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mam doing metal work with mini lathe

To get your hands on the right tool is always difficult to come by, no matter what kind of a tool that is. A mini metal lathe is not an exception and it is imperative that you get the best mini metal lathe to do all your work. However, in the current market, with a lot of options to consider, it becomes difficult for an average user to choose the best lathe for his needs. 

Best Mini Metal Lathe In 2020

Different metal lathes perform different functions and there is no way to determine the best model because of different functionalities. However, we are here to help you out of this situation as in this article, we will discuss the top mini metal lathes available which serve different needs for the users. With that, you can make a decision, depending on your needs.

Editor’s Picks: Top 3 Best Mini Metal Lathe In 2020

Best Overall
Erie Tools 7 x 14 Precision Bench Top Mini Metal Milling Lathe Variable Speed 2500 RPM & Digital...
Shop Fox M1015 6-Inch by 10-Inch Micro Lathe
Best In Budget
Central Machinery 7 x 10 Precision Mini Lathe by Central Machinery
Product
Erie Tools 7 x 14 Precision Bench Top Mini Metal Milling Lathe Variable Speed 2500 RPM & Digital...
Shop Fox M1015 6-Inch by 10-Inch Micro Lathe
Central Machinery 7 x 10 Precision Mini Lathe by Central Machinery
Price
$899.99
$749.99
Price not available
Our Verdict
With Erie Tools Benchtop Mini Metal Lathe you get high durability and flexibility. It also comes with a bunch of other features such as easy functionality that make it one of if not the best mini lathe on our list.
If durability is what you're looking for, look no further than this product. Additionally, you also get a 2 year warranty with this product. In terms of usability, both professionals and beginners can use this product.
Quite affordable considering that it provides an impressive RPM of up to 2500. It is also quite easy to control even for beginners.
Best Overall
Erie Tools 7 x 14 Precision Bench Top Mini Metal Milling Lathe Variable Speed 2500 RPM & Digital...
Product
Erie Tools 7 x 14 Precision Bench Top Mini Metal Milling Lathe Variable Speed 2500 RPM & Digital...
Price
$899.99
More Info
Our Verdict
With Erie Tools Benchtop Mini Metal Lathe you get high durability and flexibility. It also comes with a bunch of other features such as easy functionality that make it one of if not the best mini lathe on our list.
Shop Fox M1015 6-Inch by 10-Inch Micro Lathe
Product
Shop Fox M1015 6-Inch by 10-Inch Micro Lathe
Price
$749.99
More Info
Our Verdict
If durability is what you're looking for, look no further than this product. Additionally, you also get a 2 year warranty with this product. In terms of usability, both professionals and beginners can use this product.
Best In Budget
Central Machinery 7 x 10 Precision Mini Lathe by Central Machinery
Product
Central Machinery 7 x 10 Precision Mini Lathe by Central Machinery
Price
Price not available
More Info
Our Verdict
Quite affordable considering that it provides an impressive RPM of up to 2500. It is also quite easy to control even for beginners.

5 Best Mini Metal Lathe In 2020 Reviewed

1. Central Machinery Precision Mini Lathe

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If you want a high-quality product for which you do not have to break your bank and still get the job done quite comprehensively, then we recommend you to go for the Central Machinery Precision Mini Lathe. This mini lathe is sure to meet all your requirements and you will be extremely satisfied when you use this product. On top of being an efficient performer and cheap, the Central Machinery Precision Mini Lathe also gives you a variable speed control knob to make the handling of this product easier. 

For a home workshop, the Central Machinery Precision Mini Lathe is nothing less than a heaven because you can easily make bushings, prototypes, counter facing, turning, and models with this product. It is an all-round tool which you could use for labs, workshops, engineering settings, and educational purposes. You also have versatile settings with this particular model as you can easily switch between the manual mode and the auto mode, depending on whatever you wish. 

There comes an automatic feed with the Central Machinery Precision Mini Lathe. Moreover, there is a 10-inch distance between the centers of the machine. RPM of this model is between 0-2500 and it has a 7-inch swing overcapacity. All in all, it is an excellent model to go for.

PROS:
  • Highly affordable with a lot of top-tier features
  • There is a variable speed setting for you to use between 0-2500 RPM
  • It also has an easy-to-use control knob
CONS:
  • It works only on small to medium duty projects

2. Grizzly G8688 Mini Metal-Lathe

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Another top of the ladder model we have here is the Grizzly G8688 Mini Metal-Lathe which is undoubtedly the best mini metal lathe you could choose, if you are looking at the durability factor. Grizzly Industrial is an underrated manufacturer which uses high quality components and materials to manufacture their products, which is the main reason behind their durability. 

Grizzly G8688 Mini Metal-Lathe is a hard-wearing model which is capable of handling anything you throw at it, thanks to the high-quality materials that are used to make the product. It is an easy-to-use machine with which you can cut, drill as well as turn wood, plastic, and metal without any hassle. 

However, you must keep one thing in mind before you purchase this. It is a little difficult to handle the product and if you have never been near the woodwork, then this product is not the right add for you. If you know your way around using the lathes, then we highly recommend you to go for this product because the complicated design will not come in the way of your work.

Grizzly G8688 Mini Metal Lathe, 7 x 12-Inch
  • Variable Speed
  • 16 TPI Reversible Lead screw
PROS:
  • It is highly durable because it is made of strong components
  • You can cut, drill, and turn easily
  • It is capable of handling anything you throw at it
CONS:
  • You need to be familiar with the metal lathes before you use this model

3. Erie Tools Benchtop Mini Metal Lathe

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When we are talking about the best mini metal lathe, we ought to talk about the Erie Tools Benchtop Mini Metal Lathe which ends all the debates going on. The reason why this particular model trumps the other models is the functionality, ease of use, and most of all, the durability of the product, making it the best mini metal lathe available. 

With this mini lathe, you get all the flexibility and precision you need to to drill, turn and cut wood, metal, and plastic. No matter what product you bring in front of this model, it can handle it with strength. 

Erie Tools Benchtop Mini Metal Lathe has an excellent user manual which helps you understand how the machine works. The flexibility which this machine offers to the users is second to none which is what makes it the top choice to consider.

Erie Tools 7 x 14 Precision Bench Top Mini Metal Milling Lathe Variable Speed 2500 RPM & Digital...
  • Includes the lathe, chuck key, five-piece carbide tipped cutter kit, internal chuck jaws and external chuck jaws, 11 feed rate gears and owners manual
  • Drill, cut and turn metal, wood and plastic parts with precision.
PROS:
  • Easy to use
  • Highly durable
  • Excellent user manual
  • Flexible
CONS:
  • If you are an amateur, this might not be the one for you

4. Shop Fox M1015 6-inch by 10-Inch Micro Lathe

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Shop Fox M1015 6-inch by 10-Inch Micro Lathe is another durable lathe with superior design which offers the users 100-2000 RPM spindle speed. One of the best things about buying this mini lathe is that it has a compact design which means it can fit anywhere you want without taking much of the space. 

Shop Fox M1015 6-inch by 10-Inch Micro Lathe is best for the gun hobbyists, toolmakers, model makers, and weekend machinists looking to produce precision parts, threaded parts, and fittings economically. The model weighs 71 pounds and it comes with an oil cap and a stand. 

Shop Fox M1015 6-inch by 10-Inch Micro Lathe offers you versatility because you can use this on small as well as large projects. You do not have to break your bank to buy this product because it comes in cheap, making it an ideal choice for those who want a powerful product at a lower cost.

Shop Fox M1015 6-Inch by 10-Inch Micro Lathe
  • 4 hex wrenches, 100-2000 RPM spindle speed:
  • MT #2 spindle taper, MT #1 tailstock taper
PROS:
  • There is a 2-year warranty which the model comes with
  • It is ideal for beginners as well as professionals
  • Offers high durability
  • Control panel can be used easily because of being located in a convenient position
CONS:
  • You might take a while to get a hang of the speed settings

5. Mophorn Small Metal Lathe

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Mophorn Small Metal Lathe is one of those models that give you the best value for money, especially if you are a beginner. The quality you get with this mini lathe is much higher than the amount you have to pay to get the model. With the components used to make this lathe, a user is guaranteed of high durability and strength of this model. 

One of the best things about the Mophorn Small Metal Lathe is that they will replace the motor instantly if it does not work for some reason, and you will not have to pay anything extra for that. 

With the high durability of this product and the little price tag, it is easily one of the best choices for you to consider. It might not be the overall best product, but with the price it comes at, you couldn’t ask for anything more.

PROS:
  • Affordable
  • Has an excellent functionality
  • Offers high durability
CONS:
  • It does not have the best of motors

Explaining The Features of a Metal Lathe

You might think that picking up the best mini metal lathe is nothing but a walk in the park, however, it takes a lot more than just picking one product out of the lot. Experienced users also get confused while picking up the perfect lathe, thus you could guess how much an amateur goes through before he chooses the ideal mini metal lathe for his work. Usually, the technical terminologies involved throws people off their game and it becomes difficult for them to understand how exactly the tool works. To help you out with this, we will explain the features of metal lathe with which you can figure out the functionality of the machine. 

  • Lathe Size

There is no standard size in which a metal lathe comes and there are different sizes for you to choose from, depending on your workload. Usually, the industrial lathes have larger sizes when compared to the lathes that are used for lighter tasks. The decision to choose the lathe size should be influenced by the type of projects you usually take as well as the space available in your workshop. For those working in a compact space, then we do not see a point of you going for large-size lathes because the machine will reduce your mobility. For those who have bigger work space, then big lathes could be chosen for optimum use. 

  • Headstock Bearings

To handle the speed as well as the load of different sizes of lathe machines, headstocks and spindle assembly are used. Before you choose one for yourself, you have to see whether the machine uses ball bearings in the headstock or if your machine uses taper roller bearings. 

With taper rolling or ball bearings, you get a relief when it comes to the damages. You can easily replace these if they get damaged. However, when you go for a plain bearing, then you have to keep in mind that they are more expensive to replace, in case of a damage. 

  • Spindle Speed

Another thing which works in lathes is the variable speed control feature and all the top lathes have these features in them. For home-based lathes, you could try and aim for the speed starting from 30 RPM to 1200 RPM. On the other hand, if you are looking to perform some more intensive tasks, then the speed range could be around 2000 RPM or more than that. You must also know for a fact that high-speed rotations are not used as frequently because they are not needed. You only need fast rotations when you are working on the projects which need high-quality polishing. 

Explaining The Features of a Metal Lathe
  • Drive Systems

There are drive systems and capacities which these lathes come with and some of these lathes use variable electronic speed drives while others use the V-belt drive mechanisms. The V-belt drive increases the efficiency whilst you are using the lathe and you also feel improved bending when you are operating on large masses. The initial designs had more frictional engagement between the pulleys as they utilised flat belt drive. The V-belt drive, however, manages the speeds better which is ideal for metal work. 

  • Power

Another thing is the power as the smaller lathes usually get done with electric motors which range from 1 to 3HP. You can also find some lathes which normally operate on a single-phase supply. 

  • Centers

Most of the top lathes have morse taper feature and the recommended size for that is number 2 or number 3 because it is easier to operate them. If you are an amateur, then we recommend you to stay away from the Number 1 tapers. 

  • Tumbler Reverse

One thing you must know about lathes is that the lathes that have the tumbler reverse feature are easier to work with and is an ideal lathe for you as well. With this feature, you can change the direction of motion which ensures that the cutting tools cut in reverse with which you can perform cutting and turning roles easily.

Benefits Of Buying A Mini Metal Lathe

Having a mini metal lathe is not less than advantage to you because it is a power tool which takes the burden of your work away from you. With the help of a mini metal lathe, you can make your carpentry, glass work and metal fabrication absolutely flawless. There are a lot of benefits of using a mini metal lathe which makes it a must-have machine for you. Some of the benefits of using a mini metal lathe are as follows: 

  • You can use a mini metal lathe easily on stainless steel, steel, aluminum, and brass 
  • It is extremely easy and efficient to use the mini metal lathe machine on nylon, acetal, plexiglass, teflon, and delrin. 
  • You can drill holes into various metals which is not possible otherwise. 
  • Mini metal lathe machine also removes oxidation from the metal.

Things To Consider Before Buying a Metal Lathe

Again, you cannot just go and pick a lathe without doing any research because chances are, you might end up making the wrong call. To get the best mini metal lathe for your workshop, there are a few things that you must consider. With different lathes fulfilling different needs and with endless choices available, it is vital that you know what exactly it is that you want. If you want the best value for money, then the purchase decision must not be an arrow in the dark, rather you need to do proper research before jumping to a decision. A few things you must consider are:

  • Warranty

Buying a mini metal lathe is not a cheap machine to come by, it comes a little expensive. Thus, you need to buy a lathe that comes with a warranty so that the cost is covered in case the product does not last long enough. There are a few products which do not come with warranty and we recommend that you avoid buying those, especially because these are expensive and it is better to not take any risks around this. Mostly, the mini metal lathes come with a 2-year warranty which means that you will not incur huge losses, at least from the manufacturer’s side. 

  • Size of your Work-Space

Size of your workspace matters the most when it comes to making a decision of buying the best mini metal lathe. Moreover, because of the heavy weight of the machine, it becomes next to impossible for a single person to move it around. No matter how cheap or expensive your lathe machine comes, it will be heavy. Thus, when you are choosing a product, you must consider your workspace and then come to a decision, otherwise it will be nothing less than a chaos for you. Also, you must keep in mind that the bigger machines need adequate space otherwise they might overheat due to cramping, and might give you an inefficient performance. 

  • Swing over Distance (SOD) and Distance between Centers (DBC)

Another crucial factor which you must have in mind before making a decision is the Swing over distance (SOD) and the distance between the centers (DBC). Swing over distance refers to the maximum diameter of the workpiece which your lathe can handle. On the other hand, DBC is the length of a material which your lathe machine can handle when it is operational. 

For those people who work on larger projects, it is better to go for lathes with a greater SOD and DBC lengths. However, if you want it for domestic use, then average SOD and DBC lengths would do. 

  • Budget

You can do all the planning you want before buying anything, but at the end of the day, these plans hold zero credibility if you do not have the budget for it. There are different lathes which come in different prices, thus serving different functions. Some are of high quality with additional features whereas some are basic models which do not offer extra features to the users. When you buy the garage models, you do not get as many features but they are affordable for the users. However, the industrial lathes cost much more than a regular lathe and the sole reason is the features you get in the industrial lathes as well as its fabrication capabilities. Some lathes might come costly, but they do get the job done, no matter what the project is. 

  • Experience

Although the best lathes come with adequate safety measures, it is always advisable to start small as you advance to more complex devices. A machine like the Central Machinery Precision Mini Lathe is appropriate for beginners not only due to its friendly price but also because of its easy-to-use features. This allows you to learn how to use such machines properly. Both experts and beginners can use a machine like the Grizzly Industrial G4003G. However, the many features and complexity of the device can lead to underutilization. Start with small lathes that come with the features you want then plan on advancing as you improve your skills.

  • Motor 

Motor is one of the most important things to keep in mind before you buy any powerful tool, let alone a mini metal lathe. Motor’s speed is measured in RPM, which is Rotations per minute, and it indicates the rotation of the spindle. A tool with higher horsepower saves your time because of its fast speed. Mini metal lathes that have an average horsepower register about one whereas others register up to three. These come on the more expensive side. 

  • Adjustability

Another thing you need to consider before you buy the best mini metal lathe is the adjustability factor for that machine. Just like any other machine, it is pivotal that a good metal lathe allows adjustments to the users because with greater adjustability, you get greater flexibility which means you can do different projects quite easily. 

  • Build Quality

It is extremely important to check how your mini metal lathe is made to ensure the durability factor. Whenever you are purchasing a mini metal lathe for your workshop, you need to know the materials which are used to construct your machine so that you can figure out whether the machine can stand toughness and can last for years to come. 

  • Ease of Use

Another thing that matters before you buy a mini metal lathe is whether the machine is easy to use or not. If you are an amateur and you do not know how to run the machine efficiently, then you might want to do some heavy thinking before buying a complicated lathe. Some features might be complicated for an average user but they could be handled by the experts. Thus, it is better for you to go for a machine which is user-friendly so that you can have the best experience of using your machine. 

In these cases, the user manual also plays a significant role because it becomes easier for you to set your mini metal lathe up with the help of a user manual. There are a few lathes which do not come with a user manual and the user is on his own. It is recommended that you go for the one that has a user manual, especially if you are new to this. 

  • Customer Service

For a company as well as the customers, what matters the most is the customer service. The user stays with the company when there is proper customer service available and the company glues their clients with the help of a proper customer service. If there is no proper customer service, then it is difficult to maintain a heavy-duty machinery such as a mini metal lathe. If you buy a lathe which does not have spare parts or there are not enough service centers close to where you live, it becomes difficult for you, and frankly, you need to drop that option. Thus, before you buy the machine for yourself, we recommend you check how the customer service works and their response time. 

  • Accessories/Additional features

When you frequently have to use your lathe machine, then it is recommended that you go for the one which comes with some additional features that reduce your workload. There are some metal lathes that come with stands which provide storage space along with holding the lathe in place. When you further throw in some more money, you also get superior speed ranges and additional lever controls. Thus, it is advisable to go for a metal lathe that has some additional features and fits right within your budget.

Why You Should Choose A Mini Metal Lathe

A mini metal lathe is one of the best tools you could have in your workspace and there are a few reasons which back this statement. Some of the reasons why you should go for a mini metal lathe are as follows: 

  • Saves space 

One of the biggest reasons why you should go for a mini metal lathe is that the machine saves you a lot of space because of the compact size. With this, you can now work in smaller areas without taking the mobility factor away. When you are working on smaller projects, you do not have to buy a full fledged machine which will take most of the space in your work area, rather you can simply buy a mini metal lathe. The performance is almost the same as the bigger version, thus it is a perfect tool for you. A mini metal lathe is easy to handle and works smoothly as well, and most of all, it does not cost as much as the upgrades either. 

  • Work on different materials

Another advantage of having a mini metal lathe is that you can work on different materials with the help of this machine. The heavier machines are naturally capable of handling brass, aluminum, wood, and steel and the mini version can do the same without any difference except for the size. Not only can you use this on metals, but also you can use these on plastic which gives you an opportunity to showcase your creativity on surfaces like teflon, acetal, plexiglass, delrin, nylon, etc. The small size does not affect the flexibility and the power you require to create your artistic projects. 

  • Multi-purpose mini monster

All the mini lathes are more than capable of eliminating the oxidized residue from the metal. Moreover, with the help of this, you can easily drill the holes into common metals or hardened materials or any other metalwork. Along with that, you can create beautiful pieces of jewelry and cylindrical objects. No matter what you want to make, a mini metal lathe has an answer for you.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q. What are the materials that could be cut using the best mini metal lathe?

There are various materials which you can easily cut with the help of a mini metal lathe such as wood, metal, plastic like teflon and glass. Brass, steel, and aluminum are the metals which are cut frequently with the help of a lathe machine and you can also drill, cut, and turn any material you like without any hassle.

Q. Is the weight of a mini metal lathe important?

Generally, when you are dealing with metal, a lighter size tool is always a better option considering it ensures easier tasks. However, mini metal lathes are heavyweight because it takes heavy materials like cast iron and heavy aluminum to make it. Also, for your safety, it is always better to go for a stable mini metal lathe, with which you get a smooth and efficient work environment.

These days, you hardly find a mini metal lathe that comes under the lightweight category and usually, the machines weigh around 78 to 500 pounds. You could choose the one which fits your needs. 

Instead of thinking about the weight of your lathe machine, we recommend you to consider the size of the project that you are working on. With wide range of mini metal lathes available to you, you can choose the one which fits your project because metal lathes are flexible enough to suit various tasks. For bigger projects, heavier and larger lathes work the best whereas for small tasks like bowls and door handles, lightweight lathes are chosen. Bigger and heavier the lathe, the more it will cost you.

Q. What are the things that I need to consider before buying an ideal mini metal lathe?

As we have mentioned above above, there are a few things which you need to consider before you buy a mini metal lathe to fit your needs. Most important things include the design, motor, and the functionality of your lathe. You must choose the machine which is easy-to-use and the one which you can use without wasting much of your time and your effort.

Q. Why is the design of a mini metal lathe important?

When it comes to figuring out how long your product can last, without being damaged, then the design of the product plays a significant role in determining that. You might think that there is no relationship between the durability of the product and it’s design, but it is not true because they are connected in a way. If the design of your machine is high-quality and has easy accessibility, then your machine will not break easily and will last for a long time.

Q. How does a mini metal lathe work?

A mini metal lathe is a motor-based machine that works on a linear trajectory to give proper shape to metal. The machine is designed with a large headstock where the chuck and motor are incorporated which ensures that the metal is tightly attached to its place. The chuck of the lathe is connected directly to the spindle inside the headstock. Headstock is responsible for regulating the pressure and also has variable speed range controls which helps in adjusting the speed of chuck and spindle.

Q. What safety protocols should I follow while using a mini metal lathe?

Using a mini metal lathe machine is not a kid’s job, it is dangerous, especially if not done properly. There are a few precautions that you must take before using a mini metal lathe or any other power tool for that matter. The most important thing you need to do is protect your eyes because eyes are delicate. Furthermore, you should never wear jewelry when you are using this machine. 

When working with any power tool, always wear your protective gear and protect your eyes. Also, do not wear jewelry when working with this tool. And always make sure you check over your tool before you start work to see if any maintenance work is needed.

A Final Word

These are the best mini metal lathe which you could go for to make things easier for you. A mini metal lathe is an important tool which helps in reducing the workload and giving the fine finish which you have always ached for. The above-mentioned mini lathes will fit right into your workspace and you will be happy with the buy. You must, however, need to ensure your safety before you buy the machine and you also need to make sure that you do your research before you buy a mini metal lathe so that you do not end up making a wrong buy.

On an ending note, we personally recommend you to buy:

Erie Tools 7 x 14 Precision Bench Top Mini Metal Milling Lathe Variable Speed 2500 RPM & Digital...
  • Includes the lathe, chuck key, five-piece carbide tipped cutter kit, internal chuck jaws and external chuck jaws, 11 feed rate gears and owners manual
  • Drill, cut and turn metal, wood and plastic parts with precision.

It is without a shadow of a doubt that we choose Erie Tools Benchtop Mini Metal Lathe as our personal recommendation to you considering how much the product offers to the users. With Erie Tools Benchtop Mini Metal Lathe you get high durability and flexibility which is what one needs the most in a mini metal lathe. Moreover, other excellent features such as easy functionality makes it the best mini metal lathe according to us. 

Last update on 2020-08-14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API