

  3. #3
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by OxxAndBert View Post
    Personally, I don’t think that would be a good lathe for a beginner (or probably anyone else for that matter).
    I’d say this would be a much better buy:

    https://www.facebook.com/marketplace...ibextid=6ojiHh

    Steve
    Yes I would agree with Steve ! That first one would really require someone who already had the necessary skills to use it. This one even at its higher price would be a better buy ! More suited to a beginner.
    Best Regards:
    Baron J.

  4. #4
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    Thanks OxxAndBert and Baron J for your prompt and very helpful replies, which saved me from turning an apparent bargainish lathe into a disaster.

  5. #5
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    There are quite a few threads around containing good info about buying your first lathe.
    One of the first things in the process is deciding what you want to do with it - which will then determine a reasonable size and the features that you should ideally be looking for.
    You'll likely have to compromise on some things, but no point buying a beautiful condition mini-lathe with a 150mm swing when you definitely want to machine miniature steam engine wheel castings that are 200mm in diameter!!

    Think about what you want a lathe for, then have a look at some of those other threads and see if any of them look roughly the same.
    If not, then best to start a separate thread - tell us what you want to do with it, and ask for some advice.

    Steve

  6. #6
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by OxxAndBert View Post
    There are quite a few threads around containing good info about buying your first lathe. One of the first things in the process is deciding what you want to do with it - which will then determine a reasonable size and the features that you should ideally be looking for.
    Thanks, Steve.

    I'm half way advanced along that path, but somewhat limited by not knowing what I can really do with a metal lathe so that my expectations might be unduly limited or hopelessly beyond the capacity of the machine.

    The immediate attraction is the ability to make small parts that aren't readily or even commercially available for things I need or want for whatever my current, and not always all that well thought out to conclusion, project is. Sometimes brilliant and even very dumb ideas have to be converted into attempts at reality to find out if they will or wonít work.

    There is also the potential satisfaction in expanding my knowledge and skills into an entirely new area.

    Then there is the hard to resist attraction of getting a new machine that opens up a whole new world of possibilities. Or maybe just failure and despair in the hands of the untrained and unskilled. Not that this possibility, or maybe even probability, is by itself a sufficient reason not to buy a new machine. A man of handy inclinations who canít sense the potential of a new machine or tool is starting to lose interest in life.

    Quote Originally Posted by OxxAndBert View Post
    You'll likely have to compromise on some things, but no point buying a beautiful condition mini-lathe with a 150mm swing when you definitely want to machine miniature steam engine wheel castings that are 200mm in diameter!!
    At this stage, despite the fun of trawling Facebook Marketplace and Gumtree for possible bargains which as you and Baron J pointed out on my last find wasnít such a great idea for me and perhaps this seemingly much better Advance one that popped up today for $500 and was sold in a few hours,



    https://www.facebook.com/marketplace/item/677138307805042/?ref=search&referral_code=null&referral_story_type=post&tracking=browse_serp%3A24dca989-d3a6-48e5-8e60-edef124a3365

    I think the choice comes down to picking up an old machine of unknown condition and possibly missing components or buying something new like a 7Ēx14Ē Sieg or its Vevor or Hare and Forbes equivalents, which should still have most or all parts available for a while, and learning on that. Iím not likely to be making long parts and I can get around that if I get a machine than can feed through the back of the chuck.

    The difference between $500 to $1,000+ for an old machine and $800 to $1,000 for a new one which should have all the bits is probably a false economy now and especially over time, particularly as I can return a locally bought new one if itís damaged.

    The Siegs and Vevors have uneven reviews online, but overall theyíre probably of a much more consistent and reliable standard than old machines which in many cases appear to be being sold as deceased estates (or soon to be deceased estates) by people who donít know anything about the machines their dad had and who, hard to believe but true, know even less about the machines than I do.

    I keep asking myself what is it that I could have done with a metal lathe that I couldn't have done without one, and the answer usually is that I've found another way to do it, or sometimes just abandoned bringing an idea into reality because I can't make a necessary part.

    Which isn't the same as being able to do it quicker, better and more accurately with a metal lathe if I could operate it properly. And isn't the same as being forced to abandon an idea because I can't make some odd thing to progress the idea. And, most importantly, isn't the same as the sense of achievement when an idea can be transformed into reality with one's own hands (well, really, one's own machine) or the useful dose of reality when one realises that the idea is impractical at best and impossible at worst.

    Damian

  7. #7
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    Default Old McPherson lathe for learner?

    Sieg stuff is well made to a price point. Mill finished on some components and ground finish for key parts such as the spindle etc. I said ďmade to a price pointĒ and is clearly mass produced hobby grade so keep your expectations conservative.

    Vevor is IMO bottom of the barrel stuff from the same factory. QC, warranty, precision etc forget it.

    Optimum is slightly better than Sieg but not by that much.

    Old quality stuff is well made but as a first time buyer you will not know what to look for.

    I owned a Sieg SC2 from new for 10 years that I had upgraded and tweaked over the years but when I finally found a Myford S7 (+ PXF and came with a lot of tooling, serial no indicates to be made between 1979 to 1985) and had them side by side to compare the feeling: chalk and cheese.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by kafie1980 View Post
    I said ďmade to a price pointĒ and is clearly mass produced hobby grade so keep your expectations conservative.
    Until I have a lot more experience and knowledge than I have now, any of those machines is going to significantly exceed my ability.

    Quote Originally Posted by kafie1980 View Post
    I owned a Sieg SC2 from new for 10 years that I had upgraded and tweaked over the years but when I finally found a Myford S7 (+ PXF and came with a lot of tooling, serial no indicates to be made between 1979 to 1985) and had them side by side to compare the feeling: chalk and cheese.
    Thanks. Always good to get the opinion of someone who's used a machine over the long term, rather than reviews in magazines etc based on putting it through its paces in a few hours.

    The Sieg C2 is the new machine that seemed to me to give the best bang for my buck and your opinion reinforces my view.

  9. #9
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    I started with a sieg SC6, I made things with it but it was frustrating not having a QCGB, parting off is not something that I ever had much luck with. After a year I upgraded to a barely used AL336, It no longer feels like I'm in a constant battle with a lack of rigidity. I'm kinda lazy so not having to mess with the change gears makes a big difference.

    Im at a point now where I'd like to upgrade again, the AL336 does everything I need, but I'd like to have a machine that is something you would find in a professional shop.

    Its probably a never ending cycle but any lathe is better than no lathe

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by 419 View Post
    The Sieg C2 is the new machine that seemed to me to give the best bang for my buck and your opinion reinforces my view.
    Actually I will be carefully be reading through the specs before you compare ďthe best bang for the buckĒ.

    Ausee never stocked the SC2 model (released about 12 years ago). They only stock the C2 model (first appeared somewhere in the late 80ís to early 90ís) and the latest SC20 which has a few minor upgrades.

    The C2 model uses the old brushed 250w motor, the old low/high gear mechanism, plastic gears, old tail stock (not cam lock style) etc etc. This is reflected in the cost.

    The newer SC2 and latest SC20 have a brushless 500w motor, camlock style tailstock etc.

    The C2 and SC2 have plain spindle bearings whereas the SC20 has angular contact bearings.

    I had upgraded my SC2 and SX2P spindle bearings with angular contacts as soon as ArcEuro in the UK had them available as an upgrade.

    When I was buying my machines I had the option of choosing metal gears, which I did. I am not sure if this is now standard on the newer models.

    How I got my hands on the SC2 is a different story when I contacted Sieg directly (with the help of one of my work colleagues from China) in 2012 to purchase a SX2P mill and a SC2 lathe that matched ArcEuro (UK) specifications as no one else in 2012 was selling these models.
    My work colleague from being a mechanical engineer that spoke with a few Chinese dialects as she grew up there, she also had sales experience and had a side business importing stuff.
    I was actually shocked that their freight company only charged $200 to deliver the machines on a pallet to my front door in Brunei Darussalam all the way from China in one week.

    My machines have Chinese badges unlike the stuff sold here.




    Why am I telling you this? I am trying to explain what to look for when buying a mini lathe.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by kafie1980 View Post
    Why am I telling you this? I am trying to explain what to look for when buying a mini lathe.
    I'm glad you're telling me, because I wrongly assumed that the Aussee C2 was the same as the SC2.

    I'm grateful for the detail you've gone into to set me on the right path to getting the best machine for me.

    Clearly I need to do more research on what I should have in a lathe and make a list of "must haves", which might be things such as metal gears and brushless motors, and then consider only those machines that match my list. I think I might be looking at spending rather more than I first thought.

    Thanks again.

  12. #12
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    Hi Damian,

    Lets be honest with ourselves ! Anything that you buy, new or old, is still going to have a learning curve. I bought a Myford because on advice it was the best hobbyist lathe around ! It wasn't cheap but not expensive either. This is also why you will find that they command a good price today.

    New or old you will still have to learn what you can and can't do on it. You will still have to maintain it, lubricate it, adjust it etc. Even if it comes fully tooled, there will still be tools and jigs that that you will have to make and learn about.

    I came here knowing very little, but with an open mind and a willingness to learn ! People here have given me good advice, held my hand when needed. Yes I'm an engineer with a BSC in computing technologies, mechanical engineering was never on my mind ! For me its something that grabbed me and has never let go.
    Best Regards:
    Baron J.

  13. #13
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    Any comments from anyone with more experience than me on what I should be looking for in specs and or brands / models will be gratefully received.

  14. #14
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    I know nothing about these, but itís very close to where I live if you were interested.

    https://www.facebook.com/marketplace...ibextid=6ojiHh

    Steve

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by OxxAndBert View Post
    I know nothing about these, but itís very close to where I live if you were interested.

    https://www.facebook.com/marketplace...ibextid=6ojiHh

    Steve
    Thanks, Steve.

    I think I'll pass on that machine.

    I'm leaning towards buying something new as it should be complete and operate properly, subject perhaps to a bit of fine tuning as the start of my learning curve.

    As you'll gather from my early posts, I'm probably willing to take a punt on a suitable machine up to about $500, but when it's getting up towards the price of a new machine, albeit a smaller one and maybe not as robust, the new machine seems a better proposition.

    Damian

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