• Spring 2024 meetup in Calgary - date Saturday, April 20/2024. discussion Please RSVP Here to confirm and get your invitation and the location details. RSVP NOW so organizers can plan to get sufficient food etc. It's Tomorrow Saturday! you can still RSVP until I stop checking my phone tomorrow More info and agenda
  • We are having email/registration problems again. Diagnosis is underway. New users sorry if you are having trouble getting registered. We are exploring different options to get registered. Contact the forum via another member or on facebook if you're stuck. Update -> we think it is fixed. Let us know if not.
  • Spring meet up in Ontario, April 6/2024. NEW LOCATION See Post #31 Discussion AND THE NEW LOCATION

Chinese mini metal lathe differences?

Susquatch

Ultra Member
Administrator
Moderator
Premium Member
Use it to do what specifically? I can't picture a mini-lathe replacing any of your reloading tools.

I don't want to put a lot on the forum but just picture turning case necks to a uniform thickness +/- a tenth alone. Right now I do it manually. Lots and lots of other very similar tasks well suited to a very small lathe with a powered spindle. Right now I have three tiny little manual lathes for these purposes. Some folks power them with a drill or a dedicated drive motor. Back in the day when such practices were developed there were no small lathes like this and for those who had a real lathe, it was much bigger.
 

DavidR8

Scrap maker
Administrator
Moderator
Premium Member
I don't want to put a lot on the forum but just picture turning case necks to a uniform thickness +/- a tenth alone. Right now I do it manually. Lots and lots of other very similar tasks well suited to a very small lathe with a powered spindle. Right now I have three tiny little manual lathes for these purposes. Some folks power them with a drill or a dedicated drive motor. Back in the day when such practices were developed there were no small lathes like this and for those who had a real lathe, it was much bigger.
Do you have a Taig or similar?
 

Dabbler

ersatz engineer
@JradM Here is alternative. Instead of buying new, for under1000$ guys in Calgary can help you source a used Atlas or similar small lathe, usually with a little bit of starter tooling. It does depend on the room you have. I saw a Southbend 9A go for 1100 last year, but that is about 40" long overall. It does still sit on a bench though.

With controller board issues to somewhat poor fitting, and very low torque on the headstock, these machines have to be used carefully. In the hands of a highly skilled operator, they can do excellent work. I'm trying to propose something with a better return on the dollar, with perhaps better resale value.

Frankly it will prolly take about 3-5 months to find a great deal, but you will be starting with a much more rigid lathe that will be easier to start with.

Some of us have extra tooling which can be given or sold at nominal cost to get you started turning. ;)
 

Lapua

Member
I don't want to put a lot on the forum but just picture turning case necks to a uniform thickness +/- a tenth alone. Right now I do it manually. Lots and lots of other very similar tasks well suited to a very small lathe with a powered spindle. Right now I have three tiny little manual lathes for these purposes. Some folks power them with a drill or a dedicated drive motor. Back in the day when such practices were developed there were no small lathes like this and for those who had a real lathe, it was much bigger.
Just curious how you would hold the brass to turn the necks? If by tenth, your meaning .0001”, that’s pretty tight tolerances for a Chinese lathe I would think.
 

Susquatch

Ultra Member
Administrator
Moderator
Premium Member
Just curious how you would hold the brass to turn the necks? If by tenth, your meaning .0001”, that’s pretty tight tolerances for a Chinese lathe I would think.

Yes, that's what I meant. +/- 0.0001.

I believe that most Chinese lathes are easily capable of that and better. The difficulty of doing it isn't as great as knowing that you really did. Metrology equipment exists for that but the technique usually limits their ability. I strive for consistency more so than an absolute number.

The truth is that the precision of the lathe isn't as important as the precision of the cutting tool. I learned how to use a lathe on a machine built in the mid 1880s. It couldn't hold a thou on its own if it's life depended on it! But there are ways to improve that dramatically. Applying these techniques to a modern lathe can produce amazing results.

For the subject at hand, I only really use the lathe to turn the brass slowly and consistently. The brass is held in collets that I made myself. I have three of them to fit 308 bases, 222 bases, and PPC. The actual cutting process floats to find its own axis of rotation independent of the lathe spindle.

Only new high quality Lapua annealed brass is used. I thought it quite interesting that Lapua is also your user name...... I'm guessing that is no coincidence. LOL!

First I cut the necks one thou oversize of my target dimension. Then I size them down a few thou in a forming die, then I size them back up over a precision ground mandrel that forms a smooth consistent inside diameter across the whole length of the neck. Finally, a floating cutter, that rides that smooth inside diameter like a reverse gauge pin, cuts the outside to the target thickness dimension relative to the inside.

In effect, the brass neck itself is used to create the reference for its own cutting process - not the lathe. But it sure helps when you have a nice smooth powerful machine to do all the spinning.
 

Lapua

Member
@Susquatch
Lapua as my name is not a coincidence. lol
for your next custom rifle you should consider chambering it for Lapua brass using a no turn neck (with the exception of PPC).
But I digress, I am getting off topic from the original post.
cheers
 

Susquatch

Ultra Member
Administrator
Moderator
Premium Member
for your next custom rifle you should consider chambering it for Lapua brass using a no turn neck (with the exception of PPC).
But I digress, I am getting off topic from the original post.
cheers

About half my reamers have no turn necks for Lapua brass. Most guys don't like turning necks. For my own stuff, I prefer to turn. It only takes a couple of days at senior speed to prepare 100 brass.

No worries - Getting off topic is the norm here. Focussed topic threads are rare.
 

historicalarms

Ultra Member
I tried using a mini lathe I owned ( sold to a very fine forum member) at one time for brass trimming but it was a dismal failure for me altho it was no fault of the machines it was just my failure to properly build the holding devises needed to hold everything solidly in place for the job ...brass catches & bites & grabs against cutters if not held adequately.
if I would have done my part properly instead of haphazardly I think that mini lathe would have sure done its part.
 

Susquatch

Ultra Member
Administrator
Moderator
Premium Member
I tried using a mini lathe I owned ( sold to a very fine forum member) at one time for brass trimming but it was a dismal failure for me altho it was no fault of the machines it was just my failure to properly build the holding devises needed to hold everything solidly in place for the job ...

Glad to hear you don't blame the machine.

A friend got a new toy in an old caliber but new for him and wanted a modified Hornady seating depth gauge case. He asked if I would make it for him. Duh...... Is the Pope Catholic?

I used my big lathe to drill and tap the fired case. It's so easy it's ridiculous. But there we were back N forth between the shop and the house. Good thing the bride wasn't home.

As I did the job, I was constantly reminded of how useful a mini lathe in the basement would have been. Lotta money for such a thing new but maybe used........ I already have a heavy work table on top of a tool chest and bar fridge in that basement room where it could go.......... Just need to clean it off and find someplace else for everything that is there now........
 

Lapua

Member
@Susquatch What cartridges are you shooting with Lapua brass? And if you don’t mind me asking, what rifles do you use? I used to be a gun nut, but sold everything off and was out of the country for a several years. I am just getting back into it now again.
 

wmetfab

Well-Known Member
Hi, when I thought I wanted a small lathe I first went by KMS and looked at the King stuff. I looked online at the other machine vendors, Ali express.. some will even sell u machines and put your own name plates on.

I thought about a mini lathe, I saw a few mini lathes in person and one at harbor freight.

My entire career mantra has always been one of quality, the work that I do and the tools that I own to do the work.

There are very few things in my shop that come from mainland China...like zero of anything.

Now respectfully If thats what you can afford, my advice would be spend the few extra bucks and buy something from a store you can walk into if theres a problem at least there is a remedy KMS princess auto, etc.

I was very fortunate that something eventually came my way. Think about what it is that you want, be patient, keep looking and it will come.

Good luck

Rob
 
I took the leap today and bought a MX8x14 (Chinese) mini lathe direct from Vevor. It should be delivered before mid April. Decision based on:
- metal gear train
- 650W motor
- comes with nominal cutting tools set
- it's a common one out there, for retrofits, fixes, etc.

After spending way too much time watching YouTubers tear them apart and rebuild, I figure I'll do the same before putting any power to it. I kept on hearing stories from users about Vevor offering cash if there's anything documented that needs fixing. And I'm up for the adventure.

Never machined anything before. This should be fun.


Image 2024-04-03 at 2.09 PM.jpg




Image 2024-04-03 at 2.09 PM.jpg
 

Tom O

Ultra Member
I kept on hearing stories from users about Vevor offering cash if there's anything documented that needs fixing. And I'm up for the adventure.

Not trying to put the machine down but you could start with telling them it’s 2250 RPM not PRM. I hate Chinglish lol.
 
Ordered and MX 8x14 from Vevor on a Thursday. The delivery process was great. They delivered it by UPS on the stated date, midday, 5 days later.

Keep in mind, I am a hobbyist with zero machining experience. But I watched a lot of Blondihacks and took notes. Here's my first day:

- As expected, nothing was tuned for actual machining. All the gibs needed adjusting, the (open) half nuts were 'rubbing' on the leadscrew, etc., etc. So...
- I removed the gear train that drives the lead screw. This let me power up to check the belt and drive the head stock chuck independently. It was all good.
- Day 2 will be removing the tailstock and the carriage, disassemble everything, clean the machining grit off of it all, check/remove burrs, etc. re-oil everything and reassemble.
- A useful note, the sheet metal around the motor is gap-py. I don't want the motor (or electronics) to get messed up with metal chips/dust. That'll need some work.

It's a great learning experience.
 

Attachments

  • IMG_6793.jpeg
    IMG_6793.jpeg
    475.5 KB · Views: 9
  • IMG_6801.jpeg
    IMG_6801.jpeg
    429.1 KB · Views: 10
Top