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I currently have a mini lathe, which until now has done me just fine. However it has a number of limitations:

  • 8" swing limits the diameter of bowls
  • 24" bed which limits the length of spindles
  • It's rather cheap and small so vibrates really badly when anything is off centre even a little. I've solved this partially by building a stand with some concrete blocks at the bottom
  • Very low powered motor means that at low speeds it has trouble powering through a cut.

I do like that it's electronically controlled variable speed. No belts to change and you can then deal better with the vibration issue as you can fine tune the speed.

So I'm considering an upgrade, as I may well be getting some commission work soon.

  • Bigger swing (12" to 14" would be enough I would have thought)
  • Longer bed - not sure how much more I'm going to need. I'm not turning table legs with this thing. Yet. And even if I do, I'd probably composit them.
  • More powerful motor - 3/4HP or 1HP would be nice
  • MUST BE AVAILABLE IN CANADA - preferably without costing the earth to have it delivered. I'm in Nova Scotia, which means everything has to be delivered to the province.
  • Electronically controlled variable speed. I don't mind having some belts, but the fine tuning would be nice
  • I don't care if it has a digital read out for the speed. I don't have one now.
  • Copy Attachment would be a good feature to have. I know I would use it.
  • I don't currently have any chucks (I've had to get inventive with the faceplate), so the morse taper doesn't matter. I'll buy chucks to go with the new lathe.
  • Would really like this to be the last lathe I buy.

I do have a Lee Valley local to me, so I have access to the Rikon 70-220VSR. At $869 CAD, that's within my budget and seems like a capable machine.

Opinions?

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OK, as requested.  Here's some wood chips! Well I don't have a hundred hours on it yet, but so far no bad habits.  Solid, no vibration.   I realise now that one of the compromises of

Here's the bowl.   It didn't come out quite the way I'd envisioned (or drawn) it, but I'm OK with it.   If I find a little bit bigger blank I'll try it again narrower at the bottom and

Success.  Vexing and  unecessary problem with photo download, but I may have a workaround. Anyway I said the idea got legs and here's the proof. Next step is build a mobility base.  I picked

Posted Images

I'm new to turning this year and bought the Rikon 70-220VSR.  It's worked well for me, especially since I don't have room for anything bigger without a new shop.

I also bought a Oneway Talon chuck.  It's the only chuck I've ever used but it's great so far.

As I mentioned, I'm new to turning with 4 finished bowls, 8 rough turned (green) bowls and a half finished 12" platter still on the lathe as the grand total of my experience.  

So far so good!

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I'm assuming your current lathe is MT2.  I know you said it's a non issue, but it some what is.   Chucks go on the spindle threads, not the taper, usually.  If you don't have anything that screws on now, consider yourself blessed.  That way you can buy all new stuff for the new lathe, and you can get an adapter (if needed) to mount it on your smaller lathe. 

A duplicator can come as an option, but I've mainly seen them as an aftermarket addition. 

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4 minutes ago, Marmotjr said:

I'm assuming your current lathe is MT2.  I know you said it's a non issue, but it some what is.   Chucks go on the spindle threads, not the taper, usually.  If you don't have anything that screws on now, consider yourself blessed.  That way you can buy all new stuff for the new lathe, and you can get an adapter (if needed) to mount it on your smaller lathe. 

A duplicator can come as an option, but I've mainly seen them as an aftermarket addition. 

I have no chucks, and the only MT equipment I have is the spur drive and live centre on the current lathe. I've held off buying chucks etc until I buy my new lathe for this very reason

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5 minutes ago, AndrewPritchard said:

I have no chucks, and the only MT equipment I have is the spur drive and live centre on the current lathe. I've held off buying chucks etc until I buy my new lathe for this very reason

Good idea.  The MT's should match up, so all your centers should swap between them (I can't see a 8" being MT1, but it may).   Get a good chuck, there's quite a few on the market, but I don't think I've ever seen a head to head comparison between brands.  I have the Nova, and I've been eyeballing the Infinity (?) quick switch adapters for a while now. 

Get the chuck that fit's the new lathe (duh), and then pick up a spindle adapter for the old one.  That will let you run the new chuck on it if you have to.  You might not think it's necessary, but it's only a couple dozen bucks, and you might want the ability to setup the lathes for a batching process sometime. 

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2 hours ago, AndrewPritchard said:

 

I do have a Lee Valley local to me, so I have access to the Rikon 70-220VSR. At $869 CAD, that's within my budget and seems like a capable machine.

Opinions?

Sounds like you already found your lathe. Honestly like many machine purchases the most important feature is the price tag. If your budget is sub 1k then it dramatically limits the available lathes. Looking online at Canadian websites most of what I was seeing in your feature list is floor model machines costing 2-3k. With some closing in on 4k. 

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I really like the Nova G3 chuck (I've bought 2 so far and may be another) and it's available in Canada but at least on Amazon.ca it's pricey almost double what you can find it for in the US. 

I noticed the other day at my local woodworking store that their floor models were on sale, I don't know if this is just a one off thing or if like cars new woodworking models comes out in the fall and all stores are selling their old equipment to get ready for the new ones so you might want to look around to see if you could get a deal on the Rikon.

Are you sure the Rikon will give you everything you want? It's not much bigger than your current lathe and the spindle distance is only 20". Are you going to get the bed extension with it?

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32 minutes ago, minorhero said:

Sounds like you already found your lathe. Honestly like many machine purchases the most important feature is the price tag. If your budget is sub 1k then it dramatically limits the available lathes. Looking online at Canadian websites most of what I was seeing in your feature list is floor model machines costing 2-3k. With some closing in on 4k. 

I looked on the Busybee website, and they have one model at around $2.5K and another around $800, with nothing in between. I only have 110v in the shop right now, and the building isn't mine. While the owner probably wouldn't mind me paying the cost of the upgrade, it's still not my building :)

The Craftex models from Busybee feel like they aren't as sturdy as the Rikon ones, but that may just be my perception. That said the Craftex one is 14" x 43", whereas the Rikon is 12.5" x 20". The Craftex one is 3/4HP, Rikon 1HP. The Craftex one comes with a cast iron stand whereas the Rikon stand is after market

So I guess the question here is: Will that extra 1/4 HP make a difference?

18 minutes ago, thatCharlieDude said:

I really like the Nova G3 chuck (I've bought 2 so far and may be another) and it's available in Canada but at least on Amazon.ca it's pricey almost double what you can find it for in the US. 

I noticed the other day at my local woodworking store that their floor models were on sale, I don't know if this is just a one off thing or if like cars new woodworking models comes out in the fall and all stores are selling their old equipment to get ready for the new ones so you might want to look around to see if you could get a deal on the Rikon.

Are you sure the Rikon will give you everything you want? It's not much bigger than your current lathe and the spindle distance is only 20". Are you going to get the bed extension with it?

The bed extension would certainly be a possibility. The swing capacity is a big difference there.

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On 28/07/2017 at 9:52 AM, AndrewPritchard said:

The bed extension would certainly be a possibility. The swing capacity is a big difference there.

I wouldn't get it without the bed extension. Also remember you will lose some of your diameter due to the tool rest (unless you want to do face work without the tool rest underneath). Even though it list a 12.5" swing you're probably only going to get around 11" pieces on it. I believe you mentioned you saw one in a local store? You may want to go down there with a tape measure and see what the actual dimensions the lathe will take. 

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33 minutes ago, thatCharlieDude said:

I wouldn't get it without the bed extension. Almost remember you will lose some of your diameter due to the tool rest (unless you want to do face work without the tool rest underneath). Even though it list a 12.5" swing you're probably only going to get around 11" pieces on it. I believe you mentioned you saw one in a local store? You may want to go down there with a tape measure and see what the actual dimensions the lathe will take. 

There are two possibilities, both at local stores. I might just do that.

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Swing is most important thing in a lathe if you are turning bowls as you indicate you are. I would care more about extra inches in swing then in length, but I also don't see myself needing to do spindles that are more then 30" long etc. Your own use may vary.

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18 hours ago, thatCharlieDude said:

Are you sure the Rikon will give you everything you want? It's not much bigger than your current lathe and the spindle distance is only 20". Are you going to get the bed extension with it?

 

18 hours ago, AndrewPritchard said:

The bed extension would certainly be a possibility. The swing capacity is a big difference there.

Extensions can be added later.  Either the after market type or a shop built one.  There are multiple sets of plans out there for plywood and steel plate extensions, or you can securely mount the lathe to a bench, and then build a stand alone tail stock mount a fixed distance from the head stock.    If for some reason you want to turn a few 60" spindles, then setting up a rig to handle exactly 60" spindles is not that complicated.   Buying the bed extensions now without specific use in mind is kind of pointless in my mind.  The 8" lathe he already has can probably handle extra long spindles with the right rigging.  If he is going to be doing spindles that require 12" of swing AND 48"+ of length, then we're talking industrial sized lathes here, huge bases and a huge HP.  Spoke shaves and the like are better suited, and much safer for crafting ornate telephone poles if you would choose to do so in the home shop. 

In fact, I am having trouble imagining a home project that would require such extreme sizes in both directions.  It's usually either very wide OR very long.  Bed length is easily added later, but unless you get a movable head stock that has the motor mounted right onto it, it is nearly impossible to increase swing over bed.  So wait for a project that comes up that requires bed extensions, then buy them.  Other wise the extension will just sit in the corner gathering dust until you never use it.  

16 hours ago, thatCharlieDude said:

I wouldn't get it without the bed extension. Almost remember you will lose some of your diameter due to the tool rest (unless you want to do face work without the tool rest underneath). Even though it list a 12.5" swing you're probably only going to get around 11" pieces on it. I believe you mentioned you saw one in a local store? You may want to go down there with a tape measure and see what the actual dimensions the lathe will take. 

On the product page, it usually lists the swing over bed, and swing over banjo dimensions.  Remember, the tool rest and banjo have three axis of adjustment.  The first three are the angle and height of the tool rest itself.  The third is the angle and position of the banjo (so I guess 4 axis, but who's counting).  There is no need for a banjo to be directly underneath the work piece.  In fact, it often better to have the banjo skewed away from the work piece, as some tool rest mounts are not perfect round.  This allows you to get the mount as close to the piece as possible, and then you angle the tool rest along to be properly positioned.  There will be very rarely, if ever you will need the banjo directly under the widest part of a piece.   I have encountered times where I have to unchuck the piece to get the banjo on the other side, not desirable, but it works. 

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I don't yet want to turn the posters for a 4 poster bed. Not yet anyway. And besides, I can probably M&T sections of posts together to get the desired length.

The Craftex (which I'm rapidly talking myself into), has a couple of features which I had not considered by I'm not sure how useful they would be:

The headstock can turn 90 degrees.

The banjo appears to have a rotatable arm. 

The Rikon has neither of these features. How useful are they?

The Craftex is cheaper, especially if I get it in the sale that's on right now. I'm just a little concerned about the quality of the tool. It has a 3 year warranty, so there's that.

CX803_2_org.1435538448.1280.1280.jpg

CX803_org.1435535413.1280.1280.jpg

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I would kill for outboard features on my lathe.  My next lathe will definitely have that.  If the head stock can turn outboard, then you have to have a banjo that can swing into place.  It allows you to turn bowls of a huge diameter. 

I have no knowledge of the quality of that lathe or manufacturer.

A few reservations:

The price point.  Other lathes with similar features are 2-3 times that price.  Makes me question some things.  For one, it's not a digital variable speed, but a variable dimension pulley that changes the speed.  I've read of some people having longevity issues with that, but then again, I've also read of other's having speed controllers burn out.  But in finding the lathe linked below, it seems the the clutch system's tend to run cheaper than speed controllers. 

That motor.  Who the heck thought was a good place for that motor?  I know the face plate seems to be sitting slightly proud of it, but any piece that might over hang the plate or chuck slightly will hit that motor.

And speaking of the motor, that's a big lathe to have such a small motor.  It's 3/4 hp.  But your 8" at (assuming) 1/3 or 1/2 HP has issues with work now, imagine trying to turn a piece 4 times the size with only less than double the HP. 

In my research looking up this one, I found this:

http://www.grizzly.com/products/Wood-Lathe-With-Digital-Readout/G0462?gclid=CjwKCAjw5PDLBRB0EiwAh-27Mg79N19W6I9Mml3TBBBuBjNCXuLJmBr-7XMWy7sMNPo42WYY4xGM4BoC9j0QAvD_BwE

Grizzly, 16"x46", 2HP 110v, 1x8 spindle, outboard capable.  And at a good price too (way less than you think).

I don't know if it's available in Canada, but it said it would ship to K1A 0A1, whatever that is.  I think it's an Ottawa Zip. 

 

 

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47 minutes ago, Marmotjr said:

I would kill for outboard features on my lathe.  My next lathe will definitely have that.  If the head stock can turn outboard, then you have to have a banjo that can swing into place.  It allows you to turn bowls of a huge diameter. 

I have no knowledge of the quality of that lathe or manufacturer.

A few reservations:

The price point.  Other lathes with similar features are 2-3 times that price.  Makes me question some things.  For one, it's not a digital variable speed, but a variable dimension pulley that changes the speed.  I've read of some people having longevity issues with that, but then again, I've also read of other's having speed controllers burn out.  But in finding the lathe linked below, it seems the the clutch system's tend to run cheaper than speed controllers. 

That motor.  Who the heck thought was a good place for that motor?  I know the face plate seems to be sitting slightly proud of it, but any piece that might over hang the plate or chuck slightly will hit that motor.

And speaking of the motor, that's a big lathe to have such a small motor.  It's 3/4 hp.  But your 8" at (assuming) 1/3 or 1/2 HP has issues with work now, imagine trying to turn a piece 4 times the size with only less than double the HP. 

In my research looking up this one, I found this:

http://www.grizzly.com/products/Wood-Lathe-With-Digital-Readout/G0462?gclid=CjwKCAjw5PDLBRB0EiwAh-27Mg79N19W6I9Mml3TBBBuBjNCXuLJmBr-7XMWy7sMNPo42WYY4xGM4BoC9j0QAvD_BwE

Grizzly, 16"x46", 2HP 110v, 1x8 spindle, outboard capable.  And at a good price too (way less than you think).

I don't know if it's available in Canada, but it said it would ship to K1A 0A1, whatever that is.  I think it's an Ottawa Zip. 

 

 

I too was concerned about the price point. You get what you pay for after all. There seems to be a big gap in price between the $800 and $2500 price point. I might be able to step up the price to the higher point, if I know I'm going to get a substantially better quality tool. There are some Laguna, General and other suppliers here in NS, so I might make a visit.

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Honestly a lathe is probably the simplest tool in the entire shop. Even if the Craftex motor completely goes on you, you could buy a replacement pretty cheaply and still be well under half the cost of the other lathe. I don't know if I would want to buy a jointer from such a company without testing it out a lot or having a lot of good reviews. But a lathe... so long as the attachments are going to be standardized I would definitely pick one up.

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Andrew, one of the things I'm going to do this fall is to upgrade the motor on my Excelsior lathe. I found a motor that will work and it add a variable speed controller to the lathe. A bigger swing would be nice but for me more hp and an easier, if only slightly, way to adjust the speed is top on my list. 

It sounds like what you really want is a bigger swing, if you get one that you like but find you want more hp then you could look at replacing the motor later. It's relatively cheap to do. 

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48 minutes ago, thatCharlieDude said:

That Grizzly lathe is nice! I was looking at the harbor freight clone of that Craftex lathe but I agree with the motor placement, it looks like it will be the in way. 

https://www.harborfreight.com/12-inch-x-33-3-8-eighth-inch-wood-lathe-with-reversible-head-34706.html

The more I'm looking at this, the more it sits on my wish list.  I think I may have found my next lathe.  Especially since it's within budget in the foreseeable future, not the distant future.

Some of the reviews are complaining about the banjo, but other's have offered a couple DIY solutions for it, which seem pretty doable.  Grizzly makes a duplicator for this lathe, and a steady rest, at reasonable prices. 

The fixed speed settings are not the ideal setup, but with 10 different settings, changeable on the fly, I don't really see it being that big of a deal.  The lowest speed being 600 rpm maybe a problem.  I'm wondering if a smaller drive wheel is available so I could swap it out for a low range of speeds.  It would be a pain in the butt to do so, but the majority of the work I want to do at 200-400 RPM, I can do at 600.  And when I truly need 200 RPM for huge off center pieces, I'll take the time to swap wheels.  And a piece that big will probably not need high end speed later on anyways. 

There are issues with reeves drives in general, if the pulleys are not perfectly aligned.  It will usually cause frayed belts, but once it's it's aligned correctly, there doesn't seem to be an issue. 

 

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Does anyone have an opinion on the General International #25-650ABC

http://general.ca/products/1_general/25_lathe/25-650.html

I don't yet know what the price is, but a brief search puts it at around $2300 USD.

I'm going to contact a local supplier for a price, but I also wanted to get some feedback.

Features which appear to fit the bill:

  • 2HP motor, even though it's got 110v input. I'm going to have to be careful with the circuit, or I might need a circuit upgrade
  • 16" swing over bed and 14" over tool.
  • 43" bed length, though I doubt I'll need something that long for some time.

In addition, out boarding, forward and reverse direction. Apparently also available is a duplicator.

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5 minutes ago, AndrewPritchard said:

Does anyone have an opinion on the General International #25-650ABC

http://general.ca/products/1_general/25_lathe/25-650.html

I don't yet know what the price is, but a brief search puts it at around $2300 USD.

I'm going to contact a local supplier for a price, but I also wanted to get some feedback.

Features which appear to fit the bill:

  • 2HP motor, even though it's got 110v input. I'm going to have to be careful with the circuit, or I might need a circuit upgrade
  • 16" swing over bed and 14" over tool.
  • 43" bed length, though I doubt I'll need something that long for some time.

In addition, out boarding, forward and reverse direction. Apparently also available is a duplicator.

I thought I read that General International went out of business?

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