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How Do I Choose the Best Used Metal Lathe?

Article Details
  • Written By: Dan Cavallari
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 09 October 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2018
    Conjecture Corporation
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A metal lathe is a device used to cut hard metals by rotating the piece of metal on a central axis and using a variety of cutting tools. If you are in the market for a used metal lathe, you will first need to determine how you are likely to use the machine as well as how much space you have available in your workshop. A used metal lathe can take up a significant amount of space, and the machine is likely to be quite loud. Be sure to consider where it will be placed before purchasing.

Several types of used metal lathe models will be at your disposal during your search. Determine what style you need based on what kind of cutting you will be doing. Larger manufacturers tend to use computer numeric control (CNC), lathes because they will be making the same types of cuts over and over again on several pieces of metal. The CNC machine can be programmed to simply repeat the process, and the cuts will be extremely accurate. A used metal lathe that features CNC capabilities will be more expensive, will take up more space, and will require some training, but if the user will be making the same cuts repeatedly, this may be the best option.

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Once you have determined what kind of used metal lathe you will need, it will be important to do a visual inspection of the machine. Older lathes are likely to feature normal wear indicators, such as the absence of paint or even the development of rust; while these features do not necessarily indicate a bad machine, you will need to do a more careful inspection on machines that have a significant amount of rust. If the rust has worked through any of the metal pieces, leading to holes or cracks, this may be a sign of a compromised machine.

You will also need to test out the used metal lathe before purchasing. Take note of how easily the machine starts, and listen for any unusual sounds or indications of strain. Make sure all parts move smoothly, and all necessary parts are present on the machine. Remember that even a careful inspection and trial run may not reveal potential problems with the machine; after you purchase a used metal lathe, be prepared for any repairs that may be necessary by including such costs into your purchase budget.

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