LumberJocks

Powermatic 4224 24" Lathe

  • Advertise with us
Review by Jon Spelbring posted 880 days ago 5872 views 0 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Powermatic 4224 24" Lathe No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

I bought this used, and having used it for the past couple of months, I thought I’d post a review.
For background, my first lathe was a Jet Mini. I turned on that for about a year, then wanted to do larger work, so I upgraded to a Nova DVR. Both of these are excellent lathes. I have become much more serious about turning, and I’m moving toward larger hollow forms, and large platters/bowls.

When I decided to upgrade (again), I researched quite a few large lathes – Robust, Stubby, and Powermatic were all on my short list – the PM 3520b. I had written off the 4224 in favor of the 3520 because of the movable headstock feature on the 3520. No sooner had I done that, then I found the used 4224. Being a used machine, it was cheaper than a new 3520, and was local, so no tax or shipping (yes, I’m aware of Amazon’s deals, but this was cheaper still).

So, I made the move and got the beast (now called Godzilla) transported to my shop – all 900 lbs. This involved a forklift, some heavy duty casters, and a trailer. I did have a bit of help getting it the last few feet (had to lift it up and over the doorstep into the shop – no room for a ramp). However, it’s now safely in it’s (final) resting place. I really like the look and feel of it too (as to the color, well…). It’s in good company with it’s heavy, cast iron bretheren – a MiniMax MM20 band saw and a MiniMax FS30 12” jointer/planer.

Once in place, I wired a plug for it. The previous owner had been a cabinetry shop. The used it a few times for turning table legs, and had it wired directly to a breaker box.

I spent some time getting it cleaned up (and out). I did have to disassemble and clean the remote switch, as it would not always work. This is a known issue with both the 3520 and 4224 – the remote switch is prone to getting chips/dust inside and failing to close the circuit properly. I also gave the variable speed controller a good cleaning, as it was a bit stiff.

So, on to the actual performance review:

It turns like a dream! There is no discernable vibration. Yes, I can make it shake with a large enough blank that is far enough out of balance, but I think that’s true of any lathe that’s not actually bolted down. I do feel that I can turn larger pieces (unbalanced) much faster than I could with the Nova. Speaking of which, I really like the simple dial for speed control. Frankly, I never really liked the Nova’s up/down button control.

So far, I’ve been unable to bog it down, or stall it out. The largest thing I’ve turned so far was a piece of Elm weighing in at about 100lbs. Again, the 3HP motor takes it in stride. It’s also very quiet. I think a spinning, square spindle blank makes more noise than the motor.

Everything about the machine says “mass”. The only downsides that I’ve found are that the thing is a bear to move (I removed the casters, as they made the spindle height too tall for me), and removing the tailstock – it’s a bit of a workout. Size-wise, it’s a little longer than the Nova it replaced. The Nova had a 44” bed length, while Godzilla has a 42” – but with a larger headstock.

The finish is good, though there is some scuffing and a chip or two from it’s former life in the cabinet shop.

I don’t know if I’ll ever exceed the 24” swing, but should I desire a larger platter or bowl, I can always turn outboard (providing I get a standalone tool rest).

Things that I really like:
  • 24” swing – No more trimming large blanks down to fit the lathe swing (well, not yet anyway)
  • 3PH 3 phase motor (with the phase converter unit). As much power as I could want
  • Self ejecting tailstock (a small thing, but convenient)
  • Bed long enough that I don’t need to remove the tailstock for a regular bowl – just hollow forms
  • Spindle lock has a screw-on lock for the spindle lock (I think the 3520 just has a push botton – need 3 hands to remove the chuck)
  • Lots of mass. I don’t feel the need to add extra weight to it
Things that I don’t like:
  • Remote switch failure issue (the solution seems to be a ziplock baggie over the switch housing)
  • No swing away options for the tailstock. I had it on my Nova, and there are 3rd party options for the 3520b, but not the 4224. I may have to build a dedicated cart for this.
  • The low end of the variable speed doesn’t seem to go as low as I thought it would – if the readout is to be believed, it’s low end speed is 75rpm or so? Maybe a new/better POT?
  • No sliding headstock. This is minor, and a give/take. I would like to have it, but I’ve also read that for larger hollow forms, a fixed headstock is more stable. No idea if that’s true or not. As other 4224 owers have said – I can always throw a saddle over the ways if I want to turn a bowl without leaning over.
  • The cover over the motor tends to be a dust/chip collector. I have to remember to get rid of the chips before sliding the tailstock too close to the headstock.

Overall, I give it a 5 out of 5 stars. Unless I stuble across a killer deal on an antique pattern makers lathe, I think this will be the last lathe I’ll ever need.

-- To do is to be




View Jon Spelbring's profile

Jon Spelbring

199 posts in 2890 days



12 comments so far

View Delta356's profile

Delta356

463 posts in 1491 days


#1 posted 880 days ago

WoW, I would like one like that some day. Is it USA made??? Thats a lot cast iron.
Congrats on your new toy.

Take Care, Michael Frey
Portland, OR

FREY WOODWORKING INC.

View StumpyNubs's profile

StumpyNubs

6176 posts in 1437 days


#2 posted 880 days ago

That’s a great lathe and a great review!

Thanks for posting!
-Jim, aka “Stumpy Nubs”
Latest episode of Blue Collar Woodworking is now online!

-- It's the best woodworking show since the invention of wood... New episodes at: http://www.stumpynubs.com

View davidroberts's profile

davidroberts

1002 posts in 2123 days


#3 posted 880 days ago

buy the best, cry once. congrats, it’s a beauty. and that is coming from someone that doesn’t turn, even just a little bit.

-- God is great, wood is good. Let us thank Him for wood......and old hand tools.

View Jon Spelbring's profile

Jon Spelbring

199 posts in 2890 days


#4 posted 879 days ago

Micheal – I’m not sure if it’s USA made or not (I suspect not). I believe this one was made around 2005? Yeah, it’s quite the boat anchor – I really like heavy cast iron machinery.

-- To do is to be

View Bertha's profile

Bertha

12951 posts in 1330 days


#5 posted 879 days ago

the solution seems to be a ziplock baggie over the switch housing
.
Wow! That’s really surprising for a machine of this caliber.
.
Great and thorough review. Thanks!

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View Chris 's profile

Chris

1867 posts in 2628 days


#6 posted 879 days ago

Jon,

If you were not aware Robust makes a Swing away type of option for the 3520 tail stock. I wonder if this would fit the 4224?

-- "Everything that is great and inspiring is created by the individual who labors in freedom" -- Albert Einstein

View Jon Spelbring's profile

Jon Spelbring

199 posts in 2890 days


#7 posted 878 days ago

Chris,

Sadly, the devices out there for the 3520 are not compatible. I looked at the Robust and the Swing Away by Butler. I’ll either build up a cart, or make something myself. It’s not a huge deal, but it would be nice to have.

-Jon

-- To do is to be

View Chris 's profile

Chris

1867 posts in 2628 days


#8 posted 878 days ago

I understand…. I have the 3520b and would like to be able to move the tailstock out of the way easily.

-- "Everything that is great and inspiring is created by the individual who labors in freedom" -- Albert Einstein

View Sanity's profile

Sanity

164 posts in 1327 days


#9 posted 869 days ago

Congratulations, that is one serious lathe. I can’t imagine that you will ever need to upgrade again…....! The only thing I would like with something that big is a knee bar switch.

I am currently thinking about upgrading from my Delta midi to the 3520b. I am trying to see what price I can negotiate.

-- Stuart

View Swindlehurstguy's profile

Swindlehurstguy

8 posts in 553 days


#10 posted 552 days ago

That is a great piece of hardware, I had a Wadkin RS pattern makers lathe. (1600 lbs) which I sold in a moment of insanity, but somehow, I’m inclined to prefer the Powermatic, my dream machine for one day… Yup, I’m all envy here, Godzilla is a beast, you are really fortunate to have such a nice machine. It will give years and years of great service no doubt.
Regards and great turning
Brent

View helluvawreck's profile

helluvawreck

15649 posts in 1503 days


#11 posted 552 days ago

I’m just getting into turning and I sure would like to have one like that for my new shop. I’ve done enough turning now to know that I will like it. However, I’ve read a lot of cases about how people end up going through 3 or 4 lathes before they get to the one they end up with. I probably won’t get one like that but I sure would like to. Thanks for the review. It’s a beautiful machine and I like PM.

helluvawreck aka Charles
http://woodworkingexpo.wordpress.com

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View ldl's profile

ldl

1135 posts in 1002 days


#12 posted 551 days ago

Jon I have the 3520B and love it. If I could have found one like that I’d a jumped on it like a duck on a June bug for sure. I know they make a bracket to remove the tailstock but with a Son and brother that welds I will make my on as soon as I have room for it. That would be an option for you if you weld or know someonr that does. I also have seen several places where the owner built their own bed extentions.

Congratulations on a great lathe find and I know you will enjoy this for years to come.

-- Dewayne in Bainbridge, Ga. - - No one can make you mad. Only you decide when you get mad - -

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

HomeRefurbers.com

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

GardenTenders.com :: gardening showcase