Mini lathe suggestion

I want to upgrade my lab with a small metal lathe, to be less dependent from friends and colleagues favours when it comes to metal works and open the way to more experiments, with my builds.
I know that many peoples here have a lathe and experiences with personal mini lathes, any tip, suggestion, link or indication to where to buy (in Europe) will be very welcome!

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I use and really like the sherline gear (mills and lathes). Their quality is great. Taig are slightly heavier duty if you want that.

I have a Sherline - I wish it were just slightly bigger. I haven’t checked but if the Taig handles larger stock I’d go with that. The newest version looks a lot better than what they had when I bough the Sherline.

I have a Taig mill. The quality of both Taig and Sherline is really good.

And CNCing them is really easy - there’s a kit.

I seen those on the internet, very nice little machines. I was thinking about a slightly bigger unit, like 300mm or 7x12" models… I found similar products probably coming from same China factory… Nothing used unfortunately.

I would suggest going one size bigger than you think you need. I have a tiny optimum lathe, but Im slowly killing it with this project. Optimum are made in china and not very good quality. I will buy my next lathe with consideration towards the ease of finding consumables and accessories for the lathe. Probably a local shop with good support.

When I first started my build, I tried using a Chinese lathe and just about killed it. It simply could not part a 60mm aluminium rod.
The Sherline and Taig are both made in USA and are FAR superior to the Chinese versions. I did all my machining of the aluminium on a Sherline mill with a rotary table. Worked a charm!

I just bought an Optimum for the same reason. Initially I wanted a real industrial one, but this one is in great condition even though its used and easy to handle. It weighs just 70kg. I still need to clean and oil it, but so far it looks promising for my work. Everything seems built to a high standard. They put an effort into making the parts.

From where did you get that @MaxMaker?

Ebay. It was used by a jewler before.

@MaB no matter what Lathe you buy you will always find a job that needs a slightly bigger chuck…I purchased a TU-2506V second hand form a guy that needed a larger Lathe. My one is ok but I also find its limits very quickly.

I would suggest looking second hand the more industrial the better. ( OLD IS GOOD ) as it is more likely to be made well.
Also consider accessory’s such as cutting tools, 4 Jaw chuck, Lathe steady, DRO etc . The Lathe can easily be just 50% of the spend.

Quality holds its value you can always resell something of good quality.

I also think the advantages a metal Lathe gives any Lathe is worth having.


Definitely an old industrial “small” lathe would have been advisable but… no room for that, I’ve throuble in cutting some space out for a mini lathe. I will keep using real lathe at work, when possible, for the demanding parts and I try to stick to your suggestion about quality.

If you have a few thousands USD/EUR available, you can try the pocket lathes from pocketnc
V2: 4900USD just incredible:
The V1, 3500USD during the KStarter campaign,
Second- hand pieces available in Europe via the pocketnc Google Group:!forum/pocket-nc/categories

5 axis so ideal to cut helicoidal pieces like impellers in Alu. Compact footprint:

I knew that, seen videos, but it’s an incredibly expensive toy. CNC are a different story than manual parallel lathes, I’d love to have one but they’re still too expensive for the results they give. Ok for soft non metal materials maybe but steel or even aluminum are far beyond home CNCs