• Guest, Help us understand what we can do better in future. Click Here!

TWS 12 x 36 looking for advice, My first lathe?

#1
https://www.kijiji.ca/v-power-tool/...7s/1406368129?enableSearchNavigationFlag=true
ID# 1406368129
Hope that link works! I am not a tech guy...too old!
I have limited machining experience, currently have a RF 25 Post Drill Mill, my DRO on the Quill makes it more accurate. I have been looking for a 12 X 24 lathe, limited for space. This one has come up, maybe I should make this work...can look forever. I am trying to see it on Saturday after the Modern show. I would like some input/opinions on the TWS lathe. All I know is it is Taiwan, and looks identical to a Jet model 12x36, of what yr I don't know. Purpose is purely hobbies, I am trying to get set up for... less time at work and more time at home. What I don't want is trouble/junk. By looking at the photo it appears there is some tooling included, the price to me looks a little steep, maybe due to the tooling...what do you guys think. I am prepared to pull the pin on Saturday if it is the right thing to do...Quality wise and for the money. I realize I have missed a few good opportunities this summer, even on this site... but I am not in any hurry. This might be a good start?
Thanks, any input is appreciated. Todd T
 

Janger

(John)
Administrator
Premium Member
#3
Going by the pictures I think it's worth checking out further. Looks decent from here. I like it has the quick change gear box. I would look at what gear swaps might be necessary to thread at various TPI's. Does the power feed work the compound and in both directions? ie left and right and in out? Do the ways appear flat and undamaged? put a ruler on them and look for light underneath. rust? does it run well?

Anybody own one of these?
 
#5
I would suggest you make yourself very familiar of the cost of similar new lathes. The lath in the photo has a few less "bells& whistles" than the newer models will have for not much more money I think...unless it has a sh$t load of expensive "extras/tooling" that come with it.

This lath only has 24 speeds (3x8) on the threading gearbox as opposed to 40 (5x8) on most Asian built models.

There are only two shafts feeding the apron, one is the apron power feed and the other is likely the on-off-clockwise-counterclockwise (headstock) lever shaft. I think it is missing the rotating shaft that most hobby lathes have to power feed the cross-slide. It appears to have a direction shift lever (located where the two shafts come out of the gearbox) to change direction of the carriage.

I would suspect that it is an Asian made unit ( at one time I tried to google some info on Asian machines and easily found 9 different factories making them, so lots of different offerings...that being said I also discovered some of the factories were making identical machines from one casting company). I'm just making a guess here and say that that lathe is probably the same vintage as mine is (mine is a 13x36 and has everything I mentioned above) and at that time a new lathe like that was priced in the neighborhood of $2000, mine was about the same price as this one is priced at now.

Not trying to tell you what to do by any means just offering up my observations...one thing you will be thankful of it is 36" bed and not a 24 that you were searching for....there are a couple of thing a few more inches make a big difference and Lathe beds are one.
 
#6
I would suggest you make yourself very familiar of the cost of similar new lathes. The lath in the photo has a few less "bells& whistles" than the newer models will have for not much more money I think...unless it has a sh$t load of expensive "extras/tooling" that come with it.

This lath only has 24 speeds (3x8) on the threading gearbox as opposed to 40 (5x8) on most Asian built models.

There are only two shafts feeding the apron, one is the apron power feed and the other is likely the on-off-clockwise-counterclockwise (headstock) lever shaft. I think it is missing the rotating shaft that most hobby lathes have to power feed the cross-slide. It appears to have a direction shift lever (located where the two shafts come out of the gearbox) to change direction of the carriage.

I would suspect that it is an Asian made unit ( at one time I tried to google some info on Asian machines and easily found 9 different factories making them, so lots of different offerings...that being said I also discovered some of the factories were making identical machines from one casting company). I'm just making a guess here and say that that lathe is probably the same vintage as mine is (mine is a 13x36 and has everything I mentioned above) and at that time a new lathe like that was priced in the neighborhood of $2000, mine was about the same price as this one is priced at now.

Not trying to tell you what to do by any means just offering up my observations...one thing you will be thankful of it is 36" bed and not a 24 that you were searching for....there are a couple of thing a few more inches make a big difference and Lathe beds are one.
I am "thankful for the input", I don't have a good handle on what I am doing. The new lathes I was considering are from Precision Matthews, they have a 12 x 28 and 12 x 36 described as precision lathes, yes with more options. $ 3,500 - $4,000 US. Right now that's a chunk of change. I absolutely can not do China. If I could ask... what new lathe would you purchase? Budget is always changing, go figure!
 

PeterT

Ultra Member
Premium Member
#7
Unless the PM lathes say made in Taiwan (such as the 1340GT), then they are also made in China. I've heard that may not be all that bad depending on the model & level of scrutiny the importing distributor is doing on your behalf. That to me is the deal breaker. When people are PO'd at King or BusyBee for what looks to be the same machine because they cant get support, then its just no fun. Most of the headaches on those seem to be electrical, but that can be a big headache with lousy support. I think that one is a manual change belt drive which on one hand is fine for that size - simpler to operate, quieter, less to go wrong. Maybe limiting in a few ways but depends on what you are doing.

It sounds a little pricey for vintage IMO. As mentioned you are approaching brand new with a warranty. You always have to ask yourself if you are a patient tinkerer guy who doesn't mind TLC, finding obscure parts, mechanical challenges if they arise vs, a guy that wants more machine certainty, wants to get on with making things & down time is a frustration. I am the latter camp, but there is no right or wrong. Only what works for you. People speak highly of PM support. Not sure if tariff BS is making them more expensive to us vs CDN distributers.
 

John Conroy

Well-Known Member
Premium Member
#8
A similar looking lathe for way less money here, though it looks like it may be sold already.

https://www.kijiji.ca/v-power-tool/...ng/1407810750?enableSearchNavigationFlag=true


The TWS lathe looks good but the price might be a littlle high if it doesn't come with a bunch of tooling.

I think Modern has a similar sized lathe, we'll look at pricing on Saturday. Buying a new lathe from Busy Bee is like buying a used machine. You are basically on your own if there are any problems.
 
Last edited:
#9
Here is the write up on those models of lathe http://www.lathes.co.uk/taiwan/ I have the BusyBee version, Dabber had one . They are a better lathe than current 12" Chinese lathes. the bed is wider and the saddle a bit larger. They are back geared belt drive lathe, old well proven technology .The ways are hardened, mine are like new, and she's no virgin, it's not like a unhardened Craftsman or Southbend. From my experience with well worn Taiwanese machinery, the electrics are sh**. Three out of four had electrical issues. The second rod powers the feed, the screw is for threading. You don't want a single rod lathe if you can avoid it. It wears out the split nuts in the apron. Ask my son about his Boxford,.

TWS, in the late '80s I went to the headquarters in Port Mann, Coquitlam . One man in an empty warehouse. I once bought a very worn out TWS 4x6 horizontal bandsaw. It had been a better saw than the BusyBee that replaced it. Both from the same time period, so I think TWS might have imported better machinery if my experience with those saws is anything to go by.

I've found parts for my lathe from BusyBee and Grizzly .
 
Last edited:
#10
I am "thankful for the input", I don't have a good handle on what I am doing. The new lathes I was considering are from Precision Matthews, they have a 12 x 28 and 12 x 36 described as precision lathes, yes with more options. $ 3,500 - $4,000 US. Right now that's a chunk of change. I absolutely can not do China. If I could ask... what new lathe would you purchase? Budget is always changing, go figure!
Realistically speaking within financial restraints I would probably go with the same one I have now, The Grizzly mod G4003 appears to be the same machine at $3600 US, but in a perfect world of what my interest is now ( big canon type guns) I would go for the 18x60 G0788 at around 10 grand...not gonna happen but I can dream.
 

PeterT

Ultra Member
Premium Member
#11
Did you bring in the Grizzly yourself from USA? I've never dealt with them so don't have a feel for shipping etc. I am impressed with how they go through efforts to completely revamp the 'minimal' factory documentation with pretty nice & clear operating manual & parts breakdown. Kind of like what PM does. Those don't make the machines any more reliable, but at least you have a fighting chance of identifying & locating a requisite part.
 
#12
I have BB 1026 wood shaper, it's a current production model, and needed parts. I got some from BB and some from Grizzly. I live near the border, Grizzly might even be closer. I needed a back cover so I ordered from Grizzly. It was back ordered, a 2 or 3 month wait. Grizzly would only ship to the address of the credit card and then by UPS. UPS brokerage fees are very high. I try to do pickup, but then I have to pay Washington sales tax.
 

Dabbler

Well-Known Member
#13
I still have mine, and it is a very good lathe with hardened ways and very stout build (the tailstock is the best I've seen)...

When my new lathe is going strong I'll be selling my 12", but that won't be for some months yet. There's a reason that it is spendy. The ways are wider, the tailstock heavier, and the ways are hardened, which gives it long life.

On the down side, it has limited gearing for threads, never a problem for me, and you can enhance it by adding a couple of gears. So not a complete show stopper. (Yes these come with a 127 gear and a metric change spur gear to cut accurate metric threads - or it should - it has been standard on these lathes since 1981...)

I personally have started to make much bigger parts so I opted to buy a used 14X40, and am rebuilding it. I have my eye on a 15X60, but that won't happen for a few years yet.
 
#14
OK boys...I just got word....the lathe is mysteriously sold! After your input and comments I now feel I missed out!
See you at Modern Saturday, I'll be the guy with the long face! :)
Re-grouping, Todd.
 
#15
It's not a waste, learning which lathes are good and which are a pass over. At that price it was high.

I put in closed bid on a Canadian made Standard Modern 1340 , it had been run out of oil. I put in a bid of $2500, it went for $2800. Oh , how I wanted it. I ended up with a mill/drill and a 1224 for a lot less. And they both fit into the area the SM 1340 would have taken up. And I didn't have to spend another $2000 on precision bearings.
 
#16
Did you bring in the Grizzly yourself from USA? I've never dealt with them so don't have a feel for shipping etc. I am impressed with how they go through efforts to completely revamp the 'minimal' factory documentation with pretty nice & clear operating manual & parts breakdown. Kind of like what PM does. Those don't make the machines any more reliable, but at least you have a fighting chance of identifying & locating a requisite part.
Sorry If I gave the wrong impression, I was trying to convey that my machine "looks like the Grizzly offering" not that it was a Gizz. My machine came from House of Tools in Edm. long time before they closed their doors....and yes my operators manual was a useless waste of paper, especialy for a complete novice at a lathe that size ( my total lathe experience before that was a couple of hrs with a lathe/mill combo (again from House), enough to know that it just wasn't going to cut the mustard for what I wanted).