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Advice for a beginner interested in buying a midi/mini lathe

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Forum topic by kdc68 posted 01-04-2016 11:11 PM 1855 views 0 times favorited 24 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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kdc68

2526 posts in 1737 days


01-04-2016 11:11 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question

I’ve consolidated my shop and managed to squeeze in a place for a midi/mini lathe. I plan to build a cabinet with drawers for it. It will have a foot print of say 26”D x 44”L . The exact height of the cabinet will be determined by when I get the lathe. But I’m thinking around 31 to 33 tall. I’m 5’11”

I haven’t turned anything since high school (circa 1980’s) and am considering myself as a “total noob”.

I’ve researched some and come up with a couple choices. Please advise

Nova 46301 Comet II. I can get this lathe and a G3 Chuck for $582 via CPO Outlet on Amazon.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00ZF8Y6ZM?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=ox_sc_sfl_title_2&smid=AUEUXQQV6YS3R

I know nothing about Nova lathes, but do realize now they make quality chucks. I don’t plan on buying the Versaturn accessories. I have a grinder for sharpening. These Versaturn accessories look gimmicky to me. My concern is the lathe. Is the lathe gimmicky too ?

This deal with the lathe and chuck sounds good. I can get both for less than the following option. But I’m considering this even though it’s more $$$$

Rikon 70-220VSR 12-1/2” x 24” VSR MIDI Lathe. I can get this lathe for $753 via Hardware Sales Inc. on Amazon

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00SOR476O?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=ox_sc_sfl_title_1&smid=A4ZSBADJP7DJM

My dilemma with this choice is I don’t get a chuck, which leads to the question of what chuck do I get. I know nothing about chucks but am assuming the G3 would work. What other choices are out there?
Please advise

I know I only posted two lathe options. I’ve looked at the Jet JWL-1221VS 12-Inch by 21-Inch Variable Speed Wood Lathe. But I’m looking at a lot more $$$ for that and am tightening my belt as I’m typing…...

Please advise of other options for a midi/mini lathe and chuck. I want variable speed and reverse. I would like to make segmented bowls, lidded boxes, and such

Other things I’m considering no matter what lathe I get

PSI Woodworking Products TM32 1/2-Inch Diameter Drill Chuck with a 2 MT Mount
PSI Woodworking LCHSS8 HSS Wood Lathe Chisel Set, 8-Piece
PSI Woodworking LCGRIND4 Complete 4-Piece Precision Lathe Chisel Sharpening System
Big Horn 19053 8-Inch Caliper Set, 3-Piece
3M Face Shield

-- Measure "at least" twice and cut once


24 replies so far

View Woodmaster1's profile

Woodmaster1

736 posts in 2048 days


#1 posted 01-05-2016 12:33 AM

I got the Rikon 12” variable speed lathe. I love it and have not had any issues. It was purchased at a wood expo for $525.00. I save enough so I got the extension.

View kdc68's profile

kdc68

2526 posts in 1737 days


#2 posted 01-05-2016 12:35 AM



I got the Rikon 12” variable speed lathe. I love it and have not had any issues.

- Woodmaster1


v
Nice set up !.....You’ve given me ideas….

What chuck(s) set up are you using?

-- Measure "at least" twice and cut once

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Woodmaster1

736 posts in 2048 days


#3 posted 01-05-2016 12:43 AM

I bought the economy Chuck from Penn State industries. I am going to get the one way stronghold Chuck when funds become available. The stronghold was recommended by an excellent wood turner at my woodworking club. I have learned a lot from his guidance.

View kdc68's profile

kdc68

2526 posts in 1737 days


#4 posted 01-05-2016 12:50 AM



I bought the economy Chuck from Penn State industries. I am going to get the one way stronghold Chuck when funds become available. The stronghold was recommended by an excellent wood turner at my woodworking club. I have learned a lot from his guidance.

- Woodmaster1


v
v
Economy Chuck from Penn State….gotcha…. I’ll look into to that….thanks for the reply

-- Measure "at least" twice and cut once

View jeff's profile

jeff

988 posts in 2926 days


#5 posted 01-05-2016 10:30 AM

Novice here myself.Turning is a slippery slope :)and so many choices.I have the retired Grizzly 0658.No experience with the lathes listed.You want variable speed for sure-less belt changing.Reverse direction would be great for sanding.I see the Rikon and Jet are 1 hp-that’s nice.I have one chuck and its the Nova G3-purchased because of good reviews and its a one hand operation to open and close-would recommend.No experience with PSI’s grinder and sharpening system.I have the Wolverine sharpening system with vari-grind jig-purchased because it came highly recommended,its very easy to set-up and use-My grinder is the badged Woodcraft grinder and I have since added CBN wheels-which I highly recommend-there is no more out of balanced wheels and no more truing up grinding wheels.I have the WoodRiver keyless chuck from Woodcraft-I know I would lose the key chuck-no problems with tightening down and keeping drill bits ect. in its place-would recommend.I have a few of PSI’s BB’s lathe tools-roughing gouge/spindle gouge/scrapers/parting tool-I like them.I have since added a few of Doug Thompson’s Tools,they are incredible and hold an edge it seems forever.The lathe tool set you listed is similar to my first set also-it got me started and didn’t break the bank.I will say I do like the Rikon 70-220VSR.

-- Jeff,Tucson,Az.

View Roger's profile

Roger

19865 posts in 2265 days


#6 posted 01-05-2016 02:15 PM

I think you’ll be happy with whatever you wind up getting. All depends on the size of your wallet. I would only suggest if you think you will be doing lots of turning, to get something more substantial. I have an old PSI model with a bed extention and variable speed that serves my purpose. For what I’ve done, it serves me well. Here is a page from PSI incase you haven’t seen it: https://www.pennstateind.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?Screen=SEARCH&q=midi+lathes&x=0&y=0#/?filter.category=Pen%20Turning%20Starter%20Sets&page=1&sort.salesrank=desc Good luck

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. Kentuk55@yahoo.com

View doubleDD's profile

doubleDD

5217 posts in 1504 days


#7 posted 01-05-2016 02:45 PM

I personally like the rikon in this category. It has a larger motor and a 5 year warranty. Performance Tool has these for $629/free shipping or woodcraft stores for $650. I had the Rikon 70-100 for 3 years and loved it. Wish it had a larger motor and variable speed, might still have it. What is most important is to be able to add on to what you have without growing out of it. I now have the Nova DVRXP and it will be my last. I have two nova chucks and 3 PSI economy chucks and they both worked great on the Rikon. The lathe is the most important thing to consider. Of course I have a lot of other add-ons, but that is over a few years. Hope that helps a little.

-- Dave, Downers Grove, Il. -------- When you run out of ideas, start building your dreams.

View LeeMills's profile

LeeMills

271 posts in 762 days


#8 posted 01-05-2016 03:11 PM

I can’t comment on the others but I (for my daughter) have had the Comet2 for close to three years with no problems. I did get the grinding attachment because my daughter has to move it from a storage area to her carport and she can just move one item. IF they had ever made it I may have gotten the flex cable for sanding using the same as a PTO, but they never have.

Power is 3/4HP which seems adequate, IIRC it is 5.7 amps which falls in line with acceptable efficiency.
Some others are listed at 1 HP but also list 6 amp. By definition 1 HP = 746 watts (amps X volts) so there are several that claim efficiency in excess of 100%.
Others also offer a little longer bed length and more weight than the Comet2. I haven’t used them so they may perform better or worse.

BTW , ToolsPlus has the same deal for $515 and free shipping.
http://www.tools-plus.com/nova-lathes-46300c.html

-- We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. Albert Einstein

View txn's profile

txn

135 posts in 920 days


#9 posted 01-05-2016 03:47 PM

My neighbor just got the comet and it is awesome. It’s on sale at Rockler for $499 with the chuck.

View Wildwood's profile

Wildwood

1882 posts in 1595 days


#10 posted 01-05-2016 09:50 PM

Woodmaster 1 recommend looking at Oneway Talon which only weighs in at 3.4 LBS versus 8 LB Stronghold chuck for your Rikon lathe. I am partial to Oneway chucks own two Talons and turn on bigger lathe than yours. There are several fine chucks under 5 lbs that would also serve you well.

I prefer Rikon over the Nova lathe.

-- Bill

View kdc68's profile

kdc68

2526 posts in 1737 days


#11 posted 01-05-2016 10:22 PM



Novice here myself.Turning is a slippery slope :)and so many choices.I have the retired Grizzly 0658.No experience with the lathes listed.You want variable speed for sure-less belt changing.Reverse direction would be great for sanding.I see the Rikon and Jet are 1 hp-that s nice.I have one chuck and its the Nova G3-purchased because of good reviews and its a one hand operation to open and close-would recommend.No experience with PSI s grinder and sharpening system.I have the Wolverine sharpening system with vari-grind jig-purchased because it came highly recommended,its very easy to set-up and use-My grinder is the badged Woodcraft grinder and I have since added CBN wheels-which I highly recommend-there is no more out of balanced wheels and no more truing up grinding wheels.I have the WoodRiver keyless chuck from Woodcraft-I know I would lose the key chuck-no problems with tightening down and keeping drill bits ect. in its place-would recommend.I have a few of PSI s BB s lathe tools-roughing gouge/spindle gouge/scrapers/parting tool-I like them.I have since added a few of Doug Thompson s Tools,they are incredible and hold an edge it seems forever.The lathe tool set you listed is similar to my first set also-it got me started and didn t break the bank.I will say I do like the Rikon 70-220VSR.

- jeff


v
Thanks Jeff for the reply. I’ll check into CBN wheels and Doug Thompson’s Tools…..

-- Measure "at least" twice and cut once

View kdc68's profile

kdc68

2526 posts in 1737 days


#12 posted 01-05-2016 10:29 PM



I think you ll be happy with whatever you wind up getting. All depends on the size of your wallet. I would only suggest if you think you will be doing lots of turning, to get something more substantial. I have an old PSI model with a bed extention and variable speed that serves my purpose. For what I ve done, it serves me well. Here is a page from PSI incase you haven t seen it: https://www.pennstateind.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?Screen=SEARCH&q=midi+lathes&x=0&y=0#/?filter.category=Pen%20Turning%20Starter%20Sets&page=1&sort.salesrank=desc Good luck

- Roger


v
Thanks Roger. I’m sure you are right about being happy. Actually making a decision on which/what would do that for me. I checked into the PSI lathes. The 12” Turncrafter sounded real good until I read in their Ask a Question segment and seen that it doesn’t have reverse. I’d like to have variable speed and reverse

-- Measure "at least" twice and cut once

View kdc68's profile

kdc68

2526 posts in 1737 days


#13 posted 01-05-2016 10:38 PM



I personally like the rikon in this category. It has a larger motor and a 5 year warranty. Performance Tool has these for $629/free shipping or woodcraft stores for $650. I had the Rikon 70-100 for 3 years and loved it. Wish it had a larger motor and variable speed, might still have it. What is most important is to be able to add on to what you have without growing out of it. I now have the Nova DVRXP and it will be my last. I have two nova chucks and 3 PSI economy chucks and they both worked great on the Rikon. The lathe is the most important thing to consider. Of course I have a lot of other add-ons, but that is over a few years. Hope that helps a little.

- doubleDD


v
Thanks Dave. The one horse Rikon is beginning to sound good to me. Thanks for the links above. That Nova DVRXP looks sweet ….$$ cha-ching $$.
Questions on why you have 2 Nova and 3 PSI chucks….Aren’t the jaws interchangeable with all Nova chucks and same with PSI chucks ? Is it easier to have multiple chucks versus one chuck and switching jaws ?....

-- Measure "at least" twice and cut once

View kdc68's profile

kdc68

2526 posts in 1737 days


#14 posted 01-05-2016 10:40 PM



I can t comment on the others but I (for my daughter) have had the Comet2 for close to three years with no problems. I did get the grinding attachment because my daughter has to move it from a storage area to her carport and she can just move one item. IF they had ever made it I may have gotten the flex cable for sanding using the same as a PTO, but they never have.

Power is 3/4HP which seems adequate, IIRC it is 5.7 amps which falls in line with acceptable efficiency.
Some others are listed at 1 HP but also list 6 amp. By definition 1 HP = 746 watts (amps X volts) so there are several that claim efficiency in excess of 100%.
Others also offer a little longer bed length and more weight than the Comet2. I haven t used them so they may perform better or worse.

BTW , ToolsPlus has the same deal for $515 and free shipping.
http://www.tools-plus.com/nova-lathes-46300c.html

- LeeMills


v
Thanks Lee. I’ll look into ToolsPlus if I decide to purchase the Nova Comet

-- Measure "at least" twice and cut once

View kdc68's profile

kdc68

2526 posts in 1737 days


#15 posted 01-05-2016 10:43 PM



Woodmaster 1 recommend looking at Oneway Talon which only weighs in at 3.4 LBS versus 8 LB Stronghold chuck for your Rikon lathe. I am partial to Oneway chucks own two Talons and turn on bigger lathe than yours. There are several fine chucks under 5 lbs that would also serve you well.

I prefer Rikon over the Nova lathe.

- Wildwood


v
Thanks Wildwood. I hadn’t considered the weight of these various chucks. I’m sure it plays a role in performance of the smaller mini/midi lathes

-- Measure "at least" twice and cut once

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