Precision Matthews, Bolton, Weiss, Other?

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Carl Fisher

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Need to move up to bigger and better but I'm also trying to keep budget in mind.

I know the PM lathes get good response, but I'm curious on some of the others. (and I'm not a fan of Grizzly, sorry).

Needs:
8-10" swing, 24-30" bed
1" + spindle bore size
Variable Speed
Cam lock tail stock
2.5"-3" minimum tail stock quill travel
DRO
110v

Wants:
Independent lead/thread feeds
Quick change thread dials (instead of gears)


Dream features:
Collet closer (yeah right, wishful thinking without going to a turret lathe)
Rapid advance tail stock quill and cross feed (again, turret lathe territory)

I'm sure I'm missing a bunch.

Right now the PM1228VF is a front runner, but it's a bit more than I was ultimately hoping to spend by the time I add in a base cabinet and DRO

Weiss has a nice looking machine in the WBL250F but gives up a few of the want category items but does drop the price by $1k and comes with DRO. But gives up quick change and the independent lead and threading screws


I'm wondering if there is another diamond in the rough out there that I'm missing. My local CL wants a fortune for any metal lathe that comes up and most are antiques that are missing a lot of the features that I'm really after or big industrial 3-phase setups that I don't want.
 
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Cmiles1985

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The PM1228 was my choice. It was hard to want to spend over $4k on my pen making hobby, but I knew there was more I could do with it. As I was getting ready to order it, I got a Facebook notification "Your search for 'lathe' has one new match." It was the 13" SB that I ended up buying. I really didn't want something that was an antique and would likely need fixing. However, all looked pretty good (except the belt), so I gave the fellow $2k, and brought it home That lathe weighs in at 1600 lbs compared to the PM1228's 600 lbs with the stand. Moving it to the back of my shop was a chore, but it's there, it's wired for 110V, has 4" of quill travel, no DRO, no cam lock tail stock (but that has not been an issue yet), and there are some versions with the collet closer floating around. I know the vintage machinery issue is that they're harder to find and more expensive than ever, but at least parts are available, and there seems to be quite a few people that know all about their workings.

Having said all of that, if you can't find a decent older machine at a decent price in your area, I would recommend the PM1228. That brushless DC motor, 1.5" spindle bore, etc., ect. sounds like a great lathe! The other thing to keep in mind with it is that it does not include a QCTP (minor price addition). Also, I know you mentioned Craigslist, have you used FB Marketplace as well? You can set up a notification up to a 100 mile radius. As I live on the coast (north of Corpus Christi, TX), I set the center as a little town about 85 miles away from me so as to cover south Houston, all of San Antonio and a little south of me.

Good luck on your endeavors!
 

Carl Fisher

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So if anyone is following along, my decision is to go with the Weiss. The 10x30 Weiss is the same machine that Precision Matthews sells as the PM1030V.

I found a supplier in California that will be getting magnetic DRO's installed directly from Weiss and providing the combo at a price I can live with. I just have to limp mine along until March otherwise I can purchase it all and install the DRO myself which looks like a long drawn out PITA since I don't have a mill to adapt some of the brackets appropriately.

It'll be so nice to have a big lathe with a real professional DRO and proper stand. I can't wait.
 

Curly

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I would have sprung for the next size up because the spindle bore is a touch over an inch so you can't fit a 5C collet closer through the bore. 3C maybe but they are smaller and harder to find. Also the chucks are not a D-4 mount so you have to bolt and unbolt your chucks just like the little lathe you are upgrading from. The D-4 lets you do the same in a couple minutes just by turning the cams with a chuck key.
 

Carl Fisher

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I would have sprung for the next size up because the spindle bore is a touch over an inch so you can't fit a 5C collet closer through the bore. 3C maybe but they are smaller and harder to find. Also the chucks are not a D-4 mount so you have to bolt and unbolt your chucks just like the little lathe you are upgrading from. The D-4 lets you do the same in a couple minutes just by turning the cams with a chuck key.
I haven't pulled the trigger yet but I have to wonder if that's worth an extra $1k. A 5C collet closer is freaking expensive last time I did any digging around for one but it would be a nice future upgrade.

I'll have to ask them about the chuck mount. I assumed it was the same as the PM which advertises the quick release chucks. However I'd more than likely either switch out to an ER32 immediately to use the collets I have or just leave the 4-jaw on for the most part.
 

Carl Fisher

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Ok, just sent them another RFQ for the next size up machine and also drop down one level on the DRO. I don't need 1 micron resolution. The 5 micron version is more than adequate for my needs which knocks about $130 off the DRO itself.
 

Curly

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You can get a 5C collet chuck, D1-4 mount, that opens and closes with a chuck key for under $400. A 5C Collet closer that has the open/close leaver on the outboard end of the headstock and the drawbar through the shaft for about $600 to $800. And if you really want to gulp, an Atlas hand wheel open/close 5C chuck with a D1-4 mount is about $1600. All from the guys you don't want to do business with, Grizzly. Others sell the same but you'll have to look around.

ER32 chucks for bigger lathes are hard to find because 5C collets are for work holding and ER32 are for tool holding machine bits in milling machines. It's only the little hobby lathe and wood lathes that use them. You will have to adapt an ER32 chuck to work on any bigger metal lathe. The UK may've some if you look as they have stuff you can't find here.

You probably read that the metal lathe is the cheap part. The tooling for them is what hurts.

For my Grizzly lathe I have a D1-5 mount and I have a 5C chuck key type chuck. I really wish I could have afforded the Atlas hand wheel one. Knew a guy with one and it was slick. ;) Someday I'd like to put a DRO on it.

Oh I didn't mean to stress you out. Honest, but you asked.
 

Carl Fisher

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You can get a 5C collet chuck, D1-4 mount, that opens and closes with a chuck key for under $400. A 5C Collet closer that has the open/close leaver on the outboard end of the headstock and the drawbar through the shaft for about $600 to $800. And if you really want to gulp, an Atlas hand wheel open/close 5C chuck with a D1-4 mount is about $1600. All from the guys you don't want to do business with, Grizzly. Others sell the same but you'll have to look around.

ER32 chucks for bigger lathes are hard to find because 5C collets are for work holding and ER32 are for tool holding machine bits in milling machines. It's only the little hobby lathe and wood lathes that use them. You will have to adapt an ER32 chuck to work on any bigger metal lathe. The UK may've some if you look as they have stuff you can't find here.

You probably read that the metal lathe is the cheap part. The tooling for them is what hurts.

For my Grizzly lathe I have a D1-5 mount and I have a 5C chuck key type chuck. I really wish I could have afforded the Atlas hand wheel one. Knew a guy with one and it was slick. ;) Someday I'd like to put a DRO on it.

Oh I didn't mean to stress you out. Honest, but you asked.
All good points honestly. And it's not that I don't want to buy from Grizzly, I just don't want to buy the lathe from Grizzly. 2 others that I know have dealt with 1 that caught fire and 1 that burned through bearings in less than a year. Lots of very mixed opinions on them over the last few years is enough to make me second guess where to put a significant chunk of my investment.

I'd love a lever close 5C honestly. Being able to swap parts in seconds would be a dream. I'd probably kick myself in a year when I have extra cash to spend on tooling and not be able to do something like that. I also like the nearly 4" of travel on the tail stock quill.

The bigger machine does comes at a cost of having to retool for the MT3 tail stock or get an adapter but that's minimal. I'd probably want to upgrade my cutter sizes as well but that's a Grizzly thing too.
 

mredburn

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Depending on your accuracy requirements you can buy a square or hexagonal er 32 chuck for around $25-$40 that you can mount in your chuck already on the lathe. If you make an Index mark so you mount it the same way, you can match the angle of the er32 and cut a very light cut to true it up to your machine. If your using the 4 jaw independent chuck it would not work as easily since you would still have to Dial it in every time. It works ok on scroll jaw chucks.
 

Carl Fisher

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Got the quote back and it's about $900 more by the time I move to the bigger machine and take a bit off for the lower resolution DRO.

Sigh. I know I'll be kicking myself if I don't get the bigger one.
 

Carl Fisher

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You are going to go to a 1236 right?
Nope, for sure don't need that. The one I think I'll pull the trigger on is listed as an 11x29 by Weiss and a 12x28 by PM. Same machine from what I can figure out.

Hey, on the up side I'll finally be able to turn the hub-centric flange down on my old bug rotors and get my wheels mounted. Couldn't do that on my 7x lathe.
 

bmachin

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I don't know, Carl. Looking at the specs, the Weiss and the 1228 seem to be the same machine. If I look at the pictures though the Weiss looks just like the PM 1127. Maybe I'm in the wrong place or something.

The real reason for my comment though, is to point you toward Frank Hoose's multipart review of the 1228 on his Youtube site if you haven't seen it already. It's pretty complete and he's done follow-ups on mods that he has done.

As far as I know he hasn't added a DRO and hasn't mentioned any plans to although he does have a series on adding a DRO setup to a mini-mill.

Without going back to check, I seem to remember that you had planned to purchase the stand for whichever lathe you chose. Frank Hoose did that and ended up dispensing with the factory stand. He explains why in one of his follow-up videos.

Bill
 
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Carl Fisher

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Lots of great help, thank you all.

That said I made a decision and pulled the trigger. I ended up with the Weiss WBL250F after a lot of back and forth with the techs at DRO Pros. It came down to a balance of price and options for how I use the lathe. I also ordered their high end DRO with it and the matching stand. The DRO is going to be HUGE for me. I waste so much time doing produciton work having to stop and check constantly and with so much backlash in my current machine it's not as easy as using the hash marks on the dial.

It's all on the way and I should see it in the next week. I can't wait.
 

Carl Fisher

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Carl, what was your final price out the door with the DRO installed?
They aren't installing the DRO. I'll have to do the install and setup. For the Lathe, Machinists package (quick change tool post, extra chucks, steady and follow rest, etc...), matching stand and the DRO of choice ended up $3297 from California to my garage.

However as of this coming March they're supposed to start offering them with the DRO pre-installed directly from Weiss which is nice as you won't have to do any milling on the brackets to mount and align everything.
 

RobS

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Carl, any way you could give us an update of what you thought after you’ve been using it for a while.
 

Carl Fisher

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Yep. I've been using it heavily the last 2 days cranking out front sections and caps for another pen company.

I love it with a few minor exceptions

The biggest is that it has a bit of a shimmy right at 1500 rpm. Over or under and it's fine and I'm sure that varies from machine to machine and probably would be different between chucks even.

The annoyances are getting used to some of the safety features. I can't quickly switch between F and R for threading. When you flip between spin directions it shuts off the machine and you have to re-engage the power switch. I ended up taking the e-stop cover off so I could quickly turn it back on.

I also removed the chuck guard so I could see what I was doing. There is a safety switch on there so you have to make sure the shaft is rotated the right direction.

Also initially the RPM readout wouldn't read at all. I had to open up the control panel and make some adjustments to the sensor so it would pick up the magnet. probably a shipping issue.

Otherwise the machine for me is a HUGE improvement. I haven't measured run-out, but everything I've turned has been true and repeatable. The tailstock is MT2 so it takes all of my current tooling and the cam lock is very good.

It's very quiet with the brushless motor. The separate power feed and threading levers are a nice feature and I just had to get used to which lever to use. Power cross feed has come in handy already as well.

On a side note, the stand is a piece of crap, but it holds the lathe. The drawer slides are junk and fall apart and came with the rail mounting holes stripped. I had to drill out new holes and remount them but now the bearings in the slides are falling out. Not a lathe issue, but a stand issue.

What else would you like to know about?
 

RobS

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Thank you Carl, very well rounded quick insight.

How it going with setting up er32 collets? Any luck with a solid solution? Assuming you use ER32.
 

Carl Fisher

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Thank you Carl, very well rounded quick insight.

How it going with setting up er32 collets? Any luck with a solid solution? Assuming you use ER32.
Currently no. I'm just using the 3 jaw and it's been very repeatable when taking work in and out so very little run-out that I can tell.

When I move to collets, I'll end up going to 5C and keeping the ER32 over on my wood lathe. 5C collets are much easier to come by for work holding on a metal lathe.
 

brownsfn2

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Any suggestions on stands for the 10x30 if the one that DRO Pros sells is crap? I am thinking of the same lathe and was going to order the stand with it. Looking at options after your review though. ;)
 

bmachin

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Ron,

Take a look at Frank Hoose's YouTube channel. He did an extensive series on the PM version of this lathe; then after a period of ownership did a follow-up. I know he ended up swapping out the factory base--I believe it was for a tool chest from Home Depot.

Hope this helps.

Bill
 

brownsfn2

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If you use that chest from Home Depot then does it cause problems with leveling the lathe? I thought that part of it was pretty important.
 

rherrell

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Please be aware Carl that a 5C collet has almost no range. An ER collet has a range of +.002" -.040", a 5C has to be pretty much spot on, only +.002" -.015". Also, an ER collet collapses along its whole length, when you collapse a 5C more than a couple thou it doesn't hold along its whole length making your work piece prone to push away from your tool bit if you take a heavy cut.

I use ER40 collets on my metal lathe, I bought a 5C chuck and I never use it!:biggrin:






Thank you Carl, very well rounded quick insight.

How it going with setting up er32 collets? Any luck with a solid solution? Assuming you use ER32.
Currently no. I'm just using the 3 jaw and it's been very repeatable when taking work in and out so very little run-out that I can tell.

When I move to collets, I'll end up going to 5C and keeping the ER32 over on my wood lathe. 5C collets are much easier to come by for work holding on a metal lathe.
 

Curly

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I have a 5C chuck so unlikely to spend the extra to get an ER too but wanted to ask for others. I did the same sort of search and found that thread too.

The one thing I like about the 5C collets is that a stop can be added to setup for repetitive cutting. Really handy for trimming tubes to length from 10" lengths for kit pens. ;)
 

stuckinohio

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Looks like ER40 is the way to go for D1-4. Well, the collet chuck is cheap. The metric collet sets don't seem to be so cheap. Bummer
 
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