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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

SIEG C4 lathe arrived

My new lathe arrived on Monday, 13.12.2010, brought by a TNT courier. Incredibly fast service and delivery from Axminster Tool Centre in UK, as I ordered the lathe 03.12.2010 and they did not have it in their warehouse at the moment. This was my first purchase from Axminster and I was very happy with their customer service, so I can easily recommend them as a good source of tools for quite cheap.

The freight from UK to Finland cost me about 140 EUR, so not bad for a 130 kg shipment that measures over 1000 x 700 x 500 mm in size. I already blogged about this lathes specs previously, so I won't go in to details in this post. As I knew the package dimensions I checked my doors and elevator that the package fill fit through them all and with the weight in mind I bought a hand truck capable of lifting 200 kg for a price of 39.90 EUR (from Biltema).

I think it was about 27.4 seconds after I got the package inside and the doors closed when this happened. As usual, the safety inspector already did some jumping tests on the crate and tried to tip it over.

Using pliers I ripped the steel bands off of the crate and with a regular hammer I pried the top open. The lathe looked as expected and nothing obvious was missing or damaged. The usual aroma of fresh new machinery and a lingering smell of grease filled my nose as I pulled the plastic cover away. Most of the space in the crate is occupied by the chip shield that is located behind the lathe. It weighs quite much and makes moving the lathe more difficult, so I unscrewed the four socket head cap screws that were holding it.

All the accessories and tool were inside a small wooden box. This includes the change gears for threading and/or feed, the chuck key and a small wrench for tightening the screws in the tool post. The gears are all metal which is nice, compared to the plastic gears in the SIEG C2 lathe. And these gears include a 127 tooth gear that enables the lathe to thread imperial threads without approximation.

Removing the sides of the crate was a small task, as someone had went haywire with a stapler. But there's nothing a big hammer can't fix ;) Opening the crate revealed the lathe in all its might and it really looks like a slick machine. I even like the color, don't know why. In this photo I was looking for the bolts that secure the lathe to the crates bottom and also was looking for some good lifting points. While searching I also discovered myself looking at my cat :D She sneaked up to sniff and snoop around and was very curious...I think too curious, might have to keep on eye on her...

This is the lathe in the setup I used to lift it off from the pallet to the floor. I removed the tailstock and wound the carriage all the way to the headstock end of the bed. Then I grabbed under the headstock, left hand under the motor and right hand under the small ledge and lifted it with a straight back so that the tailstock end of the bed was resting on the pallet. My helping hand removed the pallet and I could then lower the headstock on the floor and lift the tailstock end down also.

Next I removed the plastic chuck guard and the small metal lid that covers the spindle opening in the gear trains cover. I parked my hand truck behind the headstock and lifted the lathe to stand on the hand truck. The gear train cover is metal and it will easily handle this load if not shock loaded.

While the lathe was like this, I could take measurements from the mounting holes easily and accurately. I discovered that the holes are spaced 110 mm apart and there is 590 mm from the tailstock holes to the middle holes and then another 90 mm to the headstock holes. And curious as I was, I HAD to unscrew the bottom plate of the apron off to see what is inside. This lathe has power feed for carriage and cross slide and these small gears provide that. The drive comes from a worm screw that is rotated by the lead screw. This turns the bronze gear which in turn turns the small, movable gear. This small gear can be moved to engage with the apron front-most gear for cross feed and the gear near the bed for carriage feed. If you engage the power feed, the threading half nut is locked from moving to prevent an accident.

The cross slide and compound both have a thread pitch of 1 mm and adjustable bronze nuts. The only bad thing is that the carriage dial is measuring the radius. Would be nice from SIEG to see diameter reading cross slide dial, makes working easier. Oh well, have to make a modifications for this :) The best thing of these is that they slide so smooth compared to the C2 and this is because there is a bearing in those handles.

And WOW! 1000 W brushless DC motor, delivering awesome torque even in low speed (100 RPM). This thing is just huge and looks very good. This is connected to the spindle driving mechanism via a toothed belt. And yes, that is my dirty hand (try polishing molds for 8 hours and it will get that way).

After I had drooled enough, I grabbed the hand truck and rolled the lathe to my "shop". Really it is just a 13 m² room that doubles as a storage as you can see. The bench I made for C2 lathe is just behind me and is to be tested with me and heavy weights that it will hold without squeaks under the C4 mass.

Now I need a few hours of time, a small container, brush, rags and kerosene or some other solvent to remove the packing grease. And maybe a beer or two along with this operation ;)


  1. Congratulations on your new lathe!

    I am sure that there are several of us that are looking forward to your modifications/upgrades, and the new toys you will be making on this baby.


  2. Hi,

    Thanks for posting this! I'm seriously considering buying this lathe in a couple of days at the London Model Engineering Show.

    Is it possible for two people to lift the lathe onto a workbench, or do you need some sort of lifting machinery to help?

    Also my workshop is on the 2nd floor of my house, do you think it's possible to pull it up the stairs using a stair climbing sack truck?



    1. Hi Lee

      Yes, it is quite easy to maneuver by two people. I would though recommend a strap or rope or something so you don't cut/mangle your hands as the base casting can be sharp at some points.

      And yes, it can be pulled up the stairs with a help of a friend and that sack truck. It was very easy to move around when tipped tailstock up so that the gear box cover rests on the truck bed.

      Cheers, Jaakko

  3. Hi Jaakko,

    Thanks for the quick response! That was my major concern when choosing a lathe, so it's wonderful to learn that I can actually get it into the workshop. It looks like my bank balance is about to take a hit...

    It's been a little while since your last post on the SC4, are you still using it much?


  4. Lee - did your get your SC4 at the LMEE? I was there and didn't see it anywhere? The only place you seem to be able to get it in the UK is the Axminster Tool Centre?

    I am also about to jump...


  5. Lee, yes I'm still using it as it really is a wonderful machine for its size, rigidity and power :)

    I just haven't had time to post anything regarding this blog as most of the stuff I do with the lathe is certain tools which I'm not able to discuss.

    The thingskeeping me busy on my freetime are the heat treatment oven build and a wire EDM that is still missing materials and a few technical details.

  6. Chris - I'm sorry you didn't get to see it. Chester had one at their stand, rebranded as a 'Comet VS'. I'm buying mine through them, because it's cheaper then Axminster(it's on special offer right now) and comes with a QCTP and 2 holders. They're not in stock yet, I was given an ETA of the second half of February. The wait is killing me...

    If I had the space and a ground floor workshop I'd consider an SC6 from Arc Euro:

    Jaakko - Lovely to hear you're still making use of it. The fact it's being used on top secet projects earns it a few more point too ;)

    I haven't seen a lot of user guides/mods for this lathe posted online. Have you made many modifications to yours? I'm thinking about some DRO scales to start...

    1. Hey Lee, not sure if your new lathe has been ordered yet, but according to Sieg in Shanghai sometimes in the next month or so Arc Euro Trade will be selling this model too (although Arc haven't confirmed this)

      I am booked on an Axminster course in July and they use SC4's - will be looking to buy after this methinks...

  7. Hi Chris,

    I've put down a refundable deposit, apparently the shipment arrives next week. I'm very excited to hear that Arc Euro will be stocking it, as their prices are so good. From a couple of conversations I've had with them I get the impression they're very knowledgeable so it seems like after sales support would also be good. In contrast, while the staff at Chester are very friendly, they weren't able to answer some pretty basic questions.

    I hope your course with Axminster goes well, I'll be interested to hear about it!

  8. Hi guys, was reading your comments and checked the SIEG website. It seems that this lathe that I have is the SC4 (as it has the 1000 W brushless DC motor), but at the time of purchase it was on Axminsters website called C4. Apparently some confusion with the naming at Axminster.

    -Jaakko Fagerlund

  9. It may not have been Axminster's mistake, because according to the review on (

    "Note: some time in 2010, Sieg changed the designation of this lathe from C4 to SC4. This was done for consistency across their product line: products with the "S" prefix have the brushless DC motor which has much greater torque than the previous motors."

    I just spoke to Arc Euro: They have an SC4 arriving in a couple of months for testing. If they're happy with it, they'll stock it about a month later. I really wish I could wait 3 months, because I'd much rather buy from a company who puts that much thought into what they stock...

    1. Good to know that, thank you

      I also intended to buy from Arc Euro but got a bit of a brush off when I asked about the SC4 - hence asking Sieg direct about other suppliers! I'll wait until after my course and make a decision then I think.

      Jaakko - My understanding is the C4 was the same model with a 550W normal motor, SC4 was the 1000W brushless motor, more expensive but the one I wanted. Not sure if Axminster still has the C4?

  10. How did you get the sc4 up onto the bench. what and who do you need to do it?

  11. Thanks for your valuable information.I found it very useful.Keep posting amazing content like this.

  12. One last question, I’ve noticed on a few other blogs/reviews that a lot of people get the tools free from the manufacturer to review. Will you tell me how I too can participate in that? Montanez

  13. So glad to hear you love the saw too! It’s still one of my very favorite tools. It comes in handy for so many projects. Do you know about how many servings this would be?

  14. I love this blog because it is user friendly with appreciative information.…. I like the way you describe the post with us. Many thanks

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