View Full Version : General Metalworking Mixing wood and metal in a home shop

Josh Bowman
02-15-2011, 10:36 PM
I like some here tinker, but mostly do woodwork and woodturning. I do enjoy making some of my own tools though. I don’t have the room or the desire for a full metal work shop. It seems to me you would need a mill as well as a metal lathe to really do much. So I ask this to those who’s tried a small lathe and mills: Based on doing odd jobs/tinkering in a home woodshop are the following class of machines a waste of money?
http://www.grizzly.com/products/Combo-Lathe-w-Milling-Attachment/G0516 (http://www.grizzly.com/products/Combo-Lathe-w-Milling-Attachment/G0516)
http://www.grizzly.com/products/7-x-12-Mini-Metal-Lathe/G8688 (http://www.grizzly.com/products/7-x-12-Mini-Metal-Lathe/G8688)
http://www.grizzly.com/products/Mini-Milling-Machine/G8689 (http://www.grizzly.com/products/Mini-Milling-Machine/G8689)

Bruce Boone
02-15-2011, 11:58 PM
The 7 x 12 lathe is indeed very tiny and will be short on room with a tailstock in there. I've heard several people in a pen forum I frequent wish they had gotten the next size up. I have a small Enco 9 x 20" lathe and it has small handwheels and a short stand. I had to put it on 6" aluminum blocks to be able to use it. It very quickly broke the thin belt that came with it. Luckily I have a larger lathe as well, so I simply made a pulley to take a larger belt. In essence, it's a cheap lathe, but at a cheap price. It is certainly better than not having a metal lathe, but you will have to be patient with small parts and small cuts.

Stephen Pereira
02-16-2011, 4:14 AM
when I first started in woodworking I could only afford an old Crasftsman tilting arbor saw..I was in heaven..a big improvement over a handheld skill saw. Then I upgraded to a Jet contractor's table saw..much better than the tilt arbor but I had to learn to work around it's shortcommings. Finally was able to afford a Grizzly cabinet saw..big improvement over my first two table saws. Now, I spend more time actually building firniture and less time fussing with my machines.

It is the same with metal working equipment. Excellent work can be done with mini lathes/mills and milling attachments..depends on the craftsman's ability and patience. I've seen novice metalworkers say that a mini lathe/ill "is good enough for my purposes"..perhaps but I'll wager that they will soon out grow their mini machines. You say you like tomake tools..good tools require close fits and tolerances..asthetics require nice finishes. Nice finishes and close tolerances require a rigid machine..the more cast iron the better.

Steve Ryan
02-19-2011, 10:26 AM
The combo lathe/mill is more lathe than mill. Better off with seperate machines and buy the biggest that you can afford. Keep your eye on Craigs list and be patient.