A List and Review of the new PowerMatic 3520b lathe features

Discussion in 'Woodturning Discussion Forum' started by Jeff Jilg, Jul 26, 2005.

  1. SLandrum

    SLandrum

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    Risers for low-mounted extension?

    Jeff, thanks for the pics and write up. I have some questions about using the bed extension inboard and using the new lower mounting holes for increased capacity. Do you know what the capacity would be? Based on your familiarity with your own 3520A, would it be practical to fabricate risers for the tailstock and banjo, perhaps out of stacked and glued MDF? Or would it be better to just plan on purchasing a tall banjo from Oneway Non-Oneway Banjos? Then you'd just have to fab a tailstock riser (well, only if you felt you needed the tailstock), would that be more reasonable? I'm not too close to being in the market to upgrade yet, (uh, I think, but ya never know), and the greater capacity isn't crucial to me, but I'm trying to think long term. Thanks again!
    Stuart
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2005
  2. Jeff Jilg

    Jeff Jilg

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    Hi Stuart,

    You are thinking along the same lines which a few of us on this forum have thought about before. I do think you have good ideas. Also I think the new mounting holes on inboard and outboard legs allow for options you have suggested. I'm glad that PowerMatic has implemented the new holes in the legs so they will be a good option for future buyers.

    A tall banjo from Oneway or another manufacturer would be good. I didn't measure the new throw which would occur if one mounted the extension into the new holes. But it should allow for at least a 30" piece to be created...and that is BIG!

    For a tailstock riser, maybe it would be possible to use one from another manufacturer. The new WoodTek #1 lathe featured by Woodworker Supply has options for both a riser and a tall banjo. There are some features I don't like about the WoodTek, but that is off topic in this thread. The tall banjo and the tailstock riser are in the left side of the attached photo. Unfortunately the tailstock is partially obscured by the facemask.

    I have just tried to read the PowerMatic DVD which they gave me at the tradeshow booth. I'm going to have to borrow a newer PC here to read it.
     

    Attached Files:

  3. PapaDoc

    PapaDoc

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    Jeff, thanks for your hard work on this. I just returned from vacation so am just now reading the post. I too carefully looked at the B while in KC as my friend Nick Cook was demonstrating on it. I was impressed with the lathe, with similar disappointments in some simple omissions such as the lock. As the owner of the 00003 original 3520, any of these innovations seems great, especially a through hole in the tailstock.
    You did fail to mention the martini compartment in the tailstock which will keep the shavings out of glass. Nice.
    Thanks again for your thoroughness and the inclusion of pictures.
    David Galloway
     
  4. SLandrum

    SLandrum

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  5. SLandrum

    SLandrum

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    3520b Operations Manual PDF on WMH Tool

    Powermatic/WMH has the 3320b on their website, including a downloadable PDF manual. One item of interest I saw relevant to earlier posts on this thread was that they include as standard a tool rest extension post, to be used when the bed extension is mounted inboard in order to increase swing. Didn't see anything for a tailstock riser.

    3520b at WMH Tool website

    Stuart
     
  6. Jeff Jilg

    Jeff Jilg

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    I may have neglected to note the redesigned banjo in my review. If you look at the picture on WMH's site you may notice that the toolrest is slightly offset to the inboard side of the banjo. In the old model, the toolrest was directly in-line with and on top of the banjo. I think this is a small but good design feature on their part.
     
  7. Andy Hoyt

    Andy Hoyt In Memoriam

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    Jeff, great job, Thanks.

    I've read the pdf'd manual from the PM website and was amazed that I could not find the answer to this question.

    What is the diameter of the tool rest post?

    I ask because I'm about to buy a new machine and already have many custom made tool rests and am wondering if I'd have to remake them to accomodate a different diameter hole in the offset banjo.
     
  8. Jeff Jilg

    Jeff Jilg

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    The toolrest post is 1.0" in diameter. I have made custom toolrests using stock 1.0" bar stock for the vertical post. It required very minor filing to remove out-of-round portions but otherwise it fit into the PM banjo just fine.

    If you're going to buy a new PM you might consider the 3520b over the 3520a. The improvements are not amazing but they made a bunch of them and they provide some good value-add.
     
  9. Andy Hoyt

    Andy Hoyt In Memoriam

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    One inch! Perfect! One less thing to do.

    Just sold my OW 1018, so I'm kind spoiled by the quality. Got it narrowed to the PM 3520 (A or B) or the OW 1640. Big price delta I know, but shop limitations drive this from an outboard accessibility perspective. Gonna go kick some tires soon.
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2005
  10. Caniac

    Caniac

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    Belated

    Many thanks for the informative post, Jeff.

    Has anyone actually ordered (or even own) one of these yet? I am very close to pulling the trigger on either the A or B- and for what I've seen the A's going for, the extra money for the new features seem worth it, to me.

    I am surprised we aren't seeing more price cuts on the A, however- the lowest price I have found is $2300; not exactly what I would call close-out pricing.

    JB
     
  11. Joe Mac

    Joe Mac

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    Which powermatic

    Jeff, you did a very nice job of reviewing the 3520b lathe. My decision is this. I can buy a new 3520a for $2000 or a new 3520b for $2700. Is the 3520b worth the extra money.
    Thank

    Joe
     
  12. wab

    wab

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    Finger on the trigger the aim is off

    I'm just like Joe, I was all set to pull the trigger on the 3520A and now your wonderful review with great photo's. I spoke with the dealer and the prices are the same as Joe indicated if do a little rounding. And they indicated that they had both in the warehouse ready to go, but that they where discounting the A modle down to 2100.00. They felt that the difference didn't realy warrent buying the B model for the 600 dollar differnce. I wonder if that was just a way to clear the back supply. I guess the reason that I'm so torn is that everyone seems to love their A models. I'm moving up from a Delta Midi so you can imagine what a change I'm in for, going form pens and tea cups to realy big things.

    Thanks for the wonderful review even if it has caused my maalox consumption to double.

    WAB
     
  13. Caniac

    Caniac

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    (Below it a reply to an email Bill sent me- lest I be taken for an expert, I thought I'd throw it up here, as well, for others to debate some of my points and expose me for the fraud I am ;) )

    Consensus is hard to find when talking about lathes, but two truisms seem to abound on this and other boards. First, is that the Powermatic is the best bang for the buck under $3000, and second is that the Jet mini-lathe is a solid machine and probably hands-down the best midi on the market.

    With regards to the Jet, Rockler has a nice sale going on (I believe there is a $25 rmail-in rebate from Jet, and a $25 gift card from Rockler at time of purchase)- which you might be able to get online if you don't have one of their retail outlets nearby. This is the non-VS model, but as you are going to have EVS on the PM (assuming you break down and buy it), I don't know if it's really necessary. Most people who use minis don't change the speed all that much, anyway. Which brings me to a second point- do you need the second lathe? Everything you can do on a mini you can do on a full size lathe- with less vibration, hardier tool rest, etc. While the Jet mini is a nice machine, it's no powermatic.

    In my mind, the only reason to have a mini (if you can afford the money and room a full-size lathe requires) is if you have another family member who wants to turn small projects (allowing you to both work at the same time), or if you want the smaller lathe for traveling to demos, clubs, etc. Having said this, I'm thinking about jumping on the Rockler deal for the Jet mini myself, mainly for my wife and son who are both interested in turning, but would be a little initimidated by the mustard monster, and- besides- if I have some free time in the shop, I don't want to have to wait in line if you know what I mean.

    Back to the first question- is the B worth an extra $600? Well, I would think that depends on you. This is how I went about it. First, look at the extra features (the main ones, anyway).

    1. RPM readout on front. Cool, but not really necessary. You can tell when something is spinning too fast, you don't need some LED to tell you that.
    2. Indexing- I like this, and feel it is a needed feature. However, if/when you decide you need it, you can always add the indexing kit to upgrade the "A" for about $150-$200. So, at best, this drops the difference in price a bit.
    3. Chamfered corner of headstock- will actually make some things a bit easier, but people have been turning beautiful stuff on the ""A" models for years, so again, not a deal maker.
    4. Little door thingie on tailstock- Again, cute but you could do this yourself, and besides, who expects their "frequently used turning accessories" to stay free of sawdust? :rolleyes:
    5. Spindle duplicator brackets- Very cool, I actually like this design a lot- but then, I'll probably turn duplicate spindles once or twice over the next few years...
    6. Head/Tailstock locking mechanism (for lack of a better term)- this new design will be able to eke out a bit more usable spindle capacity, which could come in handy. According to Jeff Jilg's review of the "B" from the symposium, however, this is also easily retrofitted to the old unit.
    7. Tool/accessory holder- nice, but I've found other places to put these things in the past. This design is better, no doubt, but again, not necessary.
    8. Ability to mount bed extension outboard (and low) for outboard (and larger) bowl work. Very nice, but if you are so inclined, you could always tap these hole locations into the "a" model (not something I would be likely to do myself, but that's just me).
    9. New tool rest design- the offset post is great, will make a big difference on those occasions where the banjo gets in the way of the work. I particularly like the T-slot in the banjo to attach accessories. The new
    bevel on the tool rest will be an improvement, perhaps- but I'll probably end up replacing the thing with an aftermarket option anyway. This one is a winner in my book, but the new banjo will likely be available soon enough for the existing "a" model holders to upgrade.

    I probably missed a few, but I think you can get the point. None of these upgrades are earth-shattering, "I can't live without it" kind of features. What you need to ask yourself is three questions. First, how many of these options would I upgrade myself- and how would that affect the cost differential? Second, do the conglomeration of these minor upgrades make that difference in cost worthwhile? And finally, and most importantly, will I be kicking myself later for not getting the shiniest, newest, "upgraded" lathe? For me, that last one was the kicker. The difference between $2300 (what the "a's" were going for when I ordered my new one) and $2700- was enough to make the added features (and the fact that I might be sulking later when I was missing one of those features) worth the added expense. Another $400 when spending well over $2K just didn't seem worth arguing about. So I went for the "new hotness," so to speak. Speaks to my shallow, materialistic nature, I suppose. :p

    For you, another $200 and a more practical outlook might push you the other way. I'll say this: for me, it was the B, but if I could have found an A for less than $2K, I would have jumped on it. I didn't, and have no regrets. Whichever way you go, try to make sure you don't have any, either. It's too much money to spend on a hobby (at least it is for me) to have any second thoughts.

    Hope this helps!

    Jeff
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2005
  14. SLandrum

    SLandrum

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    40" Swing when using 18" extension on 3520B

    I just learned from Joe Osolnik that when the (optional) 18" bed extension is mounted inboard, below the existing ways, using the factory tapped holes on the 3520B, and the headstock is moved all the way down, the total swing over the extension's ways is 40".

    :eek:

    :cool2:

    I hadn't been able to find this anywhere, including the PDF manual from WMH (thanks Joe!).

    There are two ways to buy the 18" extension, bare, or with a tool rest extension/riser, that allows the stock tool rest base to be used on the extension and accomodate the 40" swing.

    And fwiw, Osolnik Machinery's website says the 3520A version is now sold out, and replaced by the 3520B.

    Stuart
    (Keeping his finger away from the trigger. So far...)
     
  15. Jeff Jilg

    Jeff Jilg

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    That is true. Sorry it wasn't obvious in my initial review.

    The only drawback with the configuration is it lacks tailstock support. For doing large unbalanced roughouts, they need to be fastened very securely to a faceplate. For blanks which are balanced relatively well, there is less danger. In either case a faceplate with screws should be used.

    While at the 2005 symposium, the PM product mgr told me that it would be possible to drill holes on the 3520a and use the extension mounted lower. Some metalwork is needed. The whole configuration is much easier on the 3520b.
     
  16. drperp

    drperp

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    Clinch pin for spindle lock

     
  17. drperp

    drperp

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    Cinch pin in spindle lock

    I also drilled the holes in the spindle lock wings and slid a cinch pin with ball lock in the hole. A rare-earth magnet on the front of the headstock stores the pin.
    Dr. Mike Perpall
     

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