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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi,

I am considering downsizing my lathe to a mini and looking for some advice.

My current lathe is a cast iron lathe that looks almost exactly like the picture attached except for the cosmetics and my stand isn't nearly as elaborate.

I have a small garage shop and seeing that I have never turned anything larger than pens and bottle toppers, I was thinking to save some space by switching to a smaller lathe.

My current lathe is 50"+ in length and 6" from the headstock to the base. So I guess that means I could turn something under 12" but never have. I have tons of accessories for it which makes it had to let go but its just 3 feet longer than I need.

I can see my self wanting to make things like pens, toppers, yo-yos, bowls, pepper mills, and stuff like that.

I was thinking about either the Mini Jet or Rikon models and was looking for opinions. I could even be talked into keeping the large lathe if there is a good reason.

Thanks,

David
 

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Well you could go with the Jet mini (10" swing) or the newer Jet midi which has 12" swing and little more horsepower. The Rikon may be 12 but I can't remember.
Anyway what I would look for is one that has the same thread size and morse taper size. You's is possibly #2 morse taper and 1"x8 but I'm guessing. That way you would be able to use all the accessories you have now.
Some of the minis out there accept bed extensions so if you should ever want to go back to turning longer things you could buy just picking up one of those.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Well you could go with the Jet mini (10" swing) or the newer Jet midi which has 12" swing and little more horsepower. The Rikon may be 12 but I can't remember.
Anyway what I would look for is one that has the same thread size and morse taper size. You's is possibly #2 morse taper and 1"x8 but I'm guessing. That way you would be able to use all the accessories you have now.
Some of the minis out there accept bed extensions so if you should ever want to go back to turning longer things you could buy just picking up one of those.
It is a #2 morse taper. The accessories I was mentioning are things like tool rests and such. Would those still fit?

David
 

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I don't know if the 50"+ is the overall length or between centers? I looked up a Rikon and it list the overall length at 32"; this was for 16" between centers. So you would save about 1.5 feet not 3 feet. Probably most midi's are about the same.

If doing pepper mills how much room do you need to drill? I would chuck up a suitable piece in your chuck and drill & bit in the tailstock and check the total distance needed. 16" between centers can get tight quickly.
 

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That was a good point about pepper mills. When I used my Delta midi I had to remove the tail stock and then install the bit with an extension and then reinstall the tail stock with the bit part way in the mill. I like a longer bed for pepper mills.
Tom
 

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Yup, definately need the length for PM's. I had to purchase a bed extension to do mills on my mini.
 

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I recently did the same thing. I downsized but upgraded in quality. I had a 12 inch swing 36 inch Ridgid tube lathe that I learned to turn on. I bought a Nova Comet II and I really like it. It has a 12 inch swing and about 16 inch between centers. I never do anything but pens. I do have a small segmented project in the works but its not nearly big enough to max out my lathe. I was really tired of all that space being taken up by that lathe and only making little items.

One thing to get is a lathe with variable speed. The Rikon you mentioned does have a conversion kit and with it is still less that either of the Jets. If those are you only two choices I would go with the Rikon and the conversion kit. Spend the saved money on kits and wood:thumbsup: You can take your time and the Rikon occasionally goes on sale at a good price. It also has the extension available for the extra length.

I only have half of a two car garage as a workspace. As far as room goes I did not get that much room from downsizing because a midi has to have a stand and still takes up some room. But what I did get with that space is everything put into one area. Unlike my previous set up with some items behind the lathe and others in a cabinet half-way down the wall. I built a stand that can be seen here:

http://www.woodworkingtalk.com/f6/new-lathe-stand-56108/

Now everything that I need is in that stand.
 

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Howdy All,


This is a rather funny thread for me, because I have been looking to add length to my lathe, in the form of a bed extension.

So, for me, it's more like "...you can never have too much length..." Wait a minute....isn't that what she said? :eek:


LOL...pardon my crass attempt at humour.



Buck.
 

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Downsizing your lathe

I understand your concern over space but I would keep the bigger lathe. I have a Connover which is big and heavy and takes up a size able amount of space. Aside from the space issue my thinking is this- you can do small work on a big lathe but you can't do big work on a small one. I know you're only doing pens now but maybe you'll get tired of that some day and want to do bowls or?
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
The more i think about it I'm leaning towards just keeping it. The entire lathe is 54 inches long and approximately 36 inches between centers. My new garage, is smaller than my previous garage and I am just trying to find a way to lay everything out. The lathe is just large and awkward and I'm having a hard time figuring out how to fit it in. One side of the garage is all cabinets, another side all workbench and the remaining side is all windows. So I'm having a tough time deciding where to put my tools for Convenient use and connection to the dust collector.
 

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I was in the same dilemma as you, only doing small stuff so I cut 8" off my old Craftsman tubular bed to make it fit a small area in my shop. I have regretted it many times since. My son bought an old house and needed four new stair balusters turned and I had to go to a friends shop to do them. If I had that one you have I would try to keep it.
 

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Wheels.....

Why not just mount it on a stout carriage and affix heavy duty, locking casters on the corners....that why you could just wheel it out of the way, into a corner, or just let it 'float' over in the part of the garage you're not using at the moment?

I do that with my large format copy carver. I just easily push it to where I'm 'not'....works dandy.



Buck. :cowboy:
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Why not just mount it on a stout carriage and affix heavy duty, locking casters on the corners....that why you could just wheel it out of the way, into a corner, or just let it 'float' over in the part of the garage you're not using at the moment?

I do that with my large format copy carver. I just easily push it to where I'm 'not'....works dandy.



Buck. :cowboy:
The way it's shaping up that may be the plan since everything is on castors now. My local woodcraft had a going out of business sale so I picked up mobile bases pretty cheap. I wanted permanent places for everything like my last garage but I'm not sure it's going to happen. Previously everything was hooked up to power and dust collection but I'm thinking I may have to do like you suggested and just roll things in place when I need them.
 

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Nice lathe

Walker-Turner Driver Line? I understand the space constraints(I work in a large closet), but for me, personally, I would have an extremely hard time getting rid of such a great machine. Casters are great--if not for casters, my shop would NOT work. You can really fit exponentially more equipment when it's mobile. I don't know a ton about newer lathes, especially smaller ones, but it seems like folks with the Jet midi are always really happy. If you ever decide to get rid of that big beast you have now, drop me a line:shifty:

WCT
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Walker-Turner Driver Line?

WCT
Yes it is the Driver line. I recently bought a stand for it (woodcraft store closing) which is even larger than the lathe and that is what really set all this "space worry" in motion. It's a steel universal stand and I'll need to cut a hole for the belt and figure out how to mount the motor. I may even try to shorten it but it's going to be a project :). That got me thinking to just sell the stand and the lathe and buy a smaller lathe that I could stick under my work bench until I need it. But now I'm thinking I should keep it and make it work. It's heavy duty machine that's for sure.

David
 

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The blessings of CASTORS...

Howdy djonesax,

"...The way it's shaping up that may be the plan since everything is on castors now..."

My 'woodworking shop' also currently resides in what used to be called "my 2 1/2 car garage" so space considerations immediately raised their ugly heads. Admittedly, when I informed my wife that both our upscale automobiles could survive just dandy, year 'round OUTSIDE she gave me one of these...:eek:...to which I replied, " Honey, just remember, we can finally have a place to work on our retirement projects!" Bless her heart, she acquiesced and we've both been happy since....

I can't tell you how much I pained and planned just where I would fit all of the tools I owned, and all of the tools I planned to own in that "2 1/2 car garage"...and, a dust collection system was also paramount to the master plan. Hence, I spent a lot of time placing things just so...then moving them a tad..then moving them another tad...then moving them again, and yet again to accommodate my usage patterns in the shop. Problem was, there really was NO "pattern", so I spent an additional volumne of time unhooking, rehooking, hooking up again, etc, etc. Maddening to say the least (at this point you're probably wishing I WOULD say less ; - ) ).

Anyway, the answer (for me)? CASTORS!!

Now, aside from my one main work bench, just about everything in the shop is mobile. Dust collection? I have dust fittings plumbed to strategic parts of the 'shop' and simply plug/unplug as necessary, depending upon my changing power tool needs.......my wife says I am now destined to live longer based upon my lowered stress, and application of simplicity!! ( now it's my turn to go :eek: )


Anyways, I hope that diatribe helps you in some small way....if nothing else, it may make you chuckle.


Warm regards,


Buck.
 
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