Model making is supposed to be about fun and all about the project, not about having to make do with a machine that takes lots of effort and reduces the pleasure. So you’ll need a machine or mini lathe that does the job and is as much of a joy to operate as making the model. Shop Fox Lathes are designed to be exactly this.
The M1016 10 x 20 Shop Fox is a middle of the range when it comes to price, but if you go for cheap, you get cheap quality finish in the gearbox, tailstock bearings and chassis rigidity.
The M1016 is better than that and it should only cost around $1250.
Of course, buying the most expensive mini lathe would be lovely but you probably won’t get more than this lathe offers except for a few more tools as inclusions. And even they may not be what you really need.
Save your money, go for the best basic lathe and add quality tools and fittings as you go. You get what you pay for and if you want to turn out precise work that you’ll be proud of, you need equipment that has solid rigidity in build and fine adjustment in its workings.
Easy to operate, taking up little space and they won’t clean out your wallet. And the Shop Fox m1016 is the perfect sized lathe for the small shop due to the small bench space required for a lathe that will do surprisingly large tasks.
Powered by a ¾ horse power single phase 110 volt motor that runs at 1725 RPM, there are six spindle speeds from 150 rpm up to 2400 rpm all actuated by a trigger giving you the control required for turnings from delicate to deep, quick cuts with a fine finish.
A 5inch, 3 jaw chuck, 9 ¾ inch swing over bed and 20 inch between centers cater for most of the projects any model maker or hobbyist will need from a midi lathe. Gear changes are not difficult and the chuck guard has automatic shut down if lifted.
All in all, a good mini lathe that will do great work and compact enough to fit most small shops.
Try a lathe that makes the most of floor space. The Lathe Mill Combo M1018.
When it comes time to buy that first lathe, or upgrade to something larger than a mini lathe, have a look at a lathe mill combo, particularly if you’re short on cash and space.
You get the advantage of turning and milling operations without crowding your work area or emptying your bank. Because after you get a lathe, there is still going to be extra cash to layout for all those tools and accessories that you’re going to need and the shop won’t get bigger straight away. Plus you’ll find that a combination lathe-mill-drill can be a pretty useful addition to a home shop for hobbyists doing smaller work.
Having a milling head on the lathe allows you to carry out lots of extra operations that model making or hobbyists will need to do in their shop. Nothing is more annoying than being limited in operation. You have a great idea or want to make some fascinating model but you have to lower your sights just because a lathe only is not enough.
With a milling head you can mill keyways, splines, slots, flats, drill holes and the list goes on. Stub axles with keyways, shafts with spanner flats. With a smaller lathe/mill combo, taking smaller cuts will overcome most of the problems that arise in getting a good finish.
And remember, you can’t use a drill press as a mill if you want precision and of course safety as the drill press chuck is not designed for milling operations.
Getting hold of a dial indicator and mini-mag holder will also help you achieve fine accuracy.
The Shop Fox M1018 is a fine mini metal lathe for the small shop. With the machine you get a 4 way turret post, 4 inch 3-jaw chuck and a built in rotating vise. You have the availability of inch and metric threads, an 11 ½ inch swing over the saddle, nearly 20 inches between centers and a ¾ inch spindle bore. The motor is ¾ horsepower 110volt and easily powerful enough for the type of projects that come out of the hobby shop. Lathe speeds can be changed between 160, 300, 375, 470, 600, 870, 1360 RPM and there are 14 Mill/Drill speeds.
With an approximate shipping weight of 475 lbs this machine is no light weight and you will need a means of lifting unless when you get it delivered you pay extra for the carrier to arrange lifting gear. Generally free shipping only means from the vendor to a fully fitted loading bay with forklift facilities.
All in all, the Shop Fox M1018 lathe will be a great benefit to a small shop and you’ll be able to go ahead and work on projects that would otherwise be out of reach.
Changing from the lathe to the mill may take a little time and you will have to watch adjustments and measurements, but with practice this will become easier and given a little time, you’ll be turning out your own masterpieces and moving on up to high quality, intricate projects.
One little item in a lot of shops that gets left on the shelf or in the cabinet is ear muffs or ear plugs. Sometimes it seems like too much trouble to find the muffs, dust them off and wear them.
Or you’re so involved in what you’re doing that you don’t even think of them until the saw, drill or lathe is screaming, driving you mad and you can’t stop now. If the noise level is high enough, your vision can even start to lose focus and then things really get dangerous.
The highest decibel level for normal hearing to tolerate is 85 decibels for 8 hours. If the noise level is above that, then the permissible time exposure level drops dramatically. For instance, if the level increases to 91 decibels then you only get 1 hour before damage begins to occur. These levels and times have been set by research but I sometimes wonder if the researchers have any hearing problems when they did set these levels as there are occasions when some noises in my shop don’t appear to worry anyone else but they go through my eardrums like a sharp pin.
Too much constant noise, even on lower decibels level than 85 also becomes annoying, particularly if the noise is being made by another person on the site.
Why is it we can put up with the noise we’re making yet not tolerate noise created by someone else?
And becoming annoyed or tired by constant noise leads to lack of concentration.
If you put on a set of hearing protection ear cups, the ones that connect over the top of the head like head phones, after you’ve had them on for a short time you seem to go into a little world of your own. Your focus and concentration tighten right down onto the areas or project you’re working on and that’s great for focus and getting the job done right.
And that guy that always wants to talk is marooned outside your little world.
Although you might not worry about a bit of noise every now and then, later in life it’ll catch up with you.
I ended up with Ménière’s disease.
A set of good hearing protectors, used constantly, would have probably avoided this.
Take heed of this, get hold of and wear hearing protection all the time you’re in the shop.