PJ's Mini Lathe - Home

Welcome to My Mini Lathe website. Here I will share my thoughts, experiences and some projects I've done with this great little tool. Hope you find some informative and fun stuff. Enjoy!

My Mini 7x10

A mini lathe had been on my wish list for probably 20 years until finally one turned up, used and for a really good price. My son's friend found it in a Salvation Army store on a half-off day and couldn't resist, and ultimately gave it to me for the price he paid. He actually never used it and as it turned out, I don't think anyone had ever used it.

Once I got it home and started going through it, I found it still had preservative grease most everywhere. I spent several days breaking it down and cleaning it up. There were a few missing pieces like the gear set, the external jaws for the stock 3" chuck, the chip tray, a manual or any tools, but overall it was barely used or even dialed in.

This is a HFT (Harbor Freight Tools) model 33684, 7 x 10". The manual is available for download on their website. It was amazing to find how many people are out there using these things and the great forums, YouTube videos and websites packed with information and fixes. The best thing I found was LittleMachineShop.com. Their site is packed with everything you can imagine from machines to DyKem, tons of accessories and most importantly, replacement parts. They ship quickly and the prices are real good with weekly specials. I love the "Chris' Tips" tabs on most items and every one I have spoken with are genuinely nice folks! Truly a gem of website for amateurs (like me) or pro's alike.

During the breakdown process, everything got cleaned up including the gibs (which were rough) by polishing them on some wet & dry (up to 800) on a granite slab. The compound and cross slide nuts were rough and the cross slide was badly misaligned. I also removed and cleaned up the apron, lead screw and half nuts. The chuck and tail stock were in pretty good shape but the measurements on it were barely readable (knew I would have to remedy that). During reassembly I used a thin coat of white lithium grease on all the moving parts and made all the adjustments to the carriage, compound, cross slide tail stock, screw/half nuts, apron gears, etc. The best part of all this work was to familiarize myself and get to know this machine.

What I call Good Carma

What I call Good Carma

The next step was to run this baby out and see how true she was. Luckily I still had my old Brown & Sharpe .0005 test indicator and set up a piece of 1/4" ground rod in the chuck. To my astonishment the chuck was true to about .0015, so I didn't even mess with the chuck. Next, I mounted a center in the tail stock and in the chuck and brought the two together with a feeler gauge in between, made a minor adjustment to the tail stock and whoomp...that was about as good as it could get...for now. Time to make some chips! @¿@