Best Lathe to buy for joint work and pin insertion $$

JerseyBill

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Any suggestions for the best lathe to buy. I don't have unlimited resources and am looking at under 3000$ all in. I know what I would do with money being no object but unfortunately that isn't the case.
I have the room for more than one lathe and I think I'm going to use this cheap bench lathe I bought for taking down squares etc. I don't think I want to go through changing over that lathe constantly if indeed it could be accurate enough for installing joints.
thanks in advance guys.
 

JoeyInCali

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Any good metal lathe big and long enough to hold the butt.
Gotta have a dialed in rear chuck.
Gotta have a set tru jaw unless you like fiddling a lot .
DRO would make life much easier. I'd quit if I didn't have one .
Live tooling for a clean bore . Can't beat it . You can have the chuck spin to the lowest speed to minimize vibration and the live miller takes care of the rest . Power feed for the last pass on the barrel hole or minor does not hurt .

Or you can try to get a really good deal on a tool room lathe.
I've seen Feeler go for cheap but I have no more room.
 

Ssonerai

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
For any sort of end work only, no threading, you just know i'm going to say Hardinge second op. Integral 5c capable.
With the pin removed, will barely take 1-1/4" through bare spindle, though. So thicker butts need to be projected through a steady for work on the butt cap end.
However anything from the joint side forward will fit through an un-modified spindle. Easy to hang chuck on back end. Never paid more than $500 for split-bed model, various levels of tooling. Even so, $1K for a complete example plug 'n play with accessories, collets, and chucks would not be bad. Add cost of VFD for micro speed control. It is necessary to acquire one with a good slide, or re-scrape slide if necessary. Later dovetail versions are higher. tend to start around $1K with minimal accessories; & the slide and other accessories are higher cost than split-bed era.

Eventually plan to modify one of mine and bore the spindle out. That would eliminate internal 5c, but the idea is to hang a Jacobs rubberflex on the nose with 1-1/2" collet capacity. (Or any other jaw chuck). Too many other projects cooking right now, though.

smt
 

JerseyBill

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Any good metal lathe big and long enough to hold the butt.
Gotta have a dialed in rear chuck.
Gotta have a set tru jaw unless you like fiddling a lot .
DRO would make life much easier. I'd quit if I didn't have one .
Live tooling for a clean bore . Can't beat it . You can have the chuck spin to the lowest speed to minimize vibration and the live miller takes care of the rest . Power feed for the last pass on the barrel hole or minor does not hurt .

Or you can try to get a really good deal on a tool room lathe.
I've seen Feeler go for cheap but I have no more room.
feeler? Also you said big enough long enough? you mean i.d. 1 3/8 and 36 " between centers? Or 40?
 

JerseyBill

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
For any sort of end work only, no threading, you just know i'm going to say Hardinge second op. Integral 5c capable.
With the pin removed, will barely take 1-1/4" through bare spindle, though. So thicker butts need to be projected through a steady for work on the butt cap end.
However anything from the joint side forward will fit through an un-modified spindle. Easy to hang chuck on back end. Never paid more than $500 for split-bed model, various levels of tooling. Even so, $1K for a complete example plug 'n play with accessories, collets, and chucks would not be bad. Add cost of VFD for micro speed control. It is necessary to acquire one with a good slide, or re-scrape slide if necessary. Later dovetail versions are higher. tend to start around $1K with minimal accessories; & the slide and other accessories are higher cost than split-bed era.

Eventually plan to modify one of mine and bore the spindle out. That would eliminate internal 5c, but the idea is to hang a Jacobs rubberflex on the nose with 1-1/2" collet capacity. (Or any other jaw chuck). Too many other projects cooking right now, though.

smt
thanks, lots of options, getting confused... I have a bench lathe chinese with 1 1/2 i.d. spindle and 30" between centers..tryied to make that work but it's tough.
 

Michael Webb

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
thanks, lots of options, getting confused... I have a bench lathe chinese with 1 1/2 i.d. spindle and 30" between centers..tryied to make that work but it's tough.
Why is it tough???
I.D. collets?
Mini Boring bar?
Tailstock not aligned?
 

JerseyBill

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Why is it tough???
I.D. collets?
Mini Boring bar?
Tailstock not aligned?
when they ship them they aren't really ready to run. Rough cuts etc. I tried to put a quick change tool post but it doesn't fit. I'm going to machine it but it looks difficult for my milling experience. In general it was a bad choice and if I buy another I have to be very careful in what I get.
 

barryr

Registered
thanks, lots of options, getting confused... I have a bench lathe chinese with 1 1/2 i.d. spindle and 30" between centers..tryied to make that work but it's tough.
That works fine for me with uni-locs and the like but I agree with the other member who said it can take a bit of messing around to get things truly centred . That's mainly because I turn a lot of peoples 1 piece cues in to centre join 2 piece or 3/4 join cues and also replace old or broken joins for people quite often on their snooker cues (these are often hand made and very often not truly round)
When there's a will there's a way tho but I'm still interested in these "tru jaw" chucks mentioned above. I also have a rear chuck from Chris Hightower that I bought years ago, inexpensive but worth it's weight in gold
 

Michael Webb

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
when they ship them they aren't really ready to run. Rough cuts etc. I tried to put a quick change tool post but it doesn't fit. I'm going to machine it but it looks difficult for my milling experience. In general it was a bad choice and if I buy another I have to be very careful in what I get.
There's a lot to be said about making your machine, your machine.
 

Ssonerai

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Got a couple NOS set-tru's bought at the Hardinge factory auction a few years ago.
4J works fine and is cheap, even used second hand will work. Compared to a beat second hand 3J whether set-tru style or not.
But the advantage of set-tru style is that the grip does not change. Compared to nudging individual jaws around on the 4J and "feeling" how tight or loose to go on each. OTOH, again, 4J's can be had really cheap.

I can't see why the China lathe would not be a good cue lathe once you have it sorted. At least is has power feeds and threading.

Are you trying to mill something other than a new T-nut to fit the Q-change TP to your compound?

Is the new backplate a threaded style or one of the more complex styles?
I can see how facing it off in place after making it could be challenging on some imports, but the lathe should be capable, certainly for a 6" or smaller backplate.

smt
 
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JerseyBill

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Here's an example.

Where are you at this time with your run outs?
to answer where I am would mean I am somewhere. lol I don't want to use a three jaw chuck as it's way out. I bought a four jaw but can't install it yet because of the crap lathe I bought has no threads on the front of the spindle. I bought an adapter I can machine and that's where I'm at. I need to machine it and see where I am. I should be ok with a four jaw ., I mean I can dial it in right on the money with patience. I was told by my friend and cuemaker to get a six jaw, but the through hole is only a little over an inch and will not hold a butt. I'm going in about ten directions at the same time all different. I don't have the energy to do all that and it's depressing looking at the challenge. I also am depressed living alone in my house I feel like I'm in jail. ONe of the reasons for doing cues is to keep me busy. I started years ago and I do want to make cues but I've made so many big mistakes. I bought the wrong lathe when I had the money and now I'm running low and I have to watch what I spend on. To top it all off my car breaks down yesterday and I'm looking at either a new one or a big repair. I'm going to have to take it slow and steady and see if I can go in a straight line without errors from here on. If you count from when I started in 1986 and on and off got in and out of cues I would say I've blown about 40k and nothing to really show for it. Pathetic I know. even funny but what's the past going to do to help.
 

WilleeCue

The Barefoot Cuemaker
Silver Member
You can spend a lot of time and money setting up a full size machine lathe for cue work.
And if time and money are not any consideration that is the way to go.
Personalty, I believe Chris Hightower's lathes are hard to beat for what they cost and what they can do.
A Cue Smith lathe comes ready to go with little tweaking and are very accurate for doing joint pin work.
It wont cut bar steel but it will cut wood like it is butter.
If you visit some top cue makers shops you will find wood working machines set up to do a specific job.
If you can afford that then it is the way to go.
If you are at the point where you need to make one machine to do several different jobs then I recommend you take a look at his machines.
 

Chili Palmer

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
when they ship them they aren't really ready to run. Rough cuts etc. I tried to put a quick change tool post but it doesn't fit. I'm going to machine it but it looks difficult for my milling experience. In general it was a bad choice and if I buy another I have to be very careful in what I get.

Do you have a link to your model of lathe?

And if you have $3K to spend then I would go for a Hightower lathe so you can get started. Then, build up the big lathe as time goes on.
 
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