buying a used lathe: help!

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Forum topic by Tim_456 posted 11-17-2014 02:52 AM 1079 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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172 posts in 3836 days

11-17-2014 02:52 AM

Hello Fellow Jocks,
I’m looking to buy my first lathe off of Craigslist. It’s a Delta 46-460 with the extension bed and it’s $550. I’ve never owned a lathe before so i’m not sure what to look for in a lathe or a used one. Does anyone have any ideas on how I can look at it and determine if it’s good to buy? from the pictures it looks clean (no rust) and I can certainly turn it on when i get there but is there anything else I should look at?

Thanks for the help!

3 replies so far

View TheDane's profile


5576 posts in 3904 days

#1 posted 11-17-2014 03:03 AM

All I can tell you is I have a Delta 46-460 with the extension deb that I bought new in 2011 … it serves me well and is a fine machine.

Check to make sure the ways are straight, and that the belt is in good shape. Check the switches, and have the seller power it up, listening for any noise in the headstock bearings.

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View Dezza's profile


7 posts in 1546 days

#2 posted 11-17-2014 03:19 AM

Usually you should look for Solid Cast construction. Solid legs will stop vibration, You will need to already know whether you are turning bowls and need good clearence to the bed or if want to do spindles. Straight bed ways, bearing noise are some of the most important things to check. Cheers!

View MrUnix's profile


7114 posts in 2440 days

#3 posted 11-17-2014 03:25 AM

$550 seems a bit high for a used midi-lathe.. new they are around $600 (without extension or stand IIRC). Does it have the stock stand and are eny extras being thrown in (turning tools, faceplates, centers, etc..)?

As for checking it out, there isn’t too much to a lathe.. basically the motor and headstock spindle are the only things that can really go wonky on them. Run it and listen for weird noises.. maybe give the spingle a good tug and push to see if there is any excessive play, both lateral and radial. Check the alignment between headstock and tailstock. Make sure the ways aren’t really buggered up.. some chipping and scratches don’t matter much, but you want it to be able to slide back and forth easily wihout getting hung up on anything. Asking the seller to turn a scrap piece of wood would be helpful as well (maybe bring your own blank, just in case).


-- Brad in FL - In Dog I trust... everything else is questionable

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