Before we get to selecting a new lathe, let’s discuss when we need to start considering purchasing a new lathe. Although a skilled machinist can run almost any lathe, it is important to consider the following:
- How long is it really taking to run a part if a significant amount of time is spent compensating for an inferior machine?
- How many parts are being scrapped due to a sloppy machine?
- Less experienced operators will most likely not possess the skill level of a journeyman machinist making the challenge of running an inaccurate lathe even more difficult, time-consuming and ultimately less profitable.
If you don’t feel good about your answers to the above questions … it’s time to start shopping for a new lathe.
Buying a new engine lathe in today’s market can be a difficult thing to do. There are many builders with names that may not be familiar to you. Many lathes are being built in countries we may not typically do business with.
The American built engine lathe is accepted by most to be the finest lathes ever made.
Unfortunately, there are no new USA built engine lathes available today. All the great names such as Monarch, Lodge & Shipley, Leblond, Clausing, Sidney, and many more are no longer building new USA machines.
That brings us to the question, which new lathe should I buy?
This is a complex question, but fortunately it does have an answer. First you want to define your needs, then, match them to the appropriate lathe. Following are some helpful things to consider.
- Your current & future workload, and understanding that this may change. Are you doing job shop work or high volume?
- Size, weight and type of material you will be running on a lathe. This will dictate the swing, spindle bore needed, and the distance between centers.
- Complexity of turning. Do you need a taper attachment, threading? You may be a candidate for a flat bed – job shop CNC Lathe.
- What lathes are you currently using in your shop that your operators like?
These questions will put you on track to start your search.
Once you answer the above questions, you may discover options you want to add to your lathe such as: Digital Readouts, Quick Change Tool Posts, Larger chucks, etc.
Other important question will need to be answered as well. Questions like:
- Where is your lathe built?
- Who do I contact to get parts in the future?
- Who will service your new lathe?
- Or who can I call with a simple question about my new lathe?
You will want to contact someone who can not only help you select a lathe, but also help support it with parts, service and answers to your question for years to come. Worldwide Machine Tool, LLC is a great place to start. We offer sales, service and ongoing support.