Shop Freight Lathe

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Forum topic by stevejack posted 09-16-2020 07:35 AM 193 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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141 posts in 168 days

09-16-2020 07:35 AM

I use to have a shop smith many years ago and thought it wasn’t good at any of the tools you could turn it into EXCEPT the lathe. I loved that lathe… Now as I look around for a lathe seems around 1 to 2 grand is just to get one you can use as a starter lathe

I can find a few used Shop-smiths on Craigslist from say $250 to 2 grand.

I almost pulled the trigger on the Harbor Freight lathe last year for around $400. I read a few great reviews on here about the HF Lathe.


Do any of you use a Harbor Freight Lathe? What do you think?

Do any of you use a Shop Smith as a lathe? What do you think?

4 replies so far

View Wildwood's profile


2890 posts in 2982 days

#1 posted 09-16-2020 12:37 PM

No experience with either lathe, do know MK5 or MK7 will run over $4,000 making new Harbor freight more attractive.

You don’t say what you want to turn or budget but you can buy a new MIDI LATHE with optional bed extension for far less than $2,000.

Good luck with it!

-- Bill

View John Smith's profile

John Smith

2651 posts in 1010 days

#2 posted 09-16-2020 01:30 PM

Steve, what projects will you be doing on the lathe the most often ?


-- there is no educational alternative to having a front row seat in the School of Hard Knocks. --

View Renegade1LI's profile


25 posts in 242 days

#3 posted 09-16-2020 02:11 PM

Keep your eye open for a Powermatic 45 or 90, 3 phase. They seem to go 500$ to 2000$, I bought a nice PM90 for 500$ last year, cleaned up the reeves drive added a VFD & the lathe runs beautiful with full rpm control, can also add a breaking resistor with stop switch for added safety. Good luck.

View Redoak49's profile


4869 posts in 2836 days

#4 posted 09-16-2020 03:03 PM

I use a Shopsmith lathe all the time. I have a rebuilt headstock on it and works well. I recently bought the Nova G3 Chuck for it and several jaw sets. While you are limited to the size of things you can turn, there is so much you can do.

I use my Shopsmith all the time. I use it as a sander with a large disk and also a pneumatic drum. It is a great horizontal boring machine. I also use a flat sander on It that I built. I just find it so useful for many tasks.

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