View Full Version here: : Sieg mini machines.. Are they good?

28-11-2010, 06:35 PM
I am looking at Sieg mini lathe/milling machine... The model I am interested is this one:
Anyone has any experience with these machines?

28-11-2010, 08:49 PM
chinese? Id say no, the ones Ive looked had QC issues with the carriage and tool post screws and general fitting slopiness. things either binding or so sloppy as to be useless ( I hate machines with sloppy fitting parts) there probably are good quality ones out there but they cost the same as any good quality one.

28-11-2010, 08:56 PM
It's an excellent choice for a small mill and mid range lathe.
I have this combination but as separate units which I'd recommend instead of the 2 in 1 unit pictured. For a review of these separate components, check out Frank Hoose's (http://www.mini-lathe.com/) website.

The lathe is much more capable than the more common 7x14 minilathe but is still usable where space is a limitation. I don't have a garage/shed so I have it installed in a spare room of my house.
The mill is excellent for aluminium and plastics and will handle steel although you have to watch the speed and feed rate. The mill does require a bit of tweaking to get right but nothing too difficult or requiring specialised tools.
I've had mine for 2 - 3 years and both get a fair bit of use. No problems or complaints to date - apart from the cost of accessories, expect to spend at least as much as the purchase price of the mill/lathe on tools you'll need/want.

I've few pictures on my website, see signature.

If you've got any specific questions, please ask.

28-11-2010, 08:56 PM
Did a bit of research on the C3 series. Mixed reviews. Obviously bang for the buck as they're relatively cheap but they don't seem to work out of the box. They need to be pulled apart, adjusted, relubed and a few mods to be done so they perform as advertised. Also read that the beds are not heat treated and is the first thing that wears out. Most of the gears are plastic also. They are budget units. Depends what you are going to do with them I guess.

28-11-2010, 10:41 PM
Thanks guys for the feedback.
I am not after large series or production, it is for hobby.. small parts here and there, just to unload my friend (who has decent workshop) a bit when I need those little things like adaptors, shafts, mainly plastic and aluminium :-).
I am guessing, like almost every product from China there will be no perfection, but reasonable functionality and precision, a good price/performance ratio...

I saw C3 on ebay, but not this particular one, neither combined nor separate from mill. Who is selling them?

28-11-2010, 10:54 PM
The C6 lathe - the one that forms part of the M6 combination you linked, is sold by Carbatec (http://www.carbatec.com.au/carba-tec-c6-metalworking-lathe_c2461) and Hare and Forbes (https://www.machineryhouse.com.au/Products?stockCode=L148). Both places also sell the X2 mini-mill. Hare and Forbes also have the M6 combination.
You can also find these on eBay, seller ozmestore1 (where I got my mill) usually has the X2 mini-mill for sale and occasionally the C6. He also has the C3 lathe as does Carbatec.
Minitech (http://www.minitech.com.au/) in Queensland are Sieg importers and carry some of the Sieg range.

For the difference in price/weight, I'd suggest the C6. It can handle a bigger work piece but still do the smaller stuff.

Somethig to bear in mind is that the X2 mini-mill is very simple to convert to full CNC operation for about the cost of the mill itself. You can go into production making astronomy accessories for IIS members :D

28-11-2010, 11:12 PM
Geoff, thanks for this info, I will certainly contact them as soon as I can (tomorrow)..

29-11-2010, 12:44 AM
I have Sieg X2 mini mill & C3 14"x7" mini lathe.
For the money they are excellent.
Bought both from ebay - seller ozmestore1.
I did strip both machines & did some "tuning" - gib adjustment, lapping, etc. Improved accuracy quite a bit.
One excellent site to visit is mini-lathe.com (http://www.mini-lathe.com/)
For the money, in my opinion, there's nothing better on the market.
Sure, the bigger machines will do a better job, but they do cost much more, take more room & weight MUCH more.
I posted some pic of one of my projects few weeks ago here.
That was my first ever job on the mini lathe.

29-11-2010, 02:33 AM
I have a C4 lathe and X3 mill. Both are extremely accurate and easy to use. I have had mine for about 2 years and done a fair bit of work without any problems what so ever bar the occasional adjustment to make sure everything is nice and snug. They are great value and I have not had to do any extra work on mine to get it to do what I want ( I make stirling engines which have very tight tolerences). The C4 has excellent thread cutting abilities as well with a huge number of both metric and imperial threads able to be made (not so for the C3 and C6 models). The C4 also comes with a powerful brushless motor that has a huge amount of torque even at 100RPM.


29-11-2010, 07:07 AM
I have the wee C1 and when it works it is very useful but it has electronic speed control issues. Sometimes it does but more often it doesn't .... go that is.
I've been trying to source a new main controller board over here without success. So check your local support options, via China does not work. They put you on their distributor list and send you email about buying bulk but no replies about your real problem.

21-12-2010, 07:03 PM
I am also very interested in this thread as I am looking at the same purchase in the new year.

I am interested in the comments re the thread cutting ability of the various models post by Mark. Reading the spec sheets for all models they all seem to have this ability.

Any further advice would be welcomed.

21-12-2010, 08:52 PM
The C6 can cut both imperial and metric threads with the standard supplied gears although changing the gears can be a pain if you have to do it too often.
There's no threading gauge supplied as standard on the C6, it's an option. It's fairly easy to thread without one by using the motor reverse.

Changing the speed on the C6 is done by moving the drive belt between pulleys and can be a knuckle skinning nuisance, the C4 with a variable speed DC motor is superior in this respect.
For threading, the lower speed that the C4 is capable of, is an advantage.

23-12-2010, 08:56 AM
Thanks for the explanation Geoff. Looks like I'm off to Hare and Forbes after the Christmas break to spend a few more hard earned dollars.

Are there any must have accessories I should be looking at?


23-12-2010, 11:06 AM
I've not tried the Seig lathe's yet. My expe rience so far with the X1 mill has been good. Some of this feedback might be relevant in general. A few limitations with it (the nylon gear on the motor tend's to fail if the motor has been running for a while (and is hot) then a cutting tool hit's sudden load. I'm not wrapped in the slide adjustment screws (not sure what the proper name is), the row of adjustment screws along the side of each part of the cross slide. I'll swap them over to set screws sometime soon. The conversion of the X1 to CNC has been relatively easy although I'm well into a remake of the fittings - I roughed up fittings with hand tools to get it going and am now rebuilding them using the mill under CNC control. Others have strongly suggested the use of ballscrews but at this stage the additional cost is making that a 'later' option.

I do have a larger Lathe/mill combo (almost the same as https://www.machineryhouse.com.au/Products?stockCode=L159) which does fine for most of the lathe work that I do but which has been less than satisfactory for milling. The layout makes it hard to fit long pieces in to work on them and the round column supporting the mill head does not hold in position as well as it should. It may do better under CNC where feed rates are better controlled. My impression is that separate units make sense.

If upfront cost is a big driver for the combined unit it is possible to get after market bit's for some of the Seig mill's and I've heard of people buying the combo and getting the base for the mill later.

There is some links on the thread on my conversion of an X1 to CNC which might be useful, a couple of the guy's who are way ahead of me have provided some great material.


23-12-2010, 11:10 AM
I bought a Chinese mill/lathe 14 years ago and have never regretted it. One piece on the cross slide broke so I milled a replacement and fitted it. The lathe bed and cross slide makes a great platform for your Foucault tester, All you need is your light source and knife-edge and a dial indicator.

I should imagine the quality has improved somewhat since I purchased my setup.

23-12-2010, 01:07 PM
Two good sites to check out for required tools/accessories are:

mini-lathe: (http://mini-lathe.com) This site has been going since the mini-laths and mini-mills first appeared. It has some excellent information about the various brands available (in the US). Most of the mini-mill covered are rebadged/repainted Sieg mills.

Little Machine Shop (http://lmscnc.com): They sell everything for mini-mills and mini-lathes. There are also some excellent info files there covering what you'll need to get started.

Be warned, the cost of tooling for the mill will be at least equal to the cost of the mill itself! It's a bit like astronomy in that respect :)

Terry B
23-12-2010, 03:38 PM
I have a 9x20 lathe (https://www.machineryhouse.com.au/Products?stockCode=L157) and an X2 type (http://titanmachinery.com.au/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=207&Itemid=425) mill from Titan machines.
They both needed a little fiddling to get up to standard but I have been veryhappy with both of them. I have made various adaptors for my scopes and have started to make model engines. All good fun.
Here is my first engine.:D

23-12-2010, 08:29 PM
Gotta love the stirlings, I have made about 4 of them now including one that runs on a cup of hot coffee :D. Its all great fun and I really want to have a go at one with a rhombic drive.


07-11-2012, 07:55 PM
Old thread resurrection.....Sieg X2, $650 + GST from Hare & Forbes (http://www.machineryhouse.com.au/M150), till 17th Nov. In fact they have special on pretty much everything ATM.

My question....is the X2 worthwhile considering the limited X & Y table travel (225mm x 100mm)? I've trolled the internet and it appears ok but the travel is a bit of a limitation.

I'm looking for a small Mill I can later convert to CNC (and Mach3), preferably one that can travel around 350mm min X travel.:D

Anyone have thoughts on all this.:shrug: Pro's Con's..any advice accepted.:thumbsup:

07-11-2012, 08:03 PM
I have the X2, bought it (and a C3)about 7 or 8 years ago when they were double the price.
The X-Y travel is limiting at times, but can work around it most times.
Where I find I have trouble is in the Z travel.
Once you bolt a decent vice or rotary table on the table, and factoring for your collet holder, you are suddenly very short of Z travel.
Many times I can't even change mills without moving the table to clear the workpiece and allow me to drop the mill out.

Much wiser choice for the money is the X3 which is a VERY popular machine for CNC conversion.
Wish I had bought it from the outset but it was quite a lot more $ back then.
I should look at upgrading the C3 to a C6 and the X2 to an X3.

07-11-2012, 08:12 PM
Thanks Simon

your pretty much echo'ing the same things I am thinking of....the X3 is better all over, currently $1450 (http://www.machineryhouse.com.au/M153). The X2 is affordable, now, the X3...I need to save some more pennies!

I did note these machines are using 3MT taper when most OS versions use R8 and a few other small upgraded specs.

07-11-2012, 08:27 PM
Yeah the X3 is great value now, that is close to what I paid for the X2 :eyepop:
I have MT3, there is so much available to fit it. Tho having said that I have never really looked at what is available in R8.

07-11-2012, 08:59 PM
I watched a few videos on the X2 and can see the Z axis clearence issue. Many thanks for that tip. I found the littlemachine shop has replacement taper R8 spindles (http://www.littlemachineshop.com/products/product_view.php?ProductID=1407&category=6) what also looks like an extended Z axis column (http://www.littlemachineshop.com/products/product_view.php?ProductID=1502&category=6).

Though upgrading things like the column and maybe x & y axes travel with is probably not economic.

Nice to see a good range of spares and mods available...even if it is in USA.

The Idea is to eventually upgrade the mill, bypass DRO systems, go straight to CNC via something like Mach3 and 3 axis Geko drives. Well that's the plan.:lol:

07-11-2012, 09:04 PM
Brendan, if you want to upgrade to CNC make sure you get the standard X3 mill not the super X3 as there is a problem fitting the high speed bearings needed (there is an aussie mob who can supply a complete CNC kit though is very expensive but has 0.01mm repeatable accuracy). I have had my X3 for about 3-4 years and have found it to be very good and accurate but you really need to buy very accurate and ridged vices etc if you want to get inside 2 thou clearances. I pulled all my bearings out of the main quill as they were a little suspect after 2 years of being hammered by a rank armature and replaced them with high quality Japanese bearings (all common sizes) and this has aided me in getting incredible accuracy from my machine (see attached pics). Just as an aside the C4 lathe already has high quality Japanese bearings from the factory as stock and this is one of the reasons it is a far more accurate lathe then either the C3 or C6. You only lose a few mm on centre clearance over the bed and about 50mm between centres when compared to the C6 so not much of a sacrifice for a much more accurate lathe. By the way your best bet is to use MT3 as there are stacks of cutting tools you can buy from Hare and Forbes in this size.


07-11-2012, 09:31 PM
Thanks Mark...yeah the std x3 will be in my sights, once I talk myself out of the X2. This is pretty much settled now....X3

MT3 has been around for quite a time. They call it 3MT now..or maybe it was always called this? From what I have read R8 is up and coming wrt to easier to remove (due to the taper), but as you said MT3 to lets say ER32 collets are pretty common.

Love that engine:love:

If I buy a mill for the garage...maybe I can seek in a Lathe?:lol:

07-11-2012, 10:25 PM
Morse taper 3 or 3 morse taper, bit like tomato's or tomatoes yes :D. The 3MT sleeves are easy to remove as The X3 has a drawbar which you just undo 3 or 4 turns then give it a tap with a rubber mallet, the sleeve comes free easily and you just unwind the drawbar the rest of the way to get it right out. R8 is more of a UK/euro thing I think, just as many tools available though but often more expensive from what I have seen. The ER32 collet sets are sweet for this mill, I bought the full kit from Hare and Forbes, does both metric and imperial in one set and are very accurate and well priced. A must for the X3 if you want to do accurate work is a good quality tool makers vice with guaranteed grind tolerances (mine allowed me to get inside that final 2 thou threshold and its worst figure is 0.002mm grind accuracy). If you stay within the limits stated on the mill the X3 is good value for money and as you build experience It will allow you to make some very precise parts (its all in the setup, 3 hours set out 5 mins cutting :D). I have put a 3 axis DRO unit on mine and this has proved to be an excellent addition. You really want a coolant tank and pump as this will extend tool life hugely as long as you are sensible with your depths and feed speeds as you can easily kill a new bit in a single pass. Make sure all your end mills/slot drills etc are made from Cobalt HSS and don't bother with indexable carbide bits except for the face mill as the RPM is not high enough to warrant them and they do dull quickly at low speed (I bought a tool sharpener, even does end mills but expensive to purchase but I also kill a lot of end mills so worth it for me). I use the powered X axis add on which saves my arm a lot of pain and produces a much more even cut especially when face milling, nice and even. In terms of tooling there really is no end to the goodies you can buy for mills and lathes, I must have spent 10 times the amount on tooling then I did when I bought the machines (only a few more bits to go like some gear cutters, perhaps a sine bar, ooh and a machine tapping chuck and... :P) The block in the photo's was made entirely on my mill with only the front nose hub being turned on the lathe. Need to make the crank and camshaft now but that's a whole new challenge. Here's an adaptor I turned up on the C4 to fit my EM200 to a vixen tripod, $30 of ali and a couple hours of my time saved a lot of money, I love owning these machines.


07-11-2012, 10:56 PM
That and the fact the column on the X2 isn't very rigid. Fine for small work tho.
I have seen a few mods over the years to overcome this problem, one person filled the column with concrete! Extending the column would only make things worse.

If I were to buy today rather than when I did, the X3 would be the minimum spec machine I would look at, the X2 wouldn't even be on the radar.

Edit: The key to these machines is knowing their limits and working within that envelope.
The net is full of keyboard warriors that love to rag on these machines, but they own/use industrial machines that are in a a whole different league(and price!)
These chinese hobby machines, for the price, are very capable machines.

08-11-2012, 12:46 AM
Hi Brendan,

Keep in mind that R8 has been around since the mid 1960's, nearly 50 years
ago, so it isn't exactly up and coming. :) It was developed in the United States
by Bridgeport, a name that became synonymous with vertical mills in that country.
When you see archival WWII film footage of where they are manufacturing
B-17's or Sherman tanks in those giant factories, Bridgeport mills
were an important contributor to that massive US industrial might.

Just as the Bridgeport mills became popular in the US, so did R8 tapers there.

Morse Tapers have been around since the 1860's and are still in common use
today. Just give them a little tap with a soft hammer and they will come straight out. :thumbsup:

The advice given to go with a minimum of an X3 is good advice.

Be mindful that as a manually operated machine, out of the box, for this class
of machine, the amount of backlash is very high. You can reduce it some by
adjusting the gibs but when cutting it is best to keep working in the same
direction when possible to avoid it altogether.

If you go to CNC, you will installing lead screws and ball nuts or even double ball
nuts which gives a mill like the X3 a positioning accuracy, repeatability and backlash
figure of in the order of 0.01mm to 0.05mm in the X/Y when adjusted.

Always keep in the back of your head what the first C in CNC stands for.

As we all know, there is software and then there is software.

And it is the quality of the CAD/CAM software that makes the largest contribution to
a CNC mills capabilities.

Mach 3 is a G-code interpreter that can drive the motor controller.
You can do some useful tasks with its in-built Wizards.

But where a CNC machine really gets its wings is from the CAD/CAM software
you use that will design the parts you wish to fabricate and which generate reasonable G-code.

There is some free stuff around, but by the time you have got the mill, got the
cutting tools, got CNC and Mach 3 and so on, you will really want to be thinking
of using what will be inevitably paid-for licensed CAD/CAM software to provide the
best return on all you have invested.

So what am I saying? :) I'm recommending if you are serious of ever going
down the CNC path be prepared in the future to budget for some good CAD/CAM

08-11-2012, 09:43 AM
Thanks Mark Simon & Gary. Lots of very good info and advice. Coolant and even a simple power drive are certainly things that are required, I have been looking at, as they will be needed pretty much straight away.

Gary, I've been playing with Solid edge 2D drafting (Siemens CAD freeware) and can output .dxf files which I believe can be G code interpreted by Mach 3. I find solid edge a bit clunky and will probably move to a different package...and a steep learning curve no doubt.

Just looking at this option in lieu of a DRO as something like Mach 3 allows more flexibility ...well it look that way to me.

Urrrgh...cnczone web page has been hacked urrgh!

meant to say there are a few mills in the price range of the X3 that look ok and indeed have longer table travel, although some look like they uses pulley ratio for speed change.

12-11-2012, 03:00 PM
Hi guys, I'm thinking about buying my first metal lathe as I've always wanted one! I'm wondering if those experienced could give me a bit of advice? I'm keen to get into a a bit of model engineering and making the occasional adapter for things, and really whatever takes my fancy.

This thread got me looking at the seig range, and my budget is up to the SC4 ($1900), however for this same money the Hare and Forbes AL-320G looks like a better machine (bigger, looks to have similar features). What do you guys think of these machines? Are they comparable to the Seigs for quality? Its hard finding info online....

Here is a link to the 320: https://www.machineryhouse.com.au/L141

This would be the top of my budget, so the 320 is more appealing than the SC4 at this stage as it comes with a 4jaw chuck as standard and overall seems more machine for the money. Also I worry about the computer boards for the SC4, I don't really see why these electronic features on the SC4 are necessary.

Also the 320 is on sale at the moment (almost $500 off) which is the only reason it is in my budget at all...

So what do the experts think? I'd imagine the 320 would require some tweaking but I don't mind that...

Thanks for your help,


12-11-2012, 04:09 PM
The C4 is overpriced.
You can get the C6 for $1090 from Hare & Forbes and it is a bigger and better machine. It does not have the electronics tho, so speed changes are via the back gears.

The electronics are actually very handy, once you use them you will not go back. The electronics provides variable speed control to the DC motor(brushed or brushless), which with the tacho, allows you to adjust the speeds and feeds for whatever material you are cutting.

I am seriously considering upgrading to the C6 myself, hard to ignore that price, but the lack of tacho and variable speed is a turn-off for me. An aftermarket tacho could be sorted easily tho.

I am not familiar with the AL-320G other than the couple of times I have looked at it.
The same machine will be sold in other countries, just under a different name. The americans like to name lathes by their swing and length between centres. For example, they call the C2 and C3 the 7x12 and 7x14 lathes.
Some time on google might get results with search terms like 12x24 lathe etc.

You can compare the C4 and C6 here:

12-11-2012, 10:26 PM
Simon the C6 may be bigger but it is not better. With the C6 you get 250mm over the bed and 500mm between centres. The C4 gives you 210mm over the bed and 450mm between centres. That is the only advantage the C6 has and only a small one at that. The C6 has a smaller brushed motor which runs at a single speed so you have to change pulleys to change speeds. The C4 has a bigger gruntier brushless motor that has terrific torque even at 100 RPM. The speed and direction are changed by simply pressing a button. Where the C4 has significant advatages over the C6 is mechanically in terms of precision. The carriage is massive and very sturdy not moving or flexing under load. It is so big that the C4 has the same cross slide and compound travel as the C6 (100mm and 70mm respectively) and I can easily use C6 size tool posts with 12mm cutting tools. Where the C4 really shines is the accuracy of its spindle which is held between high quality Japanese made bearings as standard. The run out in mine is not detectable on my dial gauge and it has the same MT3 and 20mm spindle bore as the C6. I also use 5" and 6" chucks with it so quite sturdy. The C4 has a very large range of thread pitches it can cut, both metric and imperial due the large number of change gears that are supplied standard. You pay more for a reason and mine has worked pretty hard over the time I have had it with zero downtime due to component failure, the PC boards have been very reliable. In any case if you want to a larger machine why not a C8?

David, that lathe you have linked to is actually made in China at the same factory as the C4, C6 etc and used to come under the blue and white line which now seems to have gone completely CNC. Carbatech used to sell them as school lathes, not sure if they still do but if so they must be pretty tough as the kids will give them heaps. Nice thing about that lathe is it already has the steadies and 4 jaw chuck as part of the package though you still have to buy the stand (highly recommended for stability and to stop the ways from twisting under load). Have never used one mind but I imagine it would make a good little hobby lathe and if you have the room, why not. That's the reason I got the C4 instead of the bigger brother of the one you are looking at, simply don't have the room to put it in the shed.


12-11-2012, 10:48 PM
Thanks guys!

Simon, yes I've looked at the C6 but it's lacking some features such as powered x,y carriage and is less powerful. Also the 320 I'm looking at has 38mm spindle bore which is significantly more than any Seig machine.

Mark, you make some good points about the C4 and it's a very tempting machine. I didn't know that the 320 I'm looking at used to be sold as school machines or that they are out of the same factory, that sounds like they'd be reliable. I think the main reason I'm keen on the 320 is that it has significantly more capacity, and I don't want to have to upgrade later. I just hope this extra capacity doesn't come at the cost of accuracy.

I have looked at the C8 too as carbatech say they can get it in for around $1600, but it still doesn't seem as good as the 320.

Thanks guys, feel free to give more advice, I'm a complete noob at all this! :)


12-11-2012, 10:52 PM
Oh and Mark, as far as a stand goes, I've got a low work bench made by my grandfather out of heavy steel, it will do great I think. I'll put a new top on it (to ensure its dead flat and level) and bolt it all to the floor. What do you think?

20-11-2012, 11:28 PM
Hi Dave,

The AL-320G works fine, is good value and reliable.

Though an entry level lathe itself, by comparison, the Sieg machines you mentioned are toys.

Like most lathes at this price point, their biggest drawback is that you have
to manually change gears to cut different threads. The next step up is the
AL-335 which is well worth considering.

Don't forget that the price of the lathe is just the beginning of what you will
need to budget for. For example, you will need a drill chuck and arbor, some center
drills, a set of carbide turning tools and thread cutting tools, sets of drills, taps and dies,
a dead center and possibly a half-faced dead center, a parting tool and holder,
a good pair of calipers and a micrometer, a dial indicator and stand, a pump, hose
and metal cutting fluid, reamers and a suitable Morse Taper sleeve and a drift for
larger drills.

20-11-2012, 11:45 PM
Thanks Gary, I'm glad you think the 320 is a good machine, I JUST BOUGHT ONE! :D

I haven't received it yet as I need to get the shed ready, but I might pick it up on Friday. I really couldn't stretch the budget or space to the 335, I would have loved to, but it was beyond me. The 320 seems (for now at least) to be much more machine than I need, which was my plan. I wanted something I can grow into, not out of....

I've also got most of the accessories you mention on their way. At this stage I plan to grind my own HSS tools, but I have a few pre-ground ones to get me going. My father in-law even found some old tools from when he owned a lathe in NZ, including a nice Mitutoyo dial indicator. I've found CDCO (http://www.cdcotools.com/) to be a very cheap supplier of accessories to get me started (I'm sure the quality will be average but good for starting off). I've got a lot of learning to do, but it should be fun.

Do you have a lathe Gary? What sort of projects do you use it for?


21-11-2012, 11:39 AM
Dave, great to hear you will soon be vacuuming swarf.

You are going to need something like an engine block hoist and slings to
get it up on the table. You can hire the hoists but they have become so cheap
that should you plan on lifting machinery more than a couple of times you
might consider buying one if you have the space to stow it.

Never lift a lathe by hand as you can bend it. This lathe weighs 280kg.
The instruction manual (http://images.machineryhouse.com.au/L141/PDF/Instruction%20Manual%20&%20Parts%20List) (Fig 6) shows the lifting points for the slings. In any case,
when using an engine hoist, you will need a couple of adult helpers to help
steady it from swaying, to push the hoist and to generally keep an eye on
things as you position it in place.

To raise your tools so they are on the centerline, you will need to assemble
a collection of shims of thin sheet metal. You can place a center in the tailstock
and add shims beneath the tool holder to align the cutting edge with the tip of the center.
If you are making your own tools, then each will probably require a different set
of shims.

A small new paint brush is handy to keep the lead screw clean.

Roll us your sleeves and always don safety goggles and ear protection before
making a cut.

Look no further than the brass Az pivot bolt on your new mount, which was cut on a 320.

21-11-2012, 01:25 PM
Cheers Mark, nice to hear from someone that owns and uses a C4.
I had based my misguided opinion on reading reviews and forums.
Looks like the C4 is the next upgrade for me.
I would prefer a 320 or 335, but I just don't have the space :(

A quick change toolpost might be one of your first purchases, which will not need the shims, but I still use the standard tool post from time to time.
I found the best source of shim material to be cheap feeler gauge sets from places like Repco or Supacheap. I have bought 3 or 4 of these sets over the years and they are indispensable.
A very handy advantage is every leaf has it's thicknes etched into it, so if you need to remove a tool for whatever reason, you can note the thickness of each shim used for that tool on a piece of paper for when you need it again. Or better yet, get a small white board for the wall near the lathe... another very handy item!
I noticed my new Vertex milling vice was not quite right and item's weren't machining square, dial gauge showed it to be 0.1mm low on the left side when clamped to my table, so I flicked thru my feeler gauges, found the 0.1mm one, packed it under the left side of the vice, clamped it down and now it's only 0.005mm low according to my dial gauge. I can live with 0.005mm error(for now) over 100mm. Will reduce it further when needed.
Also a good move to check your tailstock alignment before setting anything against it.

Edit: I have done random checks of the feeler gauges with my Micro, those measured so far have been spot on.

22-11-2012, 06:06 PM
Thanks guys, I've got a quick change tool post on the way which should make life easier.

I might pick up my lathe tomorrow :D The bench isn't ready yet but I'll start stripping the lathe down a bit to make it lighter and to clean it up and adjust the gibs/backlash of slides.

My main concern at the moment is I don't think I'm going to be able to get a hoist into my shed (pretty certain actually). Its only a small shed. My plan is to either:

A) remove the bench top and place it onto the floor. Position the lathe on the bench top then manually lift (with many helpers) up onto the bench frame. This would keep the lathe supported.


B) Place the lathe in slings as suggested in the manual, but then attach these to a long beam and use this to manually lift into place. This is the method I'm favouring at the moment as its basically like a hoist but all man power.

It should only be about 220kg once stripped down - 4 blokes shouldn't have too much trouble (fingers crossed).

22-11-2012, 06:34 PM
Hi Dave,

The engine block hoists are essentially a bunch of RHS and a hydraulic jack,
held together with pins and when in the disassembled state, will fit under your
arm and go through any doorway.

So getting an engine hoist into any shed shouldn't be a problem.

Whether you have enough space in the shed to assemble it and move it
around and most importantly, whether you have enough head room when it
is raised all the way up, is another matter. :)

Go easy with the whip on the slaves. They may drop the lathe which would
be a real disaster.

24-11-2012, 07:38 PM
This is where I get to make you all laugh - I was so inspired by this discussion that I went and ordered a Sieg M1 - a mini-lathe/milling/drilling machine. It is the absolute entry-level machine which is very appropriate since I know absolutely nothing about metalwork. My brother (who has passed on some months ago) was a genius with this stuff but he got all the machinery genes in our family. Now that I have to do my own astro projects, I figured it was time I learnt.
Can one of you more experienced types tell me what accessories I should b getting - milling bits, chucks, collets (When I first heard word, I thought they were something to eat, like collards and Chitlins) and so forth?


25-11-2012, 03:34 AM
Hi Peter

There really is no end to the bits you can buy. For basic setup on the lathe you will need a set of cutting tools (left/right cutters, facing and a parting tool as well as a boring bar) in either HSS or carbide depending on your wallet. A live centre is useful as are fixed and travelling steadies. A good set of cobalt drill bits are also worth the money as well as a quick change tool post and some various sized centre drills. Nb buy your first drill set depending on what standard you intend to work with most ie metric or imperial as they are expensive but last a very very long time between sharpening if made of cobalt steel.That would be my minimum and there are lots of bits you can make with these such a centre height adjuster and die carrier for threading and so on. Other tools could include a independent 4 jaw chuck, a face plate and thread cutting tools.

For the mill the sky is the limit really. A good quality collet chuck and collet set are a must (don't use the drill chuck supplied, they come loose and damage cutting tips let alone safety) and you will only need HSS mill bits as your machine will not rev hard enough to warrant carbide and will last ages if you work smart. Three good quality vices are also useful, one that spins 360 degrees, one that lets you set angles in 3D and a good quality tool makers vice and a clamping kit is also essential. That will get you started but you will also need basic hand tools such as squares, punches, rules, verniers, scribes and so on. After that it gets a little crazy. I have face mills, end mills, slotting drills, counter bore cutters, ball mills, T slot and dove tail cutters, fly cutters, gear cutters, reamers, a boring head, dividing head, rotary table, micrometres, slitting saws, arbors, parallels, sin bar, angle plates, V blocks, several different dial gauges and magnetic stands, drill sleeves, edge and center finders, a DRO and the list goes on. That's the fun about metal machining, there is so much out there. I also found the workshop practice series (small books) very useful when starting out and have since bought fitting and turning books used to train apprentices which I have read cover to cover. There are also some great youtube videos and I found videos by Tubal Cain (an old American metal work teacher with a very dry sense of humour) very informative (see link below). He has done a whole series on just about anything to do with metal, just subscribe or go into his video vault (238 vids) to see them. You thought astronomy was a money pit, wait until you get stuck into this :D.



25-11-2012, 04:05 AM
Thanks Mark. That's really helpful. Hare & Forbes are gonna love me when I take some of that list through their door. It is quite a learning curve and somewhat daunting, but a challenge at the same time. Gulp!


25-11-2012, 06:53 AM
Hey Peter, check out cdco.com that's were I bought my quick change tool post and a load of accessories. Very cheap. They will work with you to fill a flat rate 20lb box costing $50. They are way cheaper than hare and Forbes and many of the items appear to be from the same Chinese manufacturer.


25-11-2012, 07:59 AM
Thanks Dave,\can you confirm that IP address - it sends me off to a pre-school in California. I'm sure they would help stuff a box for me, but not full of stray brats thanks.


25-11-2012, 08:21 AM
Sorry mate, it's http://www.cdcotools.com/ if you're looking at a quick change tool post, the wedge type seems to be the recommended one. Mine is in the post but I can do a little review when it arrives if u like.

25-11-2012, 09:42 AM
Thanks Dave. A review would be good.

25-11-2012, 11:34 AM
Hi Peter

These guys are also very good though they are in the states.



25-11-2012, 01:12 PM
For around about the same cost as the chinese QCTP's, you can get one from A2Z (http://www.a2zcnc.com/products.asp).
Not sure if there's one to suit the M1, I couldn't see one listed here (http://www.a2zcorp.us/store/category.asp?Cguid={39A96A8E-C780-4021-BDED-4DD6D0EFDCB5}&Category=QuickChangeToolPost:ToolPo st) but only had a quick look.
I'm sure they could find one with an email of the dimensions of the M1's toolpost.

Edit, just noticed the C1 / M1 uses a T-slot for the toolpost, the QCTP for the Taig lathes (http://www.a2zcorp.us/store/ProductDetailNP.asp?Cguid={39A96A8E-C780-4021-BDED-4DD6D0EFDCB5}&ProductID=17&Category=QuickChangeToolPost:ToolPo st) might fit... def worth emailing them.