My workshop revolves around a Maximat Compact Standard lathe. The lathe was purchased almost 50 years ago but is still accurate and robust, despite the signs of age and hard work. The lathe was fitted with a 1HP motor so it could handle more demanding work.
One disadvantage is that the lathe has a flat bed that is more susceptible to loss of accuracy. Mine, however, has not as yet deteriorated to the extent that accuracy has been compromised.
The lathe has a bed length of 1 Metre with a width of 150 Millimetres. The usable space between centres is 600 Millimetres. Swing over the cross slide is 155 Millimetres. This is adequate for the work that I normally undertake.
The lathe is also fitted with a vertical column to allow the motor and spindle to be moved onto the column to convert the machine for milling operations. The task of moving the motor and spindle can be physical so that it is wise to plan any project carefully to lessen the impact. The spindle has a number of collets and a draw bar as a tool fixture. I have a drill chuck which has been specially machined for normal drill bits. All larger drills used in this configuration have machined shafts to fit the standard collets. This allows accurate drilling of much larger holes due to the ruggedness of the method.
Thread cutting has to be achieved by selecting the correct gears and assembling them on the gear train holder. A lead screw indicator is required when threading to ensure that the correct starting point is used during the machining operation. This method can be cumbersome so in most cases it is easier to used standard taps and dies for threading.
The lathe has a full compliment of accessories, such as tail stock, quick change tool post, tool post grinder etc. Over the years I have added a large number of home accessories to the lathe. The include radius cutters, diving heads and fly cutters etc.
For wood working tasks I have a Emcostar universal machine. This machine has major restrictions so can only be used for light work. The machine has the following facilities built in.
1 Circular saw
2 Band saw
3 Disc Sander
4 Belt sander
5 Wood lathe
6 Wood planer
7 Wood thicknesser
When planning new projects it is wise to remember the tools ability and to use a lot of patience. Most tasks can be achieved but you must take notice of the "Mickey Mouse" nature of the machine.
For the preparation of material for the lathe, mill and basic assembly, I have a metal working Band saw. The machine is of cheap Chinese manufacture and has to be treated carefull to operate accurately. At all time cutting fluid has to be used and the cut rate carefully controlled. It is, however, preferable to manually cutting stock.
The machine is made to cut bar of up to 100 Millimetre. This is adequate for the most amateur projects.
For the finishing of projects I have a dual cylinder air compressor. This is useful for painting and cleaning. I have not procured many air tools so the machine is just used for the basic tasks.
The workshop is also equipped with a good selection of power tools including grinders, drills and sanders etc..
The biggest problem is that of room. All tools have to be compact and moveable. Space is already at a premium and when using all machines, except for the lathe, the unit has to be moved into clear space. The greatest factor of working in South Africa is the weather as you can operate out of doors for almost all 365 days a year. Next to the workshop I have a covered floored area which is ideal for working with plenty of room around the machines.
This factor influences all decisions for additional equipment and is the reason the CNC router and 3D printer have to be fully self contained.