Metal lathe is a machine typically used for shaping metals by keeping it in place and rotating it. A regular-sized metal lathe is quite big and not suitable for those who are interested in DIY metal works.
With the advancement of technology, we are now able to carry out difficult tasks in a much more relaxed manner. And technology has even found a solution for metal workers in the form of a mini metal lathe.
But since there are plenty of choices available in the market, we have come up with the best mini metal lathe reviews to make things easier for you. For anyone who would like to have a lighter and portable mini metal lathe, you have come to the right place!
Benefits of Mini Metal Lathe
If you are wondering what the necessity of having a miniature metal lathe is, we have your queries answered for you below:
Takes Up less space
When you are doing small work that is not in the category of industrial scale, it is entirely useless to have a gigantic sized metal lathe that takes up a considerable amount of space.
In case you are working on a small garage or somewhere with a small area, having a regular sized machine isn't quite a good idea. However, a mini one will give you the same quality of work but takes up much lesser space.
No matter how robust your project is, or the material you want to work with, this machine is compatible with all. Just because it is called a metal lathe, it does not indicate that it works on metal only.
You can use to shape anything from wood, Teflon, nylon to even things made of pixie glass. Also, use it on steel, aluminum, and other types of hard materials.
When you hear of a metal lathe, you might think of it as something that is suitable for only carrying out big-scale industrial jobs. However, you will be delighted to know that with a mini one, you can carry out various metal cutting works such as a beautiful decorative piece made of metal for your home to even a small ring.
7 Best Mini Metal Lathe Reviews
Now that you are well aware of why you should get a mini metal lathe, let’s move on to the top 7 mini metal lathes available in the market:
1. Grizzly Industrial G8688-7" x 12" Mini Metal Lathe
The first pick on our list is a name well known for its consistent quality in the metalworking industry. Grizzly has been a brand that has maintained its outstanding reputation in the market for years and has delivered the needs of its customers satisfactorily.
The G8688 is their version of a mini metal lathe that showcases durability, portability, and consistent services to keep up with its parent brand name.
This machine comes in a color that is very light and soothing to the eyes. Due to the lightness, no matter where you keep the machine, it will seem like a part of the surroundings and won't cause an eyesore to anyone who is looking.
Moreover, it comes in a small size that does not take up a huge amount of space. Thus, you can carry out metal cutting works efficiently at whatever place you find convenient to do so. Another fantastic feature of this machine is its weight. It is light enough to give you the flexibility to carry it around to other work sites.
Since mini metal lathes are mostly purchased by those who usually work in small places, it is highly convenient for them to have a portable machine that can switch their places easily. On top of this, the machine comes with a spindle bore of 20 mm and offers a bore size of 16mm.
The second pick comes from BestEquip, which is also a well-reputed brand in the market. It offers impressive functionality and delivers consistent, smooth performance. You will be so satisfied with its work that there will be no room for disappointment.
However, the only problem with this machine is its price. As it delivers work on a professional level, its pricing is quite high. Therefore, make sure you can afford it before you make the choice of purchasing this one.
Despite having a high price, having this machine is entirely worth the price. This is because once you purchase it, it will accompany you for a long time due to its durable quality.
It is mainly made of top quality iron that prevents its body from degrading. And you can perform a different type of work with this machine as it can function in different settings. For example, the machine has a rotation capacity starting from 50 rpm to as high as 250.
The threading range is quite crucial while purchasing a machine of this caliber. And this particular pick delivers in this arena as well. Its thread size ranges from 4 to 8 TPI, which makes it a great candidate for different types of work.
Moreover, all of its gears are constructed with top quality metal that prevents any rusting and degradation due to regular use.
3. Erie Tools 7 x 14 Precision Bench Top Mini Metal Milling Lathe
If you want to know about what some of the best models for mini-sized metal lathes currently are in the market, then the name of this particular model will definitely make it to the list. This is because the model is very much affordable and costs under 1000 $. On top of this, it offers top-notch quality work that will leave you satisfied.
Now, if we had to list down the features of this model from Erie, we would have to list down its compatibility with different types of materials first.
Whether you are cutting aluminum, steel, brass, or some other metal, the machine will skillfully deliver the perfect cuts for you. On the other hand, you can even craft wood with it. Moreover, no matter how durable the material you are choosing to work on is, this fantastic machine won't lose its integrity or finesse at any cost.
Apart from the features mentioned above, the durability of this machine is notable. Moreover, the machine comes with an instruction manual. So even if you are using it for the first time, you won’t have trouble understanding how to do what despite the variety of functionalities this mini lathe provides.
The precision with which it makes each cut and drill is flawless. Moreover, you will feel at ease while working with this machine due to its smooth operability.
This pick on our list has some versatile features that make it stand out from the rest. It can perform 0-2500 rotations per minute, depending on the setting you choose. And choosing your preferred setting is also quite easy.
You need to swab a knob. The knob helps you control the speed of the rotations and thus gives you full control. Moreover, the machine will always deliver precise results.
If you dislike heavy machinery, then this machine is the perfect choice for you. It is extremely lightweight compared to its contemporaries. On top of this, it does not take up a lot of space.
So you can set it up easily anywhere, no matter how small the size of your worksite is. And if you need to move your worksite, you can easily carry this machine away due to its portability.
The Central Machinery is quite similar to another product we will also look at in this enumeration in a minute. It is extremely versatile, lightweight, and will not take up too much space in your workshop. We called it lightweight considering how much most metal lathes weigh.
The size of the threads for this machine ranges from 12 to 52 TPI. Adding to this, the machine has a unique feature known as the automatic feeding system that lets you do your work without much hassle. Things become easier and require you to perform less manual labor.
Moreover, there is a chuck on this machine that has several micro switches to control its functionalities. The only problem that you might face while using this machine is the lack of the availability of its replacement parts.
5. Grizzly Industrial G0602-10" x 22" Benchtop Metal Lathe
Grizzly is a well-known name when it comes to naming some of the best small metal lathes. Just like its other model mentioned in this list of mini metal lathe reviews, this model also doesn't disappoint.
The best part about the G0602 model is its price. Despite being loaded with amazing features, the pricing is so convenient that it can fit in easily within anyone's regular budget for a metal lathe.
Other than being one of the best within its price range, this model comes with a bunch of versatile features that will make you want to purchase it right away. Firstly, it is possible to run this machine on six different speed settings according to your preference.
This gives you the ease and comfort to shape or drill the material you are working on with absolute precision. Moreover, you can place this machine on top of a bench and work with it. Other unique features of this model include its threading ranges, which increase the power of this machine.
On top of this, even if the machine loses one of its parts, or a part somehow gets broken, you can easily replace it with the several spare parts that come in a package with the main tool. Other than this, it features a wide bed, 1-inch long spindle bore, and TPI spindle tapers that make it a candidate for one of the best small metal lathe.
Just how its name goes, the Mophorn Metal Lathe is known for its precise work. With this machine, you can create anything starting from a small ring to a prototype of something big.
As it has made it into our list of mini metal lathe reviews, it goes without a doubt that it has some outstanding features which have made it worthy of being here. This highly durable machine will deliver amazing performance and ensure the highest level of operator satisfaction.
Coming to its features, this machine can switch between different types of rotations, starting from 0 to 2500 rotations per minute. Not only this, it won't take up much space on your work site. Due to its smaller size and ability to fit in cluttered spaces, it makes for a perfect candidate to work with for those who prefer a portable tool.
On top of this, the machine comes with micro switches, a chuck guard and a steel spindle that increases its functionality. To become more beginner-friendly and avoid any accidents, this Mophorn metal lathe comes with two emergency switches.
One is colored green, which is meant to be used for turning the machine on. And the other one is colored red, with which the machine can be switched off at any moment. The red button is concealed under a lid to prevent accidentally turning off the machine.
7. Shop Fox M1018 Combo Lathe/Mill
Shop Fox is a brand known for making powerful tools at a good enough quality. Although it might not be the best model on this list, it is reliable enough to do your job satisfactorily.
Apart from that, the machine features 14 types of rotation speeds ranging variably from 117 to 1300 rotations per minute. Thus, you can have the freedom to choose from a variety of settings according to your preferences.
Although this model from Shop Fox has some nice features, it is quite expensive. Its price goes beyond the 1000 dollars threshold, so only purchase this machine if it is within your budget.
Coming back to its features, it has a capacity to drill steel, having a thickness of 7 to 8 inches. Therefore, it works fine on various kinds of hard materials.
This machine comes with a spindle bore and different thread ranges. However, one negative aspect of this model is its weight. It is quite heavy, which makes it difficult for you to carry or move it to a convenient workspace.
Moreover, its layout is a bit confusing, which might baffle new users. It takes some time to get used to this layout. But once you are comfortable, the machine will serve you just fine.
What to Look for before Buying?
In this best mini metal lathe review, we have already let you know about our 7 top picks. However, what are some of the criteria that make a metal lathe worth all the money? Well, there are three important facts that play the most vital role in deciding the performance of a metal lathe.
If the one you have purchased lacks in any one of these fields, or all, you will end up disappointed. The service you avail won’t be up to the mark. Neither will you feel at ease working with that machine. So what exactly are those three important factors to look at before buying?
As the saying goes, “the first impression is the last.” We often decide the fate of a product by looking at its design and layout. The easier to operate a design looks, the more attractive it seems to a customer.
For example, if a metal lathe has a very complicated layout with lots of confusing buttons, the operator will be left scratching his head while trying to figure out how to use this machine.
And why exactly do people purchase a mini metal lathe? To get things done faster and quickly. If half the time is spent figuring out how to use the machine, then it all goes in vain.
Now, what exactly do we mean here by the layout of the mini metal lathe? You might be confused between its aesthetic and the way the overall design is set up. Well, here we have indicated both the things with one word. Both these factors are complementary to each other.
If a machine has a nice setup, it will inevitably look good to the eyes of the viewer. Similarly, the aesthetic of a machine will only be good if its layout is simplistic and easy to understand.
Hence, it is quite important to check properly if the layout of the machine is pleasing to your eyes and easy to understand when you go to purchase one.
Type of Tools
The tools that a metal lathe is equipped with goes a long way in determining its functionality. After the layout of the machine, what's most important is how powerful each of the tools of this machine is, and how easily they can be controlled.
First and foremost, your comfort and ease of use is the most important factor when deciding whether the tools of the lathe are good enough or not. If you have to fiddle a lot in order to maneuver a machine according to your desire, it indicates that the control over the tools isn't quite good.
Sometimes, brands, while trying to make a model fancy and good looking, end up adding too many tools to the machine that are hard to operate. However, operator comfort is a vital factor in delivering good results. Therefore, only go for the brands that give you the ease of smooth operation.
After considering the control aspect of the various tools in a metal lathe, the next factor to ponder upon is its durability.
All the tools in a metal lathe are vital towards serving its functionalities. Hence, if any of it falters, the entire machine will become useless. Therefore, you must check whether the accompanied tools are made up of durable materials or not.
Another thing to keep in mind is the availability of spare parts. If the spare parts of a particular brand are hard to come by, it is better to purchase another one. Because in case your machine breaks down, and you can’t find the necessary spares, your entire investment might become a waste.
Operability of the Machine
The main operation that a mini metal lathe needs to perform is accurate and precisely shape, cut, and drill metals. If a lathe can't perform this action properly, then it can be rendered useless.
It can be compared to the ability of a phone to make a call. No matter how fancy the features of a phone seems, if it is unable to make a call, it will lose its identity and original intent. Similarly, if a metal lathe fails to deliver its basic function properly, then choosing it won't be a good idea.
This is where the question of the operability of a machine comes in. No matter how fancy or aesthetic a machine looks, if it is unable to deliver your desired results, then what is the point of purchasing it?
Therefore, you must ensure the ease of comfort of the operability of the machine before buying it. If you see that you can easily perform the actions you intend to, only then go for that particular model.
Therefore, after discussing the factors above in detail, we hope it is clear to you now as to why these are important facts to decide on how good a metal lathe is. If the model you have chosen to purchase, passes the test of ensuring top quality in terms of these factors, then you are good to go.
So, make sure to check whether a lathe marks the cut and meets the criteria before making the final decision.
When it comes to working with machinery that is meant for cutting metals, taking appropriate safety measures is a must. Here are some of the tips you need to follow before starting to use a small metal lathe:
Wearing Safety Glasses
Don’t forget to put on safety glasses to prevent debris from flying into your eyes and injuring them.
Get Rid of Loose Materials
Any material that has a risk of getting entangled into the machine and causing a big accident should be removed. For example, a piece of your clothing that is laying lose, or even your hair.
You never know when uncalled for situations might arise. Therefore, it is very important to check whether the machine comes with an emergency stop button, which is easy to reach.
Avoid Slippery Floor
Make sure that the floor you are standing on while working with the lathe is clean and swept. Otherwise, you might fall and injure yourself badly.
Checking the Chucks
Before starting the lathe, check all of its chucks and see if any of it is broken. This is because a broken chuck can prove to be extremely hazardous and result in flying pieces of metal or wood that will hurt you or someone else badly.
Top-Rated Brands on the Market
Although we have summarized the best mini metal lathes in the market, you ought to know the five most renowned brands out there who have maintained their reputation amongst the customer base for years:
Grizzly is a top brand when it comes to making the machinery of this caliber. They have always delivered according to the customer's needs and ensure the best performance. You can find two of Grizzly's models on this list.
Eerie is another well-known brand that has good customer reviews. It provides ease of operability to the operator and ensures that the operator has full control over the machine.
Another brand that has maintained its goodwill for years is central machinery. Their machines are unique and come with a variety of functions that can be understood quite easily even by beginners.
Just as its name goes, BestEquip mini metal lathe is indeed one of the best equipment to use for this kind of jobs on the market. They are easily available and ensure maximum customer satisfaction.
Last but not least, Mophorn is a brand that also makes the cut as one of the top-rated brands for making metal lathes. They have proven to consistently deliver durable and good quality lathes and deservingly earned their good name in the market.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Can You Use a Wood Lathe for Metal?
Yes, it is possible to use a wood lathe for metals. However, it is recommended that you only use it for small scale work that doesn't require much engineering.
2. Where is Metal Wood Lathe Used?
Metal wood lathes can be mainly used on materials like aluminum, brass, and steel.
3. How to Convert Wood Lathe to Metal Lathe?
Yes, it is possible to convert a wood lathe into a metal one. However, the process is quite lengthy and will be understood more clearly if it is demonstrated. We recommend you to watch a tutorial on YouTube in order to understand the process in a better way.
4. Can I Cut Wood With Metal Lathes?
Just how it is possible to cut metal with wood lathes, you can also cut wood with a metal lathe.
5. Should I Wear Safety Glasses While Using A Metal Lathe?
You most definitely should in order to avoid debris getting into your eyes. Otherwise, you will end up with a big injury and might even damage your eyes for good.
Now that we have come towards the end of the best mini metal lathe reviews, we hope that the guideline was helpful for you. After reading this article, besides knowing what some of the top picks for mini metal lathes are, you will also get to know what makes a lathe a good one.
Moreover, don't forget to keep in mind the safety precautions before starting on with a lathe to avoid any accidents.
All in all, this guideline can be very helpful for you whether you are someone new interested to purchase a lathe for the first time or someone who is looking for a better option. So, next time you or someone you know is in confusion, refer to this article.