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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Thanks for reading.

I’ve finally had an idea good enough to sell that I’m in the market for my first lathe. I’ve got about $600 in store credit at both HD and Lowe’s so for now I’m gonna settle for something that’ll get the job done and then upgrade later.

Any opinions about this WEN lathe from HD? ...

 

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I strongly suggest you get the Nova 55214 Galaxi DVR 16-44
(and a full set of carbide turning tools)
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the advice John but that would be almost quadruple what I'm prepared to spend. I've been steered away from the WEN brand so I'm still open to suggestions to something say in the 5-600 $ range.
 

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How much have you budgeted for the turning tools? I'm not a turner, but from what little I've seen of it they are often expensive.
 

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I got mine, used, with a full set of tools, for about 1/4 retail. For your first one, I'd recommend Craig's List or some such site. If you're going to buy a new one, buy a GOOD one.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·

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Have you figured out what you will need as far as chucks etc? When bringing a new-to-you type of tool system into your shop it can be complicated figuring out which accessories etc you'll need, there can be $$$ surprises.

Since you want your project to be profitable I can understand not wanting to describe it in detail, but the more you say about it the better the experienced turners here can recommend stuff for you.

Which wood species? What do you have for dust collection?
 

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Without knowing what you are making (or a general idea), it is hard to know whether your lathe is suitable for the task.

-> Remember to budget for safety equipment (a faceshield is mandatory for anything larger than pens), and maybe a four-jaw chuck or a Jacobs chuck, drive spurs, live centers, consumables, etc. You said that you have the turning tools, but do you know that they can make whatever it is you are making? By the way, typical flat-type carbide tips can be sharpened with diamond stones to extend their life - budget for that, too.

I have a Delta 46-460 lathe. It isn't the best midi lathe I have used, but it isn't the worst, either. I bought it used, and it was a good buy. I like it.
Pros:
  • Moving the belt between the three pulley steps is fast and easy.
  • If you put a shelf between it and the stand (or put it on a shelf), the shape forms a small storage area underneath for chucks, spurs, centers, calipers, and other small parts.
  • It has forward and reverse. The reverse is not essential, but a "nice to have" feature.
  • The locking/tightening handles are NOT the flimsy plastic "pull-against-the-spring-to-engage" type. I like that.
Cons:
  • No digital readout for RPMs. Most lathes in its class have it. I would be nice to have, but I get along without it. There is a built-in chart on the back of the flip-up panel that shows estimated RPMs for different settings of the knob and pulleys.
  • The switches are not in a convenient location, behind the headstock on the left. On mine, the seller had added a convenient on/off switch under the shelf on the lower right side, which makes it much better. Most lathes in that class have the switch and knob on the lower right.
  • On mine, the forward/reverse switch is finicky, but works. I rarely use it.
If I were choosing a midi lathe, I would look at the Laguna Revo 12|16 first and then start doing comparisons between Nova Comet II, Jet 1221vs, whatever Rikon is in that range, and the Delta 46-460 that you mentioned. I don't know Shop Fox, but that's another I would look at to be thorough.

Some different brand lathes appear to come from the same factory assembly line with slightly different features. I recognize common parts between them. Some have features that I don't like, and I see that same disliked feature replicated across multiple brands. An example of a feature I have used and don't like is the kind of lower pulley cover the raises, then rotates. Another is the flimsy spring-loaded tighten/locking handle I mentioned above.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks again and sorry for not being able to be too specific. As far as the chuck goes I think initially I can get away with a simple screw-into-wood type mount. Not sure what that one is called. I'm not exactly settled on what wood species I'll be using but I'm guessing the harder the better. I suppose I could use advice on how to mount both softer and hard wood species. Basically I'll be combining a 2-3 in wood base with resin in a cylindrical mold about the size of a gallon of milk except 25-50% taller, so it'll def have some weight to it. But at the same time the blanks will be very symmetrical and balanced.

Dust collection. Getting a lot of things together right now including the shop space, and that's one I haven't gotten around to yet so I'm glad you mentioned it. I've got a puny-ish Ridgid shop vac but that's it. I think the hose is 3" dia. Most I've gleaned so far is that I should at least get a small cyclone type collector like maybe a Dust Deputy. I'd estimate my waste will be about 90% resin strings and 10% wood chips. But I'm new to this idea of cleaning up after myself so I'm all ears.

And Tool Agnostic, I thank you sir for the most thorough guidance I've gotten across a number of boards. So far the Delta 46-460 has gotten moderate praise with some quality and size concerns raised, and a suggestion to look for something heavier like the Jet 1221VS. Home Depot has it listed but show it as temporarily out of stock, and only offer an email sign up when they happen to see it again. Wonder how long that could be? Lowe's doesn't list it but they do handle the extension for it, so I've got my bud who's a Lowe's GM checking to see if they can special order it.

In looking into those models you mentioned... I was glad to see the Nova was carried by HD but wonk wonk, it's 230V and all I've got is 110. Too bad because it was the least expensive option. So it looks like if the Jet doesn't work out I'll probably go with the Delta, as it's the only one I can put my store credits toward. Like I was saying, I'll be making well balanced blanks so the weight/size difference might not be too much a factor; and who knows, that 1HP motor might turn out to be the bigger advantage between the lathes.

I promise that in the future, against my adhd and autism-ish tendencies, that I'll tend to all my open threads as well as you have mine. Thanks again.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Seems as if I've reached my next impasse. I has decided on the Jet 1221 but then discovered these duplicator systems. Since that's exactly what my production process could use I figure I might as well include one of these in the whole deal. Problem now is that these systems generally require the lathe motor to be behind or to the left, and this Jet has it's motor underneath. So I'm not sure I'll be able to get anything to work with it.

Any suggestion for a lathe / duplicator system combo that isn't the $370 one at Rockler?
 

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The Nova Comet II lathes that I have used all ran on 110v. Are you sure you are looking at US versions? I doubt you can find it in the US made for 220v.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks for the check. Not sure where I was but the first one of these I found must have been out of country as I ended up finding one that was 110. Unfortunately it has an under mounted motor as well. After setting myself on that Jet I sort of forgot about the Nova, although it's still probably the best value I've come across.
 

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I was a professional turner before I became a woodworker and I can tell you this, the less you spend on your equipment and tool s, the less money you will make. Unless of course, you are capable of building your own lathe and making your own tools.
If you use a cheap lathe, it wont take much pressure with a gouge to stall the lathe. Also, cutting (turning) heats up the blade a whole lot more than you would suspect and cheap steel tools will also dull much faster. I also found that to become a master turner you also have to become a master sharpener. Your speed is everything including cutting and sharpening.
 

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@Tony B makes several great points. Listen to him. He is the voice of experience.

One of the things about woodturning that surprised me was the heat from the chips that come off the turning tool as you are cutting on the lathe. I know a woodturner who puts duct tape on the back of his hand. Nobody ever mentions it (except me). They all seem to take it for granted, but it was a surprise to me.

The guy who sold that Delta 46-460 lathe to me is doing more "professional" level woodturning. He sold it to me because it was not up to the woodturning projects that he wanted to do. ... and yes, I have stalled that 46-460 lathe. ... and yes, it has an undermount motor - although I don't understand what is inherently wrong with that, other than smaller motors generally mean less power. You get what you pay for. For me, it is a great "starter" lathe. I bought it used at the right price.
 

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I was a professional turner before I became a woodworker and I can tell you this, the less you spend on your equipment and tool s, the less money you will make. Unless of course, you are capable of building your own lathe and making your own tools.
If you use a cheap lathe, it wont take much pressure with a gouge to stall the lathe. Also, cutting (turning) heats up the blade a whole lot more than you would suspect and cheap steel tools will also dull much faster. I also found that to become a master turner you also have to become a master sharpener. Your speed is everything including cutting and sharpening.
It doesn't sound like he's out to make money.
 

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One more thing I wanted to add about sharpening skills. You will probably need a good grinder with 2 stones. One medium and one fine and also 3 whet stones. I used to have a rolling cart I would pull up next to the lathe and it ran continuous while turning. With spindles this is not too much of an issue but with bowls, especially green wood it is very important. The bowl will keep changing shape as you hollow it and you dont have time to waste sharpening. You must be able to hit the rolling grinder and back to cutting without skipping a breath. Sometime you may have to stop for an instant and use the whet stones for touch-up, all the while your piece is still turning. It just takes practice and lots of it. The more you turn the faster you will be.
Everyone develops their own style. I turned hollow forms at a fairly high rate of speed. One day, it was the first actual AAW woodturning symposium. There was this very talented guy from California. Cant remember his name for the life of me. He turned some of the most beautiful hollow form bowls I had seen. He used a lot of maple burls with bark inclusions, this was his >Mesa Series" As I watched his demo i thought , gee, he turns awful slow. Then another well known turner at the time actually asked him. "how come you turn so slow?" He replied, I dont know, I just like it this way.
seemed funny at the time. So the more you turn the more you will develop your own style.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Yes thanks for all the extra info. For the time being I'm planning on turning mostly resin but I'm sure that could change. I have the normal set of 3 carbide tools for my first set as they're easier for beginners. Are there turning situations that are better suited to steel chisels as opposed to carbide?
 

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If you are doing mostly spindle kind of work, with proper turning instructions and practice, you can be faster than a lathe duplicator.
There is a furniture making company in North Gulfport, Ms. They are most famous for their DeDeaux rocking chairs. Lots of spindle work. I knew them because I would buy a good amount of my exotics from them and they wide beltsanded some of my larger table tops.
Anyway, their primary turner was Chuck Deadeaux, one of the owners. Eventually they went to lathe duplicators. One day the duplicator crapped out and Chuck was too busy to do any turning. He knew I did a lot of turning and so he hired me for a week until the duplicator was repaired. I was told by a few employees that I was faster than their duplicator. I dont remember how many chair back spindles I was turning out an hour but it was a lot. I could pull one spindle off the lathe and put another one back on without shutting the lathe off. I learned that trick from the first AAW Symposium watching a retired turner, a pretty old guy at the time. Cant remember his name but i would if someone else reminded me. Anyway, it was almost comical to watch the little old man with shaking hands do this, His claim to fame was that he put all his kids through college turning over 200,000 candle sticks for K-Mart way back during the 1930's and 40's.
 
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