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    1. Kit: , by (Active Member) Hemi Killer is offline
      Builder Last Online: Aug 2016 Show Printable Version Email this Page
      Model Scale: 1/8 Rating:  (1 votes - 4.00 average) Thanks: 0
      Started: 01-06-10 Build Revisions: Never  
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      I have no experience machining anything. I am considering purchasing a mini lathe/mill down the road to make parts for my 1/12 and 1/8 cars. the lathe will be used strictly for model car building between 1/24 and 1/8 at the largest.

      what are key features/components to look for?

      what tools/attachments are necessary for making a wide range of model parts?

      Im not looking for professional quality, but not junk either. what is an approximate price range to get started and ready to go?

      it is overwhelming, where do I start? books, websites, etc.?

      i have no experience with this stuff. what is required to make a part? scaling down the 1:1 what to look for in when new to machining? dimensions?
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  1. Nortley's Avatar VIP/Sponsor
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Hi Lee, There's a familiar story. I did some 1/1 what to look for in when new to machining? bike parts that were nearly a big as the Sherline by bolting them to the table and running the lash up as a horizontal boring machine. Clumsy but it did the job.
    Scorpio - Builds models the way the prototype should have been built.

  2. radish's Avatar Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Hi, new poster here, been into machining for far too many years to think about, same with modelling, I do own a few Unimat 3 lathes and an Emco MaxiMat and have adapted an X2 Sieg mill to fit to it. So here's a bit of a ramble from someone who only thinks he knows, others will certainly say so.

    The first thing to get is a lathe, the SIEG brand Chinese made mini-lathe is about the best bang for your buck that you can get ANYWHERE.

    Shanghai SIEG Industrial. Co

    These machines are "badge engineered" by many RE-SELLERS, the likes of harbour fright, grizzly, micro-mark and many more are out there. They are ALL the same machines, made from the same original drawings and possibly even from the exact same factory, the only difference is the colour that they are painted, those that will say otherwise, then please prove it.
    Go and get the cheapest one you can find, from anywhere, with what money that you will save, you can now afford to buy the tooling you'll need, to make it a useful addition to your model making.

    Here's the Sieg C3 lathe, which is a very popular size, it will do all you want in the scales that you have mentioned/suggested.

    Shanghai SIEG Industrial. Co

    Now here's the same lathe from grizzly.

    G8688 7" x 12" Mini Metal Lathe

    Lets look at harbar fright now.

    7" x 12" Precision Mini Lathe

    Micro-mark, it's just got a 2 inch longer bed, that's the only difference, still made by Sieg


    The MAJOR difference is, where the switches are placed and the names on the stickers, the only other difference is the coloured paint, which makes one brand a much better lathe than the other brand, yeh--------right.

    Plenty of sellers will attempt to tell you that, choice is yours on that one.

    To check out that they are all from the same factory and drawings, here's a spare parts list from "little machine shop"
    Note that they have the exact same parts, whether it be for a 7 by 10/12/14 inch bed, now that's NO MATTER who's name is on it. - Lathe: 7x10/12/14 Mini Lathe (C2/C3) Assemblies

    Get yourself some of the CHEAPEST chicom made TOOL STEEL you can find and learn to grind it to what-ever shape you want/need. The reason I say this, is once you have learned to sharpen the cheap stuff, then when you go and buy the better quality tool-steel, your not going to waste the good stuff turning it into grinding dust.

    DO NOT be frightened about sharpening the tooling, it does NOT have to be exact, near enough is all I use, here's a bit from the sherline site about it. The easiest way to learn is just copy what's been ground into it in the first instance, that's if you bought pre-sharpened tool-steel.

    Grinding Your Own Lathe Tools

    Now if you want too, go waste your money on expensive tool sets and lots more money on the expensive replace-able tipped tooling, for mucking around with bits for models, tool-steel is very adequate.

    Do go and buy a few books on the subject of learning to machine, fore-warned is fore-armed on what to look out for, remember that anything that is spinning around is DANGEROUS, just be carefull and count your fingers each time after you've used the lathe.

    Do a lot of google-ing on the subject of machining and get as much info as you can handle, it is all relevant.
    You'll soon find out that you can even do milling on the lathe, OK, it's a bit limited, but it can be done.

    Happy hunting with the lathe, remember this though, whatever you spend on the actual machine, be ready to shell as much again on the tooling to make it all work.

    regards radish

  3. Andym's Avatar VIP/Sponsor
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Hemi -

    Like you I started machinging with absolutely no experience. Being an accountant, I hadn't ever even seen someone use a mill or lathe.

    I went with Sherline equipment across the board and it was excellent right out of the box. No matter what you buy, it's going to have to be adjusted every once in a while, but i found the Sherline equipment to be very well calibrated upon delivery.

    Everything else said here is spot on. You'll use the lathe 3 times for every 1 time you use the Mill. But when you need a Mill, nothing else will do. The primary difference between the two is that on a Mill, the part is stationary while the cutting tool moves as opposed to a Lathe where the part moves and the cutting tool is stationary.

    Unless you are building working engines where .001 tolererances are not enough, any of the machines talked about here will be more than adequate. Also, the comment about NOT going with a combo machine is spot on. As it is, you can easily spend 20 minutes setting up a part that requires 10 seconds to cut (and that's with a separate Mill and Lathe). I can't imagine how long it would take if you were using a combo unit.

    The last bits of advice i'll add are as follows:

    (1) Make sure to use a good cutting fluid as it will help you make smoother cuts and will reduce wear on your cutting tools.

    (2) Everytime you turn on the machine, take a deep breath, remind yourself that you're new to this and DON'T RUSH.

    (3) I've been machining for about 5 years now and I still usually have to make a part three times to get one just right. It's as much (or more) of an art than a science so don't let yourself get frustrated.

    (4) [B][I][U]WEAR YOUR GOGGLES!!![/U][/I][/B]. Small Parts will sell you more metal if you mess up a part and Sherline, Grizzly, MicroMark, etc. will sell you replacement parts if you mess up your machine. But I don't know of anyone who can quickly ship you a new eye.

    Finally, don't hesitate to ask questions. The modelers here are very skilled and even more generous with their knowlege.

    Good Luck,

    When I was young I used to say "[I]When I grow up I'm going to be somebody!"
    I now realize I should have been more specific.

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