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Introduction and lathe question.

BMSS

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Hello, I am new here and I am just getting into working on saws in the sense of trying to port and other mods. I have always been fascinated with chainsaws, and im not looking to try and make a living doing this, just want to make my saws run better and maybe have a hobby I can enjoy! haha. That being said I will ask a question with this introduction. What size lathe are some of you builders using? and what are things you like and dislike about your set up? I will only be working on chainsaws for now, but who knows what the future holds. Thanks for taking the time to read this and I look forward to any advice!
 

Rich Fife

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Hello, I am new here and I am just getting into working on saws in the sense of trying to port and other mods. I have always been fascinated with chainsaws, and im not looking to try and make a living doing this, just want to make my saws run better and maybe have a hobby I can enjoy!
Prepare for fun, headaches, frustrations and some let-downs... lol.
The saw world is a bit clicky... you'll learn and/or see it in due time.
That being said I will ask a question with this introduction. What size lathe are some of you builders using?
I've used a 10" without any issues... Now I use a 16" lathe.
what are things you like and dislike about your set up? I will only be working on chainsaws for now, but who knows what the future holds.
Ideally whatever setup you choose to use, you want to keep it as Rigid as possible for better finishes and accuracy.
Thanks for taking the time to read this and I look forward to any advice!
There are a bunch of guys on here with great 2 stroke knowledge... some may be hesitant to offer their opinion and/or advice while others will openly give suggestions... then you have others that may give you a little sidebar commentary. Consider it constructive criticism... 😄
Below are the lathes that I use/used..
 

Powerstroke Cowboy

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Welcome to the OPE forum @BMSS I've got nothing to offer you on a lathe. Still looking for one myself.

@Rich Fife that's a good looking 16" South Bend you got there!
 

Ketchup

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The above advice is good. 9” swing will do the job, but a bigger swing is more versatile and stable. In my opinion the brand matters less than the tightness and accuracy of the machine. I started with a 9” Logan (1hp), but now have a 12” Taiwan knock-off (2hp) that is tighter, requires less maintenance and has more power. I run 3phase now which cost me a little extra to set up but runs smoother and quieter.
The tooling is also super important. Good stops and indicators, quality jaws and tool post, high grade cutters, and accurate measuring equipment are as important as the base machine. For saw porting you also need a foredom, quality burrs and right angle hand pieces. Not to mention an air compressor, low power impact and a bunch of hand tools.
I wish I had a second lathe in the 16” range. 48” bed is all I need, but steady rests and good tailstock tools have turned out to be more important than I originally expected. The reverse on my lathe is currently broken and I find that very annoying.
I also want a milling machine. I think a mill would be even more useful for general needs than a lathe, but has plenty of applications in the saw world.

Anyway. Find a low use heavy lathe in the 10-16” range. The more tooling it has the better but don’t buy a worn unit thinking you will fix it up. If it looks clapped, it’s worse than you think.

Welcome to the forum. Share what you get into! Be humble and honest and you’ll only make friends here.
 

Stump Shot

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Running a South Bend 9A here and am happy with it. Has tackled everything thrown at it thus far.
I don't think I'd want to go much smaller if I could help it, but some do with great success.
How things are laid out on a small lathe gets to be important.
Some if the newer front feed cylinders can push things to the limits on my SB 9, which makes the set up critical for reaching the entire base cut.
 

davidwyby

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The above advice is good. 9” swing will do the job, but a bigger swing is more versatile and stable. In my opinion the brand matters less than the tightness and accuracy of the machine. I started with a 9” Logan (1hp), but now have a 12” Taiwan knock-off (2hp) that is tighter, requires less maintenance and has more power. I run 3phase now which cost me a little extra to set up but runs smoother and quieter.
The tooling is also super important. Good stops and indicators, quality jaws and tool post, high grade cutters, and accurate measuring equipment are as important as the base machine. For saw porting you also need a foredom, quality burrs and right angle hand pieces. Not to mention an air compressor, low power impact and a bunch of hand tools.
I wish I had a second lathe in the 16” range. 48” bed is all I need, but steady rests and good tailstock tools have turned out to be more important than I originally expected. The reverse on my lathe is currently broken and I find that very annoying.
I also want a milling machine. I think a mill would be even more useful for general needs than a lathe, but has plenty of applications in the saw world.

Anyway. Find a low use heavy lathe in the 10-16” range. The more tooling it has the better but don’t buy a worn unit thinking you will fix it up. If it looks clapped, it’s worse than you think.

Welcome to the forum. Share what you get into! Be humble and honest and you’ll only make friends here.


Bring a trailer
 

BMSS

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South Bend 10" & South Bend 16"
Rich, thank you for the photos and In depth replies. I may have a line on a 10” south bend close to me, but I wasn’t sure if it would work and your info cleared it up.
 

BMSS

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Running a South Bend 9A here and am happy with it. Has tackled everything thrown at it thus far.
I don't think I'd want to go much smaller if I could help it, but some do with great success.
How things are laid out on a small lathe gets to be important.
Some if the newer front feed cylinders can push things to the limits on my SB 9, which makes the set up critical for reaching the entire base cut.
Stump, I appreciate you taking the time to reply and I definitely appreciate the advice!
 

BMSS

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The above advice is good. 9” swing will do the job, but a bigger swing is more versatile and stable. In my opinion the brand matters less than the tightness and accuracy of the machine. I started with a 9” Logan (1hp), but now have a 12” Taiwan knock-off (2hp) that is tighter, requires less maintenance and has more power. I run 3phase now which cost me a little extra to set up but runs smoother and quieter.
The tooling is also super important. Good stops and indicators, quality jaws and tool post, high grade cutters, and accurate measuring equipment are as important as the base machine. For saw porting you also need a foredom, quality burrs and right angle hand pieces. Not to mention an air compressor, low power impact and a bunch of hand tools.
I wish I had a second lathe in the 16” range. 48” bed is all I need, but steady rests and good tailstock tools have turned out to be more important than I originally expected. The reverse on my lathe is currently broken and I find that very annoying.
I also want a milling machine. I think a mill would be even more useful for general needs than a lathe, but has plenty of applications in the saw world.

Anyway. Find a low use heavy lathe in the 10-16” range. The more tooling it has the better but don’t buy a worn unit thinking you will fix it up. If it looks clapped, it’s worse than you think.

Welcome to the forum. Share what you get into! Be humble and honest and you’ll only make friends here.
I appreciate the advice and will definitely keep and eye out for good tooling. What do you like to use for cutting the squish band down? I had taken a intro to machining class back in high school while taking welding, but aside from basic lathe and mill operations we didn’t get into much tooling for different jobs it was a short class.
 

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Funny you ask. I just use a circular boring bar with an 1/8” HSS cutter head. Probably one of the oldest and simplest pieces of kit I use. You also need a four jaw chuck, a long reach indicator and I made a stop for my cross slide.

Part of the reason I want a second lathe is I find swapping chucks annoying. I would like to have the bigger lathe set up with the four jaw most of the time. Right now I have to change chucks in the middle of machining every cylinder. Combined with my boring bar being kinda chunky (barely enough room in a 30mm bore), I do most of my small squish bands on a cutting mandrel by hand.
 

Moparmyway

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Funny you ask. I just use a circular boring bar with an 1/8” HSS cutter head. Probably one of the oldest and simplest pieces of kit I use. You also need a four jaw chuck, a long reach indicator and I made a stop for my cross slide.

Part of the reason I want a second lathe is I find swapping chucks annoying. I would like to have the bigger lathe set up with the four jaw most of the time. Right now I have to change chucks in the middle of machining every cylinder. Combined with my boring bar being kinda chunky (barely enough room in a 30mm bore), I do most of my small squish bands on a cutting mandrel by hand.
Can I ask why are you swapping chucks ?

I keep the 4 jaw on all the time, you get good at centering your work, and there's no mistakes
 

Rich Fife

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I swap from a 3 jaw to a 4 jaws, I use a collet chuck and even a face plate. If I'm machining tight tolerances and the part has to be concentric, I'm using the 4 jaw. Other than that the majority of the work I do is done with a 3 jaw. I've made a bunch of jigs that I can slap the part on/in, then toss it into a 3 jaw and fine tune the bore, face, etc. There's so many ways to do things in the machining world.
 

BMSS

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Funny you ask. I just use a circular boring bar with an 1/8” HSS cutter head. Probably one of the oldest and simplest pieces of kit I use. You also need a four jaw chuck, a long reach indicator and I made a stop for my cross slide.

Part of the reason I want a second lathe is I find swapping chucks annoying. I would like to have the bigger lathe set up with the four jaw most of the time. Right now I have to change chucks in the middle of machining every cylinder. Combined with my boring bar being kinda chunky (barely enough room in a 30mm bore), I do most of my small squish bands on a cutting mandrel by hand.
I’m filling up a notebook on the info y’all are providing and that I’ve searched for in the threads! Haha. I appreciate all of y’all’s help!
 

BMSS

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I swap from a 3 jaw to a 4 jaws, I use a collet chuck and even a face plate. If I'm machining tight tolerances and the part has to be concentric, I'm using the 4 jaw. Other than that the majority of the work I do is done with a 3 jaw. I've made a bunch of jigs that I can slap the part on/in, then toss it into a 3 jaw and fine tune the bore, face, etc. There's so many ways to do things in the machining world.
I appreciate the advice Rich! I found grizzly has a 10x22 bench top model that has gotten good reviews and currently I don’t have the real estate for a big floor model, so I’ll probably end up going that route.
 

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Can I ask why are you swapping chucks ?

I keep the 4 jaw on all the time, you get good at centering your work, and there's no mistakes

Because I’m a hack. 3 jaw is just easy. Honestly, I haven’t done any mandrel work with the 4jaw. I’ll give it a whirl.
 
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