Lathe Selection

c.blackwell1

MadMax1
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I am currently working towards purchasing my own lathe for gunsmithing. I am having a hard time selecting the right beginner lathe that will last. I have been looking at PM 1440GT and Grizzly 14”x40” Gunsmithing lathe both have 2” spindle bore and have single or 3-phase options. Are there any other suggestions? Additional parts and tooling? Thanks
 

47chevycoe

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I’d lean towards the precision Matthews between the two you listed. As for tooling, you’ll likely have as much in tooling as you will in the lathe in the not too distant future.
 

Wannashootit

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Not much in the way of decent quality, manual machines with short, large diameter spindles being currently manufactured due to popularity of CNC.
However, plenty of used ones still hit the market and deals are to be had - BUT you need to know how to evaluate condition and value.
 

Danny1788

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If I was to do it over again I’d get the PM. Not that my grizzly won’t make good barrels that shoot good, have moved up from an old lathe to the a newer lathe I wish I would have spent the extra and went with Kent lathe
 
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Quickshot

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Just. In case you haven’t seen this

I’m running the Kent made little brother of this lathe. It’s worked well. If this 2” spindle bore machine was available I would have gotten it. Although, I would get the 3-phase motor version with a VFD.
This is a light duty machine; but, it is adequate for spinning barrels. It costs twice as much to step up to a more rigid machine.
Cheers,
 

carlsbad

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Why the 2" spindle bore?

Taiwanese always trumps Chinese, no matter what the brand.

D1-4 or D1-5 spindle important to you? D1-4 is lighter and easier to change chucks. I don't know your age or status at the gym. d1-5 is heavier and comes on a beefier machine. a beefy machine is less prone to chatter. all things being equal, weight is good.

Narrow headstock is a plus. even if you're doing heavy, long barrels, having your contact points 25" apart can lead to chatter.

Some gunsmithing work involves small components. Make sure top speed is 2000 rpm or more.

3ph is no problem now as you can use a vfd which adds speed control which is handy when threading (you can't change gears) or if you want an in-between speed, or if you just want to quickly slow it down without stopping. this can be useful for facing where lfpm changes with diameter. Recognize it's a bit of work to install the vfd in a way that maintains your controls and doesn't affect onboard lighting, dro, and coolant pumps.
 

Quickshot

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Why the 2" spindle bore?

Taiwanese always trumps Chinese, no matter what the brand.
All good info Carlsbad. The 2” spindle bore bearings have more leverage than small spindle bearings and that makes it easier to make quality cuts. But, I’m deep down the ELR rabbit hole and it’s difficult to spin up an HTI barrel through a headstock with a 40mm spindle bore.

The OP asked about PM's Chinese 1440-bv. That’s why I posted the link to PM’s Taiwanese 1440GT. The 1440GT is a higher quality machine.

Cheers,
 

c.blackwell1

MadMax1
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My father is an electrician I told him I wanted 3-phase he said for the cost it wouldn’t be worth it over a single unless I started making money. I know it would give me a better finish. Just trying to justify the cost would it be better to start off with a 3phase over single? Thanks
 

Easy_E

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My father is an electrician I told him I wanted 3-phase he said for the cost it wouldn’t be worth it over a single unless I started making money. I know it would give me a better finish. Just trying to justify the cost would it be better to start off with a 3phase over single? Thanks
All you need is a VFD to make the third power leg . On older machines its nice to vary the speed and have a brake .
 

Praeger

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I've got the PM 1340GT and it's all you'd need for barrel work. If you need the larger diameter spindle, then the 1440GT would be the choice. As others have mentioned, absolutely get the 3 phase and run it through a VFD. Check out Hobby-Machinist forum's Precision Matthews section for numerous guides on the VFD conversion. It's easy, inexpensive, and will give you many options down the road if you want to use programmable functions such as time to stop, variable speed, two-direction jog switches, and proximity sensors.

Basic VFD Conversion: https://www.hobby-machinist.com/threads/pm1340gt-lathe-basic-vfd-control-conversion-using-the-stock-control-board-and-switches.49022/

You won't need a EE, just basic knowledge of wiring be able to follow instructions. I did mine in two hours.