October 6, 2019

Guide to Buying a Lathe

Looking to buy a new lathe? We have found this amazing resource on how to choose the right one. There is text included so you can follow along.

If you’re in the market for a one way I am here to help you today I’m gonna give you information about lays in different price points that offer different features different capacities is going to be great information to help you pick the right machine for your shop now let me start over here. With a representative of what’s called a benchtop lathe these machines are very versatile their development is come a long way in recent years let me show you what you’ve got here. 

With these machines we want to be concerned with the swing. And with the spindle capacity so here with these benchtop lays the good news is these are the least expensive machines that we’re gonna talk about for about the price of a good portable power tool you can get one of these ladies in your shot in swing capacity generally we’re talking about 10 or 12 inches in spindle capacity maybe 12 or 15 inches.

The motors on these machines however right around a half horsepower or so so in a motor range it’s going to be the smallest more of what we’re about to talk about and in the capacity range smallest capacities no that’s not necessarily bad is planning a capacity to do halfway decent sized bowls some pretty good Spanos especially in the category of Penn turning and that kind of work now the really cool thing with these machines the center can get extensions.

For the end of on so I can build them out in this way if you wanted to longer spindles like table legs are baseball bats we can add on to the end and get that extra capacity we can’t change the swing capacity on the so whatever they come with that’s what you’re going to live with now it’s common I lay as we talk about speed control. 

They have a system a step police now what’s going to happen when you use this machine is that you’re going to get started with your turning at a given speed when you’re ready to do a speed change shut the machine off change the belt to another step that makes your speed change close the cover you go back to work.

So every time you do a speed changer gonna stop the machine unplug it because you’re opening the hood do your speed change clothes a backup plug it back in go back to work now comparatively you’re gonna see some changes as we work our way up the line here so character soft couple things remember we’ve got maybe a 10 or 12 inch bowl capacity 12 to 15 and spend a capacity horsepower.

About a half horsepower on the motor what’s really nice about these at the end of the day. I can pick this machine up put it away I know a lot of Turner’s who travel in our vis they take these machines whether they get where they’re going to put it on a picnic bench they knew their turning take a back in the army at the end so the portability the small foot print that’s a great benefit of these many leis let’s look at one that’s one size bigger. 

Now the price tag goes up a little bit here but we get all sorts of cool stuff with this one the capacity. Out of the box is quite a bit greater between centers so this one we can actually do a full size baseball bat canoe table legs as well so I am more spending capacity I also have more bold capacity the motor is bigger now talking about bowl capacity that’s that swing here’s something that’s really cool I slide my to arrest out of the way when this one offers is I can loosen this. 

And I can spend the head stack this increases my ability to do outboard turning here so not only does it have a bigger capacity over the bad but I’ve also got the ability to mount balls out here which further increases the capacity that’s the purpose of this mount out here I can take my to arrest off bring it on this side of the late and have my tourist mounted over there so bigger spindles bigger balls bigger horsepower motor to support that so it’s gonna let me work my machine a little bit harder.

I’ve also got a little bit more weight here now wait and lanes is a good thing we want to have a heavy machine so there’s a lot of cast iron here helps dampen the vibration that you might have when you’re first starting your turnings and they’re not quite perfectly round yet now the many late I talked about speed control it’s common that you’ll find a step pulley there you will find some many lathes with an electronic speed control this machine has what’s called a mechanical speed control so the way this one works let me lock that in place for it.

 When I turn this sign I can control the speed on this one but I spend this dial here’s our goes to. So I started at the low end. That takes me all the way up to the high end. Back down to points in between. Now a couple things I like about this obviously I don’t have to open the had up move about from Pelita pulley I’m shift on the fly so as I’m doing working on like turning I can change the speed fluidly as I go from step to step to step so it’s a lot more convenient with mechanical speed control like this.

You want to keep in mind that you need to make those speed changes while the machine is running otherwise you can hurt the mechanism inside here so you want to make sure that you’re doing that on the fly not while the machine is not running so cap this one-off little bit deeper reaching your pocketbook but bigger capacity more weights can lead to bigger turnings little bit less likely you’re going to pick this machine up and tucked away when you’re done but you can’t get local basis for some of these machines to help you rolled away when you’re done now let’s go up one more step. 

This machine is really a beauty I tell you what in wait that’s about twice the machine that we just looked at remember that a lot of weight is a good thing dampens vibration we have a bigger ball capacity on this one now out out of the box it’s got a short spindle capacity but like the many late we can build on to the end to increase that’s been capacity and get the game that we need out there for those big table legs are baseball bats so we can add that on. 

Now the weight is going to bias the ability to do big balls part of what we want there is also a real good control of the R. P. M. this is a smart way on this one the speed is actually controlled by a computer so I can work there’s a couple ways think of this a little bit like a dimmer on a light that never types which is what’s going to control the speed of this machine so on this one once I’m running. 

I can dial my RPM’s up. Or down I can make those speed changes when the spindle is not turned on because it’s electronic not mechanical now remember referring back to the many layers I said some many ladies have a system similar to this which gives you that rheostat that dimmer switch type control the speed or their. Here on this one it actually goes a big step beyond that member I said it’s a smart lady with this machine what happens is as I’m cutting and I’m applying a load to my work this is smart enough to know that it needs to provide a little bit more power to maintain our PM one step beyond that and this machine of my chisel catches which can happen when you’re turning the machine can actually stop itself so that you don’t hurt yourself.

With a bad catch or you don’t break anything on the machine so it’s got a little safety device built in there so that if something is going wrong on your turning it automatically stop itself then I can turn it back on and reset the system so the speed control I can dial up and down the speed I can preset the speedwell it’s not running then turn it on I can also preset various speeds on here kinda like programming your radio I can pick a couple of favourite speeds so I can very very quickly step up and down to those speeds the other thing that this provides is. The ability to run in reverse so what I just did here as I push the reverse button. 

It’s smart enough that it’s warning me that I’m about to run in reverse gives me a little beep there so I’m doing that intentionally. The great thing about reverse is when you’re working and bowls sometimes it’s easier to cut out here on the outside of the bowl instead of here then you don’t have to lean over the late as much when you get to the sanding step it’s real nice to say and in both directions and what’s going forward and sand while it’s going in reverse gives you a little bit better a little bit better surface finish on your project so the reversing feature is really really cool I love that this one also. Has the ability. 

To go out port so wrap in this one up bigger price tag the electronic speed control is a wonderful thing is very easy to get spoiled and you’re turning by it we’ve got bigger capacities and the ability to go further with our spindle turning if we had the extensions on. The wait is gonna let us do massive bowl turnings on this coupled with a very very smart speed control that this provides so. We’ve got kind of a small medium large. There’s a laid out there in the market place for everybody I hope this helps you find the one that’s best for you.

David D. Hughes
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