Just Getting Started

All discussion about lathes including but not limited to: South Bend, Hardinge, Logan, Monarch, Clausing and other HSM lathes, including imports

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Just Getting Started

Post by jmpharrington » Sat Jun 22, 2019 1:25 pm


I picked up a used South Bend 9" Model A several years ago, life got in the way, and I have finally set it up, leveled and running. I have near zero experience using a metal lathe.

Are there any videos on the caliber of Norm Abrams "New Yankee Workshop" woodworking series for using a metal lathe? With no instruction, i have become quite capable in woodworking, largely by what I learned from Norm's series.

I am looking for start to finish newbie projects on video to learn the operation of the machine.


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Re: Just Getting Started

Post by tornitore45 » Sat Jun 22, 2019 1:59 pm

google for metal machining project, home made tools or something along those lines.
Forget the video
Make yourself basic tools and accessories such as
a pump center with spring loaded male and female cones to use to drive taps straight - fit in the tail stock
a threading die holder - fit in the tail stock
a carriage stock / travel indicator holder
drawbar for collets IF you have any
a dial indicator holder for the QCTP - handy to center stock in the 4 jaws
various dogs for work between centers
The list goes on and never ends, sometime you need to make a fixture to make jig to make a tool
All simple project that get you learning by doing and failing. Failing is part of learning what works and what does not and why. There are many books telling what to do but none telling what to avoid and why.
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Re: Just Getting Started

Post by johnfreese » Sat Jun 22, 2019 3:57 pm

South Bend had a series of booklets with lathe projects and application of the lathe in various industries A lot of those are available on line. Of course How to Run a Lathe is the essential resource. American practice at the time was to use a lantern toolpost. The toolholders for the lantern toolpost had a built in back rake of about 15*. More modern practice is to hold the tool flat. When looking at recommendations for cutting tool angles you need to know if the author is talking about bits for toolholder or bits held flat.

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Re: Just Getting Started

Post by pat1027 » Sun Jun 23, 2019 3:19 pm

YouTube might be the best bet for videos. It can take some effort though. Rudy Kouhoupt made some videos in the late 90's. The fundamentals video isn't worth watching. In his advanced video he makes a test bar for the lathe which is interesting but not worth the price of the DVD.

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Re: Just Getting Started

Post by SteveHGraham » Sun Jun 23, 2019 9:11 pm

There is a guy who put out a series of DVD's called "Lathe Learnin'." You can probably find it on the web. I thought the set was great. He's not an expert machinist, although he makes his living machinist. He's just a guy who gets stuff done.

He won't teach you to thread with the compound, however. He's a little unorthodox.

There is a site called Swarfrat.com, run by a man named Lex Liberato. He teaches people how to use mini-lathes and mini-mills. The principles will apply to larger tools, however, so it's still good material.

A man named W.R. Smith has some excellent DVD's. He's a clockmaker, and he makes a Myford lathe do things the manufacturer never dreamed of.

Youtube is wonderful. If you start there, you may not have any desire to look anywhere else.
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Re: Just Getting Started

Post by shootnride » Mon Jun 24, 2019 9:30 am

There are quite a few good machining resources on Youtube. There are two men that were machine shop instructors that have Youtube channels and a lot of instructional videos:
Tubalcain (also known as Mr. Pete) and That Lazy Machinist

There are quite a few others that I think you can learn from as well:
Tom Lipton
Stefan Gotteswinter
Joe Pieczynski
This Old Tony
Keith Rucker

There are more, but this list should provide you with many hours of entertainment and learning.

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Re: Just Getting Started

Post by SteveM » Mon Jun 24, 2019 10:21 am

If you are just getting started, take John's recommendation and find a copy of South Bend's "How to run a lathe".

You can find older version online for free. The basics are the same from the first version to the last.

As to youtube, for a beginner, I would go with

Both of these guys are / were shop teachers. Mr Pete is pretty basic, but covers a lot of stuff.

Thatlazymachinist goes more into the theory and the math. He has a good 2- or 3-part series on safety, which I would highly recommend.

The videos Ted mentioned are very good, but probably more advanced that you need right now (but by all means watch them).

Tom Lipton - some very interesting stuff you won't see anywhere else, like making a lapping plate out of pennies.
Stefan Gotteswinter - very good precision machinist, and good at explaining things
Joe Pieczynski - has some good videos with unconventional ways to get things done
This Old Tony - good material and probably the funniest youtube machinist
Keith Rucker - a LOT of old-school machining.


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Re: Just Getting Started

Post by Island Time » Sat Aug 17, 2019 7:18 pm

Another YouTube channel that I've been watching is Quinn Dunki at Blondihacks. She has a series of videos that is intended to take you from "I've open the box my lathe came in. Now what?" to completing a few projects. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H6Dnmd3 ... JM9fO-HJyN I've picked up a bunch of stuff from the channels that others have listed, but often I'm left wondering why. Quinn's videos answered many of my "Why?" questions.

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Re: Just Getting Started

Post by pete » Sat Aug 17, 2019 11:46 pm

Sorry, but I've bought a few copies of the South Bend Howda run a lathe, THIS is what there book should have been. Text book of turning.pdf Multiple light years ahead of the SB book. Strictly relying on videos is the lazy man's way and there's a great amount of the details no amount of forum posts or videos has the time or room to get into. You need to put some of your own time into some decent reference books and manuals first so you have some idea who knows what there talking about or understand some of what there trying to show. All of the YT video creators listed are really good. None of those people are inexperienced so I've yet to see any well meant but still misinformation on there channels.

I'd also suggest you have a look through this listing of posts, http://www.chaski.org/homemachinist/viewforum.php?f=44 Just the tool grinding information Harold spent so much time on is well worth the effort of going through it. Learning to grind and hone your own High Speed Steel tools isn't an option. Sooner or later your going to have to do it.

Edit, for some reason my link for the Hercus manual didn't work, I'll see if I can find one that does.
https://tokentoolroom.com/files/Text%20 ... urning.pdf Yep this one works.

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Re: Just Getting Started

Post by Glenn Brooks » Sun Aug 18, 2019 11:07 am

One thing I did when I first became interested in machining was sign up for a night class in lathe work at one of the local community colleges. Best use of my time I ever committed to.

One of the big selling points in the class, was that the instructor made sure we all learned proper accepted machining methods for setting up and turning work on the lathe. Never regretted taking the course. In fact I went back 15 years latter and took it again when I decided to get more deeply involved in restoring and building locomotives. Supervised, hands on practice, is invaluable. Like having your own personal mentor guiding you through each step in a project.

Something to consider.

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Re: Just Getting Started

Post by Mr Ron » Sun Aug 18, 2019 12:58 pm

I have been running a lathe for about 30+ years and have found that there is no "one way or no way" to run a lathe. You can learn the basics, but as you get more involved in turning, you will discover different ways to do things. Machine tools in general are flexible in that you can find different ways to do do the same thing. Many people approach a machine with fear thinking that it is a beast that will devour you if you do something wrong. It is a tool and it will perform if you take care of it. The videos as mentioned will help you, as long as you don't accept them as "the only way to do it". After 30 years, I'm still learning.

This is what I think and I may be full of it, so if anyone vehemently disagrees with what I say, please let me know, as I don't want to steer anyone in the wrong direction.
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Re: Just Getting Started

Post by RSG » Mon Aug 19, 2019 6:33 am

I wouldn't disagree with you at all Mr Ron, it's how I learned. Being self taught I approached things the way I thought it should be, then if it didn't work I'd research how to make it work. There's is lots of good info on the net these days, this sight being one of them.
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