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Posted: Feb. 22 2006, 22:11 ET

I'm rally, really close to purchasing a cummins Mini-Lathe 7x12.  I have a homier Mini-Mill and it has been great working with it, but there are just some items that you need a lathe for.
  anyone have a cummins?  I'll be making gun parts and Radio Controlled car/truck parts with the Lathe as well, so the 7/12 size is pretty good, and it will fit in my shop nicely as well.

  Cummins is runnig a 5% off sale until the end of the tay tomorrow (2/23/06), so I figure there's $20.00 off shipping right there.  The cummins sells for $399 and appears to come with more tooling than the rest... which is why I'm considering it, along with it being 7x12 instead of 7x10.

  It's been years since I operated a lathe, over 20 to be exact, I'm sure it wil all come back to me tho... even tho at that time it was in college, so it wasn't real intense... too busy wondering where to take that week's pretty girl back then :-)

 thanks all!
  Mike B

Posted: Feb. 22 2006, 23:59 ET

I'm looking to purchase one also along with their mini-mill; so I would like to hear what others have to say about it.

Posted: Feb. 23 2006, 00:19 ET

In general, from what i have seen, these machines are fine as long as you don't ask them to do something beyond their capabilities. Worst comments seem to be in regard to issues on dials (metric vs. inch) and sometimes seen these machines need small amount of fine tuning (so do expensive one - big deal).

If you haven't already seen comparisons, a good place to start is http://www.littlemachineshop.com - they specialize in minis, have great comparison charts, and have many links to additional info/comparisons.

have fun,

Posted: Feb. 23 2006, 00:27 ET

You gents may already have this type of information - if so - ask some more questions/give us a little more background, and I'm sure you'll get some additional replies by more experienced members.


Aside from being a useful source of items and knowledge, LittleMachineShop emphasizes odds and ends for the Chinese mini-lathes and mini-mills, such as the the Cummins you mentioned.  Not only are there generic lathe tools you can use, there are more Chinese accessories than you can shake a stick at, and there are also US made aftermarket things like quick change tool posts (made specifically for these Chinese lathes).


The basic set-up is the same, whether it's a 7x10, 7x12 or the 7x14.  There are some differences in motors, switches, tailstock details, etc., but they are basically the same lathes from different retailers.


You're correct that you are getting a number of accessories with the version sold by Cummins, which make it a good buy.

There is some folk-wisdom that the 7x10's are really more like 7x8's.  AFAIK - the only downside to the Cummins 7x12 compared to the other flavors is that it's not a 7x14.

Posted: Feb. 24 2006, 07:39 ET

i have a cummings,it came with a steady rest,a follower rest,a quick change tool post,cutting bit set with cut off bit,drill chuck,face plate with dog,live tail stock center,dead center,change gears,wrenches,ect.the extra tooling makes a good buy,all the mini-lathes are made in the same chine factory,just differnt paint job. :anim_beer:

Posted: Feb. 28 2006, 19:31 ET

I hunkered down and bought mine on Saturday.  I was going to go with the Harbor Freight version, but none of the local stores had one, and the online sale for it expired Friday night.  So I bought the Cummins 7x12 unit and it will be getting here tomorrow.  After adding up what the Cummins unit came with, the Harbor freight unit would be the same cost, but take 3 weeks to arrive as opposed to 3 days.

I am already working on jigs to turn and thread rifle barrels on it.  So excited.

Posted: Feb. 28 2006, 21:26 ET

i haven't checked the H.F mini-lathes lately,but they were 7x10 not 7x12 also they measure 7x8 althow they call them a 7x10.

Posted: Feb. 28 2006, 21:44 ET

7x7.8 is more like it.  Harbor Freight does use a different ruler than everybody else.  7x10 isn't even rounding to the nearest interger.  The cummins unit is about 7x11.8.

Posted: Feb. 28 2006, 21:55 ET

I'm in the same boat as you Exibar.  build props and puppets and movie type stuff, and needed to find a lathe in my budget for a couple jobs.  Checked into all these, went up to the corner and looked at the HFT.  Seems to be enough to get started on some of this stuff too, and if I can get some more movie work, and more money, with the cummins I'll supersize when I can.  Something's better then nothing.

I'm still waiting for the truckers to get it to the terminal so I can grab it.  Taking tax, size, freight, additional items, and sales into account the cummins was a better buy, but cost me a week so far.  Just wish I'd have had that 5% info before I ordered it.  


Posted: Mar. 1 2006, 01:09 ET

I've worked with a lot of bigger equipment, so I might not have much patience for a "mini" lathe or mill for working on anything larger than a small pin or trigger or something.

But I've seen pictures of what guys can do with those things. Fix up a few weak spots on your machine, learn to use it, and no doubt it will allow you to do a lot of great things. With ingenuity in design and fixturing, you will be able to build complete firearms with it.


Posted: Mar. 1 2006, 14:06 ET

It's HERE!!!

Damn that was fast.  Now to horse it's 90 pounds into my trunk and take it home.

Posted: Mar. 1 2006, 18:21 ET

ditto, just got back from the terminal after a week wait, also picked up a mini mill, so I have lots of cleaning and tweaking to do.  I've seen that you can do stuff with these, now I have them, and as soon as I figure out for sure if it's all legal I'm good to go.

In the mean time I have some movie props to make, what I do for a living.  


Posted: Mar. 1 2006, 20:14 ET

Really, Tom?

That is what I am going to do with my lathe and mini-mill.  I have some prop muskets to build, and I want to make a couple of Sci-Fi guns:  A Star Ship trooper's rifle, and an Aliens pulse rifle.

Star Ship rifle = bullpup mini-14
Aliens pulse rifle = Thompson + SPAS

Posted: Mar. 1 2006, 20:25 ET

I know that it annoys the crap out of some folks when talk about blank firing prop guns get mentioned, so I will start a thread over in General Discussions about prop guns.  Then you and I can yak about a favorite subject.

By day I am a Unix programmer, but night I am an Indie producer.  And, no, it's not a porno, damnit!

Posted: Mar. 3 2006, 05:10 ET

well, the lathe works.   :thumbs:

and you can always break into porn when you need some extra cash.   :icon_smile_big:

Is there a thread about tips and tricks for these here by chance?


Posted: Mar. 3 2006, 15:13 ET

Check out the following sites:

The Little Machine Shop They specialize in these types of mini-machines, and have a 30 page getting started booklet.


Posted: Mar. 5 2006, 10:50 ET

I don't have a mini-lathe, but any of these small tools can be made to do great work with a modest effort.  Even if you have a big lathe, I like the concept of a mini sitting on a bench, ready to do the quick pin or other odd job without disturbing a big lathe.

I've also seen setups for some really strange parts where guys will put a mini lathe, or a sherline mill, on the bed of a Bridgeport or bigger machine.  Imagination goes a long way with some setups!  :p

Posted: Mar. 6 2006, 15:00 ET

Well, I did my first practice turnings on the lathe using some roller bars I got off some continous feed printers.  The stainless steel bar went pretty well, shaved 2/1000ths off of it, then sanded it abit.  The aluminum I had to slow way down (<100rpm), but when I did I could pull large shaving right of the bar.  Looks like some do-dad from Star-wars.  Plastic is even easier to turn.  Also engaged the power feed for the first time.