This section will have some photos on the 10x24 Select bench lathe that I bought new back around 1982. This was my first major machine tool purchase. I've just sold this to a friend so photos will have to wait until I can go over and take some.
In late spring 2004 I decided to upgrade my lathe (after 22 or so years of use of the Select) I was going to look for a nice used industrial lathe with a 13-15" swing. Due to space constraints I need a shorter bed length, and most motorcycle parts aren't terribly long anyway. There were a few jobs I'd have liked to try on the Select where it would have been a tight squeeze, so something in the 30-36" between centers size seemed like it would be a good way to go.
My friend Peter recommended the Graziano SAG12 to me. He's had one for about 25 years and he's gotten great service out of it, and it has many interesting features. I'd have been very happy to have one, except they are very thin on the ground. Several of his friends have purchased them, but the one I spoke with mentioned an 8 year search, and that was a bit longer than I wanted to wait.
http://www.lathes.co.uk/ has a wealth of information on a lot of different lathes and mills from manufacturers around the world. Here's a picture on their site of the SAG12
Another machinist/motorcyclist buddy has a Mori Seiki MS850. This is a 17" swing x 33" (850mm) "precision high speed lathe". This seemed like more machine than I needed, as well as being outside my budget. But the more research I did, the more interesting it became. I asked for lathe recommendations on various machinist fora and while there was a lot of "Ford vs Chevy" type of comments about different lathes, no one had anything bad to say about the Mori Seiki.
One was spotted at a dealer in Los Angeles, and I made plans to go down and look at it. Derek, another user on Practical Machinist, volunteered to take a day off of work and pick me up at the airport and look at lathes. That was very kind of him and quite unexpected, though I've found that there are a lot of helpful folks that can be reached on the Internet.
We first stopped at one machinery dealer that had a MS on eBay, but theirs was having electrical problems and was an older, and seemingly well worn model. It also had a "clunk" in the headstock geartrain which wasn't too impressive, so we moved on to the main target at Greer Machinery in Huntington Beach. Tom Greer is the U.S. Whacheon lathe importer. The Whacheon is a licensed copy of the Mori Seiki built by a company in Korea that does a lot of gear work for the Korean automotive industry. We spent a couple of hours there looking at the lathe I eventually purchased and having Tom show us some of the internals from various used lathes that he was refurbishing. Getting a one year parts warranty (the Whacheon parts all fit) from Tom was a nice part of the deal, though his practice is to replace anything that looks questionable before it goes up for sale. He'd prefer to put it together right and sell a machine he can stand behind that won't need parts because it has already had the bad stuff replaced. He told me that my lathe had been in fine shape internally and other than cleaning it out he didn't find any parts that needed replacing.
Peter's friend Bob does machinery rigging and I arranged for Tom to deliver the lathe to his shop. Bob then brought it up to my house and installed it in the garage, much to the interest of some of the neighbors.
Here's something I made in early April 2008 for the Mori Seiki. It is a table that attaches to the cross slide by using the dovetails on the cross slide that are used to attach a rear tool post. I've been wanting this so I could attach items to the cross slide to do line boring with a boring bar held between centers. I wasn't going to buy a 2" thick piece of steel and turn 40% of it into scrap so I went with bolt-on dovetail bars. The one closest to the spindle will be the "fixed" bar and will stay clamped tight. The one on the tailstock side is the "clamping" dovetail.
I didn't use a dovetail cutter. I just clamped the bars in the vise and used an angle gauge to set them in position for a facing cut for the face of the dovetail.
I expect that there won't be very high forces on the table with a single point cutter taking what are basically light truing cuts. But since it was easy to do and I had lots of 1/2-13 cap screws on hand I went with 6 of them per bar, just to be safe.
I don't push the speeds/feeds yet so I presume that someone who was more comfortable with picking "good" speeds/feeds/DOC could shave some time off of the cut times for the table. I didn't keep track of the time required to make the dovetail bars.
It took about twice that long to actually run as I would stop to clear chips, and I had to reset Z Zero several times due to the differences in tool lengths since the Tree has only 6" of Z travel in the quill.
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