Last Updated on April 24, 2023 by Charles Wilson
Purchasing a used lathe can be a cost-effective way to acquire a high-quality machine for your machining needs. However, buying a used lathe comes with its own set of risks and considerations. In this article, we will explore where to find used lathes for sale, as well as the risks and considerations to keep in mind when purchasing a used lathe.
Where to Find Used Lathes for Sale
There are several places where you can used wood lathes, metal lathes (and even milling machines) for sale. In this section, we will explore some of the top places to look for them, including online marketplaces, industrial auctions, used machinery dealers, online classifieds, and local machine shops. Let’s dive in!
Online marketplaces such as eBay, Craigslist, and Facebook Marketplace
Online marketplaces such as eBay, Craigslist, and Facebook Marketplace are popular places to find used lathes for sale. These websites allow individuals to post listings for their used lathes, and potential buyers can search for and purchase the machine directly from the seller. However, it is important to be cautious when purchasing from these websites, as they do not offer any guarantees on the condition of the machine, and there is a higher risk of scams or fraudulent listings.
Industrial auctions are another option for finding used lathes for sale. These auctions are typically held by auction houses or online marketplaces and may offer a wide range of industrial machinery, including lathes. Auctions can be a great way to find quality used lathes, but it is important to carefully research the machines and set a budget before bidding.
Used machinery dealers
Used machinery dealers specialize in buying and selling used machinery, including lathes. These dealers may have a physical location or an online storefront, and they can provide a range of used lathes to choose from. Working with a reputable dealer can offer some assurance of the quality and condition of the machine, but it is important to research the dealer’s reputation and ask for references or reviews from previous customers.
Local machine shops
Local machine shops may occasionally have used lathes for sale, particularly if they are upgrading to newer equipment. Visiting or calling local machine shops and inquiring about their used machinery inventory can be a good way to find a used lathe for sale in your area. Building a relationship with a local machine shop can also be beneficial for future machining needs and support.
Risks and Considerations when Buying a Used Lathe
When considering buying a used lathe, there are some important risks and considerations to keep in mind. Some of these also apply to new lathes, but to a lesser extent. In this section, we’ll look at some of the key factors to consider when purchasing a used lathe. These include the condition of the lathe, the reputation of the seller, transportation, and compatibility.
Condition of the lathe
When purchasing a used lathe, it’s important to remember that these machines are complex and require a lot of maintenance to keep them running smoothly. It’s also important to remember that not all sellers are honest about the condition of their machines, which can make it difficult to determine whether a lathe is in good working order.
When inspecting a used lathe, there are several things you should look for. First, examine the lathe’s bed, which is the horizontal part that supports the workpiece. Look for any signs of wear or damage, such as rust, cracks, or warping. A damaged bed can affect the accuracy of the lathe and make it difficult to produce precise cuts.
Next, check the headstock, which is the part of the lathe that holds the workpiece and rotates it. Look for any signs of wear or damage, such as chipped gears or worn bearings. A damaged headstock can affect the speed and accuracy of the lathe.
You should also inspect the tailstock, which is the part of the lathe that supports the other end of the workpiece. Look for any signs of wear or damage, such as a loose or wobbly tailstock. A damaged tailstock can affect the accuracy of the lathe and make it difficult to produce precise cuts.
Finally, check the lathe’s motor and electrical system. Look for any signs of wear or damage, such as frayed wires or a damaged motor. A damaged motor can affect the speed and power of the lathe and make it difficult to produce precise cuts.
In addition to inspecting the lathe, it’s also important to ask the seller about the lathe’s history and maintenance. Ask if the lathe has been regularly maintained and if any repairs have been made. Ask about the lathe’s age, usage, and any previous owners. All of these factors can affect the condition of the lathe and its overall value.
By taking the time to inspect the lathe and ask the seller questions, you can make a more informed decision when purchasing a used lathe. It’s also important to remember that purchasing from a reputable seller can increase the likelihood of getting a good quality used lathe.
Researching the seller and their history can help you avoid scams and ensure that you are purchasing from a reputable source. Look for reviews or feedback from previous customers, and check to see if the seller has a website or social media presence.
When in doubt about the seller, seriously consider looking at other options such as a new lathe. There’s an option for every budget, without worrying about seller reputation so much! Here are some articles that may help you in that decision:
Transporting a used lathe can be difficult and expensive, so it is important to factor in transportation costs when budgeting for a used lathe. Consider whether you will need to hire a professional moving company or if you can transport the lathe yourself.
This one might seem obvious, but it’s no good to buy a lathe if it can’t handle your needs! Just in case you’re not sure what you need, here is a quick summary of what to consider.
First, consider the size of the lathe. The size of the lathe refers to the distance between the center of the spindle and the bed. This distance determines the maximum diameter of the workpiece that can be turned on the lathe. Consider the size of the workpieces you plan to turn and make sure that the lathe can accommodate them.
Next, consider the power of the lathe. The power of the lathe refers to the amount of force that the lathe can apply to the workpiece. This is typically measured in horsepower (HP). Consider the type of materials you plan to work with and make sure that the lathe has enough power to handle them.
In addition to size and power, consider the capabilities of the lathe. Some lathes come equipped with features such as variable speed control, digital readouts, and automatic feeds. Consider the type of projects you plan to work on and the level of precision you require, and make sure that the lathe has the necessary capabilities to meet your needs.
Finally, consider any additional accessories or tooling that you may need. Some lathes come with accessories such as chucks, faceplates, and tool rests, while others may require you to purchase these items separately. Consider the cost of these additional items and factor them into your budget.
Tips for Buying a Used Lathe
Now that we’ve discussed where to find used lathes and general considerations, Here are some quick tips to wrap things up.
Research the specific model and brand
Before making a purchase, it’s important to research the specific model and brand of the lathe you are interested in. This can help you determine the typical market value of the lathe and any common issues or problems associated with that model. This information can also help you negotiate a fair price with the seller.
Ask the seller for a history of the lathe
When considering a used lathe, it’s important to ask the seller for a history of the machine. This should include any maintenance or repairs that have been done on the lathe, as well as any known issues or problems. If possible, ask for documentation or receipts of any maintenance or repairs that have been done.
Inspect the lathe in person if possible, or ask for detailed photos and videos if buying online.
It’s always best to inspect a used lathe in person before making a purchase. This allows you to check the condition of the machine and ensure that it is in good working order. If an in-person inspection isn’t possible, ask the seller for detailed photos and videos of the lathe, including any close-ups of specific areas of concern.
Budget for any necessary repairs or upgrades that may be needed.
Even if a used lathe appears to be in good condition, it’s important to budget for any necessary repairs or upgrades that may be needed in the future. This can include replacing worn parts or upgrading the machine’s capabilities. By factoring in these costs, you can make a more informed decision about the overall value of the lathe.
Buying a used lathe can be a smart way to acquire a high-quality machine for your machining needs, but it is important to take the necessary precautions and considerations to ensure a successful purchase.
If you insist on buying used, make sure to keep the risks and considerations I outlined in this article in mind. That said, with advances in manufacturing, you can get decent lathes brand new for a steal these days.
Why don’t you check out some of my wood lathe buying guides or metal lathe buying guides and see for yourself?