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By colinc

I bought a small Myford when a friend was selling it as he needed to raise some cash. At the time, I thought I wouldn't find much use for it but as others have said, it has become a real asset. I do now find myself hoarding all sort of metal hardware, bolts, bits of steel & brass etc., on the basis they can be 'turned' into something else when the need arises.

I also have a decent 2nd hand TIG welder which was another useful investment.

You also make lots of new 'friends' when you have a lathe and a welder!! For example, this week I have been making up a set of parts for a hand wheel adjuster mechanism for a friend's Kity table saw out of some threaded rod, rod joiner nuts, some scrap steel and a breadboard I liberated from the kitchen cupboard.

The only downside of having a lathe is that you start spending more money on new tools for it! I'd say get one and a few basic tools and see where it leads. You might do well to wait until a decent 2nd hand one comes along as they tend to get sold with accessories and IMO represent much better value than the Chinese mini lathes. Whatever you buy, if you find it isn't for you, or you need a bigger one, you will probably sell it quite easily and not loose to much money.


By Fergal
I have to agree with Colin above, the combination of a small metalworking lathe and a TIG welder opens up all manner of possibilities. I'm also constantly on the lookout for any odd bits of metal which can be used for projects. For example I bought a big bag of M20 x150mm bolts from Screwfix a while ago that were extremely cheap. These have been turned into bench dogs for my woodwork bench. I got a load of stainless steel bar kitchen cupboard handles from Wickes for 50p each. These have been a good source of bar stock for various things including the barrel nuts on a pair of handscrew clamps I made.

I made some replacement clamp pads from HDPE from recycled milk bottles. The bottles are cut up into small pieces and melted in the oven to form a billet, which is then turned on the lathe.
By heimlaga
I haven't been able to afford a metal lathe so far but a neighbour owns a rather large one. He has made lots and lots of parts for my woodworking tools and machines.
His lathe cannot cut screw threads so every now and then I am forced to ask a machinist whom I know to turn threads for me.

Anything from a new spindle for my cirkular rip saw to a a new insert ring for the table of my spindle moulder.