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Budget Lathes in UK; Advice please!

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     for a while now I have been considering a small lathe. I was tempted by the Unimat SL but they seem to be going for monstrous money on eBay! I have found a Draper 22816 which seems to be similar; It is a 'micro' lathe which can also be used as a mill and a drill press. The biggest drawback I can see is the lack of a leadscrew, so for parallel turning one would need to be very accurate in setting up the cross-slide. The biggest advantage is the price, I can get one for a little over £320 which seems quite good. I also looked at the unimat 6 in 1 but that doesn't inspire me with confidence for metalwork, being plastic and 12v. I will only be doing small modelling projects, perhaps a small sterling engine. Would the Draper be ok do you think?


Confused of kent...

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     following tkay11's advice I followed a few web links and I have bought a CJ18 Mini Lathe from Amadeal. It has the leadscrew and by the time you factor in things such as compound slides etc the price difference wasn't that great; I guess these all come from the same factory at the same price in the far east but Amadeal aren't that far from me and were very helpful over the 'phone so they got my business. Pick it up on Saturday but waiting until my new shed is finished early in the new year before I use it in earnest. that should give me a few weeks 'fiddling time' to sort it out!



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Congratulations.   My advice is simply this:  go here: http://www.mini-lathe.com/Default.htm  and follow their tune-ups. Also, check the run-out on the spindle.


Also, check out the link at the very bottom of the home page... for HOME SHOPS.  More excellent information.  While none of these may be your exact machine, the principles are basically the same.

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Collected this morning! They were in the process of replacing the splash back (well, that's what I call it) but hadn't finished; they explained this was being done when I purchased the machine as it was bent in transit but hadn't finished it and as I will be stripping it down to clean it & 'fettle' it I took it as is, they gave me the new one to put on. They also did me a deal on a 4-jaw chuck, live centre, QC tool post and tail stock chuck. They have a lot of accessories available such as metal gears and cutting tool sets and a whole range of other tools from various manufacturers but SWMBO would lynch me if I bought more at this stage! I will certainly use this company again, excellent service & advice. You could buy the same lathe for more money with a different badge on it, but why? I will certainly continue to use Amadeal in the future.

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I also have this lathe.

Work's well and I use it for turning metal mostly and occasionally hardwood.

Replaced the bearings and the Hi-Lo gears that are on the inside. Due to shear constant usage.

Don't scrimp on the tooling and please read up on using the lathe safely.

Marks advice is also Very good.


All the best.

Regards Antony.

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Cheers Antony,

     I thought about replacing the bearings with taper jobs, but I think I'll wait until the existing ones fail (if ever, this will only get light use). Likewise the gears. Metal sets are available but I'll see how it runs 'as is'.  I will probably get some decent tools next month, I have used lathes before and have a good friend with an extensive workshop to help me get started. It is my intention after New Year to polish the gibs and reduce the backlash on all screws as well as centring the tailstock. I may do a post on this process but I get the feeling it's been done to death!

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