New member looking for advice.

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Carl Pepka

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Aug 31, 2018
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70
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Kenosha Wi USA
Hello all. I started turning pens a year ago in January. I have about 300 pens turned and am getting bored with kits so it's time to move up and get a metal lathe. I purchased one on ebay that is the same model as Grizzlys G0768 it's in the process of being returned since the motor doesnt work so I am looking to buy another, I am leaning towards Grizzlys G0768, 500.00 more than the one on ebay but I'd assume it will actually work. I have a small shop in my basement which is very hard to move equipment into so a midi lathe is all I can fit and afford. I did do quite a bit of looking around and that seems to have the most features. My budget is around $1,500.00. Am I on the right track or is there a machine out there thats better and in my price range? I'm not interested in used. TIA for any help.
 
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Ed McDonnell

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Oct 20, 2008
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Like Chuck, I use the micromark 7x16. I bought it in 2012 for $750 on sale. It does almost everything I would want with pens. What it won't do to my satisfaction is turn stainless and titanium. The 7x lathes just aren't beefy / rigid enough (in my opinion, but I'm open to being convinced it's my lack of skill that is really at fault).

At $750 I would buy it again. At current prices I would be tempted to look at an 8x16 or 8x20. In my opinion, whatever lathe you buy that originates in a chinese factory will need a lot of tweaking to get it work with any kind of precision / accuracy for pen making. I know I was able to do it with the micro-mark (but they may or may not be made the same way they were in 2012), I'm don't know what could be done with any of the current crop of 8x lathes. I would spend a lot of time on machinist web sites reading current reviews before plonking down a thousand or two .

One other thought. The lathe is just the start. DRO, QCTP and all the other stuff that you are going to need (want) adds up fast. If I had to choose between a bare bones 8 x or the micromark 7x16 with all the extras added on for the same (or less) price I would pick the micromark again (as long as I could live without turning titanium or stainless (and I can)). I wouldn't buy things like DRO, QCTP or tooling from micromark. Little Machine Shop has better prices, quality and service (but lower spec lathes when I was shopping).

Micromark has sales around the holidays. I don't know if that would get you a better price than their "super buy" price.

Ed
 

rsieracki

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Dec 14, 2017
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Illinois
Well i'm sure glad i did'nt order that one after you did them Carl.. after seeing you FB post and looking on ebay I was pretty much sold on it.

..the quest for old US Iron continues
 

bmachin

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Jul 28, 2013
Messages
426
Location
Owensboro, KY
I have the MicroMark as well and at the time I bought it, it was far and away the best 7x machine out there. Today, I'm not so sure. The MicroMark seems to be the same machine now as it was then. Little Machine Shop on the other hand has their 5100 hi torque mini-lathe at a comparable price with some upgrades including a 4 inch chuck on a 4 inch mount which will certainly make changes easier.

The go-to guy on this stuff is Frank Hoose, founder of: mini-lathe.com home page. if you go there you can find his original review of the MicroMark--which is what induced me to buy mine. I don't know how much if any time he is devoting to the website. He seems to have migrated mostly to YouTube. If you go there, you can find a multi-part review of the LMS 5100. The first part was posted on 11/16/2015. Definitely worth a look.

Hope this helps.

Bill
 
Last edited:

Carl Pepka

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Joined
Aug 31, 2018
Messages
70
Location
Kenosha Wi USA
I just got finished watching all 10 of his vid's on youtube on the LMS, nice package even comes with the quick change tool holder.


I have the MicroMark as well and at the time I bought it, it was far and away the best 7x machine out there. Today, I'm not so sure. The MicroMark seems to be the same machine now as it was then. Little Machine Shop on the other hand has their 5100 hi torque mini-lathe at a comparable price with some upgrades including a 4 inch chuck on a 4 inch mount which will certainly make changes easier.

The go-to guy on this stuff is Frank Hoose, founder of: mini-lathe.com home page. if you go there you can find his original review of the MicroMark--which is what induced me to buy mine. I don't know how much if any time he is devoting to the website. He seems to have migrated mostly to YouTube. If you go there, you can find a multi-part review of the LMS 5100. The first part was posted on 11/16/2015. Definitely worth a look.

Hope this helps.

Bill
 

Carl Pepka

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Joined
Aug 31, 2018
Messages
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Location
Kenosha Wi USA
What a nightmare that seller is. Wanted to partial refund me 100.00, couldnt seem to understand what a motor is to a lathe. Finally they wanted to give me a new motor, new circuit board and 100.00, which I refused. I was born at night but it wasnt last night. Talked to ebay and if I dont have a shipping label today they will get on them tomorrow. The seller did say they accept the return and will call their boss to have him call someone to pick it up. The thing has no serial number so no way it can have the 2 year warranty they proclaim.


Well i'm sure glad i did'nt order that one after you did them Carl.. after seeing you FB post and looking on ebay I was pretty much sold on it.

..the quest for old US Iron continues
 

More4dan

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Mar 17, 2016
Messages
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Katy, TX
Don't forget to budget for tooling, sometimes as much as the lathe. Little Machine Shop is your friend for comparisons, tooling, and repair parts. I've used a Seig 7 x 10 mini metal lathe for pens for about 3 years now (HF for $400). It works but I wish it were longer for drilling. I'm changing the bed to a 16" and upgrading the bearings to thrust bearings. As is I have turned aluminum, brass, copper, Stainless Steel (304 and 440), O1 and W1 tool steel, and Stainless Damascus in addition to wood and acrylics. Light cuts and a good cutting fluid with a reasonable feed rates have not been a problem. Quick change tool post is a great addition (almost a must). HSS bits give a better finish than the carbide and learning to grind them for each use is good to know. Carbide was only needed on the SS Damascus due to it's hardness. You'll need to decide if your only using it for pens or something bigger down the road. A 7" x 14" or 7" x 16" would be plenty for pens.

Danny
 

jalbert

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May 17, 2015
Messages
397
Location
Louisville, KY
I've been very impressed with my LMS 8.5x20 lathe I recently procured, so I would probably consider their mini size lathe if I were in the market.

Alternatively, I have done the majority of my penmaking on my little $500 Grizzly G8688 7x14, and I still keep it around for dedicated threading operations among other things. It's a capable little machine, and quite portable at 75 pounds or so. I've put it through its paces for the past three and a half years, and I feel it's a good option for the money.
 

Carl Pepka

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Aug 31, 2018
Messages
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Location
Kenosha Wi USA
After doing more research I am leaning toward the 5200 from little machine shop. I like that the bearings have been upgraded and it also comes with the quick change tool holder and if needed I can get metal gears, I'm not really fond of nylon for gears but wont get the metal unless the nylon fails. I will be making pens mostly right now until I learn the machine and techniques, who knows after that. 16" is as large as I can fit downstairs. I have started purchasing tools and yes the rabbit hole has gotten deeper and I'm racing into it :D Thanks for the info.


Don't forget to budget for tooling, sometimes as much as the lathe. Little Machine Shop is your friend for comparisons, tooling, and repair parts. I've used a Seig 7 x 10 mini metal lathe for pens for about 3 years now (HF for $400). It works but I wish it were longer for drilling. I'm changing the bed to a 16" and upgrading the bearings to thrust bearings. As is I have turned aluminum, brass, copper, Stainless Steel (304 and 440), O1 and W1 tool steel, and Stainless Damascus in addition to wood and acrylics. Light cuts and a good cutting fluid with a reasonable feed rates have not been a problem. Quick change tool post is a great addition (almost a must). HSS bits give a better finish than the carbide and learning to grind them for each use is good to know. Carbide was only needed on the SS Damascus due to it's hardness. You'll need to decide if your only using it for pens or something bigger down the road. A 7" x 14" or 7" x 16" would be plenty for pens.

Danny
 

Carl Pepka

Member
Joined
Aug 31, 2018
Messages
70
Location
Kenosha Wi USA
Good to know since I'm leaning towards LMS 5200. I do have a wood lathe from PSI as well as a Shop Smith which I started on. Thanks bud.


I've been very impressed with my LMS 8.5x20 lathe I recently procured, so I would probably consider their mini size lathe if I were in the market.

Alternatively, I have done the majority of my penmaking on my little $500 Grizzly G8688 7x14, and I still keep it around for dedicated threading operations among other things. It's a capable little machine, and quite portable at 75 pounds or so. I've put it through its paces for the past three and a half years, and I feel it's a good option for the money.
 

Ed McDonnell

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Melbourne, FL
Looks like a good choice to me. The wedge type QCTP, DROs and metal handles are good upgrades. Metal gears tend to be noisier than nylon gears. You'll probably find things like a collet chuck, indexable tooling, boring bars and on and on that you will want to buy before metal gears.

The QCTP on my machine is an A2Z alumimun piston style. It may be partly responsible for my troubles with stainless and titanium. You will be a lot happier with the steel wedge style QCTP.

Hopefully the DRO units will be the new type with the pull out battery holder. The old style had tiny little screws and a cover that broke if you over torqued the tiny little screw (which was easy to do). I replaced my DROs last year (after 6 years heavy use) and really like the new design.

Brace yourself for the shipping charges. Probably around $200 if residential. If you want to drive to Pasadena this weekend you can pick it up for free and save an additional 10%. (Ooops! Kind of a long drive for you!!!).

Good luck.

Ed

After doing more research I am leaning toward the 5200 from little machine shop. I like that the bearings have been upgraded and it also comes with the quick change tool holder and if needed I can get metal gears, I'm not really fond of nylon for gears but wont get the metal unless the nylon fails. I will be making pens mostly right now until I learn the machine and techniques, who knows after that. 16" is as large as I can fit downstairs. I have started purchasing tools and yes the rabbit hole has gotten deeper and I'm racing into it :D Thanks for the info.
 

Carl Pepka

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Joined
Aug 31, 2018
Messages
70
Location
Kenosha Wi USA
Yes, already compiling a long list of needed tools and holders. Do you think the DRO for rpms is needed? I tend to buy as many attachments I can when getting into a new area if it's going to make it more fun and easier. With the weather getting colder here I'd love to go to Pasedena but yah that wont save money ;) Thanks, Ed.




Looks like a good choice to me. The wedge type QCTP, DROs and metal handles are good upgrades. Metal gears tend to be noisier than nylon gears. You'll probably find things like a collet chuck, indexable tooling, boring bars and on and on that you will want to buy before metal gears.

The QCTP on my machine is an A2Z alumimun piston style. It may be partly responsible for my troubles with stainless and titanium. You will be a lot happier with the steel wedge style QCTP.

Hopefully the DRO units will be the new type with the pull out battery holder. The old style had tiny little screws and a cover that broke if you over torqued the tiny little screw (which was easy to do). I replaced my DROs last year (after 6 years heavy use) and really like the new design.

Brace yourself for the shipping charges. Probably around $200 if residential. If you want to drive to Pasadena this weekend you can pick it up for free and save an additional 10%. (Ooops! Kind of a long drive for you!!!).

Good luck.

Ed

After doing more research I am leaning toward the 5200 from little machine shop. I like that the bearings have been upgraded and it also comes with the quick change tool holder and if needed I can get metal gears, I'm not really fond of nylon for gears but wont get the metal unless the nylon fails. I will be making pens mostly right now until I learn the machine and techniques, who knows after that. 16" is as large as I can fit downstairs. I have started purchasing tools and yes the rabbit hole has gotten deeper and I'm racing into it :D Thanks for the info.
 

Ed McDonnell

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Messages
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Location
Melbourne, FL
I don't have the RPM readout and I don't miss it. I've gotten where I can tell by sound and cut quality if I'm in the sweet spot. I guess I would put it in the nice to have but only after I got all the other things that would be a lot more useful category. You might want to order a couple extra tool holders instead.

Make sure your bench / stand is flat and solid. Any flex resulting from the bench will make it harder to get your lathe set up for optimal precision / accuracy. It doesn't take much to knock things out of alignment.

Ed
 

bmachin

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Jul 28, 2013
Messages
426
Location
Owensboro, KY
One thing to remember about the DRO is that it is not a true DRO but a rev counter on the carriage and compound lead screws so it doesn't take backlash into consideration. That said, it does save you counting how many times you've turned the crank when you need to advance the tool .786 inches or so. So probably a good upgrade.

Just don't forget to take up the backlash before zeroing

DAMHIK :rolleyes:

Bill
 

Carl Pepka

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Aug 31, 2018
Messages
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Location
Kenosha Wi USA
Will def be ordering more tool holders with the lathe. I have the carbide cutters but also want a set of HSS and need a cut off holder also ordering a chuck and a die holder. Bench is flat and solid, I've been preparing for this for awhile. A friend gave me a 1 1/2" solid maple table when he moved and I added that top to the top of my existing bench. Better study up on setting it up.


I don't have the RPM readout and I don't miss it. I've gotten where I can tell by sound and cut quality if I'm in the sweet spot. I guess I would put it in the nice to have but only after I got all the other things that would be a lot more useful category. You might want to order a couple extra tool holders instead.

Make sure your bench / stand is flat and solid. Any flex resulting from the bench will make it harder to get your lathe set up for optimal precision / accuracy. It doesn't take much to knock things out of alignment.

Ed
 

Carl Pepka

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Joined
Aug 31, 2018
Messages
70
Location
Kenosha Wi USA
Good to know, thanks, Bill. I think I will get it.


One thing to remember about the DRO is that it is not a true DRO but a rev counter on the carriage and compound lead screws so it doesn't take backlash into consideration. That said, it does save you counting how many times you've turned the crank when you need to advance the tool .786 inches or so. So probably a good upgrade.

Just don't forget to take up the backlash before zeroing

DAMHIK :rolleyes:

Bill
 

bmachin

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Jul 28, 2013
Messages
426
Location
Owensboro, KY
Carl,
Before you put your order together make sure that you aren't duplicating things. You mention for example needing a cut off tool holder, but one is already included with the lathe. Enter 3112 in the search box on the LMS site to see the toolholders that you'll be getting with the lathe. I would probably go ahead and order another 5 or so turning and facing toolholders. You can never have too many, and you always want more.

As far as high speed steel is concerned, the AW Warner sets with indexable inserts are nice but pricey. However the insert dimensions are standard and are also available in carbide.

Assuming you don't already grind your own tooling but want to, there is (obviously) YouTube. I found this series of articles some time ago which I found quite helpful and although the author prefers using a belt sander, a grinder will work as well.

The link is to part 3 of the article, but it provides links to parts 1 and 2.

Grinding Lathe Tools on a Belt Sander

Hope this is useful
Bill
 

Carl Pepka

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Joined
Aug 31, 2018
Messages
70
Location
Kenosha Wi USA
I will check it over better before I order. Probably wont be for a week. I know no matter what I buy 3 days in I'm going to saying "I should have got that" my budget has been shot to hell by 1/4 more already but hey a mans grasp should exceed his reach, right ;)


Carl,
Before you put your order together make sure that you aren't duplicating things. You mention for example needing a cut off tool holder, but one is already included with the lathe. Enter 3112 in the search box on the LMS site to see the toolholders that you'll be getting with the lathe. I would probably go ahead and order another 5 or so turning and facing toolholders. You can never have too many, and you always want more.

As far as high speed steel is concerned, the AW Warner sets with indexable inserts are nice but pricey. However the insert dimensions are standard and are also available in carbide.

Assuming you don't already grind your own tooling but want to, there is (obviously) YouTube. I found this series of articles some time ago which I found quite helpful and although the author prefers using a belt sander, a grinder will work as well.

The link is to part 3 of the article, but it provides links to parts 1 and 2.

Grinding Lathe Tools on a Belt Sander

Hope this is useful
Bill
 

1shootist

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Dec 2, 2018
Messages
267
Location
Ennis/Waxahachie Texas
Carl did you buy the LMS ? Was it all you had hoped for ?

I've got an older micromark 7x14 I've had for probably 8-10 years, I've replaced the spindle bearing 2 times over the years and it's in need again though I'd really like a new 7x16 or the likes.

I thought about buying a new one last year and really, really wish I had now because of the new tariffs on Chinese machines.
 

Carl Pepka

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Joined
Aug 31, 2018
Messages
70
Location
Kenosha Wi USA
Carl did you buy the LMS ? Was it all you had hoped for ?

I've got an older micromark 7x14 I've had for probably 8-10 years, I've replaced the spindle bearing 2 times over the years and it's in need again though I'd really like a new 7x16 or the likes.

I thought about buying a new one last year and really, really wish I had now because of the new tariffs on Chinese machines.

Sorry for the late reply, I did buy the LMS and love it. Had a problem with the feed screw but they made it right and I'm on it everyday now, no complaints at all.
 

BeeAMaker

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Jan 30, 2017
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694
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Elkhart IN, USA
Carl did you buy the LMS ? Was it all you had hoped for ?

I've got an older micromark 7x14 I've had for probably 8-10 years, I've replaced the spindle bearing 2 times over the years and it's in need again though I'd really like a new 7x16 or the likes.

I thought about buying a new one last year and really, really wish I had now because of the new tariffs on Chinese machines.

Sorry for the late reply, I did buy the LMS and love it. Had a problem with the feed screw but they made it right and I'm on it everyday now, no complaints at all.
Have you cut Stainless? I have been down this rabbit hole several times, still saving up. I was looking at the Grizzly as well, the G0768z (same as the G0768 but with DRO) as well as the LMS 5200. The Grizzly has a 600 watt motor however, but not sure if that is a big factor or not.

I'm guessing it will come down to which is on sale when I have the money :)
 
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