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7x Lathes.com - Information and discussion forum for 7x10, 7x12, and 7x14 mini-lathes

Versions, Specifications, and Pricing

Various Vendors, One Factory

The 7x mini-lathe is manufactured by Sieg Indistustries in China. The actual factory model is the Black and Red Series C2 Mini Lathe. They come in two models from the factory (unless requested otherwise from the vendor/reseller), a 200mm (~10") or 300mm (~12") distance between centers. That is to say, when a dead center is placed in the headstock and tailstock, the distance between centers is measured, yielding the distance between centers. It is important to note, however, that the Harbor Freight version is actually 8" between centers, even though they specify it as a 7"x10".

While small, this lathe has its advantages over some of the larger "small" lathes such as the 8x and even 9x. The fact that it can be moved easily by one person can be quite advantagious. Weighing in at just around 90 lbs. and being compact in form, makes transporting this lathe from the kitchen table to the garage fairly easy. These lathes also have an electronic control for varying spindle speeds which means you won't have to change and adjust belts. This also means that you can vary the speeds infinitely as compared to other lathes which may only have a few set speeds based on their pulley arrangement.

Spindle reverse is also offered which means by simply moving the lever behind the headstock, you can make the chuck and spindle turn the other direction for left-hand threading. Threading can be acheived by changing gearsets (sorry, no quick change gear box on this model) to produce between 12 to 52 TPI. Metric threading is also possible.

If just getting started, this lathe makes a decent machine to learn with. With the abundance of online support and vendors selling this lathe, parts and accessories become an after thought. The challenge is really just finding the vendor you'd like to purchase from. With the exception of two vendors (Harbor Freight and Micro-Mark), any other vendor sells the same 7x12 mini-lathe with color and supplied accessories (and of course price) being the the distinguishing characteristics.

Harbor Freight (Model #33684 - $419.99)

Harbor Freight, the company and the brand, has become synonymous with "cheap" Chinese metalworking, woodworking, automotive and other types of tooling and machinery. It is important to note however that they do also sell products manufactured from other emerging industrial nations such as India. It is also worthwhile to note that many of the items currently produced in India seem to be even inferior in quality than those made in China.

If you have ever walked into a Harbor Freight store you'll notice how "messy" it can sometimes get. Their sales staff work on commission and often try to sell you insurance plans on top of the machinery. They'll even try to sell you the plan on little items like a $5 hammer. Just keep this in mind when you shop there.

The model 7x they sell is unique in its own right. While the moniker is a 7x10, the distance between centers is in fact around 8". Keep this in mind since if working on your lathe requires drilling with standard jobber length drill bits can be almost impossible due to the short bed length. Other than that, the previous model (the red version) which is no longer being sold in catalogs and online may still be found in-store. The newer version, is the green-colored one. Again, its moniker of 7x10 is still misleading.

As for purchasing, you can often times find these lathes on sale. That, coupled with a coupon of 10%, 15%, or even 20% off (for in-store) purchases, can bring the price of this lathe down considerably. Bear in mind again that this lathe has the shortest bed of all the 7x mini-lathes.

Specifications:

Grizzly Industrial (Model #G8688 - $525)

Grizzly has developed quite a good reputation for customer service both pre and post-sale. With their flat freight shipping costs neatly presented with the machines, it becomes quite clear what your out-of-pocket expenses would be. They're nicely laid out website also shows you some of the other quality Asian-made machines (lathes, mills, etc.) they offer. This would certainly present you with other alternatives or trade-up options should you continue to expand your lathe colletion.

Grizzly sells the 7x12" version of the lathe, colored in the distinctive "Grizzly Green".

Specifications:

Micro-Mark (Model #82710 - $595.95)

Also known for their customer service, Micro-Mark sells another version of the lathe - different from the rest of the pack. Their model has a 14" distance between centers and makes is the longest mini-lathe in the crowd. They also two other distinguishing features not found with the other models: metal gears on the spindle shaft and "true-inch" hand dials.

They've also pre-cleaned the lathe of the messy "red goop" that makes 7x ownership unique for the uninitiated. The color is the standard red that Sieg offers. One of the reasons Micro-Mark uses the steel intermediate gears compared to the standard plastic gears is that this has often been the failure point of these machines when first-users put the lathe into action. By taking aggressive cuts that they've perhaps been accustomed to with larger machines, they could potentially break these gears. For mini-mill owners, the "belt drive upgrade" has become quite a topic simply due to this.

Specifications:

Cummins Tool (Model #5278 - $399.99) Cummins Tool is now Toolsnow.com

Perhaps one ofthe best deals out there, Cummins (recently changed its name to Toolsnow.com) has built up the reputation of offering the best "bang for the buck". Their previous Cummins yellow has been changed to a shade of sky blue. They frequently have truck sales and bargains can be had if they do indeed travel to your area.

The 7x12 version Cummins offers comes with a host of accessories included in the price such as a moving and fixed steady rest, face plate and a 5-piece cutting tool set. Quite a bargain indeed!

Specifications:

Includes:

ENCO (Model #110-0800 - $579.95)

ENCO will soon become one of your most flipped-through catalogs for metalworking equipment and materials. While their machinery is not priced competitively with the market, their prices usually are cheaper than other catalogs such as MSC Industrial, Travers, J&L Industrial to name a few. (Note: MSC Industrial now owns both ENCO and J&L Industrial)

Every so often, their 7x10 (just like the Harbor Freight model) goes on sale for $399.99. Unfortunately, they do apply freight charges which means that their monthly FREE shipping coupons for orders over $50 (UPS ground only and has its weight limitations) won't apply to this lathe.

The picture shown on their website is of a yellow colored lathe, though we have found that those colors aren't necessarily indicative of what they offer. You'll need to check with ENCO if that matters in your purchasing criteria.

Specifications:

Chester UK Ltd. Conquest (Model #N/A - Price N/A)

The Chest Conquest appears to be a pieced together version with two colors of the Jet white and old Cummins yellow. No pricing is available. It is interesting to note that the the circuit board provided is built in the USA instead of from the factory in China. They also provide a quick change tool post (QCTP) with holders which aren't shown on the website.

Specifications:

Standard Accessories:

Clarke / Machine Mart (Model #CL300M 060712525 - £359.98 excluding VAT)

The Clarke model sold through Machine Mart in the UK is a colorful yellow, like the one pictured in the ENCO catalog. This model is the 300mm version, which is identical to the 7x12 moniker.

Specifications:

Homier (Model #03911 - $299.99)

Homier, like Cummins, offers a tremendous deal on these mini-lathes. With a $300 purchase price of the "Speedway Series" lathes in a medium-dark blue, they are the cheapest of the vendors selling a 7x12 model (even better than a 7x10 model on sale!).

Specifications:

Busy Bee

Busy Bee Tools in Canada no longer sells the Sieg C2 mini-lathe.

Axminster Power Tool Centre (Model #SIEG C2A 300 Sieg C2A 300 600550 - £299.63 ~ $586.58)

"On the other side of the pond", Axminster has quite a selection of machinery (kind of like Grizzly here in the States) including Sieg's other models of lathes: the C0 "baby lathe" and the much larger C6B variable speed.

They offer a Jet Machinery "white" color.

Specifications:

Penn Tool Co. Precise 7"x12" Mini Bench Lathe (Model# CJ-9518 - $549.95)

Here's a red version of the mini-lathe with indeed 300mm between centers. Their online experience makes it difficult to know how much your total cost would be. You have to call them to find out shipping to your area. It looks like they've gone with a standard factory color and are only shipping small container's worth of machines.

Specifications:

Wholesale Tool Precision Mini Table Lathe (Model#3003-0025 $469.00)

Yet another one of the usual tooling and metalworking catalogs, Wholesale tool also sells larger machinery like the Rong-Fu 45 / ZAY7045 dovetail bench mill clone as well as the 9x20 lathe, but in this case, they've also joined the group of vendors selling the 7x12". Again, you'll need to call in to get an estimated freight quote since this won't ship via UPS.

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