Mini Machine Tools

© Brooke Clarke 2006



Background
Other Brands
Lathe
Mill
DRO
CNC
Reference
Links

Background

Back a dozen or more years when I was very interested in model steam engines the popular small lathe was the Myford from England.  A nice feature of the Myford was that the bed has a gap near the headstock to allow flywheels to be turned that are a few inches larger than the diameter you could swing over the bed, just the thing for making model steam engines.  But it cost too much.  Now (2006) there are a number of importers in the U.S. that carry the Sieg line of Chinese machine tools at reasonable prices.  The prices shown below are what was on the web pages 20 Oct. 2006.

In the tables below of Sieg machines there are some with nothing entered below the model link and photo.  If you know a US sales URL for any of these let me know.

I have read many places that the combined Mill-Drill-Lathe machines have a couple of problems.  First they can not do anything well.  Second they take more time to setup.  But this may or may not be the case?

Weight

The OSHA max weight that a man can lift is 70 pounds and a woman 40 pounds.  So looking at the two weight numbers below (machine/shipping) you need to be concerned with the machine weight.  Often a machine can be partially disassembled to reduce it's weight, allowing one person to put it into place.  But notice that the two largest lathes and the two largest mills weigh more than two men can lift and will need a forklift or some other mechanical assistance to put into place.  One of the good things about the smaller models is that one or two people can move them without using a fork lift.  One of the major benefits of the C0 lathe is that it's so light you can store it in a plastic bin and put it away, similar to how some sewing machines are stored in a closet and brought out for use.  In the area of astronomical telescopes most people want to buy the largest diameter scope they can afford, but they rarely get used.  The smaller scope that's easy to use gets used much more frequently.

Lathe Bed Length

At first thought you might think that you don't need a long bed since you'll be working with short parts.  But if you plan to drill or tap from the tail stock you may find some of the beds are too short.

20 Nov 2007 - It has occurred to me that a drill press can be used to drill a hole (what an original idea) in the end of round or hex stock.  Usually a drill press is used to drill a hole in things that are rectangular like a 2x4 or metal block.  But by adding a 5C collet system it should be easy to drill on the centerline of a cylinder.  This could be used in all the ways that centerline holes are made using a lathe.

Motor

The C0 through C4 lathes use a DC motor running at around 100 volts whose speed can be controlled by varying the average voltage.  When reading the ads if it shows a range of speeds then it's a variable speed DC motor.  One of the most common complaints about the mini lathes is the lack of power, but great praise for the ease of changing speeds. 

The Harbor Freight 8x12 and the Seig C6 lathe and Seig M2 Lathe - Mill use an AC motor and has much more torque that the smaller lathes.  In the ads they will mention a small number of speeds such as 150, 240, 490, 750, 1200, 2400 RPM, this means an AC motor and pulleys or gearing to get different speeds.  So although it's convenient to have the variable speed control you pay a high price in reduced torque.  Getting a slower speed by using gearing results in an increase in torque.  When the torque is inadequate the lathe stalls.  The C6 is also in the Grizzly combo lathe-mill.

A good way to get programmable speed and maintain the torque is with a Variable Frequency Drive (VFD).  These take in the AC line voltage and turn it into DC (maybe 330 Volts), then using a micro controller and three pairs of high power solid state switches turn the DC into three phase AC at a controllable frequency in the .5 to 300 Hz range.  For a 1 HP controller and motor the cost might be $600.

For larger lathes see my page for lathes that take the 5-C collets & chucker lathes, the predecessor of the screw machine.

Overview of the different Lathes

The Sieg C0, C1, C3 and the Chinese 9x30 not shown on this page, (don't know about the C4 and C6) are not ready to use out of the box.  They need fitting and modification before you can really use them.  If you're willing to spend the time and effort you get good value for your money on these.  But the Harbor Freight 8x12 is a heavier machine that comes ready to use out of the box.  It has more stiffenss than the 9x30 lathe, see the comparison below.

This comparison of the lathes is an eye opener.  Note that the 8x12 is equal or superior in almost all catagories.
comparison of the Specifications for the Asian 7x, 8x, and 9x lathes and for some American 6", 9", and 12" Lathes - 8x12 Review -

Other Brands might or might not be Seig

Realbull Machinery

This is another Chinese machine tool maker that has a 6x18" and 6x23" lathe and a CNC version at 6x20"  they also have a couple of mills with table travel around 7x12".

Seig Ind 

Is this Seig, or a copy cat?

ezmro

Lathe

China-DY

Lathes & Mills - BV20B-L Bench Lathe

Sumore

Have a very similar line of Lathes and Mills

Warco

Model WM-180 is a nice 7x12 lathe with screw cutting available in either metric or Imperial.

Eagle

This may be the maker of the Harbor Freight 8x12 and/or Lathemaster 8x12.   The HD210 is a 210 x320 (8¼ x 12½).

Cater Tools & Supply China - Lathes ?dealer or manf?


Lathe

Mini-Lathe information
Varmint Al's Mini-Lathe
Gadget Builder
John Bently The Engineman - Model Engines
Kahale & Martin AP Machine - optimizing a 7x10 lathe
MINI-LATHES - by Paul Hayward UK info
Slap Maxwell's girlfriend Judy, or.... selecting a mini lathe - broad overview of micro and mini lathes\ brands/models
Metal Working in Miniature -includes plans for some small steam/air engines -  Tools, Tips, Gadgets and Gizmos -
Sensitive Tapping Kit  - for use by hand on a bench or in a lathe & other tools related to mini lathes
KB Electronics - motor controllers
MiniLathe Alignment  -
Indicating Tailstock Adjustment Surfaces -
FRETS.COM - Machine shop - some cleaver ideas and projects
Rulezman - Workshop Projects
MKC Tools - Tachulator gives spindle speed and surface speed
Arc  Euro Trade - Mini Machine Tools & many handy accessories specific to MMTs
Eccentric Engineering - DIAMOND Tool Holder patented tool holder for small lathes
Tools Now (Cummings) - Parts Made Easy - manuals for Cummings

General Introductory Web pages

mini-lathe.com
Mini-lathe Hobby Introduction
Introduction to Machine Tools, Mirror
Virtual Machine Shop
Instructions to Learn How to use a Lathe
Mini-Lathe Beginners - many pages of useful info on using mini lathes
The Hobbyist’s Machine Shop - equipment reviews that pull no punches
Sherline - Help Sheets and Instructions - Table Top Machining  344 pg 8½x11 HUGE Book (Amazon)

C0    Yahoo C-O_Lathe Group
C1
C2    Yahoo 7x12minilathe Group
C0
C1
C2
150W 0.2 HP
150W 0.2 HP 250 W 0.3 HP
110 x 125mm 4x5"
140 x 250mm 5.5x10"
C2-200 = 180x200mm 7x8
C2-300 = 180x300mm 7x12
13/22 kg  29/49#
23/25 kg  51/55#
C2-200 33/36 kg  73/79#
C2-300 37/40 kg  82/88#
Harbor Freight 95012 $250 ShopFox Wholsale M1015 Harbor Freight 7x10"(7x8) 93212 $400 Review
7x12"  93779  $490
Review & Initial Shimming Inst

Grizzly 7x12 G8688 $595/$525 Review


Tools Now (Cummins) 7x12" 5278 $400


Enco 110-0800 $400


KBC 6-275-001  $490


Travers - OT222300 $725

C3    Yahoo 7x12minilathe Group not Sieg who?
C4
C6
C3 Harbor Freight 8x14" Lathe
C4 Lathe
C6
350 W 0.5 HP Variable Speed
3/4 HP
actually 550 W 6 Amp
1000 W 1.3HP
550 W 0.7 HP
180x350mm 7x14" 8 x 12
210 x 450mm 8x18"
C6-400 250x400mm10x16"
C6-500 250x500 10x20"
44/54 kg  97/119#
272/242 #

94/125 kg  207/276#
C6-400 125/160 kg 276/353#
C6-500 145/180 kg  320/397#
Micro-Mark 7x14" 82710 $596

No U.S. Sales Office ShopFox wholsale M1016

Harbor Freight 8x12" 44859 $440
really is 8x14
Travers may have Summer of 2008
Cummings 7900 $850

Lathemaster  8x14 $750 (190/310# )
review1, review 2

Review: Sieg C6 Lathe 

8x12 Review
Travers - OT22252 $1200


Sieg C2 - C3 CNC Conversion -
Yahoo - 7x10minilathe group
Lynn Standish's 7x10 Spider Modification Images Page - support work on left of headstock
Ty's HF 7x10 Mini Lathe Page - Machining Reference Info - Hints -
Kahale & Martin AP Machine - setting up a 14" bed add on for mini lathe plus metal gear sets & nice chuck
Metal Lathe Accessories - castings and kits to make metal working tools and a diesel engine kit
Lathemaster - Yahoo Group for the 8x14, 9x30 & 9x20 lathes. X3 Mills too - so may be a good fit for the G0516

Multipurpose Machines (Combined Lathe & Mill)

These machines combine the above lathe and mill. 
M1 = C1 + X1
M2 = C6 + X2A
M2
M1 Lathe Mill
M2 Lathe Mill
Grizzly Lathe Mill
Lathe 140 x 250   5.5 x 10"
579#
Lathe 9.75 x 21"
Fixed column mill
X2A Tilting column mill Tilting column mill

Review: Sieg C6 Lathe  Grizzly G0516 Combo $ 1340 Nov 2007

Travers - Model OT22LM2 order# 87-115-923 $ 1800
Little Machine Shop Base to seperate mill 1765 $170

9 x 20 Lathe Page (Grizzly G0516) -
Cummins Industrial Tools 
Bedair Machine Works  - 9 x 20 Metal Lathe 

Mill

Mini-Mill Information page
Mini-Mill Yahoo Group

X0 Fixed Coul Drill Press
X1 Fixed Coul
Super X1 Tilting Coul
X0
X1
SX1
150Watts 0.2 HP
150 Watts 0.2 HP 150 Watts 0.2 HP
no table
240x145mm 10x6"
240x145mm 10x6"
17/22 kg  37/49#
32/44 kg  71/97#
32/44 kg  71/97#
ShopFox wholsale M1036 - eBay Harbor Freight 47158 $260
U.S. Sales Office?

X2 (X2A has power X feed) Tilting Coul X3 Tilting Coul Super X3 Tilting Head
X2
X3
SX3
350 Watts 0.5 HP
600 Watts 0.8 HP
1000 Watts 1.3 HP
400x100??  16x4"  ??
550x160mm  22x6"
550x160mm  22x6"
50-68 kg  110/150#
165-198 kg  364/437#
165-198 kg  364/437#
Harbor Freight 44991 $460 Grizzly G0463 $1014
Review
Micro-Mark 82573 $525
Review
Grizzly #?
Grizzly 8689 $ 594/525
1.5 hp not X3 42827-0VGA  $1000 625/735#
Travers - Mdl OT2225X3 Ord 87-116-000 $1600
Homier  03947
Tools Now 7901 $1350 (Feb 2008)
 
KBC 6-275-002  $525


Cummings 7877



Yahoo Groups - MiniMill in general, and for CNC conversion of the XA at hf47158toCNC, C0 Lathe
Sieg X2 CNC conversion -
XY Ball Screw Retofit plans for CNC converted X2 Mini-Mills -
Super Tech & Associates -
Homann Designs -

DRO

ShumaTechDRO-350  - Yahoo Group -

CNC

PicoBotics - Steper Motors, Controllers, Powere Supplies
CNC Zone - Forum for CNC topics
Syil - kits for the C1 to C6 Lathe (Jan 2007) and U2, X2 & X3 Mills
MicroProto Systems -
CNCBridges Mini Mill Base - larger bases for the mills set for CNC
CNC Fusion  - Kits for the X1, X2 & X3 mills now and working on kits for 7x12 & 9x20 lathes (Dec 2007)
Ex example system based on Chris Smolinski
CNC Fusion 3 axis motor adapters full kit $ 270
Harbor Freight X1 Mill     $ 320 ($ 270 on sale)
three NEMA23 steppers and driver board from Xylotex
269 in oz motors $50 ea or 425 in oz motors $60 ea
3 axix motor controller $155 or 4-axix for $185
you supply old computer, $60 in end mills and $60 for metal for fixtures.
EMC Linux machine control software but CNC Fusion lists a number software packages that can be used.

Reference

Machinery's Handbook - A back issue is about as good as the latest version since much of what's in it has not changed in decades.  THE reference book for machine shop practice.  There are also many internet web pages that you can find using Google.

Links

Brooke's web pages

12" Bench Top Hand Shear
5C Tool room lathes when working in the Microwave business the shop was full of them
8" Mini Shear Break
Active Storage - shelving and box sizes
Air Tools
Digital-Retro-Turbo-Encabulator
Drill Press used with 5C collets
Electric mains power Generators
Farm Hi Lift Jack
Geodesic Dome Connector Plates
Hints & Tips What Goes Wrong
Lathes for < 1" OD parts (5C collets)
Mini Machine Tools (Lathes and Mills) One of my dreams
Fasteners A page made for my own use with dimensions of common fasteners used for product design and for looking at new ideas for products
Measuring Tools Used mainly for reverse engineering
Pocket Tools

Morse Taper

For designing a Morse Taper the following equations should be very close.
Db is the big end diameter, Ds is the small end diameter and L is the length between Db and Ds. Then:
Ds  =  -0.0133*Db2 + 0.9039*Db - 0.0616
L  =  0.2752*Db2 + 1.7461*Db + 1.2976

Machines & Upgrades

Stirlingsteele.com - Belt Drive Kit for Sieg Industrial mini-mill machines -
Little Machine Shop - Milling Attachment for 7x Lathe -
MicroMark - Milling Attachemnt for 7x  Lathe -
KBC Tools -
Grizzly -
Enco -
J&L Industrial Supply -
Harbor Freight -
Run Master Lathes -
SherLine - Micro sized lathes & Mills 
Lathes Co UK - reference info
Rutland Tool & Supply - SherLine & Prazzi mini lathes - Taig User Web Page Links -
Nick Carter's Taig Lathe and Milling Machine Pages -
Northern Tool & Equipment -
Uncle Rabid - small lathe accessories, parts, home casting and other time-wasting insanities as well as repair for Asian mini lathe and mill electronic speed (motor) controllers.
Varmint Al's Links  -
The Hobbyist Machine Store - metal gears for Mini Lathes and Mills & Proxxon 7x16 Lathe & Bandsaw Max. work piece height 2 5/32" optional liquid cooling
Surplus Center - Motors and Controllers

Material

McMaster-Carr - They are at the top of the list because they have about everything.  For example every possible diameter of drill rod in a choice of materials and tempers, far more than the other suppliers listed here and for a reasonable price.  Easy to do business with them.
Metal Express -
Enco - Metal - solid, sheets, tube
On Line Metals -6061 Al Kits: 3' lengths of 9 diameters Pack <$75 - 3' Lengths of both round & Squard bars <$ 130. -5% for registered, -10% >$100 (place small order, get discount code good for 30 days, place larger order?)
Small Parts -
Stock Drive Products / Sterling Instrument -
Model Engineering Clearing House -
Arthur R. Warner Co. - High Speed Steel including indexable HSS inserts
College Engineering Supply - Castings for tools
Hemingway Kits - engines (internal & external combustion) + many tools as kits
Macc Model Engineers - materials , BA screws,  Kits

Projects

Jan Ridder's Models -Sterling, Flame Eaters, Burrell Traction Engi, Pop-Pop boad and merygo round other Steam engine plans free by email
Jerry E. Howell - Model Project Plans & Kits


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