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View Full Version : HF 7" x 10" metal lathe experiences?



Myk Rian
01-26-2015, 2:33 PM
I'm looking for actual usage comments on this lathe. If you haven't used one, please do not respond. It'll only clutter up the thread. Thanks.
http://www.harborfreight.com/7-inch-x-10-inch-precision-mini-lathe-93212.html

Is it accurate?
Useful for small wood turning such as pens?
I understand the HF tooling isn't the greatest. Where to buy tooling?
Would you recommend it?
Any other info to share.

Mike Heidrick
01-26-2015, 2:44 PM
Owned it and sold it. What specifically do you want to know? It is small and will do about whatever you can fit in its capacity if you take light enough cuts. The included 3jaw chuck is small and mine came with an 4" 3 jaw upgrade. Also a small LMS quick change tool post was added - that is a welcome upgrade day one too. So they are small and cheap for a new lathe and it is going to cost you several hundred more to tool it up but they are fun. Guys even CNC retrofit them too. Littlemachine shop has a better version and worth the added expense if you dont plan to CNC it. ALSO there is a 7X12 for about teh same price so consider that - check ebay and such. That 2" extra bed is welcomed. Imperial handwheels come on the LMS version too.

I replaced it with an Atlas Craftsman 12X36 with gear box and now a Baileigh 1340E import. The sad part is the upgrades for a mini lathe like that are not really useable in say 10-36 or 12X36 upgrade later so you loose a lot in the upgrades.

Bill Space
01-26-2015, 6:54 PM
Might be better to post this question on a metal working site, like home shop machinist, rather than here…

There's also a group somewhere that specifically addresses these small Chinese lathes. Sorry I don't have a link…

Bill

Myk Rian
01-26-2015, 8:25 PM
I posted the question here because I figure several may have used one. After all people here have many varied skills.
Plus, I'm not about to join another forum just to ask one question.

Mike Heidrick
01-27-2015, 3:12 AM
Is it accurate? Yes but does have backlash so keep your measurements from the same direction/rotation of the handwheel or get a DRO.

Useful for small wood turning such as pens? I have not cut wood on my metal lathe much. Folks do it all the time. You can turn the metal parts too. You will want to practice and make some jigs - ball jig in particular. Just google it.

I understand the HF tooling isn't the greatest. Where to buy tooling? Carbide import tooling is fine - shars, enco, HF, and a ton of other places online sell t. Ebay is fine too. You will be shocked what those cutters will do. With insert tooling you can quickly have a brand new edge. Also learn how to use HSS lathe tooling it is cheap and readily available all over the place and sharpening takes seconds on a grinder. Youtube and give it a try.

Metal lathes are very fun.

John McClanahan
01-27-2015, 9:07 AM
I own one. Get the 7x12 model. I don't know who measured the 7x10 model, but it is only 7x8 if you need to use the tailstock.

John

Bruce Boone
01-28-2015, 12:21 AM
I make my living from my shop. My advice would be to buy as large and stiff a lathe as you can afford. You will quickly outgrow the tiny lathes and pay the price for toylike tooling and lack of stiffness. If there's any potential to earn some income from the lathe down the road, it will quickly pay that difference and you will always have the better machine. A used larger lathe from Ebay or the like will be a better investment than a tiny Chinese one. I've never regretted getting a better machine. I've regretted several times getting inferior ones trying to save money though.

Jonathan Freinkel
02-26-2015, 11:44 PM
I think it's been said but it is limited by size!

i used to buy 12" stock and could never chuck it properly in a 7x12. Depending on the stock you would buy that should drive your purchase as well!

Bill George
02-28-2015, 11:57 AM
Don't own one and never will. But have over 20 years with other small metal lathes. Your in Michigan should be lots of used "real" lathes for sale such as South Bend 9 inch or Heavy 10 (I owned one) or Craftsman/Atlas. Right now I have a Emco 11 inch, Made in Austria.
The small 9 inch lathe from Jet is decent and your not far from Enco they have some really nice small lathes, imported like the Jet and Harbor Freight. When you purchase that small 7x10 or 12 you will be looking for a larger one before long.
Yes I have used my metal lathe for wood, works wonderfully.