VS or Not? - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 12 Old 03-13-2009, 10:55 AM Thread Starter
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VS or Not?

I'm planning on getting a new lathe. I currently have on with a belt and pulleys, which I don't mind. I have noticed alot of you recommend the VS for obvious reasons. To me, it's just one more thing to break or go wrong. Have any of you had any problems with a VS lathe? Specifically the VS feature?

(I know it depends on the brand when talking VS, but I'm just curious in general terms)

I thought I wanted a career, turns out I just wanted paychecks.
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post #2 of 12 Old 03-13-2009, 12:19 PM
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vs or not

I just replaced my Jet 1220 yesterday and I debated that issue also. I was considering the Jet 1442VS or the Nova 1624. I ended up buying the Nova which is not vs, because the Jet is a gigantic piece of equipment and I wanted my unit to be mobile. I would have had to buy a fork lift to make the Jet mobile.I can also see the advantages of a vs but to me it really wasn't an issue.VS is a nice feature but how long does it take to switch the belt. I also asked myself if the vs could be a problem? Good luck. HLW.
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post #3 of 12 Old 03-13-2009, 01:15 PM
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I have a Grizzly G9247 which has variable speed control. I have had no problems with this later. The VS is a great frature. You adjust the speed very simply, by turning the dial. Based on my experience with the lathe I have, I am going to purchase a larger mini lathe Grizzly G0657 VS (12x20 - 3/4hp).
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post #4 of 12 Old 03-13-2009, 02:36 PM
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I lived without variable speed for a long time and could probably jump right back to that if needed. However I do really enjoy my variable speed. It is really handy and if you can go that route I would.
It does however have issues.
I started with a Reeves drive on 2 different lathes. You have to be religious about cleaning them or they give you headaches. There are limits to how low a speed you can get from them and often this is a little fast for bigger bowls on smalller lathes.
I resurrected an old J-line lathe and put a DC motor and controller on it. This I really enjoyed. It does give you very fine control of the speed but you lose a lot of power when you go to the slow speeds. It will go well below 500 rpm but doesn't have much power down that low. This often means changing a pulley setting to get enough power to work. It was also pretty expensive to repair the controller when it died. I was in the middle of a big job and I cobbled together a bridge diode to give me one speed (fast) but it did allow me to finish the job.
I bought a Nova 3000 and turned on it for a while. It had a 7 speed step pulley. I eventually put a Variable Frequency Drive on it. These use 3 phase motors but they are powered by single phase inputs. They give you variable speed by varying the frequency. They pull much harder at slow speeds. I can easily turn large bowls at 200rpm or less. The downside is it would probably be cheaper to replace the unit than repair it and you probably need to have a fair amount of electrical skills to install it.
When I was upgrading to a larger lathe I though very seriously about going with all manual speeds. Nothing to go wrong that you can't fix. However the new lathes have a pretty good reputation of not breaking down so I went with the Powermatic figuring that in a worse case scenario I could swap out the motor for a single speed AC and purchase some step pulleys and keep on turning. Since the VFD's are pretty generic you could simply buy one of some brand or another to replace the one that came with the machine. That's what made up my mind to get it. I love it and highly recommend it. You could still have a problem and I've heard of a few, but fortunately they are very few and most people are very happy with lathe that have the VFD.
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post #5 of 12 Old 03-13-2009, 09:03 PM
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VS or not

I also was considering the Jet VS but got the Nova 1624 cause I just couldn't justify the extra bucks for my needs.I'm retired an I am not in a hurry,so changing the belts is no big deal for me.So I would guess that is one thing you have to take in consideration.
Ken
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post #6 of 12 Old 03-14-2009, 01:10 AM
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go with VS, you wont regret it.
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post #7 of 12 Old 03-16-2009, 08:16 AM
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Just a thought but when you are doing a lot of pieces or turning something that you want just right changing speeds is a hastle is you have to constantly have to change speeds. Or if the speed is not just right for what you want to do.

Just turn the dial and you got the right speed - I am no where near a pro and my turning takes some sanding sometimes or I dont have that tool sharp enough and I stop to see if it is just right - changing that speed all the time would drive me nuts.

VS all the way

Jack
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post #8 of 12 Old 03-16-2009, 08:47 AM
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Guess it boils down to whats important...I got the Rikon about a month ago. Its not a VS I can have the speed changed in about 10 sec. I saved a BUNCH of money going that route...and was able to get other needed tools etc with it. Maybe one day....I will get a VS lathe...but right now....its not missed
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post #9 of 12 Old 03-16-2009, 11:21 AM
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I guess what it comes down to is, How much money are you willing to spend?

With that amount of money, can you get a decent VS lathe? If so, buy it. It is definately convenient!!

If you don't mind a little bit of time to change belt positions, buy a more capable lathe and forgo the VS.

I have used a VS lathe for a couple of classes that I have taken at a local Woodcraft. It is convenient. If you can afford it, get it. You will like it. But, I wouldn't forgo quality for the convenience of VS. I would buy a quality lathe before I bought VS.

Just the thoughts of someone that went through this a couple of weeks ago. BTW, I purchased the NOVA 1624-44 from Woodcraft that is on sale this month for $899. I looked at the JET 1220 VS but I got a higher capacity lathe for about $100 more and didn't get the VS. I don't think I will ever outgrow the NOVA and VS would have been nice but I was afraid that I would have wanted more capacity in a few years.

Fred
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post #10 of 12 Old 03-16-2009, 09:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by john lucas View Post
I started with a Reeves drive on 2 different lathes. You have to be religious about cleaning them or they give you headaches. There are limits to how low a speed you can get from them and often this is a little fast for bigger bowls on smalller lathes.
Hey John, Any tips on procedure for cleaning a reeves drive. I have one on an older grizzly lathe (bought it used) and it does stick if I go to the slowest speed. I usually take the cover off and smack it with a mallet to get it to release. I am looking at upgrading to the Grizzly G0462 but it is a reeves drive too. So I am wondering is there a preventative maintenance that can be done with them. Do you oil them, graphite them, adjust them, blow dust out of them or just cuss them? Thanks.

John
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post #11 of 12 Old 03-17-2009, 12:08 AM
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VS or Not

Smackin it with a mallet is a no no on reeves drives,as you can knock the pulley out of round,or bend it,then that won't let it move easily on the shaft for it will be binding up.When I had one I just blew the dust off with compressed air,then sprayed it (the shaft) with W-D 40.don't get it on the belt,or pulley or it will slip.Once in a while you can just loosen the belt and after cleaning it slide it by hand to see if there is any drag on it,as it should move very smoothly.
Ken
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post #12 of 12 Old 03-19-2009, 09:13 PM
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I have a 3520B and it is great. I have not had problems with the lathe or the VFD. If you are planning on doing much turning you will probably enjoy the PM lathe. I have only had mine since about Labor Day but there are a lot of people out there who have had the 3520 for a long time and like it.

Eugene
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