Bombarde16

Why is it called a "midi" lathe?

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Being a musician by trade, MIDI immediately signifies the old "Musical Instrument Digital Interface" cabling used to daisy chain synthesizers together. What does it mean for turners?

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Not a turner (beyond a few pens and stuff), but I always figured it was a short form for mid-sized lathe, with the second i sort of playing against the term mini-lathe.

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Kevin has it, they are mid-sized Lathes. Some of the higher end ones, like the Delta, have a lot of the features of a full sized lathe, including a bigger motor, variable speed, and reverse spin (for sanding only). Many of them also have available extension beds that will give you the length of a full size lathe. The most limiting factor in a midi lathe is its swing. Most are right in the 12" - 12.5" range, with full size lathes starting at 14"-16" on up to 24".

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It's marketing. Delta wanted to avoid the diminuative connotation of the mini name when they introduced their lathe. The specs are very close to most mini lathes, but they wanted to separate their lathe from the others. Since then, some other lathe manufacturers have followed their lead and started using the Midi name.

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I've seen as many as 5 different types of lathes.

Starting at the smallest:

The Bench lathe.

The mini lathe

the midi lathe (maybe a half inch difference from the mini)

the Lathe (common name. This is the big boy most wood shops aspire up to.)

The last one is ... well....

The Chrysler Voyager Minivan. (But that's just what I've seen on the web. Don't have one of those in my shop's future.)

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When I was at WIA, and saw a Delta Midi lathe next to a Jet Mini lathe, I did observe that the midi is considerably larger, and heavier then the mini. So it is more then just a marketing ploy. Not only was the swing wider, and the length longer, but the bed itself was wider. Overall the Midi is a much beefier lathe, with a more powerful motor.

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In the fire service we've had midi pumpers for a while. They are, as you would suspect, larger than a mini pumper but smaller than a full sized fire engine. I suspect the term was stolen from somewhere else.

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