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Bed extension vs. swing away tail stock

Discussion in 'Woodturning Discussion Forum' started by Jack Lucernoni, Oct 10, 2020.

  1. Jack Lucernoni

    Jack Lucernoni

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    Apr 13, 2020
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    Location (City & State):
    Elma, NY
    Does anyone have experience using the 18 inch extension to move tail stock out of the way when hollowing? Wondering if it provides adequate clearance, or should I opt for the swing away. Willing to spend the extra money for extension for outboard turning capability, but would rather not buy both.
     
  2. Charles Cadenhead

    Charles Cadenhead

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    For which lathe?
     
  3. Jack Lucernoni

    Jack Lucernoni

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    Location (City & State):
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    Sorry, Powermatic PM2020
     
  4. Bill Blasic

    Bill Blasic

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    Location (City & State):
    Erie, PA
    Luckily the bed extension came with my 3520b. I wanted it mounted on the lower section (so I could turn large platters). That meant I still had to manually take the tailstock off which we know is very heavy. When Powermatic brought out their swing away I got one and it works perfectly even with the bed extension in the lower position, a real back saver.
     
  5. john lucas

    john lucas AAW Forum Expert

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    Location (City & State):
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    For general turning like bowls and small hollow forms I just move the tailstock to the end of the lathe with my bed extension on. For hollowing larger work I use the Jamieson system and the tailstock is in the way. I've been drooling over the tilt away but drool doesn't turn into money so it's still on the bucket list.
     
  6. Tim Tucker

    Tim Tucker

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    Nov 4, 2018
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    Location (City & State):
    Penrose, NC
    Both Robust and Vicmarc make an outboard turning accessory which will give you a range of diameters that is limited only by your fear of very large spinning objects. These could be easily adapted to bolt on to your lathe, tho it will take a little work i.e. -measuring and fabricating a spacer or two and then drilling and tapping holes in the cast iron legs of your PM.... It just depends on where your imagination says it wants to go with ..."big":D
    Here is a link to look at the device. If you look at the Robust site it may show it attached to the tailstock end of the lathe. That would the the configuration on your PM.
    https://vicmarc.com/index.php?optio...t_id=166&virtuemart_category_id=21&Itemid=528
     
  7. Randy Anderson

    Randy Anderson

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    Location (City & State):
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    I have a Jet 1642 and thought about getting the swing away option but they're not cheap. Looked at making one, there are videos on how some have rigged one up, but decided instead to simply make a cradle that sits below the rails on the end of the lathe. I slide the tail stock off and lower it into the cradle. The shaft and live center drop in between the rails. I added an old gate hinge to the side so it can swing out of the way. Mostly just set it down in the cradle when I want it out of the way. The 1642 tail stock is not light but light enough I can easily set it up and down the short distance. I believe the 2020 tail stock is quite a bit heavier than mine so might not be practical for you to lift it up and down even a short distance.
     

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    Last edited: Oct 11, 2020
  8. RichColvin

    RichColvin

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    Jack,

    I have the PM3520 and have added the swing away option. I don’t have the bed extension though. I find the swing away option to be a very useful feature, and use it often. Even for small bowls, it is nice to just get the tailstock out of the way, and not have to heave the heavy piece around.

    Before getting the swing away option, it had a roll around cart that was designed to take the tailstock off the bed. It worked OK, but this is so much better.

    I also have the PowerMatic outboard turning stand, and have used it a few times. It is pretty expensive, and I’m not sure the value is there for that.

    Kind regards,
    Rich
     
  9. Ron Solfest

    Ron Solfest

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    Location (City & State):
    TN
    I also have a PM3520 with the 18" bed extension. I've played around with options but don't like just moving the tailstock out further as I like to stand at the end of the lathe when turning the inside of bowls. I've thought about a swing-away, but the cost is a significant obstacle. Additionally I'm not sure it wouldn't still be in the way if I stand off the end of the lathe (think PM swings so end of lathe doesn't extend out further, but Robust model would push me further out). So I've made a cradle that sits about the same height on an adjacent bench, that way I don't have to lift tailstock up/down; just slide it off and rotate to the cradle...still heavy though...
     
  10. Joe Kaufman

    Joe Kaufman

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    Apr 18, 2009
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    I have a 3520B with both swing away and 18" bed extension. I purchased the bed extension with the lathe and sits on the shelf under the lathe. It's never been out of the box. I turn mostly bowls and the swing away is used frequently. Your 2020 with the shorter bed would be a harder decision. With the bed extension mounted at bed level on your lathe the maximum distance between head stock and tailstock would only be 3" more than the 3520. I purchased the swing away after an incident turning the inside of a bowl. The tool handle hit the tailstock and the gouge contacted the far side of the bowl. I was fortunate that there were no fingers between the gouge and tool rest when the tool was carried up, over and slammed down on the tool rest
     
  11. R Henrickson

    R Henrickson

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    I had a 3520B for several years. The tailstock was heavy enough that I disliked removing it from the bed when I wanted it out of the way. I soon got the swing-away to save my back -- it was a VERY worthwhile purchase. I often turned off the end of the lathe -- the tailstock on the swingaway did not get in my way. Depending on how you work at the end of the lathe, your experience might differ.
    I also bought the bed extension. As with Joe Kaufman, it stayed in the box until I sold the lathe several years later.
    Given that you have a 2020, perhaps the extra length from the bed extension might be useful sometimes, but at other times you'll likely want to get the tailstock entirely out of the way, and the added length of the extension might not give you all the clearance you want or need
    When I replaced my 3520, I included a swingaway on the new lathe as part of the purchase -- I had no desire to wrestle with a heavy and awkward tailstock. I am VERY happy that I included it.
     
    Ron Solfest likes this.
  12. Mark Jundanian

    Mark Jundanian

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    It's gonna depend on how the swing away for your Powermatic is designed and how you want to turn, but in my opinion the only way to get the tailstock out of the way is to get it moved over to the side of the lathe. Moving the tailstock farther down the bed is literally just moving the problem farther down the road, but not far enough that it's not in the way of your elbow/tool handle. And it blocks access to the bed to mount other contraptions like a hollowing rig or steady rest, and a lot of these are easier to install by sliding them on to the ways rather than installing them from above. I have a Nova 1624 and bought their bed extension and swing away. Their swing away is a simple hinge so the tailstock slides on to the bed extension and just swings out behind the lathe, other systems may swing the tailstock out and down. I am delighted with the feature and consider a swing away a high priority accessory for the next lathe. I love being able to get that tailstock well out of the way; it's the only thing I have used the bed extension for.
     
    Dennis J Gooding likes this.
  13. John Tisdale

    John Tisdale

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    Location (City & State):
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    I have a Oneway 2424 and a 17" extension.
    When hollowing, the tailstock comes off, regardless of the extension being on or off.
    The Oneway tailstock weighs around 70-lbs - it's good exercise - to my thinking, the swinging tailstock is needless complexity and expense.
     
  14. robo hippy

    robo hippy

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    Location (City & State):
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    I like the AB tilt away set up for the tailstock. However, I have not been able to 'adjust' it so that it can stay on and keep the tailstock on it for bowl turning. Just can't get it lined up perfectly. With my Vic 240, it has a horizontal bar, and combined with the hinge it is on, it swings back into perfect position every time. The outboard turning set up, is a bit cumbersome, so not for production work, and you can't use the tailstock with it, or when pivoted to the 30 degree position. I don't have the tailstock on my Vic. I can still move it around fairly easily.

    You know you are a woodturner if you have a hole in your elbow from the tailstock......

    robo hippy
     
    Tim Tucker likes this.
  15. Ric Williams

    Ric Williams

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    Location (City & State):
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    I knew I had to do something before I dropped my 3520C tailstock on my foot or wrecked my back again. I couldn't afford $300 for a swing-away attachment, so I built an attachment on a roll-around cabinet that I use for drill press stuff.

    3520Tailstock1.jpg 3520Tailstock2.jpg

    I just roll the cabinet into place (yes, it clears the air hose) and slide the tailstock onto it, then roll it out of the way. It took about an hour to make and I used stuff I had on hand, so it didn't cost me anything. Not quite as convenient as a swing away, but it works.
     
    Gerald Lawrence and hockenbery like this.
  16. Mark Jundanian

    Mark Jundanian

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    I have seen this suggestion elsewhere on this forum and it is a very good second choice to a swing away.
     
  17. Jack Lucernoni

    Jack Lucernoni

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    Location (City & State):
    Elma, NY
    Thanks to everyone for the great insight! Lots of “food for thought” here. Thinking I’m going to go with a make or buy approach on a swing way first. Will consider the extension at a later date.
     
  18. Ed Weingarden

    Ed Weingarden

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    IMG_20201012_115752989.jpg IMG_20201012_115802324.jpg IMG_20201012_115820524.jpg IMG_20201012_120352871.jpg IMG_20201012_120529642.jpg

    I have also built a cart, which serves three purposes. The obvious function is to allow me to remove the tail stock without having to lift it (the lathe is a Grizzly G0800, and the tail stock is heavy). I use the Jameison hollowing system, so I built the cart with mounting blocks to store the "capturing" bar on the back of it. This way when I roll the cart over to take the tail stock off, I'm also bringing the capture bar to the lathe. In addition, I don't take up any shelf or wall space with the capture bar when not in use. Finally, I built the cart with drawers which gives me additional storage space.

    As far as leaving the tail stock on the swing away when hollowing, it just doesn't work for me, unless I'm doing a fairly short vessel. The HF currently mounted on the lathe extends 12" from the chuck. You can see that the capture bar is all the way at the end of the ways, and the tail stock is in the way of the "D" part of the boring bar. Thus, the cart works well for me and serves multiple purposes, and gets parked in a corner of the shop when not in use.
     
    Mark Jundanian likes this.
  19. Kent Jaffrey

    Kent Jaffrey

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    Location (City & State):
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    Ed I’ve always wondered how effective the hinge type of swing away that leaves the tailstock at normal height would be at getting the tailstock out of the way. Does the swing away provide enough clearance for a long handles bowl gouge when hollowing a slightly undercut rim?
     
  20. Roger Wiegand

    Roger Wiegand

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    I got the long bed AB with the swing away tailstock. For a while I thought I'd made a bad , unnecessary choice, as the tailstock was seldom in the way, but then I started hollowing from the tailstock end and having the swingaway was wonderful. Now I use it all the time and really would not want to be without it.
     
  21. Ed Weingarden

    Ed Weingarden

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    Kent - the bed on my Grizzly is 48". When I'm doing bowls, I just push the tail stock to the end of the bed, and have never had a problem with it in the way. I suppose it could potentially be in the way when swung around to the side of the bed. I think it would also depend on how much of an undercut you are doing and how long the gouge handle is. On the other hand, if your lathe has a sliding head stock and you move it to the end of the bed, and do the inside of the bowl standing at the end of the lathe, the swing away would not be in the way.
     

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