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Small enough you can machine stuff in your closet.

Not big enough for most things.

Having run my own machine shop, whatever size lathe you get, thinking it will be big enough, won't be. There's always the next job just a little too big to fit your equipment without some creativity.

That being said, a 12x36 will do most motorcycle work, gunsmith work, etc. Good size for the serious home shop. Lots of work still gets done on 9" southbend lathes, too.

I've got an 11" Clausing in my shop that does everything I need nowadays.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I agree. A while back I had been looking at lathes for a potential addition to my garage. I realized after looking that I could make a lot of things using a small lathe, but bigger would be a better investment. It's not like a person can just go out and buy a bigger bed for the lathe they already have... at least not cheap anyway!

That little thing in the link is almost closer to a jeweler's lathe.
GumbyChuck said:
Small enough you can machine stuff in your closet.

Not big enough for most things.

Having run my own machine shop, whatever size lathe you get, thinking it will be big enough, won't be. There's always the next job just a little too big to fit your equipment without some creativity.

That being said, a 12x36 will do most motorcycle work, gunsmith work, etc. Good size for the serious home shop. Lots of work still gets done on 9" southbend lathes, too.

I've got an 11" Clausing in my shop that does everything I need nowadays.
 
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