|Review by usnasis||posted 04-03-2012 04:04 AM||5597 views||0 times favorited||10 comments|
- Delta 46-460 12-1/2" Variable-Speed Mini/Midi Lathe with optional stand
- Brand: Delta | Category: Lathes
This was not my first lathe- the first lathe I got was the $89 lathe reviewed here if you want more information. For a starter lathe it wasn’t bad but I was desperate for something a little more… more. The Delta 46-460 VS was a Christmas gift from my family (desperately needed to create my family’s Christmas gifts!) and compared to what I had been using, it was huge improvement. Right out of the box the VS control box was cracked and would have been unusable, except it turns out the top layer was mostly cosmetic anyway, and this was definitely a shipping problem. We unscrewed that and taped up the holes in the casing, and other than that it was visibly okay.
tape-job seen here
It came with all the standard equipment, and was easily bolted to the stand that we had built for it. I used it with no problems, using it either for basic spindle work or using a Nova Chuck for other projects until about two weeks into January when I started to get some extremely problematic wobbling. Prior to this I had experienced no issues. The variable speed worked great, operation was smooth, everything clamped down snug as you please. But because I was mostly turning mini, decorative goblets to hone my skill (and because I enjoyed it) even a little bit of wobble was something that was very obvious and disastrous (several blanks were ruined).
I did very extensive self-testing to see if it was something I was doing wrong that was causing the wobble; I obsessively centered blanks, double-checked and triple-checked alignment of the piece on the lathe, and when that made no difference we even took everything off the lathe including the belts and just listened to the motor. There was still a significant vibrations within the actual motor casing, and the more I used it the worse it got.
Troubleshooting on the web seemed to indicate there may be a problem with the bearings in the motor, so I gave in and called Delta customer service. Because of Delta’s limbo-like status, it seems that all of their customer service is on hiatus, too. The gentleman I spoke with at the service desk said: “I have no idea, I have never heard of a problem before, this is not something I am familiar with.” I shared with him the steps I had taken to try and narrow down the problem myself hoping he would open up or look into it, but all I heard was “I don’t know, try taking it to a service center.” So I took it to the nearest DeWalt/Porter Cable/ Delta service center (50 miles away), and two months later I had heard absolutely nothing.
Well, that isn’t true, every time I called I was told they’d have the part in a couple of days and the repair would be completed then, but it never was. So effectively I heard “nothing”. Each time I called, too, it was a different part they were waiting for, so it seems to me they were having trouble locating the problem themselves.
Finally this last week I called the service center and spoke to a gentleman who told me the final part they were waiting on was a switch actuator and that he could order it from a nearby service center and have it there that Friday, to complete the repair by Monday (today). So I took the day off from work to go in and get it- but surprise surprise when I called in the guy on the phone had no idea what I was talking about and informed me that I needed not one, but two parts (the second being the cracked control box, hah) and that there were none of them available in the United States.
After spending the entire day on the phone I was informed that I could wait an unspecified amount of time for the part (everyone confirmed that there was nothing available, anywhere), or get the service center to get me a warranty refund through Delta (6-8 weeks). At this point I did what I finally should have done in the first place and called Amazon, the distributor the lathe was originally purchased through. They listened to my tale of woe and told me to get the lathe back from the service center and return it to them and they would issue a full refund. I had the lathe packed and ready for pickup two hours later.
As far as the lathe goes- it worked beautifully for the 4-ish weeks that it worked. After that it was a rapid decline into utter uselessness followed by months of limbo with Delta service (they had it longer than I did!). If the lathe had continued to work, or if Delta customer service had done anything but fail utterly, than this review would have been five stars. However between the extremely short functional life of the lathe and the utter misery that is Delta customer service, I can’t give this more than three stars.
I am currently looking into a buying a new lathe, and I can tell you for sure that I will not be purchasing anything from Delta until they get their business settled down, suppliers lined up, distributors and services centers set up and a much better customer service setup.
As a sidenote: Any recommendations for lathe manufacturers that have excellent customer service would be welcome.
-- I say what it occurs to me to say, more I cannot say