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Chinese mini metal lathe differences?

JradM

New Member
I joined the forum because I'm interested in getting a mini lathe - I was happy to find a Canadian forum where it looks like there's lots of discussion and information on the topic. I've got no metal lathe experience - save my Youtube observations. :p

I've got questions I wouldn't mind some advice about right off the hop!

First, I notice that there's a lot of price disparity between what looks like pretty much the same machines, albeit from different "brand" names (in scare quotes since most of the brands sound like they were generated by random letter generators). I'm curious if there's anything significant differences or a consensus on which machine to buy in Canada?

I'm leaning towards the Vevor 7x14 550w with 21mm spindle bore.
71iegQd2WnL._SL1500_.jpg

It's $724.99 direct from Vevor, but $649 from 3rd party sellers on Amazon (or $800+ from Vevor on Amazon). Is it worth $75 to buy from the manufacturer? Do you get any better warranty that way?

"BestEquipe" also appears to sell the identical machine for $649 - Is that a real company? There's similar machines from Intbuying, PreAsion, EQCOTWEA and NUMOBAMS (these names...). They all look identical but more expensive. Numobams might be the exception since they claim brushless and higher-power motors on several of theirs - but the shipping cost makes them a LOT more money (maybe at that point the 8" machines would make more sense).

I see the 7"x12" is like $20-$50 cheaper, but I assume it's worth a few extra bucks to have a couple inches of extra working space in case I'm trying to drill.

Last thing - I found these for sale on Amazon, Vevor.ca, Walmart.ca and Aliexpress. Is there anywhere else I should be looking?

Thanks!
 

DavidR8

Scrap maker
Administrator
Moderator
Premium Member
From all the reading online about these lathes, some are marginally better than others but they are all built to a price point.
I'd wager to say that no vendor will give you any warranty support. All of them are just reselling a machine, They do not make them.
When I bought mine the eBay seller was completely useless and I actually reported them to eBay for falsely advertising the specifications of the machine (brushless motor but it came with a brushed motor).
The machine itself had casting defects that made the gear train basically useless without modifications.
It's also said that a mini lathe is essentially a kit that you have to modify yourself to make work well.

Artisan Makes on YT did some solid work with his. I presume you've checked out his channel?
 

JradM

New Member
Artisan Makes on YT did some solid work with his. I presume you've checked out his channel?
Yep! I've been watching those videos. It's obvious that these machines aren't plug-and-play and that some effort will be needed to get it ready.

Ebay! Right, I probably should check there too (although perhaps with caution) - thanks. Was your machine branded with any names I should watch out for?

I realize there's one line of thinking that you should instead buy something old, used and as big as you can afford and fit - except that also seems problematic since I don't see small lathes pop up that often and when they do, they're expensive. Also, "what I can afford" and "have room for" is a Chinese mini lathe. If I had 3 times the money and more space, maybe I would look at something different. I'll keep my eyes open anyway, but I don't think that's what I'll end up with.
 

DavidR8

Scrap maker
Administrator
Moderator
Premium Member
Yep! I've been watching those videos. It's obvious that these machines aren't plug-and-play and that some effort will be needed to get it ready.

Ebay! Right, I probably should check there too (although perhaps with caution) - thanks. Was your machine branded with any names I should watch out for?

I realize there's one line of thinking that you should instead buy something old, used and as big as you can afford and fit - except that also seems problematic since I don't see small lathes pop up that often and when they do, they're expensive. Also, "what I can afford" and "have room for" is a Chinese mini lathe. If I had 3 times the money and more space, maybe I would look at something different. I'll keep my eyes open anyway, but I don't think that's what I'll end up with.
Where are you located?
The eBay vendor is long gone.
 

Susquatch

Ultra Member
Administrator
Moderator
Premium Member
My personal opinion is to buy from a known company such as King Industrial or BusyBee. The machine are all similar but these vendors tend to have better sorted out equipment.

Is Vevor similar Gerrit? I have not purchased from them yet so I don't know. But I would have thought they were somewhat similar as they try to establish a presence.
 

JradM

New Member
My personal opinion is to buy from a known company such as King Industrial or BusyBee. The machine are all similar but these vendors tend to have better sorted out equipment.
I'll keep an eye out. The Craftex 7x12 from Busy Bee is "on sale" for $1100, which seems a bit steep compared to ~$630 for the Vevor. Are they likely to have better castings?

King Tools looks a bit less expensive at $999 from KMS tools. Looks like there's a year's warranty too - which seems useful considering the control board issues I've read about... although I guess you could probably buy a spare with yor savings. I like KMS tools though and they're much closer to me.
 

combustable herbage

Ultra Member
Premium Member
This one for example from Vevor has 4.7 rating on 115 reviews, I bought a dividing head from them and i am happy with the quality of it.

 

DavidR8

Scrap maker
Administrator
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Premium Member
Is Vevor similar Gerrit? I have not purchased from them yet so I don't know. But I would have thought they were somewhat similar as they try to establish a presence.
I'll chime in here as I've bought some substantial tools from Vevor.
My mag drill is an impressive bit of kit. Likewise the annular cutters that I bought.
The rotary table from Vevor is even more impressive as the castings are excellent, the grinding is perfect and there is zero grit inside.
That said, all mini lathe castings are essentially the same. The difference is that the low cost ones are not held to the same quality assurance standard as the more expensive ones.
I would wager money that a mini lathe from Little Machine Shop will be a significantly better machine than a PreAsion, EQCOTWEA or NUMOBAMS special.
 

gerritv

Gerrit
A Canadian review of 7x14 Vevor:
Seems ok, but missing the fixed and follow steadies.
Not sure the LMS machines are that much better, they certainly are much more expensive plus of course the fun of importing with related expenses. By the time you are done importing one of their LMS HiTorque lathes you might as well buy a new King KC1022 locally for less money.
the King 7x14 from KBCTools is CA$1099 https://www.kbctools.ca/itemdetail/6-125-060 . King generally is an upgrade from the lessor quality/equiped machines. It has the fixed the fixed steady. BusyBee is similar and on sale at the moment, maybe you can visit a store and see one for yourself.

Certainly lots of choices :)
 

terry_g

Ultra Member
I bought a 12 x 36 lathe from Busybee tools. The tail-stock had a very poorly finished 3MT taper. I called and asked what they could do about it. They had a quill in stock and promptly sent it to me no charge. I bought a 8x32 knee mill from them and the first evening I was running it after about half an hour it shut itself off. I let it sit for a while then hit the power button and it started up again and ran for about ten minutes and shut off. I called them the next day and the person I spoke with wanted me to disconnect the power and take the cover off the power switch and tighten all the screw connections. That fixed the problem. So Busybee has some warranty support or they did thirteen years ago.

The better quality 7"x12" lathes used to come with metal gears, the lower end ones had plastic gears.
Busybee has their 7"x12" lathe on sale with a 4 jaw chuck and a set of 1/4" indexable tool bits for an extra $50
 
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BaitMaster

Super User
BB or King are almost always usable in stock form and if something does go wrong they seem to have a decent after sales support.

You can also still get parts from them for their machines…… which is worth something.

Another option is Modern Tool in Calgary if you are only in strathmore. You may have to upsize to a 1022 size, but their support and parts have been excellent in my opinion. They went above and beyond for me.
 

PeterT

Ultra Member
Premium Member
Another option is Modern Tool in Calgary if you are only in strathmore. You may have to upsize to a 1022 size, but their support and parts have been excellent in my opinion. They went above and beyond for me.

Are you thinking of this one (11x26)? Only reason I ask is a friend is looking to upgrade but I am less familiar with the smaller ones.

 

BaitMaster

Super User
Ya. The smaller moderns.

I don’t know anyone with one that size but, I know a bunch of legit machine shops that have their large machines.

The machines are as good as any import with solid after support and service…. From what I’ve seen and heard.
 

slow-poke

Ultra Member
My first lathe was a 7". IMO it's better than no lathe but not much better. I would be much more inclined to purchase a used 8-10" lathe If you can find one. A non abused used made in USA, Taiwan etc. lathe will likely outperform the new 7" by a wide margin.
 
My advice would be:

#1 - Find the size you want and go up one if you can fit it.
#2 - As most are more or less the same, get the one with the features that you need which will be expensive to mod later ie motor.

I thought I was getting a better than average one but nope, they're all equally slapped together with more or less of the same bits.

Modding your lathe and making it better is a great way to get some machining time under your belt as well, so don't shy away from it.

Check out my buyers guide here: https://canadianhobbymetalworkers.com/threads/8x16-metal-lathe-buyers-guide.4238/
 

JradM

New Member
Vevor is having a sale on Aliexpress. The 7x12 has a couple options, both for $606. That's not enough discount to wait for overseas shipping versus just buying from Amazon for $650, but there are also country-specific discount codes.

I couldn't get any to work for Canada, so I contacted Vevor and they said to place an unpaid order and they will apply the discount manually - the best one is $50 off orders over $375. There's also some Aliexpress coupons - I'm not sure if they would stack, but they might. Seems like that might be worth another $12 off.

a100-3.jpg


$556 (or may be even $544) seems like a pretty good price! I was looking at the 7x14 before, but I'm a sucker for a good deal.

That price applies to two different versions: the 400w and the 550w. I'm not sure why someone would choose the smaller motor though. The accessory list looks the same between them.

I admit, I got REALLY excited for a moment because the main image on that page shows the lathe with a bunch of useful accessories - like an extra 4-jaw chuck, a steady rest, a quick-change tool holder, etc... with that stuff the price would be insanely good... but you have to match up the lathe options with the "Package Content" in the description section. It seems like the main image is just a placeholder for all the lathes on the product listing page.

The 7x12 550w - US version comes with:
  • 1 x Mini Metal Lathe
  • 1 x Lamp
  • 1 x Oil Can
  • 3 x Chuck Jaw
  • 9 x Gear
  • 5 x Allen Key
  • 2 x Wrench
  • 1 x Set of Fitting
  • 1 x Manual
 
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