Setting Up New "Commander" Lathe - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 5 Old 10-27-2010, 06:41 AM Thread Starter
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Setting Up New "Commander" Lathe

A few pics of setting up my wife's new lathe. This is the 12" swing 'Commander' lathe from PSI. Fit and finish is not all that great. All the parts were there, nothing broke from shipping.

First of all, the base of the headstock was not machined very flat. The surface area where the bolts connect to the bed, had some low spots when filed flat. Luckily, the cast iron was soft enough to only need a few file strokes to create a flat mating surface to the bed.

The tailstock base was not flat, either. These are some things to check out when you install a lathe, whether old or new.
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Harrison, at your service!
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post #2 of 5 Old 10-27-2010, 10:35 AM
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So you have to assemble the whole thing? That's what it looks like to me which seams a little strange.

I bought this one got it for $309 tax and all then a Craftsman Professional 6 pc lathe tool set free. supposedly $100 value and all I had to do was slide the tool rest and tail stock on.

Wow I just looked at the PSI website. That lathe came with a 1hp motor. My craftsman and the Jet I was using only had 1/2 hp which I thought was good enough but for twice the motor it may be worth assembly.

Last edited by rrbrown; 10-27-2010 at 10:45 AM.
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post #3 of 5 Old 11-03-2010, 06:51 AM Thread Starter
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Well, I went over it with a fine toothed comb, and discovered this is one solid machine. The RPMs actually go down to 136.

It has 2 pulleys, belt speed ranges super smooth. The belt is a 3 spine, it was all crinkled up in the box, so it took some playing with to get it straightened out. At first, the belt would jump one spine, so I reversed the belt and it smoothed right out.

One drawback is the length of tailstock travel. With a drill chuck mounted, I only get 2 inches of travel, so I'll be drilling the pen blanks in the drill press.

Another test I did was trying to stop the spindle while at the lowest speed. Using both hands, I couldn't stop it, so, plenty of power and torque.

It's plenty safe enough for teaching the wife how to use it.

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post #4 of 5 Old 11-04-2010, 10:35 PM
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Can I request for more pictures?????
Thanks. I'm seriously considering one myself.
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post #5 of 5 Old 01-10-2011, 10:02 AM
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I got this lathe in November 2010 and I have to say that if I were to make this purchase again, I'd choose the Delta that I was considering instead of this one.

Actually I'm VERY pleased with everything about this lathe, with the exception of the variable speed. I find it nearly impossible to make a controlled cut (on bowls which is primarily why I bought this lathe) with the variable speed controller continuously trying to correct the RPM's the way it does. When you begin the cut with a tool, the RPM's slow a bit, and the speed controller tries to increase the power to bring the RPM's back up. I'm trying to learn to deal with it, but it's been difficult so far.

Also I see it as a safety hazard because if you're working with large piece that out of balance piece, the speed controller can spin the piece out of control if you happen to get a catch (RPM's go to near zero, the controller REALLY cranks up the horsepower to increase the RPM's, you remove the tool and suddenly the piece is spinning twice what you intended and out of control).

As mentioned before the VS has two ranges via pulleys, and I find that the lowest range is more than sufficient for my needs so I never need to adjust a belt, but the whole VS controller (which is a big selling point for this lathe) was a flop in my opinion.

For spindle turning this might not be as much of an issue, but mount up a 10" slightly out of balance bowl blank and things can get scary.

I'm currently waiting to hear back from their tech support to see if I can convert this lathe to strictly a pulley driven system and doing away with the VS controller.

-cmyers
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