Eight Things to Consider Before Responding to a Lathe Advertisement Like This

Jan 27, 2022
Share this article:

Lathes for sale. It’s a common headline on eBay, Facebook Marketplace, and many other internet sites. And let’s face it, there are some very high-quality lathes for sale out there. But then again, some fall far short of this description. So before responding to that “lathes for sale” headline, it’s a good idea to prepare a checklist of must-have features. Here are some of the things to look for before whipping out your credit card or signing that loan application.

The Lathes for Sale Checklist

  • First off, look for the heaviest machine you can find in your size range. This indicates a cast iron bed and base, which will add stability, precision, and support heavier cuts.
  • For that matter, what size lathe do you need? Does it have the required swing and distance between centers? Is the spindle horsepower appropriate for the work you’ll be doing?
  • And what kind? A toolroom lathe? An engine lathe? A big-bore lathe, or maybe a half-CNC, what’s known as a Teach lathe?
  • Are the gears and way surfaces hardened and ground? If you want the machine to make good parts for a long time, they should be.
  • Is there a removable chip pan? Without it, cleanup will be a hassle. How about a one-pump lubrication system, and a full-length splash guard to keep the floor clean and your clothes dry?
  • How many speeds does the headstock have? More is generally better, as it provides greater flexibility and low-end power.
  • Some machines, however, have infinitely variable spindle speeds, AC-frequency drive, and a digital speed readout. For tough materials where the correct surface speeds are critical to tool life, this might be the best option.
  • Will you be cutting threads? If so, a universal inch/metric gearbox and easy-to-use thread chasing dial are a must.

Don’t Forget the Accessories

There’s more, but the list just provided is a good place to start. And once you’ve checked all the boxes, it’s time to make a list of all the other stuff you might need. This includes accessories such as a quick-change tool post, digital readout, or a 4-jaw chuck. You might think these can be picked up later, and if cash is a concern, you’re probably right. Still, it might be a better idea to get everything upfront so you can become productive more quickly. If you need some advice from people who A) have plenty of lathes for sale, and B) the experience and support staff needed to back them, give Kent USA a call. We’re here to help.


Kent USA HW-Series Manual Precision Lathe

Share this article: