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PM 3520 A Value

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I have an opportunity to acquire a seemingly well maintained Powermatic 3520 A for less than $2k. I was considering a Grizzyly G0799 or the Revo 18/36 though both more expensive with shipping, taxes, and initial price.

What's a reasonable price for the A at this point in time? Seems to mostly have reasonable cosmetic wear.

Thanks!
 

Bill Boehme

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I was also thinking $1800 absolute max if it it is in very good condition. Give it a very close inspection for things like galling damage or rust in the Morse taper sockets. That type of damage would prevent a spur drive from seating properly and would involve some expense to repair.
 

john lucas

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I paid $1900 for my 3520A about 15 years ago. It went up in price the next month. I would say $1500 to $1800 depending on condition.
 
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Depends on what kind of shape it is in, but $2000 isn't a bad price. I did prefer the A to the B. Both the on/off switch, and the variable speed switch wear out eventually. Depending on how it was used, the bearings and belt may be needing to be replaced. The earliest ones had a small fan on the bottom of the phase converter, and I had to put a screen over the top of the fins to keep the fan from stopping.... It also had a cast iron pressure plate on the bottom of the headstock. You do not want that as mine broke when coring some black locust. It also had, on the slow speed range, speeds down to almost 0, rather than turning off at 50 rpm. I used that speed range for sanding my warped bowls, very handy. Low speed range went up to 1500, which I prefer to the 1200 on the B, which for me was too slow for smaller bowls, and the lathe didn't like coring with the McNaughton on the high speed range.... Sold mine to a friend, and we took it all apart and put the pieces in his VW Jetta, the bed in the front passenger seat..... His car was floating around on the road..... Should have gotten a video....

robo hippy
 
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Thanks all for the input. I've not pulled the trigger on it yet. It seems to be in good shape but other options, including a new lathe intrigue me as well.
 
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Different versions of the same machine, chronologically. C being the current model offered. There are differences between the models, though the major specs/capacity are similar
 

Bill Boehme

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Quick question, what is the difference between the PM 3520 A, B, C?

There isn't a quick answer, but I will try to find some relevant threads. The original before the A model was made in the USA. The original had the best lock for the toolrest post ... very similar to what Robust uses. The original had the best castings from what I've seen. The A model is basically the same as the original WRT styling as far as I can tell. The B model made some improvements in miscellaneous things and changed the castings for the tailstock and I think also the headstock. The C model is a complete redesign of all the castings to have a more "modern look" and it is somewhat heavier than its predecessors. I think that it might have a larger motor, but I'm not sure about that.
 
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3520A speed ranges were from 0 to 1500, and 0 to 3000. It would go almost down to 0 before it would stop. With the B model, the speeds went from 50 to 1200, and from 50 to 3200 or some thing like that. I need the slow speed for sanding my warped bowls. My A model was made in China. I do believe that the very first ones were made in USA (didn't they used to call it the Olsonic, after Rudy, lathe because he had a lot of input in the design???). It was about that time when PM was sold and production was moved to China. I had an issue or two, and still got to talk to the old timers at the original PM place. The price went way down with the move to China, though quality was still very good. Don't know what the speed ranges on the C model are though. My A had the single set screw on the side of the banjo, not the wedges like on my Beauty. The C model does have some thing very similar.

robo hippy
 

john lucas

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the B model has holes in the legs so you can lower the bed extension to get 30" of swing. It also has a door on the tailstock to store things in that opening. The pin that keeps the tailstock quill from rotating was moved from the bottom to the side on the B. The C series has an ACME thread in the tailstock Quill feed which is much faster and far beefier than typical threaded quills. The tool post lock is different and better. Can't remember off the top of my head the other differences. Oh I think it has Indexing which the B series might have also. The original and A series did not have Indexing. The Banjo on the B series has an offset tool post hole and grooves in the sides of the banjo to hold lights or dust collector accessories. I can't remember if the C series has this also.
 
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I have the US made original. I felt like I got a really good deal on it 2 years ago when I paid $1000 for it(it was made in 1997). I think I spent $200 for new motor and spindle bearings at my local motor shop after I purchased it. A local club member just sold his 3520 A for around $2000 to purchase the c model. I would say that a 3520a for under 2000 would be a good purchase. A good number of our club use it and the used one I mentioned before is still in the club. Does the used lathe come with any extras? I got a robust tool rest with mine and I would have to have another if I changed lathes. One of the quirks of the original is a 1 1/8” tool rest post.
 
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the B model has holes in the legs so you can lower the bed extension to get 30" of swing. It also has a door on the tailstock to store things in that opening. The pin that keeps the tailstock quill from rotating was moved from the bottom to the side on the B. The C series has an ACME thread in the tailstock Quill feed which is much faster and far beefier than typical threaded quills. The tool post lock is different and better. Can't remember off the top of my head the other differences. Oh I think it has Indexing which the B series might have also. The original and A series did not have Indexing. The Banjo on the B series has an offset tool post hole and grooves in the sides of the banjo to hold lights or dust collector accessories. I can't remember if the C series has this also.

The top of the headstock was faintly rounded on the A and the B is flat, with a rubber mat. The front, driver side corner of the A had an indent at centerline height but access was still limited, and on the B the whole edge is chamfered. Whether access is any better is hard to say.

My opinion would be that the A and the B are 99% functionally the same, and any price difference has to do with age and perceived value of an 'improved' model. The C has more substantive improvements, though I haven't turned on one and can't opine on any increase in functionality, but it's clearly the shiny new one.
 
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Great information here! I appreciate it and I am sure others do as well.

How about this, I've narrowed down the options for myself given a budget confine and have the option of either a 3520 A (owners says made in USA) with the Baldor VFD, a few tool rests, face plates and other unidentified items
OR
A new Grizzly G0766 that offers marginally more swing, a longer bed, 3 hp motor, and a 1 year warranty.

The Grizzly would wind up being slightly more $

Fire away!

3520 A.jpg
 

Bill Boehme

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Great information here! I appreciate it and I am sure others do as well.

How about this, I've narrowed down the options for myself given a budget confine and have the option of either a 3520 A (owners says made in USA) with the Baldor VFD, a few tool rests, face plates and other unidentified items
OR
A new Grizzly G0766 that offers marginally more swing, a longer bed, 3 hp motor, and a 1 year warranty.

The Grizzly would wind up being slightly more $

Fire away!

I would go with the Powermatic. In the past I took Grizzly's horsepower claims with a grain of salt, but this lathe looks like the exception based on the spec sheet. While the Grizzly is a very good lathe, I think that the original PM 3520 is a better machine especially with the Baldor controller and I presume US built motor. I am assuming that the PM lathe is in very good condition.
 
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I would go with the powermatic as well. You will need to check it out thoroughly and expect maintenance issues like switch replacement to be needed faster than with a new lathe. Pay attention to the tailstock. I know a couple of folks in my club have had issues with the threads wearing out. You can’t get a new 3520a model quill, but the b model quill will work upside down if it needs to be replaced.
That being said, I believe the powermatic is over 100 lbs heavier. I don’t know anyone with the grizzly, but I know several with a 3520a that are happy with them.
 
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I would go with the Powermatic. In the past I took Grizzly's horsepower claims with a grain of salt, but this lathe looks like the exception based on the spec sheet. While the Grizzly is a very good lathe, I think that the original PM 3520 is a better machine especially with the Baldor controller and I presume US built motor. I am assuming that the PM lathe is in very good condition.

Bill, I've not seen it in person yet. I have a few photos (one above) that show paint wear on the headstock primarily and on the legs as well. You don't have reservation about a motor as old as this one?

I would go with the powermatic as well. You will need to check it out thoroughly and expect maintenance issues like switch replacement to be needed faster than with a new lathe. Pay attention to the tailstock. I know a couple of folks in my club have had issues with the threads wearing out. You can’t get a new 3520a model quill, but the b model quill will work upside down if it needs to be replaced.
That being said, I believe the powermatic is over 100 lbs heavier. I don’t know anyone with the grizzly, but I know several with a 3520a that are happy with them.

Guy, much appreciated insight on the switch and tailstock threading. It's a 3 hour drive to view it so I might as well be prepared.
 

Bill Boehme

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If the PM is an original made in USA then components such as switches will be much higher quality than the imported ones. Look in the Morse taper sockets and inspect for rust and burs. Ideally, they should be smooth and shiny (or close enough that they can easily be repaired. A little staining from sap and finish aren't a problem.
 
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Regarding the advertised price for the Powermatic lathe.....when I decide to sell a machine I try to establish a reasonable price then add 5 to 10% and say "or offer". That way buyers will feel good about getting the item for less than my asking price.

As to buying used machines, especially ones that don't show up often on Craigslist, I've given up on being hard nosed about the price. If I "needed" or just wanted the lathe in question would it really make that much difference whether I paid $2200 or $1800? You skip the machine because the price seems too high and you're without the machine you need until the next one may come up. And, there's always the risk another one may never come up.
 
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I have read through this dated thread and wonder if anyone has updated (2022) thoughts about the PM 3520A. I have the opportunity to buy one in good condition (haven’t viewed it yet) for $2,500 with some extra tools thrown in. The age of the lathe and possible electrical issues concern me. And, I love the look of the 100th Anniversary 3520C! I will look for all of the things mentioned above. Thanks!
 
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That sounds like a fair price, given the cost of the newer lathes, even if it sold way back when for about $3000. I would jump on it. Depending on how much it has been used, it may or may not need the on/off switch, and variable speed knobs replaced. So simple, even I was able to figure it out. Worn belt might be an possible issue. The phase converter should probably be fine. I sold mine to an old buddy, and it is still running.

robo hippy
 
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The original A's were made in Tennessee, my 2005 B was not, bought it new from Osolnik Machinery first of 2006 for about $2700.00. Seems like I read the A does not have a digital readout. The A does not have the storage in the tailstock though I only store dust in mine...
 
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Marvin is correct, there is not an RPM readout on the A. It has the tailstock 'storage' but without a door. Is that still 'storage'?

The banjo is a little different, too. The clamp that holds the tool rest post is the same, but the position of the post on the base is toward the headstock on the B and in the end of the base on the A.
 
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That sounds like a fair price, given the cost of the newer lathes, even if it sold way back when for about $3000. I would jump on it. Depending on how much it has been used, it may or may not need the on/off switch, and variable speed knobs replaced. So simple, even I was able to figure it out. Worn belt might be an possible issue. The phase converter should probably be fine. I sold mine to an old buddy, and it is still running.

robo hippy
Thanks for the perspective! Leaning hard toward it if I determine a PM lathe is best for this left handed turned. Currently using a pivoting head Nova DVR 2024.
 
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The original A's were made in Tennessee, my 2005 B was not, bought it new from Osolnik Machinery first of 2006 for about $2700.00. Seems like I read the A does not have a digital readout. The A does not have the storage in the tailstock though I only store dust in mine...
Thanks Marvin! The A has a digital readout on the backside of the head along with several control buttons! Since I am a left handed turner I will probably be hollowing off the end of the lathe. The backside readout may be helpful if for nothing lese to calibrate the dial on the front for various speed settings.
 
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Marvin is correct, there is not an RPM readout on the A. It has the tailstock 'storage' but without a door. Is that still 'storage'?

The banjo is a little different, too. The clamp that holds the tool rest post is the same, but the position of the post on the base is toward the headstock on the B and in the end of the base on the A.
Thanks for the info. See prior comment regarding speed readout.
 

john lucas

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The original 3520's were made in Tennessee. The 3520A was made in Taiwan. An excellent lathe. Mine is at least 20 years (particularly Nova DVR) was that there isn't anything on the that machine that can't be replaced with aftermarket parts or rebuilt by a good machinist. I think it will last me forever. Of course for now you can still get all the parts from Powermatic. I had owned 2 Nova lathes before the Powermatic and loved them but that proprietary headstock motor on the DVR scared me. There were several other lathe companies that died about that time as well and I wanted to get something that would last forever. I purchased my lathe new for $2000. They went up $500 the next month.
 
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