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I have some money burning a hole in my pocket and making a nasty  looking positive  number in  my  ledger  (very small time here). I would like to buy a lathe that can turn spacers and reel seat hardware. I have no interest in making ferrules. eBay has old Unimats for around $300 that come with what looks like everything I need. Harbor Freight has mini lathes for $200 - $400 but they have no tooling or chucks. So in the end I have to dump more money in to it to get up to speed. Will the Unimat be accurate enough to turn spacers, sliding rings and the like? Blue Ridge Machinery is right down the road and they carry Unimat parts. Will a Unimat work? (Lee Orr)

    If I sound like a broken record, I apologize. I have a South Bend 9 x 39. I paid $300 for it and a ton of tooling. Both 3 and 4 jaw chucks, bits, arbors and on and on. I got it through the local paper's want ads. The guy was retiring and selling off his equipment. I have seen similar deals at flea markets.

    New is nice but my deal is hard to beat. Look around the local papers, check with used machinery dealers, I got my cousin a nice wood lathe from a garage sale. I imagine mine will go at my estate sale. (Rich Jezioro)

      I have looked in the local papers here and can't find anything. I think our relatively small population doesn't allow this type of equipment to be very common. But Pittsburgh, Cinnci, or Columbus isn't out of the question. I'll try there too. (Lee Orr)

    I found my South Bend at a machine shop sitting on a shelf in the back collecting dust. The shop had gone to NC equipment and had no need for a regular lathe anymore and I got it and all the collets, gears, chucks and tool posts for $250.00. those deals are out there, it just takes a little looking and asking. Check old machine shops, it will surprise you what they have lying around collecting dust. (Patrick Coffey)

    I love my Unimat 3. I have a ton of high priced accessories for it, the milling attachment, etc. That being said, it will be finding it's way to eBay shortly so I can make room for something big enough to use. It is fine for small parts, I'm sure it would be OK for ferrules, but a reel seat would be a real challenge. Add to that the cost of accessories, and it isn't even worth looking at. Most of the $300 ones on eBay don't include enough accessories to really make it useful. 90% of the ones that show up on eBay don't include the threading attachment, which is ridiculously priced, and no fun to use. Go price a set of collets and a holder for it, then make your choice. (Larry Blan)

      The only thing I want to make is sliding band reel seats or just a nice spacer that I can buy hardware for. I'm not interested in threaded reel seats or cutting any threads for that matter. I can turn a pretty good spacer on my drill press pen blank lathe, but getting a decent hole bored through it is a pain in the butt. If I drill the hole first the wood winds up cracking or the lathe set up holds it poorly. If I drill it afterwards it is off center. I didn't get the mandrel and I really don't want to sink any more money into that jakey set up.

      I'm really looking for a very basic set up. I'm more interested in finding neat looking wood and such. The advanced metal working doesn't interest me much. Harbor Freight has a lathe for $209 that looks like it would work. I checked the Homier lathe and I have to tack on $55 shipping right off the bat. (Lee Orr)

        In my reply to you off list I also advised you to get a Homier. You might spend 55.00 shipping but do some checking before you go to the 209.00 Harbor Freight lathe. If this is the 4019 @ 209.00 This lathe has a manual lead screw, you might just as well buy a wood lathe. The 7 3/4" between centers will drop to 4" or less by the time you put the turning spur in the head and the drilling chuck in the tail stock. It only weighs 29 pounds, that should tell you it is made of plastic. I have seen them and they will not turn a reel seat without a lot of hassle.

        Buy what you want but in the long run, if you can't do what you want to do with it, it is wasted money. A 7X10 might turn a grip if you fool with the tail stock. It is even marginal for inserts. I have done it but it is not convenient at all, The extra 2" on the 7X12 makes all the difference. You claim you already have a jecky set of something, why add to it. Tom Peters was at my demo last week, he has already replied to you. He can tell you how easy it is to do it on the right lathe. Drilling holes in the insert blocks is no problem with the right equipment. I do it all the time. The right equipment is a MT2 adapter with a chuck and a parabolic drill bit. I don't think you can get that setup in the lathe you are looking at.

        Just trying to keep you from making a mistake.

        BTW, Harbor Freight now charges shipping and handling, no more free shipping on orders over 50.00 like the used to do. (Tony Spezio)

    Sounds like you have already made the decision about a Unimat. Trust me, if you are going to invest in a lathe, get one big enough to do the job. That means a hole in the headstock big enough to put a rod blank through and big enough to turn grips etc. My old Craftsman will accept a number 3 Moors taper in the headstock. If I had my druthers it would take a number 5. That way instead of having to use a collet chuck I could just use a collet adapter. You will find many more uses for a bigger lathe than you might expect. (Jerry Drake)

    I thought that I would put in about $.02 worth concerning the lathes, It would be nice to own one of the bigger models, but they are out of my reach financially. So, I ended up purchasing a Homier 7x12’s at one of their road shows. I saved on shipping but had to pay the sales tax. It is a nice lathe for the money and runs circles around my old Craftsman 6x18, the Homier is easier to use and more accurate. Of course, most know that we end up with more money in the tooling than the lathe cost. If you want to know more about the lathe and what it is capable of, pros, cons, limitations, etc, yahoogroups.com has a group called 7x12 mini lathes, that really gets with it. I have no financial interest in the company and am not really recommending this lathe, but will make the statement that was criticized a while back, "it works for me." (Larry Fraysier)

    The Homier metal lathe (7 x 12) will do all you want to do and more. This is the best $299 that I have ever spent. I am now making ferrules, reel seat spacers and reel seat hardware for cap and ring reel seats. When I first got my Homier, I checked the runout on the 3 jaw chuck spindle and it was about .0005 right out of the box. The lathe has automatic feed, goes forward and reverse and parts and accessories are readily available from the Little Machine Shop web site. Check the archives for all of the positive comments that have been made about the Homier. (Tom Peters)

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