Woodwork is no mean profession. This is mainly because it is quite involving. It also requires a fair mastery of technical skill and expertise to carry out successfully. This is why you badly need the various co-operant equipment.
We are here to discuss one such equipment. This is the mini-metal lathe. We are going to look into all the factors and issues that surround the subject matter. This we hope shall aid you in getting to comprehend it better.
WHAT IS A MINI METAL LATHE?
As the name suggests, this tool is a compressed form of the metal lathe. It is basically a small tool which holds a piece of wood firmly in place.
It rotates about a given axis to enable you to carry out various woodwork related tasks and purposes. These include turning, facing, deforming, drilling, knurling, sanding, and cutting, among others.
TYPES OF MINI-METAL LATHE
These mini metal lathes come in various shapes and forms. The following are its main kinds and types:
This is a kind of mini lathe that serves the role of making cylindrical shapes and outcomes. In this tool, you fasten the wood at the center or at an angle of 60°. In heavier versions, you may do so at the angle of 75°.
As the name suggests, this one finds use in a typical tool room. This is because it is comprehensive in scope and thus able to perform several chores at a time. As such, it is also wider and larger in size. This lathe requires some mastery of technical expertise to operate.
The turret lathe plays the role of producing duplicates of designs, wood, and metal work. In this tool, the turret sits right atop the bed. It also has a stop system that is equally mounted on the bed. This kind of mini-lathe can also work metal over and above the wood.
A capstan lathe is not so different from the turret lathe. In fact, it is a special kind of turret lathe. In this tool, the turret sits atop a sub slide which is in turn mounted atop the bed. This is not to mention that it is smaller in size. It can, however, perform all the roles of a standard turret lathe.
The gang-tool lathe is basically an assortment of woodwork tools combined in one. This lathe indeed has a set of rows that accommodate various kinds of tools at a time. Its role is to minimize the inconveniences you may ordinarily confront to get your work done.
The multi-spindle lathe contains more than one spindle and an automated control. It mainly comes in handy when undertaking high volumes of tasks at a time. This is because it is faster and more effective than most mini-metal lathes.
HOW THE MINI-METAL LATHE WORKS
As has already been hinted, the machine basically holds pieces of timber and metal in place. This is to let you work on these materials without any hindrances or dangers of injuries. What’s more? It even rotates or spins the items to let you work them with ease. This further reduces the attention and human effort on your part.
To make use of the lathe, you have to fast and foremost fasten the item you intend to work on the tool. To do this, you have to place the piece of metal or wood in between the faceplate and the live center. Fasten the item tightly using the drive spur.
You may adjust the tightness using the center advance portion of the lathe. Thereafter, proceed to switch the mini lathe on to initiate the rotational process. Finish off by using the appropriate tool to carry out the precise task you have in mind.
BENEFITS OF USING A MINI METAL LATHE
In all, the mini-metal lathe saves you a great deal of time. This is because it expedites the process of working the various kinds of items and materials in the workshop. This means you take comparatively less duration of time to achieve your desired objective.
Calls for Minimal Attention
Other than saving you time, the equipment also frees you from having to put in too much attention. This is because it carries out much of the jobs and tasks that you would have ordinarily done on your own. This also eliminates the possibility of fatigue and boredom.
Requires Less Human Effort
Given that the machine does much of the tasks you would ordinarily do, you get to reap the benefit of expending less human effort. This has the attendant consequence of making the entire experience awesome and worthwhile.
The mini-metal lathe is portable owing to being lighter in weight. This allows you to carry it around and deploy it to the desired location with ease. You will, therefore, reap the fringe benefit of maximum convenience. This is because you will not at all be constrained while using it.
Most mini-metal lathes are also highly versatile. This simply means that they can perform a variety of woodwork and associated tasks. This stems from their abilities to accommodate several accessories and workshop related tools. For this reason, you yet again stand to accrue greater convenience.
Simpler to Use
Given that they are compact and less cumbersome, the mini-metal lathe is simpler to use. You do not have to master too technical expertise or work experience to be able to operate them well. For this reason, you may be sure to ward off unnecessary inconveniences.
WHAT ARE THE COMPONENTS OF A MINI METAL LATHE?
The typical mini-metal lathe comprises the following parts and components.
The bed is the core of the lathe machine. It straddles the entire length of the machine and connects the headstock to the faceplate. It also accommodates all the other accessories besides allowing for the item that you work on to be attached.
This is the part of the lathe to which you attach the various tools and accessories that you have to utilize in the process of working your materials. It also clamps the material you are working on to ensure your safety at all times.
A chuck is a special kind of clamp. It serves the purpose of securing the load in a radial rather than bilateral symmetry. Examples of these kinds of loads are cylinders, spheres, and other round objects. It also rotates the load to allow for easy working.
The headstock is a part of the lathe machine that is stationary. It mainly provides support to another part of the machine that revolves. These include the spindle of the lathe. It is strong and durable enough to handles all kinds of loads.
Also called a foot stock, this components of the lathe machine mainly provides support to the other parts of the lathe. In particular, it supports the longitudinal rotary axis of the workpiece while in progress. It is also tough and durable enough to confer the required levels of support.
The lead screw mainly plays the role of converting the torque or rotational force into linear motion. It also acts as a linkage of the various parts and components of the machine as a whole. It goes by the alternate names of translation or power screws, among others.
Just as in any machine, the legs of the mini-metal lathe provides support to the entire body. The legs may also enable you to move the machine out and about as you may so wish. They are also strong and pretty effective at enhancing your use of the machine as a whole.
Lastly, the carriage is the component which holds the tool bit in place. It moves both in the longitudinal and the perpendicular directions. It rests above the bed and plays a crucial role in operating the lathe as a whole.
Tips and Tricks
Lubricate The Machine Frequently
Be sure to lubricate the machine frequently. This is to see to it that the movable parts operate effectively. This lubrication is also necessary to prevent the faster wear and tear of the said parts. This should happen before use and storage.
Clean The Machine
Clean the machine thoroughly from time to time. Remove any debris, dirt, or dust that may have settled on the machine. Do this after each job or moments after retrieving the machine from storage. This shall generally lead to greater work experience.
Sharpen The Parts Appropriately
For great results, ensure that you sharpen the blades and other relevant parts. This saves time besides expediting the process of cutting the loads.
Disassemble The Lathe When Not In Use
Before storage, be sure to disassemble the lathe. By doing so, you will be able to clean it faster and more effectively. This will also enable you to identify any errors and act on them promptly. This is not to mention the benefit of reduced space requirements.
Use The Machine In Moderation
Try as much as possible not to overuse the machine. This is to slow down the pace of deterioration and guarantee long-term reliability. In light of this, you should only use it if you absolutely have to.
WHAT SHOULD I LOOK FOR WHEN FINDING MINI-METAL LATHES?
The following are the factors and issues you have to consider while on the lookout for the right mini-metal lathe:
These machines come in various models, shapes, and functionalities. You have to be certain that the one you eventually settle on has the ability to suit your unique desires. This can only happen if it is the right model. Browse from the various models available and match them with your needs to find the right one.
Other than models, these machines also feature various structural constructions. This simply means that they are constructed using different kinds of materials. This has a bearing on their durability, strength, and overall performance. Be sure to check this out also to be sure of the greatest possible outcomes.
Nature of the Task at Hand
What kind of task do you intend to perform? Do you want to work metal or wood? Do you intend to generate cylinders and round shapes or square shapes? Answer these questions well as they shall indeed help you in arriving at the best ever decision.
Intended Frequency of Use
How often do you plan to use the tool? Does your entire life revolve around woodwork or metal work? If this is the case, you require a strong, stable, and durable device. In case you only intend to use the tool once in a while, you may have to settle for one that is simple and less durable.
As stated above, these tools are also available in varying degrees of technicalities. As such, you may not be able to operate any tool taken at random. Be sure to settle therefore on a tool that you can comfortably operate to prevent any unnecessary inconveniences.
10 Best Mini Metal Lathe Reviews
#1: Delta Industrial 46-460 12-1/2-Inch Variable-Speed Midi Lathe
Are you looking for a strong and reliable mini-lathe? If so, you may try this out. It is designed for prolonged and repeated work. This stems from its strong and sturdy construction. It also has the ability to handle large loads at a time.
Forward and Reverse Functions
Top on the list of the key features is the forward and the reverse functionality. This feature generates accurate precisions and finishes. This sees to it that the final outcome of your work is great. It also ensures that the outcome meets the required engineering thresholds.
Patented Belt-Tensioning System
Coming in second is the patented belt-tensioning system. This system expedites the process of changing speeds besides setting the belts at the correct tension at all times. This feature brings about maximum power transfers as well as elongated lifespan.
Lastly, the cast-iron construction crowns the features of the mini-lathe. It basically confers durability and maximum strength to the tool. This is because this construction is pretty resistant to the various elements of wear and tear.
- Comes with a tool rest for added support
- Works a variety of turning applications
- Sands turning pieces as well
- Strengthens the wood fibers besides sanding them
- Lasts longer than most other mini lathes
- Quite large in size
- Requires plenty of space to mount
- May not work well in remote locations
#2: SHOP FOX W1704 1/3-Horsepower Benchtop Lathe
For pen turning and smaller projects, a handy and lightweight mini-lathe of this kind is absolutely necessary. This machine has all the features, specifications, and items needed to make this happen. You will find it particularly useful if you are starting out.
Infinite Variable Speeds
With this mini-lathe, you have no shortage of speed options. This is because the tool can manage speeds that range from 700 to 3200 revolutions per minute. This is great for working just about every other kind of material.
It is generally strong and durable. This stems from the cast-iron construction. This material is very strong and pretty resistant to the common elements of wear and tear. This makes the item last longer and exudes the required tasks well.
Safety Paddle Switch
Your safety at the time of use is made possible by the existence of the safety paddle switch. This one regulates the extent of the force and other vital parameters of the mini-lathe. For this reason, you may be sure to be free from dangers and unnecessary injuries.
- Makes bowls and other items that are harder to make
- Fits nicely on any workbench
- Generates high horsepower courtesy of powerful motor
- Manufactured by the reputable Woodstock International brand
- Requires huge muscle power to engage
- Quite complicated to comprehend
- High power consumption
#3: RIKON 70-100 12-by-16-Inch – Best Wood Lathe For Beginners
Do you intend to work some huge workload? You seriously ought to consider this largest mini-lathe in the industry. It has large dimensions that can accommodate just about every other load. This means you will enjoy the benefits of a standard lathe by opting for it.
Self-ejecting Tail Stock
Saves Time, On the whole, you will take less amount of time to have your work done. You will not have to utilize the knock-out bar to get rid of the center. This means you will spend less time on the whole to work your materials. You will avoid frustrations too.
A 12-positioning indexing head comes in next. This basically lets you lock your workpiece in several positions. This, in turn, improves the accuracy of your work as well as the details. This is not to mention the benefit of maximum convenience as well.
Coming in last is the laser-engraved ram. This ram contains a travel that measures 2-1/2 inches long. Being long, the travel sees to it that you attach as many different accessories as possible. You thus have the benefit of maximum freedom.
- The largest mini-lathe in the industry
- Adjusts speeds faster and easily
- Has a unique 12-position indexing head for detailed work
- Equipped for additional purposes and extensions
- Performs higher varieties of tasks at a time
- Weighs a whopping 91.4 pounds (41.4 kg)
- Potentially injurious
- Difficult to get started in
#4: BestEquip Mini Metal Lathe 550W 7 x 14 Inch
Are you a hobbyist, modeler, or a learner of the lathe task? If you answered in the affirmative, this machine is yours for the taking. It is way very simple to let you learn it easily. This also eliminates any unnecessary inconveniences.
Its sets are telescopic in nature. This simply means that they are longer yet easier to handle and set. This allows you to easily set the work in place. Being digitally standardized also allows means great convenience on your part.
Four-way Rotating Turret
Unlike most other mini-lathes of its kind, this machine uses the four-way rotating turret to turn the load. This greatly expedites the process of working the load. It does so mainly because it minimizes the amount of effort that you have to put in.
Multi-function and Multi-usage
You will get to enjoy the benefit of multi-usage and multi-function by settling for this machine. This machine indeed can turn the aids, the threads, and the tapers, among others. For this reason, you will receive great support and elegant outcomes as well.
- Great for tasks that require mini-precision
- Fits labs, workstations and educational settings easily
- Performs various kinds of metal turning
- Comprehensive in parts, scope, and construction
- Reliable in a wide variety of applications
- Quite weighty (Weighs 102.1 pounds/46.3 kg)
- Consumes 110 volts to operate
- Generates only 0.75 HP motor torque
#5: Grizzly G8688 Mini Metal Lathe, 7 x 12-Inch
For professional tasks, accuracy and great precisions are a must. This machine understands the fact only too well. This is why it possesses a host of top-notch tools and parts for the said feat. You can be certain not to miss any steps or develop poor shapes.
Threading Dial Indicator
An indicator does exist to let you keep pace with the goings-on of the work. This enables you to take full charge of the lathe process. You will hardly skip any vital processes or make any mistakes as the result of this particular feature.
16 TPI Reversible Leadscrew
Its leadscrew has 16 threads-per-inch and is also reversible. This leadscrew is pretty effective at handling all kinds of tasks. It is particularly faster and more efficient in executing the tasks that are leveled against
Lastly, is the variable speed nature of the mini-metal lathe. This machine is actually able to work comfortably within the bracket of 0 to 2,500 revolutions per minute. This again grants you the maximum convenience you badly need to work great.
- Comes along with both the Standard and metric graduations
- Moves in the forward and reverse directions in all speeds
- Has a large distance between the two centers (12 inches)
- Accepts several attachments and accessories
- Highly adjustable and is thus very convenient
- Too exposed for your safety
- Potentially injurious
#6: RIKON Power Tools 70-105 10″ x 18″ 1/2 hp Mini Lathe
In order to carry out rigorous tasks with ease, you certainly want a stable, sturdy, and tough machine. Look no further than this one as it is the one that has all those traits in one. You may thus count on it to serve you well at all times.
Heavy Cast-iron Bed
The bed of the mini-metal lathe is strong and durable. This is by reason of being made of the cast-iron material. This material is famed for being resistant to the core elements of wear and tear. It is also great and effective at reducing vibrations.
Machined-bed and Matching Components
It also comprises a range of matching components and machined beds throughout its structure. These components give precise alignments which act as the guide for working your load. For this reason, you get to enjoy great and reliable outcomes.
Its 5-speed range closes the range of the top features. These speed options basically cover the bases which subsequently lets it possible for you to bore barrel holes. They also give some degree of comfort and freedom.
- Does not vibrate and is thus safer to use
- Possesses Aluminum parts and is, therefore, lighter in weight
- Roughs out pen billets
- Turns to shape and finishes at the same time
- Has a comprehensive construction for maximum convenience
- Has a lower motor capacity of only 0.5 horsepower
- Produces only 375 watts or torque
- Has a limited applicability
#7: SHOP FOX M1018 Small Combo Lathe Mill
Are you an experienced or professional user? Elevate your expertise and lathe experience to the next level. Grab this machine right away as it is the one that can truly help you out in this. You cannot run away from its elegant parts and components.
Built-in Rotating Vise
You will not have to acquire a vice separately. That is because the machine has its own built-in vise. This cuts down the time you will invest in engaging the various aspects of the load. The benefits of convenience and reduced costs are thus yours to reap.
Longitudinal Hand Crank
With this longitudinal hand crank, you will be able to manually move the carriage. In so doing, it will also reduce the amount of effort you will have to chip in. This makes it possible for you to work for long without getting tired or bored.
Lastly, you will take the guesswork out of your use. This is courtesy of the graduated dial. This dial is marked with some measurements to guide you on the way. You will hence be able to generate great outcomes indeed.
- Turns, cuts, and drills small projects perfectly
- Accommodates extra add-ons and attachments
- Enables you to keep track of the movement and location of your tool
- Saves a great deal of time and energy
- Simpler to rotate and engage compared to most mini lathes
- Unsuitable for entry-level machinists and hobbyists
- Quite costly to afford
#8: Erie Tools 7 x 14 Precision Bench Top Mini Metal Milling Lathe
High precision tasks require an equally precise tool. This is the machine to look up to. As you are just about to see, the machine has all the parts, features, and components that are necessary for you to achieve that very feat.
Multidirectional Speed Motor
The motor of the mini-lathe is multidirectional in scope. This simply means that it can move in either direction easily. In case you are left-handed or ambidextrous, you will find the tool great for your use and applicability.
This is the component that holds the workpiece in place. Being multi-jaw, it is strong, stable, and reliable indeed. It, therefore, minimizes the possibilities of injuries, shakings, and unnecessary vibrations. It is this feature that allows you to work vigorous environments and tasks.
You will also get to enjoy a great workspace indeed. The worktop measures 7 inches wide by 14 inches long. It also features a metallic construction and is thus strong and durable. This construction enables it to accommodate heavy and tough materials and stress.
- Accommodates up to four cutting tools at a time
- Enables you to switch from one tool to another simply
- Contains an easy-to-read digital readout that guides you effectively
- Simplifies the turning of the screw heads
- Possesses both the metric and the imperial pitches
- Introduces too much clutter to your room
- Quite cumbersome to move around
- Somewhat intricate especially to novices
#9: NOVA 46300 Comet II Variable Speed Mini Lathe 12-Inch x 16 1/2-Inch
Are you cash-strapped? Worry not! You can still enjoy the benefits of a good mini-lathe at a greatly reduced cost. Even though it is simple in nature, this mini-lathe is still great and handy at performing the various chores. This is really some good news for you.
3-step Pulley System
Regulating the speed comes in the form of the 3-step pulley system. This system basically offers you the freedom to set the speed options as per your unique needs. This also provides maximum flexibility to you as you work your loads.
An on/off switch comes in next. With this switch, you will be able to engage the mini-lathe well. It lacks a vault release and is thus safer than most other tools of its kind. Your safety is thus taken care of well by reason of this.
Exceptional Structural Strength
On the whole, the tool has great and exceptional structural strength. This stems from the solid cast-iron construction. The material does not wear out easily and is thus pretty resilient to the common elements of wear and tear.
- Delivers optimum strength and rigidity
- Absorbs all vibrations well
- Exudes maximum flexibility to you
- Consolidates key woodworking and wood-turning functions
- Requires minimal human effort to work
- Incomprehensive in scope and construction
- Not for professional applications
- Possesses some delicate parts and components
#10: Central Machinery 7 x 10 Precision Mini Lathe by Central Machinery
In case your entire life revolves around lathing, you definitely require a comprehensive tool. This mini-lathe, by virtue of being able to handle all kinds of lathe-related tasks, fits the bill well. It is, as a matter of fact, able to handle all kinds of associated tasks.
With this machine, you will not have to feed the load on your own. It does have an automatic feed which handles that task pretty well. Because of this, you may be sure of minimal effort and reduced likelihood of fatigue on your part.
A chuck guard that has a microswitch comes in next. This feature basically prevents your fingers or clothing from being entangled in the chuck while the machine is operational. It thus plays a vital role in enhancing your overall safety.
Electrical Testing Laboratories (ETL Certification)
The machine is certified by the Electrical Testing Laboratories. It is this great and well able to discharge its tasks well. You may thus purchase it with confidence and use it care-free. This is not to mention the long-term reliability that the machine brings along.
- Comes along with 18 threads for simplified controls
- Ideal for workshops, laboratories, and educational settings
- Has a variable speed control knob for maximum reliability
- Reaches the top speed of 1,100 revolutions per minute
- Produces higher torque and horsepower
- Has the delicate plastic construction
- Prone to damages
- Calls for higher maintenance costs
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs)
Q1. How much does a good mini-metal lathe go for?
A good machine of this kind goes for $500 give or take.
Q2.How much power does a typical mini-metal lathe consume?
Most mini-metal lathes consume the standard 120V of electrical energy
Q3. How much power does the motor of a typical lathe exude?
Q4. I intend to use my lathe in a remote location. Can I find any that runs on batteries?
NOT really! The power consumption of these tools is too high for a battery to provide.
Q5. Are there any dangers that come along with these tools?
Of course yes. Just like any other tool, the metal lathe is potentially injurious. It may also cut or squeeze your fingers considerably especially if you happen to touch the movable parts. As such, you should keep it away from the reach of children.
My favorite is the SHOP FOX M1018 Small Combo Lathe Mill. This is due to its strong, durable, and effective in nature.
You have undoubtedly received the insight you desperately want to make the right purchasing decision. You may now go ahead and shop with maximum confidence.
We warn you against dilly-dallying as this might interfere with your enjoyment of the attendant benefits. In light of this, we urge you to make up your mind to acquire any of these gadgets as soon as you can. We look forward to assisting you soon!
David has been working with tool for last 7 years. This resource from his work experience with tools. In his personal life, he is the father of one child.