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  1. #1
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    Default Anybody got a Chinese Mini Lathe?

    ???

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    I have one. Looking for a review? It's helpful with little things like wheel spacers, and making bungs. Other than that, it's too small and not precise enough.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MOTher View Post
    I have one. Looking for a review? It's helpful with little things like wheel spacers, and making bungs. Other than that, it's too small and not precise enough.
    Review not necessary. Mine just arrived.

    I was basically wondering who else had one and how useful they found it for our hobby? I figure you had to do some things to it out of the box.


    I know 500 bucks doesn't go very far in lathe world.. So, I don't mean to sound overly negative or or anything.

    It is what it is, and I knew that when I bought it.

    You've found yours to be useful?

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    Think you could ever iron one of these things out fine enough to face a valve off with a mini tool post grinder?


    ???

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    I think I wouldn't bother unless a dearly wanted to use valve facing as a benchmark for lathe modification which would be absurd vs. turning test bars.

    If I did valves in great volume I'd find an appropriate facing machine since using a post grinder spews grit everywhere and is certainly not worth puking it all over my lathe unless I need to true some chuck jaws or do a specialty job, but the only way I'd do valves in bulk is if I had a shitload of customers for valve facing at which point it would make much more economic sense to farm that out unless I wanted a full automotive head shop capability and then there's no point in rigging up half-arsed underpowered lightweight marginal equipment. If you expect to do Dragstews volume buy accordingly.

    I have a proper machinists lathe (good quality older Taiwan industrial belt drive, Enco equivalent) and a toolpost grinder. It's not worth me dragging out the grinder, covering the lathe etc to face a set of valves. One wonderful thing I learned from my highly successful machine shop ownerbro is what NOT to do yourself and why that wastes time and money better invested (even hobby time is money) elsewhere. He sends his automotive and marine (he likes large diesel fishing boats) work to specialists as their machines are purpose-built for it, he gets is in hand quickly, and he can trade the repair and custom machine work he specializes in for favors since few auto shops can afford the machine tools he can.

    A small lathe could be dandy for bungs, bushings, brackets, sleeves, some axle work, rods (lathes are a great way to hold round stock for manual threading by turning the chuck with the chuck key) and similar work. Small lathe user communities will have upgrade and modification info.

    Buy a set of "center drills" for starting holes since twist drills "walk" even in milling machines and read this classic treatise: http://vintagemachinery.org/pubs/1617/5795.pdf

    Some folks make cool toolpost grinders from pneumatic die grinders and having one might be useful if you need to true your chuck jaws.
    Last edited by farmall; 02-18-2021 at 5:58 PM.

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    While everything you say is absolutely true, I should farm it out.. I don't want to because the cylinder head is the one part of the engine I have never worked on. I have always farmed them out.

    So, it is sort of a fetish I guess?

    The 45(s) are a no rush project and I always wanted to do this.. I can tell from a wiggle on the top that it needs guides. Probably valves, and since it does it is an excuse to finally try my hand at this..

    But I'm not going to go nuts and buy a special purpose grinder for (probably) 8 valves. If I can't do it? Then I can't.. It's okay.

    But if I could do them in the lathe? IMO, that alone makes it worth buying.

    Good point about the grit, too. I'll have to mask it off with a plastic drop cloth or something if I try it.
    Last edited by confab; 02-18-2021 at 7:59 PM.

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    I ground some on a Craftsman 109 proly not as good a lathe as a Chinesey one. But doable! You will have to build a fixture to hold the grinder then you have to feed very slowly and supply the cooling water from a spray bottle then since there is no side to side motion or way to dress the stone you have to finish with a brand new stone and then spend forever getting the grit and water off and out of your machine. Proly not worth the effort unless you are very broke and live 100 miles from the nearest machine shop that you trust! You can do most anything at home if you are determined enough.
    Dusty

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    Have you thought bout making your own lapping compound? It's not worth the effort either! Ya gots ta enjoy your insanity!
    Dusty

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    LOL.. Thanks.. I was hoping I could do it.

    You're right of course. But, like I said.. It's just kind of a bucket list thing. I just want to do this because it is the only part of the engine I never worked on, myself.

    I have a larger lathe, but bought the China one just for stuff of this nature. So I hope it works out.


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    PS: I bought a junk Harley so I could build the Harley.

    I enjoy riding it, but I'm not a biker and I don't want to be a biker. I could give fuck all about the lifestyle.

    It's about building the Harley. That's the part I enjoy.

    I mean, if it were a sane, rational, adult decision? Made with all the proper research and duly consulting Consumer Reports and doing a cost benefit analysis on a spread sheet so we have the reasonable, scientific analysis angles all covered in a totally defensible way that can be demonstrated and justified to anyone, or even to the galaxy itself, if it were inclined to make such a demand? I wouldn't have a Harley! Nobody would have a Harley. Harley Davidson would be out of business.

    Because they fail ALL of those tests. If you're doing bullet point lists? Harleys suck.

    Harley Choppers are even worse.

    But it's not about any of that shit, is it? It's about having fun.

    So..
    Last edited by confab; 02-19-2021 at 9:53 AM.

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    Yep the voices have great iders but they won't help!
    DUSTY

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    Now they're telling me I need a tool post grinder?

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    My father in law gave me one of the Harbor Freight lathes a few years ago. I love it, use it all the time. My father in law bought it to get a feel for running a lathe in his house, once he did, he bought a much bigger lathe. I cant say that I'm a machinist by any means, but I have used it to fix lots of stuff. I've also used it to make my own cleaning jags for my guns, with a little patience, you can make jags that fit a little better than what you get at the store, and clean them much faster.

    But, like MOTher said, not accurate enough for a lot of things. making bungs, spacers, and such, its great. But if you need something to be dead on balls, that is not the equipment you seek.

    But, it has tons of other uses. If you can get what you want tapped into the chuck, makes cutting threads straight easier. You do have to turn the parts by hand, the lathe wont turn the tap. but its great for starting the threads straight.

    My understanding is that these are all made by the same manufacturer, just different stickers and colors.

    I have had 2 problems with mine-1 the fuse holder for the main power on the control panel is cheap. I would recommend either ordering several and keeping them on hand, or modify it with a better quality fuse holder. it will break from the vibration.

    2. The speed control knob went out. seems to be a common item to need replacing. I unplug mine when not in use, several times I found it humming when it was turned off.

    These little lathes are used extensively by model train guys. Lots of tricks and uses for them. Check out this page for slots of info on them

    http://www.mini-lathe.com/

    I've ordered parts from https://littlemachineshop.com for mine, they ship quick, have all the parts you will need for whatever model you have, and good prices I think.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nimrod View Post
    My father in law gave me one of the Harbor Freight lathes a few years ago. I love it, use it all the time. My father in law bought it to get a feel for running a lathe in his house, once he did, he bought a much bigger lathe. I cant say that I'm a machinist by any means, but I have used it to fix lots of stuff. I've also used it to make my own cleaning jags for my guns, with a little patience, you can make jags that fit a little better than what you get at the store, and clean them much faster.

    But, like MOTher said, not accurate enough for a lot of things. making bungs, spacers, and such, its great. But if you need something to be dead on balls, that is not the equipment you seek.

    But, it has tons of other uses. If you can get what you want tapped into the chuck, makes cutting threads straight easier. You do have to turn the parts by hand, the lathe wont turn the tap. but its great for starting the threads straight.

    My understanding is that these are all made by the same manufacturer, just different stickers and colors.

    I have had 2 problems with mine-1 the fuse holder for the main power on the control panel is cheap. I would recommend either ordering several and keeping them on hand, or modify it with a better quality fuse holder. it will break from the vibration.

    2. The speed control knob went out. seems to be a common item to need replacing. I unplug mine when not in use, several times I found it humming when it was turned off.

    These little lathes are used extensively by model train guys. Lots of tricks and uses for them. Check out this page for slots of info on them

    http://www.mini-lathe.com/

    I've ordered parts from https://littlemachineshop.com for mine, they ship quick, have all the parts you will need for whatever model you have, and good prices I think.
    Thanks.. That is very helpful. I'll check them out.

    BTW, one thing I did see about that fuse holder was some people are replacing the fuse and holder with a 10A circuit breaker, instead.

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    Quote Originally Posted by confab View Post
    Now they're telling me I need a tool post grinder?
    A fixture to hold a die grinder would seem more in keeping with this project. Or a router motor like the guy on fleebay makes.
    Dusty

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    I was thinking about a dremel, maybe?



    https://www.ebay.com/itm/Dremel-tool...72.m2749.l2649


    They're small and fast if you need fast.

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    Quote Originally Posted by confab View Post
    Now they're telling me I need a tool post grinder?
    If you're gonna face valves on a lathe the valve needs to rotate with respect to the grinder and the lathe isn't fast enough to turn a grindstone, but they're not complex. If your grinder attaches to your tool post then you can set angles and feed using the compound like any other cut.
    Dremels aren't very stout and if you're going to do the same amount of work something either stall-proof (pneumatic) or with a more powerful motor (any number of electric power units) would live longer and better survive truing chuck jaws etc.

    If you just want to learn how to face valves I'd visit an automotive machine shop and ask if you can pay the machinist to show you how then let you do your four at your own risk. Ya don't have to own the machine to learn how to use one and maybe they need a motorcycle related favor.

    There are a fuckton of toolpost grinder built videos and threads in machining forums. Remember you'll need to scale what you build to your lathe. You'll learn more from building the tool than facing the valves so it's all good.

    Everyone (owners of some specialty valve machines or the manual Neway valve refacer I've only seen online and have no idea who uses because a commercial shop would starve to death) grinds the valves they reface but I was able to find this old reference thanks to my interest in Really Obscure Shit. I suspect it will require a lot of lapping but labor was cheap in those days. The "non-grinding" methods are the first shown. I would practice on several scrap valves before trying it on one I cared about:

    https://wewilliams.net/docs/1925%20-...%20No%2086.pdf

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    I have not read this thread because I do not have one of those Chinese lathes, nor have I ever used one.

    But I have done some valve work on the lathe, and so here's the thing:
    You have to be able to hold the valve in the larhe chuck accurately and without damaging the stem finish. So, the 3-jaw chucks are right out, and you really need some sort of accurate collet chuck to hold the valve as perfectly concentric as possible. And if you can do that, you can face the valve by cutting with a normal lathe tool. It's not necessary to grind it.

    But, in the case of shovel valves, 90% of them get discarded because of stem wear, so the whole issue is pretty much moot. Spend your money on 4 new valves, and spend your time on something more productive.

    And, I will add that work on a metal lathe is very satisfying, and a good introduction into the machinist's world. So, you will have a lot of fun with even a small lathe.

    Jim

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    I have one of those tool post holders for the Dremel. There are two different threads on the Dremel where it screws to the holder depending on how old the Dremel is. 3/4 x 12 and 3/4 x 16. Make sure to get one that matches.

    I bought one for the Dremel I had, then the first time I tried it, the Dremel didn't work. (I had inherited it from my sister) So I bought a new Dremel, which was the wrong size for the tool post holder. I ended up cleaning the commutator on the 1st one and now it works, and I have 2.

    http://www.alisam.com/dremel-tool-holders.html

  20. #20

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    This old tony on youtube has an interesting series of videos tinkering with and improving one of those mini lathes.

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