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In the market for a new lathe, what are "must haves", and "deal killers" ?

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Karl.....somewhere on the forums, I recall someone mentioning they made a special cart that rolled up to the end of the lathe. This allowed for a removal of the tailstock, and roll it completely out of the way. I thought that was a pretty smart solution to the hassle of getting rid of the tailstock.

-----odie-----
Odie - yes, that thread was in reply to my question on reverse turning or removing the headstock. I have not looked back, but recall it was a HF lift table. I have not gotten one cause i have a table on casters that i built myself that is really close to same height so only have to lift less than one inch. Have now turned a bit with headstock at far end and its a ton easier than bending across. Have now moved my tailstock to behind the headstock and will keep there as long as turning smallish bowls.
 
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I went through a lot of hammers..... Hated the Estwing metal shaft and handles. Used a 32 oz. framing hammer for a number of years, and then started going with smaller hammers. Settled on a 24 oz framing hammer and a 14 oz finish hammer. Now, sledge hammers, I have them from 2 to 20 pounds.... All the wood handles have been replaced, many times, and even made a few. Curved claws can pull nails, never with the straight claws... That is what a nail puller is for.

robo hippy
 
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Panning for Montana gold, with Betsy, the mule!
So, Odie, after all the input, what are you going to get, and why?

Hi Karl......I've been debating this with myself for a decade, and I still haven't decided to buy another lathe! :rolleyes:

(I'm probably just a very fickled and opinionated person.....that's why!)

When that perfect lathe becomes irresistible, it will have a rotating headstock.....because this is the only thing that I would consider an improvement over the Woodfast lathe that I now have.....That is, when considering only my particular current needs.

Now, if for some reason I HAD to buy another lathe right now......I think it would be the Vicmarc VL240.

-----odie-----
 
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odie, is the tool rest post still a deal breaker? So close at 30mm...:D
This was August 29 2015...

If my lathe (PM3520A) gave up the ghost, I'm not sure what I would do, I was on beans and bacon for a year when I bought it in early 2000. Now, I guess I'd have to give up the bacon, cause I'd have to buy something.

Still wondering if anyone on the forums has one of these yet......? If so, I'd be interested in talking with that person.

http://www.woodworkersemporium.com/Manufacturer/Vicmarc/Vicmarc_Wood_lathes/Vicmarc_V00759-3US

If the Vicmarc VL240 swivel head lathe were available with 1 1/4"x8tpi, #2 Morse tapers, and 1" tool post hole on banjo, I believe this is the only different lathe I'd ever be interested in.....otherwise I'll probably be using my 23 year old Australian Woodfast lathe until I go to my grave!

ko
 
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odie, is the tool rest post still a deal breaker? So close at 30mm...:D
This was August 29 2015...

If my lathe (PM3520A) gave up the ghost, I'm not sure what I would do, I was on beans and bacon for a year when I bought it in early 2000. Now, I guess I'd have to give up the bacon, cause I'd have to buy something.

Since I posted that, @robo hippy has purchased one of the vl240 lathes.....he seems to be happy with it.

Probably not a deal breaker, but I don't understand why Vicmarc didn't make any banjos with a 1" post. They are offering it with a 1 1/4x8tpi spindle, so it doesn't make sense that the banjo isn't made for a 1" post. It's just one more thing that is a little annoying.

I consider that stop bar to possibly be a problem for me.......but, I'd probably take that off and install some sort of paddle stop, like I made for the Woodfast lathe.

-----odie-----
 
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I’ve only owned 2 lathes. The first was a General 160. It’s weaknesses and design flaws were what influenced my decision to upgrade. The deal breakers of the General were:

1. Not enough weight.
2. Under powered.
3. Had to turn between centres, no outboard available.
4. Fixed speeds.
5. Relatively noisy.
6. I think the company went out of business a few years ago.

So these naturally became my must haves:

1. Sufficient weight to absorb reasonable off-balanced turnings. My Oneway is just under 1,000 pounds.
2. Sufficient power. The Oneway is 3 hp, have never stalled it.
3. The Oneway has a 17 inch outboard extension. This was one of the best features. Not having to turn bowls inboard (I’m left handed) was a huge benefit. I’ve also used it on the inboard side to turn long items greater than 36 inches.
4. The variable speed reversible motor allows fine tuning for vibration and cutting.
5. The Oneway is so quiet, I can listen to the cut.
6. Oneway is an hour away from me and has always provided great customer service.
 
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I know there is an insert made for the Vicmark lathes with 30 mm outside, and 1 inch inside with a hole so you can use the set screw on the banjo. I only used it once and it worked fine, but that was at a demo and I didn't have 30mm tool rests at that time. I did buy a 30mm post for my McNaughton coring system, and it was oversized. Some day, I will have to turn it down to size....

robo hippy
 
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Hers a thought to ponder. Even tough the Oneway and Robust are steel bed lathes, the head stock, tail stock and banjo are cast. Is it because of cost or may it be harmonics and vibration from too much steel. I’m certain those two companies would have little trouble building those components from steel steel. I do own a Robust American beautiful and love it, but kept my Powermatic tool rest because it is a beast doesn’t vibrate on the end of the rest.
 
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odie, the 30mm to 1 inch insert is really well made. I bought the Vicmarc outboard tool rest and adapted it to my PM3520 and it has the insert. And while I know any interface is a potential source for vibration, I haven't noticed any. The insert is machined so well that there is a suction pop, when I pull out the tool rest post.
As to the stop bar, probably have to override it with a wedge, sometimes I get up close and personable with the lathe, as in "one with the lathe..." maybe even spiritual...
Here's pics of the adapter. Did you hear the pop?
20210301_105344.jpeg 20210301_105437.jpeg

Ps. just trying to help you spend your money:D
 
Joined
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odie, the 30mm to 1 inch insert is really well made. I bought the Vicmarc outboard tool rest and adapted it to my PM3520 and it has the insert. And while I know any interface is a potential source for vibration, I haven't noticed any. The insert is machined so well that there is a suction pop, when I pull out the tool rest post.
As to the stop bar, probably have to override it with a wedge, sometimes I get up close and personable with the lathe, as in "one with the lathe..." maybe even spiritual...
Here's pics of the adapter. Did you hear the pop?
View attachment 37546 View attachment 37547

Ps. just trying to help you spend your money:D

Thank you, Clifton.....for taking the time to reply.

Question: Is the method of securing the tool rest a straight screw into the side of the post?.....sort of looks that way.

I have been spoiled by the Robust banjo that I've been using for a couple years now. It's a pinch clutch of the post with two wedges......very nice.....and extremely secure. My original Woodfast banjo had a straight screw into the side of the tool rest post, and it's one of the reasons I ended up replacing it. :(

Question for @robo hippy : On the VL240, can you rotate the headstock to any position, or does it have to be secured at particular set points?

-----odie-----
 
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Yes, it is a straight screw into the side of the post, but I bet Brent would make you a new plate so you could use your Robust banjo on your new VL240.
 
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Odie, the pivot points are set to 30 degrees and 90 degrees. I would guess you could add others if you wanted or needed to. After doing some turning on it, I don't think I would add any. The 30 degree setting is very comfortable for bowl turning, and the only way I would use the 90 degree setting was if I wanted to round out a table top. It is awkward for regular bowl turning because of the outboard turning set up. It doesn't slide on the floor like the banjo on the lathe does. I have turned a few platters in the 14 inch range and have no problem getting the bowl rest around it.

I am also a fan of the Robust Banjo and the sliding wedges that secure the tool rest in place, and I like it much better than the standard set pin. Only way I found the standard type to hold the way I want them was to have 2 pins. I can't remember exactly what PM did when they came out with the C model, but they used the wedge system also. The problem I had with the Robust one was that the wedges would pivot and I some times had to stick my finger in to get them back to vertical so the post would fit in.

I have never been a fan of the pot metal handles on the set pins. They are far softer than the metal used for the set pin, or at least the pin head. That is a guaranteed fail as the splines wear out on the softer handle. My AB now has a mini set of vice grips on them instead of the handle that came with the lathe. After I wore out my second one on my PM3520A, I had a custom one made. Don't know why the more standard handle that you find on your bench vises, a T where the top part of the T is what you tighten up and loosen up with, and that handle slides from one side to the other. Much more convenient, efficient, and easier to keep out of the way. Ran into that problem with my Liberty. I think Oneway has a handle that is on a hinge pin, which is kind of the same way... Maybe some day I will build my own lathe...... Probably not, just too many other projects to keep me busy, but who knows when the inventor syndrome will kick in again....

robo hippy
 
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I bet Brent would make you a new plate so you could use your Robust banjo on your new VL240.

That would be an option @Clifton C :D

The swing on the VL240 is 19.29" and the Robust banjo is for the Sweet 16 lathe. The tool rests would have to extend an additional 1 1/2" more above where they do now, for it to work. That could be a problem with some of my tool rests.......

The Powermatic 3520C banjo would probably be about perfect for use on the VL240, though...... (Are there any other banjos with a dog leg, that use the wedge system, and made for a 20" lathe?)

Odie, the pivot points are set to 30 degrees and 90 degrees. I would guess you could add others if you wanted or needed to.

I'd have to try it to know for sure, but I suspect that 30° would probably be fine for me, too. (Thank you for giving your thoughts in the above post.) The VL240 is the lathe I'd get, if I pulled the trigger right now, but the issues with the banjo and stop bar would have to be dealt with for that to happen.

Question for anyone who knows: Is the banjo on the 3520B a straight pin or use wedges to secure the tool rest post?

I am also curious about the Record Power Regent lathe, if anyone has any comments about that one. It looks like the banjo is a straight pin for securing the tool rest post......but, it's very likely my Robust banjo would work well with that one......:)

-----odie-----
 
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Joined
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I wonder why Nova quit making the 2024. I think it is a great lathe!

Very good question. Nova’s current offerings are midi and 16” & 18” swing. My opinion is their market research and sales told them the market is in those size spaces. They have responded to market complaints - too light and only having poor tactile feel buttons for control. Their larger lathes are now heavier, added the dual function dial, and improved button feel, so I’m thinking other feedback led them to the 16-18” range. Not sure why the 18” Orion HS does not slide other than too much cost to beef up the lathe bed to handle the loads. I like being able to slide the HS on my Galaxi. Allows me to hollow long items by pivoting the HS ~180 and slide the HS down so the outrigger is in front. Havent done it often but is an additional option.
 
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I wonder why Nova quit making the 2024. I think it is a great lathe!

I had a Nova DVR 2024 ... it had plenty of power, but the achilles heal was the frame/ways it was mounted on, and, in my experience, the tailstock. Too much vibration and too difficult to keep it from walking with an out-of-balance load. Plus, I tore the lead screw out of the tailstock twice using 2" Forstner bits. I also had an electro-static discharge that knocked the control panel out ... Nova was good about replacing it, but I was still without a lathe for a week during a time I should have been turning inventory for a craft show.
 

Breck Whitworth

Sharp Dressed Woodturner
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Since I make hundreds of bowls a year I spend half my time green turning wet wood, the stainless steel ways on my 3 HP Robust American Beauty have become an absolutely necessary part of any lathe for me now. I loved my PM 3520B and never met anything it couldn't handle but the rust I fought every day. No longer is a problem. The gas assist with the tilt away is a must for me, as I get older the heavy lifting of a tailstock is not a something I need to fool with anymore. I turn large bowls (at least as long as I physically can) so a 3 HP motor is a requirement especially because of coring. Having a moveable control box is a requirement for convenience and safety. I prefer the sliding head stock to the revolving or rotating head stock because of the stability that IMHO is much better with the sliding type. ( I will say my experience with the rotating headstock is minimal and that with a grizzly lathe years ago)
 
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From what I can see, the width between the bedways on the Regent lathe looks fairly narrow. I surmise the reason for this, is the width of the rotating center pin of the headstock is that width. Since it's both a sliding and pivoting headstock, I'm wondering just how the alignment of the spindle to the tailstock is assured.....? There certainly must be some amount of play between the center pin and the bedways, so that it can slide.....and, the same would have to be true for the tailstock to slide.

Probably no wood lathe has absolute perfect alignment of spindle to tailstock, but it has to be pretty darned close.....:D

-----odie-----

I just bought the Envoy. I turn the head a little to turn the inside of a bowl. It makes it much easier for me. When I turn it back to straight I put the spur drive in the head and the live center in the tail stock, line them up and tighten the headstock down. It takes about one minute.
 

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Joined
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I just bought the Envoy. I turn the head a little to turn the inside of a bowl. It makes it much easier for me. When I turn it back to straight I put the spur drive in the head and the live center in the tail stock, line them up and tighten the headstock down. It takes about one minute.

You may find that if you twist the HS one way and the TS one way to their stops, the centers line back up. My Galaxi will realign that way. As you do larger bowls you will probably run out of toolrest/banjo length. Thats when I use the outrigger. Did you get the outrigger for yours?
 
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I just bought the Envoy. I turn the head a little to turn the inside of a bowl. It makes it much easier for me. When I turn it back to straight I put the spur drive in the head and the live center in the tail stock, line them up and tighten the headstock down. It takes about one minute.

Maybe a nit pick, but I never liked using a live center to check alignment. I always used two spur centers. Live centers have more tolerance stack up and do have bearing wear. Just my thoughts.
 
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You may find that if you twist the HS one way and the TS one way to their stops, the centers line back up. My Galaxi will realign that way. As you do larger bowls you will probably run out of toolrest/banjo length. Thats when I use the outrigger. Did you get the outrigger for yours?
Yes I bought the outrigger about a week later. I love it. It is a lot sturdier than I thought it was going to be. It makes turning outboard very easy.
 
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This is a simple Lathe and Mill/Drill laser that you can use to align your headstock to your tailstock in very little time. The (3) screws on the outer perimeter can adjust the laser point onto your center point of your live center,. If you lock the tailstock down before rotating or moving your headstock it is simple to re-align your lathe when you bring the headstock back over the ways, you can adjust the headstock until the laser hits the point on your tailstock center then lock the headstock back down.




View attachment 37382
Hi Mike, That looks like a neat little tool Where does one find one of those? I'm having alignment issues right now and wouldn't mind checking at distance rather than nose to nose.
 

john lucas

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Using 2 centers to.check alignment doesnt tell you anything. The headstock or tailstock could twisted horizontally or vertically. The rifle laser.sight works.well but you have to rig up way to hold it. My laser wont fit a #2 taper. I tried using a morse.taper collet with 1/4" hole was t convinced it was dead on accurate because of the compression slots. Apparently it was. I took a factory Morse taper and center drilled and then bored it for accuracy and it gave the same reading. When I put the tailstock 34" away with the laser in the headstock it traces a circle around the center point of a.dead center. Not dead on but pretty darn close.
 
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Using 2 centers to.check alignment doesnt tell you anything. The headstock or tailstock could twisted horizontally or vertically.
Please elaborate. I guess if the HS and TS twisted out of alignment in tandem the same amount the points could align but actual centerlines would cross. I do understand checking at greater distance with the laser “amplifies the signal”. Brings up the questions of how much misalignment is allowable and what circumstances is it an issue?
 
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