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Central machinery harbor freight lathe review

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Review by Gunnyb4 posted 02-21-2018 01:18 AM 3989 views 0 times favorited 21 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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I did a you tube review of this lathe and figured it might be helpful on here for someone. I’ve owned it for over 2 years with no issues really to complain about. I was nervous when I bought it but didn’t have the extra cash at the time when my previous lathe kicked the bucket.
https://youtu.be/XNZwXpc5TdE

-- If we don’t teach them who will? Www.dadfixedit.com




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Gunnyb4

20 posts in 141 days



21 comments so far

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Scott Oldre

1052 posts in 3456 days


#1 posted 02-21-2018 12:34 PM

If it makes things round and appealing to your eye, who cares what name is on the machine that helps you realize your dreams.

-- Scott, Irmo SC

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MrRon

4794 posts in 3268 days


#2 posted 02-21-2018 04:22 PM

I have the same lathe (8 years) with no problems. Not fancy, but it gets the job done.

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Gunnyb4

20 posts in 141 days


#3 posted 02-21-2018 11:12 PM

That is the goal to make them round. I think if more people know about it we will start grabbing more of our younger generation. A lot of them think they need to spend 1k or more to turn good quality items.

-- If we don’t teach them who will? Www.dadfixedit.com

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woodworm1962

145 posts in 125 days


#4 posted 02-22-2018 08:33 AM

I have seen your YOUTUBE I have seen and read people think the LOWEST sped is way too fast and there really is no way to slow it down

-- No one likes the truth...

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Gunnyb4

20 posts in 141 days


#5 posted 02-22-2018 11:36 AM

I have not tried it but you can use a smaller belt(thinner) to slow it down.

-- If we don’t teach them who will? Www.dadfixedit.com

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jimintx

799 posts in 1609 days


#6 posted 02-23-2018 02:22 AM

I have seen your YOUTUBE I have seen and read people think the LOWEST sped is way too fast and there really is no way to slow it down
- woodworm1962

How slow does somebody want it to go? I think the low speed on this one is 500 rpm.

-- Jim, Houston, TX

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Gunnyb4

20 posts in 141 days


#7 posted 02-23-2018 03:12 AM

I think for finishing purposes. I’ve seen quite a few videos of that as well as turning screw threads. I have no use for that but I can see the benifits.
On that note so I’m trying this whole YouTube thing but it’s not easy getting subscribers. I’ve got a new turning video coming I hope will boost it up a bit. Something I haven’t seen yet so I think it will be a hit.

-- If we don’t teach them who will? Www.dadfixedit.com

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michelletwo

2744 posts in 3040 days


#8 posted 02-23-2018 12:58 PM

this lathe is ok for spindle turning, but for bowls, the lowest speed is way too fast..even a smaller block of uneven wood will make this light lathe jump across the floor, or at least shimmy badly. Be careful

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Tennessee

2873 posts in 2539 days


#9 posted 02-23-2018 01:15 PM

The biggest hits on this lathe are:
In the past, people have complained about the tool rest snapping if you get a catch.
Too light – I have seen pictures of it with the stand and sandbags on the bottom. You cured that with your huge wooden stand.
Not slow enough – like michelletwo said, big hunk of wood, off balance, it will do the shimmy.
That crazy tool rest extension, which looks like a really good idea, complaints about it snapping since the load on it could get really heavy if you had it extended and were out on the outboard part of the tool rest. Blame bad cast iron from HF.

Other than that, the drive has played to pretty good reviews, fairly sturdy, decent motor, and outstanding price.
I know my HF, couple times I was in there, they were on backorder.

-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN

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jimintx

799 posts in 1609 days


#10 posted 02-23-2018 04:07 PM

this lathe is ok for spindle turning, but for bowls, the lowest speed is way too fast..even a smaller block of uneven wood will make this light lathe jump across the floor, or at least shimmy badly. ...
- michelletwo

... Not slow enough – like michelletwo said, big hunk of wood, off balance, it will do the shimmy. ...
- Tennessee

What is the slow speed desired for turning bowls? Is it 50 rpm, 100 maybe? Less than that?
Thanks

-- Jim, Houston, TX

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Gunnyb4

20 posts in 141 days


#11 posted 02-23-2018 04:28 PM

I have had good luck turning several bowls down from raw wood into blanks and into bowls after drying. I do have an advantage being bolted down.

-- If we don’t teach them who will? Www.dadfixedit.com

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jimintx

799 posts in 1609 days


#12 posted 02-23-2018 07:36 PM

I don’t have the personal expertise to comment on lathe speeds. I am a beginning turner, and have been just that for several years now. However, i do somewhat resist when I read statements about “data” that apparently have little date around them. That doesn’t relate to the posts and LJ members in this thread about lathe speed. It likely does relate to the info sources that lead to those posts.

I believe you can do a lot or internet research and not produce a huge amount of data saying you ever really need speeds below 500 rpm. From what I can find, if you have such a large and unbalanced blank that you need to turn well below 500, then you really should clean that up with a saw or other cutting devices. (Or, maybe, turn something else, I realize.) Thus, I believe that a min speed of 500 Rpm is not going to impact my turning.

One oft repeated formula for lathe speed estimating, for a starting point to try the turning project, is to multiply the diameter of the piece in inches by the rpm lathe speed. That product should fall between 6,000 to 9,000. The advice always wisely says to start at the lower end of that range.

For example, a 10” diameter piece at 600 RPM yields a product of 6,000. At 500 rpm, you’d be below the range, which should be a good starting point. It you have a 12 inch diameter blank, then the 500 RPM still puts you at the starting point-range, at product of 6,000.

One site, http://www.docgreenwoodturner.com/lathespeed.html publishes these formula in graphic form, and I have added it below.

Another site, Craft Supplies USA (a 35 year old business serving woodturners) explains the use of this same formula in write up titled “Determining Safe Wood Lathe Speeds”.

I am now putting away the soapbox that I drug out on this topic.
;-D
.

-- Jim, Houston, TX

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Tennessee

2873 posts in 2539 days


#13 posted 02-23-2018 10:09 PM

I tell you what, jimintx…
You take a 10” diameter log not knowing what was branch sections, what was sapwood, what was heartwood, cut it with your chainsaw, bandsaw, whatever, so that it is fairly round, knots and all, center it and mount it on your lathe and turn it on at 500 RPM.
Oh, by the way, stand off to the side… Been there, watched it fly.

Your graphs are nice, but my personal experience is seeing a log fly off a 3HP 3520 Powermatic lathe running at about 490 RPM before I even got a gouge tool in hand is my go-to experience. I don’t want to go there again. I can rough cut at about 275-300 RPM and be safe, or crank it a bit and watch wood fly around my shop.

And my smaller lathe, a Turncrafter Commander 12” midi lathe, I had a less than four pound piece of raw wood in it, fairly well centered, turning around 495, and it was walking all over the place. It dispensed itself onto the floor before I got anything even remotely round. I think I managed maybe…15 seconds of cut time?

Your experience may vary.

-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN

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jimintx

799 posts in 1609 days


#14 posted 02-23-2018 11:20 PM

Tenn, I opened by saying, “I don’t have the personal expertise to comment on lathe speeds.” I they are not my charts, as you saw, I even gave attribution to other source on the web.

But my question originally was how slow does someone want a lathe to go? Simply that.
I figured if I did some basic research and showed it here, there would be some pushback and we might get an answer. So there ya go, that’s what I was seeking input on.

And if you read everything above, you can see that no answer to that was suggested prior to you now saying you want 275-300. I’d appreciate knowing, what is the slowest speed you have run your lathe to cut into some piece?

That example you gave, that’s a good one. And, it is not something I would be doing in the first place.

-- Jim, Houston, TX

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michelletwo

2744 posts in 3040 days


#15 posted 02-24-2018 12:13 PM

I do have personal experience. 34 yrs of turning and furniture making as my career. Each piece of wood is differently balanced. Wet?Dry? Orientation? Charts are swell, but experience beats it all. THis lathe is too light to turn bowls. You may get away with it by bolting to the floor/the wall, or sandbagging it. But one day that piece will fly off there and knock you silly or go thru a window. If you want to turn bowls, get a lathe that has enough heft to do the job.

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