On the Workbench #4: Adventures with a Craftsman Midi Lathe

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Blog entry by ontheworkbench posted 01-04-2015 09:52 PM 2152 reads 0 times favorited 0 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 3: Porter Cable Bandsaw Modification - Adding a Work Light Part 4 of On the Workbench series Part 5: What to do with Scrap Wood »

I found a Craftsman Midi Lathe (#21752) for an unbeatable deal, and combined with coupons and SYWR points, it was just over $100 (list price $450). But for that price it came with a few problems. I first found it listed on Sears Outlet, and then when I went to the mall store locations, I had to do some asking to get. Upon inspection I discovered that the belt cover was cracked, not much, but just a little. and everything else looked great. The manager suggested that I purchased the protection plan so that I could get the part replaced for free and if anything else went wrong it too could be replaced for free. So for about $125 out the door I was excited. I had been thinking about buying a lathe, but it was far back on my wish list, but for this price I could not afford to pass this up.

When I got it home and gave it an unboxing, I discovered that the tailstock advance was bend and thus the hand wheel would not rotate freely, and cracks on the belt covers were a bit larger than I first saw in the store. No big deal is what I figured.

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I called Sears Parts Direct for a warrenty claim, and described what problems I was having, they promtpy shipped out a replacement cover, and an attempt at replacing the tailstock advance screw. The cover was correct, though it was missing a safety sticker (no big deal, its ugly anyways) and the belt speed sticker. I simply removed the belt speed sticker and then put it in place with clear packing tape. However, they sent the wrong part for the tailstock advance screw. Here is the parts diagram:

he part assembly I was looking for was #59. This is composed of three peice, a MT2 sleeve (left), a hollow left hand threaded bolt (center), and a retaining ring (right). I called Sears Parts direct a second time, and explained what they shipped, and the representative, said that they would have them send part #59 again. What I received was the exact same, the MT2 sleeve.

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TI called back a third time, and had to explain all over again what happened, and they had to submit a research request. That was over two weeks ago now (to be fair Christmas and New Years were in between). As I wondered if I could find the part my self I decide to try looking for the bolt from two likely OEMs, JET and Rikon. In looking at pictures of many simmilar lathes, the Craftsman appeared to be visually more similar to a couple of Jet lathes (in particular the cut out tailstock). So I ordered a simmilar part from Jet, but the thread spacing was incorrect, and then I ordered a part for the Rikon 70-100 lathe and it fit perfectly.

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I am still waiting on Sears Parts Direct to send me the correct peice, I cannot get them to give me a clear answer on when they will have the issue resolved, but if I can figure it out with minimal effort, then they should too.

In looking for a bed extension, I found a comment on Amazon that the extension Rikon 70-100 was compatible with this lathe, so I ordered it and can confirm that yes it does fit. It appears that the Craftsman version (#66693) was either never produced or was made in a very small quantity that it is impossible to find (even on eBay). So with some black spray paint, it will match.

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I will update this post when I hear from Sears Parts Direct. I cannot give a fair review of the lathe yet as I am new to turning, and only as of yesterday do I have a functional lathe. The only think I can say for certain is that the lathe is a clone of the Rikon 70-100.

Final Update:
I had a home visit by Sears Home Repair, now A&E Factory Service and the technician was unable to order the correct part or resolve the lack of available parts, and I had much more knowledge about repairing this lathe than he did. I never would have paid for an on-site visit but since it was free with the warranty I was not opposed. Now I realize it was a waste of my time. I’m done trying to get Sears to fix my lathe, I will just eat the cost of the part that I had to buy and move on.

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