Best Mini Metal Lathes

Review & Comparison, Last Update December 4, 2018
Precise machining is not easy, especially when you lack proper tools to make the metal pieces you need. If you don’t own a metal workshop your safest bet would be a mini metal lathe. Affordable, compact, durable and highly precise, it will help you realize a variety of DIY metalworking projects. ...Read more ...Read less
BEST 2018
PROS
CONS
OUR VERDICT
Power
Spindle Speed Ranges
Capacities
Headstock
Tailstock
Dimensions
Warranty
 
PROS

The gears of this model are installed on a special oil base that ensures a long service life of the tool and reduces the overall noise level. On top of that, the spindle bore allows working with parts that are up to 1 inch in diameter.

CONS

The spindle speed is not adjustable, so, you are limited to the 6 pre-set speeds. 

OUR VERDICT

Even though this lathe is called a "mini" model, with the distance of 22 inches between the centers and a powerful 1 HP motor, it can deliver a performance of full-scale models. Simply put, this device will manage the toughest metalworking tasks with ease and even fit professional-grade needs.

detailed parameters
Power

1 HP

Spindle Speed Ranges

150, 300, 560, 720, 1200, 2400 RPM

Capacities

Swing over bed: 9.5 inches

Distance between centers: 22 inches

Headstock

Spindle bore: 1 inch

Spindle taper: MT #4

Tailstock

Tailstock quill travel: 2.5 inches

Tailstock taper: MT#3

Dimensions

46 x 22 x 16.6 inches

432 lbs

Warranty

1 year

PROS

This particular lathe is distinguished by a set of cast iron threads with a hardness level about 42-52 HRC that makes them extremely durable.  

CONS

The headstock gears are not the most durable out there.

OUR VERDICT

Even if you have little to no experience with metal lathes, yet, look for an efficient and easy-to-operate machine for your home workshop,  this model will be your go-to pick. A snap to install and quite simple to get the hang of,  the Erie Tools lathe will help you quickly master turnery basics and make a professional out of you in no time. 

detailed parameters
Power

0.75 HP

Spindle Speed Ranges

Adjustable: 100 to 2500 RPM

Capacities

Swing over bed: 7 inches

Distance between centers: 14 inches

Headstock

Spindle bore: 0.79 inches

Spindle taper: MT #3

Tailstock

Tailstock quill travel: 2.5 inches

Tailstock taper: MT#2

Dimensions

36 x 17.3 x 14.6 inches

104 lbs

Warranty

1 year

PROS

With minimum radial run-out of self-centering turning chuck, this model allows performing high-precision jobs with ease. Moreover, the compact size and small weight of this lathe will fit almost any workshop bench.

CONS

Relatively low output power compared to similar models.

OUR VERDICT

If you are looking for an inexpensive metal lathe for working on various metalworking tasks and processing small to middle-sized workpieces, this model from Central Machinery will get you covered. Delivering a precision of a full-size device, the lathe is compact enough to match the smallest workshop. 

detailed parameters
Power

0.5 HP

Spindle Speed Ranges

Adjustable: 0 to 2500 RPM

Capacities

Swing over bed: 7 inches

Distance between centers: 10 inches

Headstock

Spindle bore: 0.75 inches

Spindle taper: MT #3

Tailstock

Tailstock quill travel: 2.75 inches

Tailstock taper: MT#2

Dimensions

27.75 x 11.5 x 12 inches

75 lbs

Warranty

1 year

PROS

The hardened and grounded V-Ways will ensure a longer service life of the device. Additionally, suitable for thread cutting, the lathe allows working with both metric and imperial readings.

CONS

The paint coating of the chip tray and backsplash is prone to scuffing. 

OUR VERDICT

Designed to be as stable as possible, this model features a hefty and sturdy base in order to minimize any possible vibrations for top-notch precision. Add to this the ease of use and maintenance and you'll get an ideal option for garage and home workshop use.

detailed parameters
Power

0.75 HP

Spindle Speed Ranges

Adjustable: 0 to 2500 RPM

Capacities

Swing over bed: 7 inches

Distance between centers: 12 inches

Headstock

Spindle bore: 0.79 inches

Spindle taper: MT #3

Tailstock

Tailstock quill travel: 2.5 inches

Tailstock taper: MT#2

Dimensions

30.2 x 13 x 13 inches

75 lbs

Warranty

1 year

PROS

The tool features an LCD screen displaying the current spindle speed and other additional information that can be crucial when dealing with small metal pieces. 

CONS

The power cord on the back panel is somewhat short.

OUR VERDICT

In contrast to bulkier models, the SUMORE SP2102 boasts an optimal balance of weight and size that makes it one of the best mini metalworking machines for concise spaces. Moreover, an affordable price tag is an attractive benefit for beginners and occasional home users.

detailed parameters
Power

0.6 HP

Spindle Speed Ranges

Adjustable: 0 to 2500 RPM

Capacities

Swing over bed: 7 inches

Distance between centers: 12 inches

Headstock

Spindle bore: 0.79 inches

Spindle taper: MT #3

Tailstock

Tailstock quill travel: 2.5 inches

Tailstock taper: MT#2

Dimensions

31.5 x 12.6 x 11.8 inches

99 lbs

Warranty

1 year

Grizzly G0602

Perfect for Both Professionals and Beginners

With the weight of almost 450 pounds and dimensions of 46 x 22 x 16.6 inches, the Grizzly G0602 can be called a compact lathe, yet, hardly can be referred to mini metal lathes. But if you are a metal worker willing to process workpieces of different sizes and looking to hone your skills with no limitations in workshop space, this machine will definitely add functionality to your metalworking arsenal and greatly expand your abilities. With a 22" distance between centers, a larger chuck, and a 1" spindle, it will let you turn impressively hefty projects like engine parts, not to mention a variety of light-duty metalworking tasks.

The only real downside of this fully-fledged bench top product is the lack of individually customizable spindle speeds. It means you can choose only one of the 6 pre-set speed options ranging in increments from 150 to 2400 RPM. Though it might restrict your flexibility a bit, this limitation, on the other hand, will help beginners that are either not familiar or have little experience with this type of machining tool, to get used to the standard spindle speeds. Other than that, those 6 speeds were meticulously selected and thoroughly tested to meet the basic turning needs and to cope with the majority of standard metalworking jobs.

Despite its relatively high price tag and rather massive construction, this metal lathe is one of the top products in its class. High-quality build and top-notch precision of all the moving elements make it a solid choice for beginner turners and professionals alike.

Review of Grizzly G0602 Bench Top Metal Lathe, 10x22 Inch

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


 

Erie Tools SM-LTHM

More Reliable Than It Seems

The SM-LTHM is a solid middle-ground solution for all of your DIY metalworking projects. This model is simple and easy to use even for an entry-level metalworker and weighs around 105 pounds when fully assembled. However, a relatively small weight of the tool in no way compromises its reliability and performance: the machine can securely hold metal pieces up to 84 cubic inches in size, while a powerful motor is capable of speeding up the spindle from 100 to 2500 RPM in just a matter of seconds, which is essential for precision turning projects. To get accurate results, you only need to adjust the chuck of the main tool after you assemble the machine. And once all the alignments have been done, the device will work like clockwork ever after.

Still, no product is perfect, and the SM-LTHM is not an exception. Although the exterior of the tool looks solid and very reliable, the gears inside the control box are made of plastic, meaning they tend to wear out rather quickly, especially if extensively used. So it's highly advised to change them once the speed of the spindle starts to deviate from the input settings. Fortunately, you can buy replacement control boxes separately. They can be easily found in any specialized store and they do not cost a fortune. Besides, it's much more practical to replace them in your own workshop than to send a 100-pound tool to the nearest Erie Tools service center, to get the gears fixed.

All in all, the milling machine from Erie Tools will be a good pick for beginners that want to get into metalworking and are looking for an efficient and easy-to-operate starter machine.

Review of Erie Tools SM-LTHM Precision Mini Metal Lathe, 7x14 inch

 

Central Machinery Precision Mini Lathe

An Unmatched Precision

Need a lightweight, portable, and easy-to-operate lathe for a small workshop or lab? If so, then turn your eyes to a mini metal lathe from Central Machinery.

With the weight of just 75 pounds and engine power of 0.5 HP, the device is capable of delivering speeds of 2500 RPM, which is not bad at all for a mini version of a lathe. As well as a regular metalworking lathe, this one features a variable speed knob with two handles that will enable you to choose the required spindle rotating speed from 0 to 1000 and to 2500 RPM, respectively. Yet, what sets this model apart from its rivals is a minimal radial run-out of self-centering turning chuck (no more than 0.005") that will let you perform high-precision jobs with ease.

As for the threading, the machine has threads from 12 to 52 TPI, which allows removing a significant amount of material. On top of that, the automatic feeding system minimizes the risk of pieces getting stuck on the rail. The materials you can work with on this lathe are not limited to metal only, you can also process plastic and wood pieces, with little to no initial adjustment required.

Unlike other micro metal lathes, the precision lathe from Central Machinery features special transparent screens that provide protection to the operator and allow him to clearly see a workpiece that he turns.

Distinguished by an optimal value to quality ratio and standing out for its operation accuracy, this model is a perfect sweet for small-scale turning projects that require ultimate precision.

Review of Central Machinery Precision Mini Lathe 7x10 inch

 

Grizzly G8688

Built to Last

Choosing a machine tool for home use, we are not planning to purchase a new one every second year. Hence, we try to pick a model that not only offers high performance but also will reliably do its job for many years to come. The Grizzly G8688 is just that kind of lathe. Moreover, its compact design will perfectly fit into any workshop.

Just like the main body, the cogwheels and other moving parts inside the control unit are made of premium-quality steel that makes the whole device highly durable and damage-resistant to withstand even extensive daily use and high workloads.

Although it is not a 1 HP model and only has 0.75 HP available, this machining device is capable of speeding up its sturdy spindle up to 2500 RPM without chocking on a metal bit. Other than that, with variable speed settings, you will be able to smoothly and accurately cut steel, aluminum, and other materials including soft and hard woods and plastic.

In case you are new to this type of machine, with some practice, you will quickly master lathing, boring, drilling, and countersinking all sorts of workpieces. This tiny (by lathe standards) tool has all you need to get started and to hone your skills of metal machining even if you don’t have any prior experience. The product is supplied with detailed instructions on how to work with different material types in order to get the part you need.

Another highlight is the set of advanced safety features that are present on this model. More common for premium machines with higher price tags, these include a safety switch, chip tray, and a backsplash that prevents the metal grit from flying away to the back of the tool.

If you need a versatile and functional lathe catering to all your DIY metalworking needs that will become your reliable helper for a long time, the Grizzly G8688 is the right option to go for.

Review of Grizzly G8688 Mini Metal Lathe, 7x12 inch

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


 

SUMORE SP2102

Good Value for Money

While choosing a metal lathe, the right strategy would be to select a model depending on the tasks you have at hand. Thus, professionals and experienced metal workers engaged in heavy-duty projects would rather go for more expensive hefty models while DIYers and hobbyists who need a machine for small-scale tasks would give preference to reasonably priced units. If the latter sounds like you, the SUMORE SP2102 will definitely come down your alley.

Like other similar models in the same price range, this lathe has a spindle bore of 0.79 inches and a Jacobs #3 machine taper allowing you to work on metal pieces up to 7 inches high and up to 12 inches long.

One of the most noticeable and distinctive features of this model you won't often find even in top-liners is an LCD screen that is located near the safety stop switch. The display will conveniently show the current spindle speed, which is crucial for achieving perfect turning results with different materials. On top of that, there is a detailed table on the unit body specifying the recommended speeds for standard bit sizes and materials. Thus, if you are buying this kit as your first lathe you won’t get confused and will be ready to face any challenge head-on.

On the negative side, the power cord of this product is relatively short. However, since this lathe is a benchtop model you will only have issues in case of the limited power access in your workshop. As for the rest, the machine is pretty straightforward and requires little maintenance in order to run smoothly and consistently perform the jobs it is meant for.

Created with every user convenience in mind, beginner-friendly, reliable, and offering the ultimate adjustability to meet your DIY needs, this sturdy model is by far the best mini metal lathe in its price race and provides really good value for the money you pay.

Review of SUMORE SP2102 Mini Metal Lathe, 7x12 inch

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


 

What Is a Mini Metal Lathe?

Designed for precise machining of hard materials, metal lathes can produce virtually anything from chess pieces to naval gun barrels. These simple yet quite bulky machines are capable of doing multiple tasks such as sanding, cutting, knurling, countersinking and many others.

The mini versions of these multifunctional machines can perform pretty much the same tasks, with the only difference being that they are mostly intended for light-duty projects and domestic use. Which makes them perfect for processing smaller workpieces, as well as creating threaded parts for bigger devices and mechanisms. They are helpful when it comes to engineering, tool and model making, car repairs, household appliances repairs, etc.

Although a mini metal lathe requires at least some kind of basic knowledge in machining, the machine is designed to be as user-friendly as possible. So, with some trial and error (check out the common metal working lathe mistakes to avoid), you'll be able to get the hang of the tool pretty quickly and to create metal parts of any shape and complexity.

In the end, it's worth mentioning that despite their availability, not all of the metal lathes will suit your workspace or requirements. They differ by many parameters that you should take into account before making a choice. To make your choice less tricky, we've picked five of the top models with different price tags and complemented the review with detailed guidelines so you can choose a metal lathe that fits your needs best.

Additionally, in order to better organize your workshop area, we also encourage you to take a look at the garage workbenches and tool boxes for all of your DIY projects.

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Publish Date: 2018-12-04 12:15:55