i found a very cheap mini lathe on craigslist that is missing the chuck.
i have long been interested to get one to fool around with, i can fing nothing on the brand online, so my question is, if its a generic chinese made mini lathe, how likely is it that a chuck for a different mini lathe will fit it? like something from harbor freight.
my expectations are low... but for the asking price it would be worth checking out.
If your lathe came with a face plate, take it to your local HF store and see if it will thread on to the spindle on their lathe. If it does, order a replacement. There are also a number of on-line and e-bay dealers that sell chucks, but you often have to mount the chuck on a back plate, and if you are new to machining you probably shouldn't try it. Two places I've purchased from are: CDCO.com and the e-bay seller 800watts.
FWIW, these are not great lathes don't expect to work fast or take off a large cut of material when machining.
thanks for the info, i am just looking for something to fool around with and get my feet wet... also i have low expectations, but for 75 or 100 bucks i woudl feel better about buying a piece of junk than say 600 or 700.
Mini lathe, Im assuming your talking about the little units that are about 600mm or 2ft in length. Chucks in gerneral can be purchased almost anywhere, local machinery shop eby etc. You just need to know the mounting style, for the price its a good unit to start practicing with. But really the mini lathes are very very limited
I have one of these Chinese mini-lathes, they are ok for small jobs/soft materials and reasonably precise if set up correctly. Great for brass, aluminium, hard wood or plastic, they'll cut steel too if you have a sharp tool, take your time and don't try to take too much at a time as they're neither powerful nor sturdy enough for heavy cutting.
Expect to spend a few hours for proper adjustment of gibs and aligning the head/tailstocks unless the previous owner already did that.
I've used both the Sieg lathe (currently own a MicroMark 7x14 version) and a Unimat DB200. The Unimat was cooler and had more accessories (mini table saw = awesome), but the bed was super flexible so you had to work with that. The Sieg is not cool and has its own limitations, but it is cheaper overall and comes with a compound slide, which the Unimat DB does not.
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