Metal Lathe Reviews
Our Top Pick is the Grizzly Bench Top Metal Lathe
A metal lathe is a powerful machine primarily used to shape, cut, pierce and morph pieces of metal into a finished product. It works by placing the material you’re working with into the lathe on its axis. The lathe then rotates the work material while you apply various shaping tools onto the rotating materials to cut them. This process forms the shapes and designs you desire. Some examples of projects you can create with a metal lathe include; pens, screw drivers, bowls, kitchen ware, steel and metal jewelry, bolts, screws, trinkets, art sculptures, and other wooden and metal articles.
A metal lathe includes components such as a head stock, motor, and a face plate on one side of the machine. The motor for the metal lathe is attached to a spindle via a series of pulleys that allows your face plate to rotate, thus allowing your machine to rotate work materials with precision. A lathe also has pulleys that can be adjusted to determine the speed of your rotating work materials. You will adjust rotating speed based on the type of metal you are using and the type of carving or cutting you desire.
After a complete assessment of 24 metal lathes on the market today, the Grizzly G0602 bench top metal lathe rose above its competitors in quality, durability, added features, and customer satisfaction. The Grizzly G0602 bench top metal lathe is the best of it class and the most well-rounded lathe available today. This 1 HP single-phase motor has the power and agility to complete a wide range of projects from motor parts to kitchenware. It offers 6 speeds and 33 thread capacity. The V bed is hardened and ground for strength and stability. There is a tool box, a chip tray and a backsplash to keep all of your work pieces together and your work area well-organized. The performance and power of this machine is compatible with lathes in a higher price range that have similar benefits and features.
Who Should Buy This
Metal lathes are extremely versatile machines that can create endless varieties of projects, artwork, tools, and even engine parts. If you are working with metal and want to fine-tune your craft, having the right tool will speed up your work and help you create projects that are professional quality. Some people who would benefit from owning a metal lathe include, those who participate in DIY projects with metals, mechanics, engineers, welders, or machinists and those who enjoy working with their hands building things from metal.
What Makes A Good Metal Lathe
There are several aspects that make up the best metal lathes, the first being speed options. Having various speed options is one of the most important features you can have in your metal lathe as each speed setting is geared towards different projects and different carving abilities. The more speed options available, the wider variety of projects you will be able to complete and the more metals you will be able to work with.
The next quality to look for is a strong motor. Metal is a hard material and it needs power and speed to effectively create professional-looking products. The power of the motor will limit the metals you can work with and the cuts and angles you will be able to make. The lathe must be strong enough and precise enough to complete the work with precision. Units with smaller horsepower will only be able to handle soft metals whereas units with 1 HP or more can handle harder metals such as steel.
The next feature you want to look for is multiple thread options in your metal lathe. The options just mean that you can insert different sizes of work materials. Other convenient features to look for include a back splash and chip tray which will help reduce clean up time and help keep you organized. The back splash and chip tray provide a secure frame behind and underneath your machine. This will not only stop and catch lose and flying debris but also provide a shield from your wall or other materials positioned behind or underneath your machine from potential sparks which can become a safety hazard if otherwise uncovered.
When looking for the perfect metal lathe there are many options to choose from. However, if you stick with these core components and find a lathe that is equipped with multiple speed options, a powerful consistent motor, and multiple thread options, you will have a reliable and efficient piece of equipment.
How We Tested
We started our research process by first conducting a general search for metal lathes. In doing this we were able to identify which features and qualities made up the best metal lathes and then reduced our search considerably. We then referred to expert advice as well as reviewed several tool blogs, forums, and wood working expertise to determine the best brands and models. Lastly we consulted confirmed costumers who had day to day experiences working with metal lathes. We focused on real world applications and experiences, along with durability, quality company with reputation for good customer service, size of motor and features that added to the lathes versatility.
|Size||10 X 22 inches|
|Dimensions||49.2 x 22.2 x 21.2 Inches|
|Spindle Bore Size||1 inch|
|Number of Speeds||6 (150, 300, 560, 720, 1200, 2400)|
|Number of feeds||9|
|Threading Capacity||33 (8 – 72 TPI)|
|Lead Screw||¾” X 12 TPI|
|Metric Threads||26 (0.25mm – 3.5mm)|
|Warranty||One year Warranty|
The Grizzly G0602 bench top metal lathe has gone above and beyond with the creation of this device. This metal lathe has a generous capacity for materials of even the largest proportions. Equipped with 6 different speed ranges and 9 different longitudinal feeds allows you to perform and complete an endless number of projects. This lathe features a wider bed and larger chuck than you find on traditional metal lathes. There is also a chip tray and back splash cover, keeping potential sparks and debris contained in a safe and effective manner.
This lathe features a hardened and ground V way bed for maximum durability and support, and an oil bath gear box to keep pullies covered, and properly oiled. It is approximately 432 pounds and was designed in the bench top fashion to stay securely and conveniently stored in your work space. The 1” spindle bore and ¾ inch TPI lead screw allow you to handle large projects and stronger metals. It is strong enough to mold engines. The Grizzly G0602 Bench Top Metal Lathe also comes with a one year warranty.
Who Else Likes It
The guys at Grizzly.com write, “Our 10″ x 22″ Bench Lathe sports generous capacity, a lot of thread ranges, a wider bed and a larger chuck. With features like a 1″ spindle bore, 3/4″-12 TPI lead screw & an MT#3 tailstock you’ll be able to turn some surprisingly hefty projects—and a few heads! If you are thinking of making parts for models, engines or even for repairs around the home or shop, take a good look at this lathe”
Another satisfied customer writes “Don’t hesitate to buy this. It’s a good value for what I consider a medium-sized, starter lathe. Some pros are, there are Plenty of extras including a 3-jaw, 4-jaw, centers, and tools. It’s a solid, effective machine, good heavy weight, good size, it arrived quickly after it was ordered”
Amazon reviews gave the Grizzly G0602 Bench Top Metal Lathe 4.8 out of 5 from 5 reviewers. One satisfied amazon customer writes “I wanted a small benchtop lathe that would allow me to turn small to medium sized projects with decent precision, but I didn’t want to spend several thousand dollars…I’m very happy with the purchase.”
The Step Up
If you are looking for a metal lathe with even more power and capabilities, the next step up is the Shop Fox M1099 bench top metal lathe. This device is equipped with a 1 horse power motor with 110 volts. It is a single phase motor with 6 speed adjustments. RPMs range from 150 to 2400, giving you a range of power and speeds to complete a wide range of jobs.
The speeds are consistently maintained throughout the work. Rpm settings include 150, 300, 560, 720, 1200, and 2400 RPMS. You will find a one-inch spindle bore, and sturdy jaw chucks in various sizes. Also when you purchase this Shop Fox metal lathe it comes includes MT2 and MT3 dead centers.
Top Metal Lathe Comparison
|Position||Visual||Tool||Speed (RPM)||Voltage||Warranty (Days)
|7||SHOP FOX Benchtop||3,200||110||730
Care, Use & Maintenance
As with any power tool, precautions must be made in order to operate the tool safely. Taking care of and maintaining your tool will provide it with a longer life and better performance over the life of the tool. We have complied a short list of safety and maintenance tips to keep yourself safe when the machines are in operations and to provide the best maintenance for the longest life possible for your investment.
- Make any and all adjustments to the metal lathe while it is in the off position.
- Always wear eye protection as well as safety gloves to protect yourself from debris and other loose particles.
- Make sure that your work materials are mounted properly and securely before turning on the lathe.
- Never attempt to lift or move your lathe without support and another person present as they can be extremely heavy.
- Only use your metal lathe for the job it was intended.
- Tie up long hair and secure loose articles before beginning work.
- Clean your lathe after each use
- Store your machine in a cool dry place where it won’t be susceptible to weather damage.
- Be sure to unplug and store all chords when your machine is not in use.
- Check over your machine regularly for broken parts and make repairs as necessary.
Wrapping It Up
Metal lathes are versatile and powerful machines that can craft and shape various metals into works of art, house wares, tools, and many other useful creations. These tools would be a great addition for those who enjoy working with metals and want to improve the quality of their finished work. Metal lathes are an investment, but for those wanting to participate in advanced metal working they are essential to professional quality work and will save you both time and money in the long run.