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Forum topic by MrUnix posted 02-29-2016 07:28 PM 917 views 0 times favorited 26 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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MrUnix

4233 posts in 1664 days


02-29-2016 07:28 PM

Topic tags/keywords: powermatic pm45 lathe

Ok, this might be a trick question, but was wondering if anyone has experience with one of these lathes and an opinion on speed control… This is what I’m looking at:

It’s a completely restored 1987 gap bed variable speed PM45 in perfect condition. While I love my little Delta, the lowest speed it can turn at is around 900 rpm (actual range is 930-3200 rpm), which gets really wild when trying to turn bowls or anything that is fairly out of balance before roughing it down. This Powermatic is plug-n-play with nothing needing to be done to it, comes with a set of 13 turning tools in a nice wooden case, a couple of centers, original manual, wiring schematics, additional printed documentation and – it has been upgraded to a single phase 1hp motor, and the original 3-phase motor is included. What I’m wondering is – would the single phase motor and variable speed control be sufficient (speed range is 330 to 2100 rpm), or would it be worthwhile (and worth the extra money) to put the three phase motor back in and use a VFD to get a wider speed range?

Cheers,
Brad

-- Brad in FL - To be old and wise, you must first be young and stupid


26 replies so far

View TheWoodRaccoon's profile

TheWoodRaccoon

364 posts in 395 days


#1 posted 02-29-2016 07:42 PM

Do you really need anything slower than 330 rip-em’s? Unless you’re turning really big bowls or items that are really unbalanced, i would think that’s slow enough, especially if you’ve gotten by until now at 900 rpm…I don’t have any experience with a lathe though, so i very well could be wrong. Just my intuition talking….

How many HP is the included 3 phase? If you can get a VFD cheap enough, you might as well upgrade it.

-- still trying to think of a clever signature......

View HokieKen's profile

HokieKen

1784 posts in 604 days


#2 posted 02-29-2016 08:33 PM

No experience with PM lathes or 3 phase. But that is a friggin’ gorgeous machine!

Unless you’re going to be chasing threads, I think the low end of the speed range it has with the single phase motor should be sufficient. But, I don’t work with any really large stuff so maybe it needs to be slower for really big rough blanks?

I like to spin mine up around 3k rpm for sanding/polishing/buffing small parts but 2100 might be fine on that end as well.

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

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Wildwood

1886 posts in 1600 days


#3 posted 02-29-2016 09:12 PM

If have the money buy it. Whether you change motors another question only you can answer. Would go with current motor until you see a need to change. That will give you time to scout out components to modify from reeves drive to electronic variable speed.

Reeves drives get a bad rap due to Asian imports with reeves drives. As long as do not try to change speeds with motor off and keep system clean & lubed should work just fine. Most of those PM 45’s sold to schools and small wood shops and took years of abuse.

-- Bill

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Joseph Jossem

492 posts in 1734 days


#4 posted 02-29-2016 09:43 PM

500 bucks holy #$%^ id buy it

View MisterBill's profile

MisterBill

411 posts in 1717 days


#5 posted 02-29-2016 10:04 PM

What was that OWWM Rule that you cited the other day….....

View TheDane's profile

TheDane

4997 posts in 3128 days


#6 posted 02-29-2016 10:50 PM

Reeves drives get a bad rap due to Asian imports with reeves drives. As long as do not try to change speeds with motor off and keep system clean & lubed should work just fine.

Amen! Reeves drives have been around for a long time … originally application was in early 20th century cars, and are still in use as CVD (continuous variable drive) transmissions. They are dependable if used correctly and are properly maintained.

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View martyoc's profile

martyoc

26 posts in 382 days


#7 posted 03-01-2016 12:02 AM

I have a used Powermatic 45 lathe that I bought used from a museum in Norfolk about 6 years or so ago. The museum had purchased 6 of them from the local high school system who had phased out their woodworking classes, and then had them reconditioned for use in a woodworking program the museum ran for a few years. I was told that they dated from the late 1950’s or early ‘60’s. I paid $300 and that included a set of Craftsman turning tools which I quickly replaced since the tools would not hold a decent edge. It looks just about identical to the one in your picture, except mine is green and looks as if it were in a high school program. I did replace the tail center with a live center.

The lathe runs very smoothly and has had no problems. I had to disassemble it to move it up to my home and had some questions during the reassembly. I called Powermatic and they provided a user’s manual at no charge. The lathe came with a replacement Leeson 3/4 hp motor that works very well for my use. I have used it primarily for spindle turning since my interest is furniture making. The variable speed works well and is labeled down to 500 rpm. All in all, I am very satisfied with it and think it was a very worthwhile investment.

-- Marty O'C

View Rick M's profile

Rick M

7923 posts in 1845 days


#8 posted 03-01-2016 02:23 AM

You are literally insane for hesitating. How is it even for sale long enough for you to post on the internet? Here that thing would have been sold in minutes and I’m not kidding.

-- http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

View TheFridge's profile

TheFridge

5765 posts in 951 days


#9 posted 03-01-2016 02:29 AM

They had one in my high school wood shop class in high school. That thing was a hoss of a machine. We gave that thing hell and it kept on taking it.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View MrUnix's profile

MrUnix

4233 posts in 1664 days


#10 posted 03-01-2016 02:46 AM

Calm down guys… It has been sitting quietly in my garage for a couple of days now :-)

I was fast enough to be first in line (of many according to the PO). I caught the ad a little less than an hour after being posted, and the only thing I asked him was when and where. The dog and I drove down and picked it up that evening.

I wasn’t asking IF I should buy it, but about the speed range, and if it’s worth the effort and expense to switch it back to three phase and add a VFD. I still need to figure a way to get it out to my back patio – the thing weighs a bunch and is rather awkward to move. Just getting it in and out of the truck bed was quite a feat. If I were to do any work on it, it would be much easier in the garage before being moved, hence the question.

Cheers,
Brad

-- Brad in FL - To be old and wise, you must first be young and stupid

View Joseph Jossem's profile

Joseph Jossem

492 posts in 1734 days


#11 posted 03-01-2016 02:50 AM

haaa good hunting deals here on cl go before ads even come out one guy told me he has apps on his phone that alert him to what he is looking for

View TheFridge's profile

TheFridge

5765 posts in 951 days


#12 posted 03-01-2016 02:51 AM

I knew it.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View Woodmaster1's profile (online now)

Woodmaster1

738 posts in 2052 days


#13 posted 03-01-2016 03:24 AM

It is a great lathe. The school where I taught for 40yrs had them 8 yrs before I started and they are still working. 48 yrs of student abuse and only cosmetic damage.

View Rick M's profile

Rick M

7923 posts in 1845 days


#14 posted 03-01-2016 03:48 AM

My lathe goes down to about 250 rpm and the only time I go that slow is—actually probably never. So I wouldn’t bother with a VFD for a lathe that size. Maybe upgrade to a 1.5hp.

Also, CONGRATS!!

-- http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

View MrUnix's profile

MrUnix

4233 posts in 1664 days


#15 posted 03-01-2016 05:32 PM

Thanks Rick… you and Kenny both have me thinking that the current speed range will be sufficient. I wasn’t too worried about the upper end – I don’t think I’ve ever used the top speed on my Delta, and rarely even use the next step down (2140 rpm). If I ever want to chase threads, I’ll do it on my South Bend!

Also, the original motor was 3/4hp, so the 1hp one in there now is preferable. I had been thinking about converting my Delta to variable speed using a DC treadmill motor, but might consider using the 3/4hp three phase and VFD combo on it instead. At least it’s another option to think about if I decide to keep the Delta. Or maybe I’ll just sell the Delta as is, and use the money to finally buy a chuck instead… I know you guys have been ragging on me for not using one :)

(And I really don’t need 4 lathes!)

Cheers,
Brad

-- Brad in FL - To be old and wise, you must first be young and stupid

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