Jump to content


Micro lathe?


  • You cannot reply to this topic
31 replies to this topic

#1 Aaronw

Aaronw

    MCM Ohana

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,477 posts
  • Location:North Coast of California
  • Full Name:Aaron

Posted 21 August 2013 - 10:29 AM

I've been looking into a micro lathe for the past year and am at the point I want to get one. I'm looking at Sherline and Taig, which both have a good reputation and are made in the US. The Sherline looks nicer (looks like a miniature mtal shop lathe rather than a cobbled together hobby tool) but is about 50% more expensive and other than cosmetic appeal doesn't seem to offer anything I actually need. The various Chinese built lathes do not offer any significant savings so I have no interest in them, it is Sherline or Taig at this point.  

 

I'm 99% sold on the Taig Micro Lathe, they are currently offering a starter package with the following 

 

Package #3

 

- Micro lathe assembled unit
- Collet set with 8 collets and closer
- 3 jaw self centering chuck
- 0 to 1/4 inch Jacobs chuck
- 6 piece tool bit set
- Drilling tailstock with 3/8-24 thread
- 12 x 18 mounting board
- motor mount bracket
- 1/2 inch pulley set (3M 500 belt)
- 1/4 hp Marathon Motor (1725 RPM) wired with switch and cord.

 

which looks like everything I'd need to get started.

 

At the moment I'm primarily looking at making wheels, emergency beacon light bases, siren housings etc. Fairly simply things to start with.

 

They also offer a power feed option for an additional $75 which I'm leaning towards getting, but not positive it is really something I will be needing.

 

 

I'll probably make my decision this week so any last minute comments or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. It is a good chunk of money that will cut into the model budget for sometime, so I want to get this right. I'd also like to thank those of you that have chimed in on this subject in the past. 



#2 Greg Myers

Greg Myers

    MCM Ohana

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 4,297 posts
  • Location:Phoenix, AZ
  • Full Name:Gregory Myers

Posted 21 August 2013 - 12:28 PM

How much ? :huh:



#3 Aaronw

Aaronw

    MCM Ohana

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,477 posts
  • Location:North Coast of California
  • Full Name:Aaron

Posted 21 August 2013 - 01:06 PM

The basic lathe costs $310 and with the package listed above it comes in at $491. The power feed adds another $75. Shipping is included in the price.

Even with the power feed the Taig costs little more than the Harbor Freight mini lathe (and from what I've read the majority of the other micro lathes are all made in the same factory in China despite different brand names) and it has a much better reputation for quality and after purchase service.

 

The comparable Sherline with a similar starter package runs around $850.  

 

 

Taig Micro Lathe

 

http://www.taigtools.com/mlathe.html

 

 

Sherline

 

http://www.sherline.com/4000pg.htm



#4 my80malibu

my80malibu

    MCM Ohana

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,615 posts
  • Location:Gilbert Arizona
  • Full Name:Gabriel Soto

Posted 21 August 2013 - 01:28 PM

I don't think you could go wrong with the taig. You will find out later that the extra tooling costs,will be more expensive than the initial lathe price. So getting as much tooling as you can right now. Is a smart idea

#5 mini trucker

mini trucker

    MCM Regular

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 49 posts
  • Location:Guelph
  • Full Name:Ryan Ess

Posted 21 August 2013 - 03:20 PM

Go for the power feed option too, money well spent



#6 Deano

Deano

    MCM Avid Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 467 posts
  • Location:Troy, MO
  • Full Name:Dean Eubanks

Posted 21 August 2013 - 04:28 PM

I have a Taig; love it!  Wish I had  a power feed but that's not in the cards right now.



#7 Pete J.

Pete J.

    MCM Ohana

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,526 posts
  • Location:San Marcos, Ca
  • Full Name:Pete Johnson

Posted 21 August 2013 - 04:35 PM

To be up front, I have a Sherline and it is about 5 years old now. This is the first time that I have taken a serious look at a Taig and am a little surprised by a couple of things. The first is the big honkin AC motor that runs it and the second is that you vary the speed on it by changing the belt and pulleys. I would have to give Sherline the advantage there. Sherline uses a quite powerful DC motor that has a variable speed that is easily controlled. This is an advantage for the modeler especially if you are cutting larger pieces. Keep in mind that as you work from the outside in, the actual feed rate of the piece can change dramatically. I have often started at one speed and as I get down to the final cuts, have to increase the rpm to get the right feed rate. Also in looking at the accessories, it looks like Sherline has an advantage also. I like the instructions that come with their accessories. Very detailed on how to use it. They have those instructions on their web site, so give them a look.

The other reason I like Sherline is that they are really free with advise on how to do things. They have several retired machinists on staff who are there to answer you questions if you have them. I have never been steered wrong by them. They will give you the straight scoop on accessories. More than once they have helped me not purchase something that was the wrong tool for the job. Good company, great customer service. Worth a little more in my opinion.

#8 Ognib

Ognib

    MCM Avid Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 279 posts
  • Location:kc,mo.
  • Full Name:Ray Haines

Posted 22 August 2013 - 05:11 AM

I've got my eye on sherline for my shop.

Currently digesting Joe Martin's book.

I like the fact that they have all the accessory pieces available & the entire system is engineered to work seamlesly.

Plus, I'm big on supporting "mom & pop" opperations when ever I can vs giving my money to some soul-less corp entity somewhere on the planet.


Edited by Ognib, 22 August 2013 - 05:12 AM.


#9 Aaronw

Aaronw

    MCM Ohana

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,477 posts
  • Location:North Coast of California
  • Full Name:Aaron

Posted 22 August 2013 - 07:37 AM

Pete, appreciate the comments. If money wasn't a factor I'd definitely go for the Sherline. Unfortunately it is, so I'm not so much looking at which is better, but more is the Taig good enough for my modest needs. While I think I will find a lot of uses for a lathe, I do have a great fear of having an expensive dust collector.

Wish I had a better idea what my needs really were, it would make the decision much easier. :)

 

 

 

 

 

Plus, I'm big on supporting "mom & pop" opperations when ever I can vs giving my money to some soul-less corp entity somewhere on the planet.

 

I'm the same way preferring to buy local. Like Sherline, Taig is a small US based company. When you call the number on the website you talk to the guy who builds the lathes.


Edited by Aaronw, 22 August 2013 - 07:38 AM.


#10 Aaronw

Aaronw

    MCM Ohana

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,477 posts
  • Location:North Coast of California
  • Full Name:Aaron

Posted 22 August 2013 - 07:44 AM

Would those of you with a Taig mind posting some of the things you've made with it? It might help me see if it is the right tool for me.

 

Thanks.



#11 Chief Joseph

Chief Joseph

    MCM Ohana

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 552 posts
  • Location:Alabamastan
  • Full Name:Joseph Osborn

Posted 22 August 2013 - 07:45 AM

Lots of Taig guys start out with a standard motor/pulley setup and then move on to a torquey variable-speed DC motor later on down the road.  In fact, the Sherline motor & controller is fairly easy to adapt to a Taig, but another popular option is treadmill motors.  

 

Aaron, have you priced out just getting the basic lathe parts and getting a motor locally?  That's what I did and I saved quite a bit of dough.  You can get a board to mount the lathe & motor locally, too.  Sherlines are wonderful "turnkey" machines, but Taigs are every bit as nice for much less.  You just have to be a little more handy.  You might want to invest in an indexing wheel and a motor-tool holder later on.  Also, go to Harbor Freight and get a dial indicator.  You won't need it for setups with the 3-jaw chuck so much, but it's nice to have. 



#12 Pete J.

Pete J.

    MCM Ohana

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,526 posts
  • Location:San Marcos, Ca
  • Full Name:Pete Johnson

Posted 22 August 2013 - 07:57 AM

Pete, appreciate the comments. If money wasn't a factor I'd definitely go for the Sherline. Unfortunately it is, so I'm not so much looking at which is better, but more is the Taig good enough for my modest needs. While I think I will find a lot of uses for a lathe, I do have a great fear of having an expensive dust collector.
Wish I had a better idea what my needs really were, it would make the decision much easier. :)
 
 
 
 
 
I'm the same way preferring to buy local. Like Sherline, Taig is a small US based company. When you call the number on the website you talk to the guy who builds the lathes.


I am glad that you took the time to read my ramblings. Having gone from absolutely no clue what I was doing to now fabricating and entire model with a lathe and mill has taught me a lot. I am sure that you will find the same and the use of your lathe will increase with your skill.

Frankly, either machine would work but I see some inherent issues with the Taig that may over time be frustrating. You said you want to do wheels, emergency beacon bases and light bases. The major issue I ran into was tool chatter and melting plastic when I turned it. Both of these are easily controlled with the variable speed on the Sherline. Being able to adjust the speed while the lathe is in operation is very handy. Doing what you are doing, if you run into a speed issue, having to stop and change the belt could easily get very frustrating. As to the power feed, I would forgo that and spend the money on other items. I have a friend who is a very skilled craftsman and he made a power feed for his Sherline with a variable speed drill from parts he had in the garage. This could save you some money by dual purposing a tool that you already have.

The other thing I found interesting was that the feed on the bed on the Taig was .060 per turn. That seems a little weird to me. The Sherline is .050. To me this suggests less mental gymnastics when running the machine. Also, the Sherline as zero resettable hand wheels, which cuts down the gymnastics even further. The less things you have to consider, the better. I am considering getting a DRO for the lathe and mill just to help with that.

As I said, I am sure that you would be happy with either, but I think on a long term basis the Sherline gives you more options. Personal opinion- I have never been unhappy by having too good of a tool. I have been very unhappy with having spent money on an inferior tool.

#13 Chief Joseph

Chief Joseph

    MCM Ohana

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 552 posts
  • Location:Alabamastan
  • Full Name:Joseph Osborn

Posted 22 August 2013 - 07:58 AM



Would those of you with a Taig mind posting some of the things you've made with it? It might help me see if it is the right tool for me.

 

Thanks.

Most all of this was made on my Taig:

th_ALQ14432Casting.jpg

 

Many parts of this, too:

th_M197WIP3.jpg

 

This is all made on my Taig (but not the quarter):

th_JO022919.jpg

 

Here's an action shot of a Dremel machining job on a fiberglass Dalek dome:

th_JO032922.jpg

 

Turning a piece of wood:

th_JO022912.jpg

 

Just a sampling.  More photos in my archives, just not handy on Photobucket.  



#14 Pete J.

Pete J.

    MCM Ohana

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,526 posts
  • Location:San Marcos, Ca
  • Full Name:Pete Johnson

Posted 22 August 2013 - 01:02 PM

Done on a Sherline-

The square parts were milled.

DSC00935_zps6e0a8b96.jpg

DSC00927_zps0ace73ea.jpg

The uprights and jigs were done on the lathe
DSC00909_zpsf3dc2ab7.jpg

1:12 scale fire bottles
firebottles.jpg

firebottle3.jpg

Head light and gas tank

DSC00815_zpsfa243b95.jpg

DSC00805_zps2cc8ed24.jpg

rims

DSC00763.jpg

DSC00767_zps727d54d9.jpg

#15 my80malibu

my80malibu

    MCM Ohana

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,615 posts
  • Location:Gilbert Arizona
  • Full Name:Gabriel Soto

Posted 22 August 2013 - 04:00 PM

I don't have a taig. I could get you a picture of the factory though, they are located about 6 miles away from me in Chandler Az. Down a little dirt road, at a rambling farm house. With two scaled down Cannons at the front entrance. Just sayin.

Edited by my80malibu, 22 August 2013 - 04:01 PM.


#16 Pete J.

Pete J.

    MCM Ohana

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,526 posts
  • Location:San Marcos, Ca
  • Full Name:Pete Johnson

Posted 22 August 2013 - 06:46 PM

I don't have a taig. I could get you a picture of the factory though, they are located about 6 miles away from me in Chandler Az. Down a little dirt road, at a rambling farm house. With two scaled down Cannons at the front entrance. Just sayin.


I do have a Sherline and that is my problem. The Factory is about 10 minutes way in Vista California. It I need inspiration I go the Sherline (AKA Joe Martin Craftsmanship) Museum about 4 block away from the factory. http://www.craftsmanshipmuseum.com

Edited by Pete J., 22 August 2013 - 07:41 PM.


#17 Gothic Kustomz

Gothic Kustomz

    MCM Avid Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 261 posts
  • Location:Southern Az
  • Full Name:Michael Gasca

Posted 22 August 2013 - 07:12 PM

got my micro lath from china, 199.99 out the door, 6 -n -1, works awesome, if I would just stop making left hand cutters, DOH!



#18 Pete J.

Pete J.

    MCM Ohana

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,526 posts
  • Location:San Marcos, Ca
  • Full Name:Pete Johnson

Posted 22 August 2013 - 07:57 PM

Ultimately it comes down to this. It is not the machine, for just like magic, the magic is in the magician, not in the wand. One other thought that I tell my wife when I get a new tool. I could build a house with a Swiss Army knife, but why would I want to?

#19 Aaronw

Aaronw

    MCM Ohana

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,477 posts
  • Location:North Coast of California
  • Full Name:Aaron

Posted 22 August 2013 - 08:16 PM

Pete, thanks for complicating my life. :P

 

Seriously though thanks for pointing out some of the finer points of difference between the two machines, it does make the Sherline more desirable than it first appeared.



#20 Pete J.

Pete J.

    MCM Ohana

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,526 posts
  • Location:San Marcos, Ca
  • Full Name:Pete Johnson

Posted 23 August 2013 - 10:46 AM

 

Pete, thanks for complicating my life. :P
 
Seriously though thanks for pointing out some of the finer points of difference between the two machines, it does make the Sherline more desirable than it first appeared.


Sorry about that! I just hope that you enjoy which ever one you get. :D