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Speedway 7x12 Mini-lathe on sale for $372.
January 7, 2010
1:23 PM
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EXPartsEngines
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Thanks for the advise.

It looks like the Speedway one is out of stock and the rep was 'unsure' when it would be back in. The Cummins one is also out of stock and their rep told me 4 to 6 weeks.

Regrads, Matt.

January 6, 2010
1:17 PM
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Rob
Upstate New York
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I'd forgotten about the Toolsnow/Cummins lathe.  They use to have a picture of it that showed the accessories that it came with.  Now you have to closely read the description to know that it comes well equipped with the same accessories (plus some cutting bits) that Homier sells separately in their accessory package.  So it looks like you would pay almost exactly the same for a “loaded” Toolsnow lathe as you would for a barebones Homier lathe plus the $118 kit.

I noticed that the Homier lathe sold-out pretty quickly and now it's not even listed on their site.  I hope they're not going to stop selling them.

As for tooling recommedations, I wasted no time buying a set of indexable cutting tools from LittleMachineShop.com and I've been very happy with them.  A lot of people (especially old-timers) say you can't get as good a finish with carbide as you can with HSS, but I've gotten very good results.  I'm not fond of sharpening tool bits and HSS doesn't last that long on drill rod, which I work with a lot. 

BTW, I buy high-quality American made replacement inserts from Enco.  They're about $5 each and they last forever.  I normally go through about one each year, unless I'm making a lot of interrupted cuts.

The indexable bit holders were quickly followed by an A2Z quick change tool post and LMS' best cut-off blade (for parting). They cost about $100 and have been good investments.

I used the dead center my lathe came with for a long time, until I eventually bought the best live-center LMS had.  It was only a few dollars more than the standard one (about $25?).

I didn't need a knurling tool for a long time either and when I did I bought the best scissors-style one that LMS had, along with an assortment of different size knurls.

I also didn't need a 4-jaw chuck for a long time, but when did I got a 4-inch one from LMS, along with an adapter and mounting studs.  I don't use it that much, mostly when my workpiece's diameter is too big for my 3-jaw.  The general consensus is that a 5-inch chuck is too big and has too much mass for a 7×12 mini-lathe.  You can't open it up much without the jaws hitting the ways. 

I also have an indexable boring bar which I like and use a lot.  I don't think I bought it from LMS and I'll have to do some research to find out where I got it.  

I've never used my face plate and I've never bought a steady or follow rest, mainly I haven't really needed them, and also because I think they only have a 3/4-inch capacity.   

I think I've spent about $350-$425 for what I consider to be “essential” tooling for my lathe.  Of course, many wouldn't think that a QCTP and indexable bits are essential.   I spent about half of that right after I got my lathe and the rest was over the following two or three years.

I've also probably spent another $200 (probably less) on drill bits, center drills, extra QCTP tool holders, reamers, taps, measuring tools, etc.  I bought most of those things used, or from Enco and Harbor Freight.

December 30, 2009
9:46 PM
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EXPartsEngines
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Rob,

Thanks for posting this! I am very new to machining in terms of lathe use and could use all the help I can get. I have been looking at the following websites for information on purchasing my first metal-working lathe.

http://littlemachineshop.com/i…..ompare.php

http://www.7xlathes.com/

After looking through both of these I went to see the Speedway one. It is now out of stock and it seems this happens frequently judging by my limited research. That one looks to have limited accessories, but a real great price.

The other I am contemplating purchasing is the one from Toolsnow.com. I believe this is the former Cummings one. It is a little more expensive but also has more in the way in terms of accessories.

Any reccomendations on lathes and tooling would be greatly appreciated.

Regards, Matt.

December 27, 2009
2:33 PM
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Rob
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Homier has their Speedway 7×12 mini-lathe on sale right now for $372.  It's the same lathe I have and if you want one I suggest you jump on it right away because they always seem to be out-of-stock.  BTW, when I bought mine about four years ago it cost about $300, and with tax and shipping the total came to about $370.

It's probably the least expensive mini-lathe you can buy because it doesn't come with any accessories, other than some wrenches, a dead center, and an oil bottle.  If you want, you can buy a $118 accessory kit for it that comes with a tailstock drill chuck (essential), face plate (have never used mine), lathe dog (never used), live center (not essential, but I use mine all the time), knurling tool (useful – IF it's a good one), follow rest (I've made do without one so far), and a spindle center (not useful unless you need to turn between centers). 

Instead of buying their accessory kit, I suggest buying just the accessories that you think you'll need to get started with from LittleMachineShop.com.  The quality of the LMS accessories is likely to be better than the ones in the Speedway kit and you probably won't need everything in the Speedway kit for a while (if ever). 

The lathe doesn't come with any cutting bits and you'll need some before you can use it.  I recommend getting some GOOD quality ones from from LMS (do not buy the inexpensive red-painted Chinese made carbide bits sold by HF and some other vendors.  They're a complete waste of money).  

Let me know if you you're just getting started in metalworking and need some help buying tooling.  I will be happy to make some recommendations and I'm sure that others will too. 

— Rob

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