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Delta 46-460 or NOVA comet II midi lathe?

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Forum topic by Matthew Harper posted 03-03-2016 01:19 PM 1160 views 0 times favorited 22 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Matthew Harper

20 posts in 282 days


03-03-2016 01:19 PM

Topic tags/keywords: wood turning buy new lathe delta 46-460 nova comet ii midi lathe decision

Hi everyone, I am 15 and have been turning for about a year on a 10×18 mini lathe from harbor freight that was given to me for free. I have made about 5 bowls and have about 11 rough-turned with more blanks needing it, and have also made some pens and boxes, among other things. I would turn more but have had a lot of school work, etc. I have saved up around 450$ (I might need to take a small loan from my mom) and after getting a chainsaw and a bunch of wood from someone cutting down a tree, I want to upgrade. The little guy has done good, but it just takes to long to rough turn a bowl, and the size is limiting. Now I have to make a decision between the delta 46-460 which I have found for 550$ including shipping, and the NOVA comet II which I have found for 520$ including shipping and the reversible G3 chuck. I was set on the NOVA until I heard about belt slippage and not enough horse power for a 12 inch bowl. The delta is a little more and doesn’t include the chuck, but if it means I don’t have to worry about bogdown or belt slippage like I did with the HF, I’ll take it. I want this to be the last lathe I buy until I am living in my own house and can afford afford a Powermatic or something similar.. And trust me when I say I have looked at ALL the other midi lathes, these are the two I have narrowed it down to. So the question is, will I be able to turn a bowl up to 12 inches on the NOVA just as easy as on the delta? Thank you in advance for anyone who replies.

Also note that the delta 46-460 is only on sale until 3/31/16, and I have a big live oak crotch blank that I want to turn soon before it starts cracking. I do have a chuck right now, but would not be able to use the lathe in reverse with it, so a reversible chuck is something that I will definitely want. That makes the delta about 150$ more than the NOVA in the end.

-- 16 year old turner from Florida using a RIKON 70-220VSR Midi Lathe


22 replies so far

View Nubsnstubs's profile

Nubsnstubs

826 posts in 1197 days


#1 posted 03-03-2016 02:05 PM

Matt, I can’t give you any info on the lathes in question, but you’re on the right track looking at a Powermatic for your future.

One thing I will tell you is the chuck you have can be drilled and tapped for a set screw. All it takes is someone you might know that has a drill press and a vise if you don’t have one. A G3 chuck has it’s set screw centered 1/4” from the back edge. The instructions below are for a G3 chuck.

You would need a #3 drill bit, a 1/4-28 tap, and a 1/4” drill bit, and a set screw at 1/4 – 28×1/4” -3/8” long. Don’t drill the set screw hole in the same place as the chuck key hole. I found if you use an insert, the 1/4” set screw is too long, and will not allow the chuck key to seat properly. Set the chuck in the vise, center punch the location for the holes you intend to drill, and drill the #3 hole. I don’t know what chuck you have, but the steel is soft enough to do this. After the #3 hole is drilled, if there is space between the chuck body and the spindle attachment, drill out the 1/4” hole on the body only. Then tap the 1/4-28 threads for the set screw. If you have any questions, please ask, and I’ll help if I can…...

Welcome to the wood turning world. You’ve already discovered that it can consume any and all finances you might acquire. ................. Jerry (in Tucson)

-- Jerry (in Tucson)

View TheDane's profile

TheDane

4997 posts in 3130 days


#2 posted 03-03-2016 03:20 PM

Matt … I owned/used a Delta 46-460 for 4 years and was quite happy with it. It handled everything I threw at it and I hated to sell it but there is room for but one lathe in my shop (I bought a Nova 2024 for the additional swing and the 2.3hp motor).

I have never used a Nova Comet, but I have a friend who has one that he uses to take on the road for demos, craft shows, etc. I’m not sure what sort of things he turns on it, but he has mentioned that is really satisfied with it.

The nagging concern many voice about Delta is the availability of parts or service. Though I never had any issue with mine (and it was used a lot), others have had difficulty getting parts for it. This apparently is a supply chain problem that may have resulted from Delta changing hands a couple of times in the last several years.

Jerry’ advice on the chuck is spot on … any chuck that does not have a set screw should not be used on a reversible lathe.

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

View LeeMills's profile

LeeMills

272 posts in 768 days


#3 posted 03-03-2016 06:22 PM

I (my daughter) has had the Comet2 for two+ years with no problems, including the belt.
I think realistically with either the Nova or the Delta you are looking at 10-11” finished max.
My daughter did rough some just under 12” on my 1624 but was unable to remount when dry because the bowl had warped too much for the Comet.
With either it is still going be slower than a larger lathe.
I’m sure if I had TheDane’s 2.3 hp and went back to my 1.5 hp I would think my 1624 was too puny….
Even folks with lathes 2+ Hp state they can bog it down with an aggressive cut.

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

View TheDane's profile

TheDane

4997 posts in 3130 days


#4 posted 03-03-2016 07:15 PM

I’m sure if I had TheDane’s 2.3 hp and went back to my 1.5 hp I would think my 1624 was too puny….
Even folks with lathes 2+ Hp state they can bog it down with an aggressive cut.

I wish Binford made lathes (more power!). LOL

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

View Matthew Harper's profile

Matthew Harper

20 posts in 282 days


#5 posted 03-03-2016 07:33 PM

thanks for the information on the chuck Jerry. I don’t know the brand of the chuck I have since it was given with the lathe, but it seems to be a cheaper one. It has the two holes for rods to tighten and it doesn’t run true, so if I do get the delta I will probably just buy a G3 reversible too.

Thanks Gerry, I didn’t know if delta was still having problems with customer service, but it is something that worries me.

Leemills- I (my daughter) has had the Comet2 for two+ years with no problems, including the belt.
I think realistically with either the Nova or the Delta you are looking at 10-11” finished max.

That’s good to know about the belt. And of course any lathe no matter the HP can bog down, but I was taking normal cuts on my HF lathe and every minute it would just slow down and stop midway through a cut.

So far the NOVA 2 seems to be the better buy, but I’ll wait and see if anyone else has something to add.

-- 16 year old turner from Florida using a RIKON 70-220VSR Midi Lathe

View Arlin Eastman's profile

Arlin Eastman

3557 posts in 2028 days


#6 posted 03-06-2016 07:56 AM

Matt

I also had the Delta 46-460 for 3 years and the biggest thing I did not like about it is all the controls on top of the headstock. I had a few bowls start coming off and I did not like reaching over everything to turn it off.

You might look at the Jet 1221 which is in the same range is the Delta. My first lathe was the Penn State Ind lathe which had the 10” swing 1/2hp but now they have the 12” swing with a 1hp motor and it works really nice for only $450 plus shipping. Also if you sign up for their email you get a 10% discount also which makes it $410

Link

https://www.pennstateind.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?Screen=SEARCH&q=midi+lathes&x=0&y=0#/?filter.category=Mini%20and%20Midi%20Lathes&page=1&filter.specswingoverbed=12%22

-- Please help me help other Vets click..> http://www.gofundme.com/m1abko.....It is always the right time, to do the right thing.

View Matthew Harper's profile

Matthew Harper

20 posts in 282 days


#7 posted 03-06-2016 03:28 PM

Thanks Arlin, I have looked at the Turncrafter commander 12”, but a couple things kind of deterred me. A lot of the reviews said that there was a fair amount of play in the tail stock. My HF lathe has it too, and if I am going to be spending 400 – 500 dollars on a new lathe, I don’t want to have to deal with that. A lot of reviews also talked about parts breaking or not working either out of the box or after a little turning. All of those reviews also said that their customer service was great and after a month or so, it was sorted out, but like i said before, if I am going to be spending 400 – 500 dollars on a new lathe, I don’t want to have to deal with that. It doesn’t have reverse, which I know is not THAT important, but still a nice feature. Lastly, all of the sites that sell them are pretty much out of stock.

So in the end, if you subtract the cost of the G3 reversible chuck that comes with the NOVA, the lathe is about 400$. So the NOVA is cheaper and has reversible speed, but the turncrafter is 1 hp. So back to my original question, is 3/4 horse power enough for a 12 inch bowl?

As for the delta, I agree with you on the controls being above the lathe, probably not the safest or convenient.

-- 16 year old turner from Florida using a RIKON 70-220VSR Midi Lathe

View OSU55's profile

OSU55

1063 posts in 1456 days


#8 posted 03-06-2016 06:48 PM

I know how $ can burn a hole in a youngsters pocket, but have you tried to do anything to help your current lathe? Like put a higher quality belt on it? Are your tools sharp? I have the 34706 HF lathe. No slip problems after replacing the belt with one from the auto store, and tho some claim it is under powered, I have not found that to be true. Sure i can stop it in its tracks with an over aggressive cut, one that borders on unsafe. A liitle maintenance may be allyou need.

View Matthew Harper's profile

Matthew Harper

20 posts in 282 days


#9 posted 03-06-2016 07:30 PM

The belt seems fine, and I use a Rikon slow speed grinder to keep my tools sharp. I don’t blame the lathe, I recently rough turned a piece of live oak that was 10”, the maximum diameter for the lathe, and it worked fine. It just takes longer to rough out bowls because I have to take light cuts, and it is scary with the slowest speed being 750 rpm. But after having it for a year, certain things make me want a newer lathe every time I use it, like having to unscrew an allen screw to loosen the lever to change belts, and having to reach over and behind the whole lathe while my face mask bumps into wall behind it. The tail stock has way too much slop, and the centers don’t line up, which means the pens I make are ovular and not round. I don’t blame the lathe, I’ve just outgrown it.

-- 16 year old turner from Florida using a RIKON 70-220VSR Midi Lathe

View Madrona's profile

Madrona

14 posts in 362 days


#10 posted 03-06-2016 07:57 PM

Well, I guess I would suggest looking for a suitable used lathe. I have one from the 50-60’s and it’s still working great! You can get a great lathe and still have money for accessories. Just watch Craigslist or any other places that deal in used tools. You may be glad you did!

-- Living In The Woods Of Beautiful Bonney Lake, Washington

View Matthew Harper's profile

Matthew Harper

20 posts in 282 days


#11 posted 03-06-2016 09:36 PM

thanks Madrona, I have been watching craigslist for over a year, and sometimes have seen a good lathe. However, being 15, I need to wait for the weekend when my mom or dad can take me and by then it is already sold. I originally thought I wanted a big lathe, but after much thought decided a good midi lathe would be better because I have never needed a longer bed, and really don’t have room for it.

-- 16 year old turner from Florida using a RIKON 70-220VSR Midi Lathe

View Rick M's profile

Rick M

7933 posts in 1847 days


#12 posted 03-07-2016 04:35 AM

Our woodworking club has a bunch of the Comet II’s and complain about them constantly. Unfortunately their complaints are unspecific and sometimes don’t make sense to me, maybe because I’ve never used that specific lathe.

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

View Matthew Harper's profile

Matthew Harper

20 posts in 282 days


#13 posted 03-07-2016 03:21 PM

Thanks Rick, maybe those lathes are the older version? In 2013 NOVA fixed some big problems like the way the motor was mounted and the type of plastic they were using for the belt covers. If that’s not it, maybe you could ask them what they don’t like about them.

-- 16 year old turner from Florida using a RIKON 70-220VSR Midi Lathe

View Rick M's profile

Rick M

7933 posts in 1847 days


#14 posted 03-07-2016 03:33 PM

I’ll tell you soon enough. I just bought one they retired. Haven’t picked it up yet.

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

View Rick M's profile

Rick M

7933 posts in 1847 days


#15 posted 03-17-2016 06:40 AM

Matt, I’ve turned a couple small projects now and it’s interesting. Overall I like it.

Things I don’t like:
1) Belt changes. The variable speed I built for my other lathes goes from about 250 – 3,000 rpm but the Comet lacks that range without belt changes. So far I’ve left it on the middle pulley because I don’t like changing.
2) Motor mount. It’s awkward and clumsy to loosen or tighten for belt changes and it doesn’t feel solid.
3) Knobs in general. All the knobs require that you turn, lift, back up, let them down and turn again, lift, back up, let them down and turn… Very annoying. I might replace the lever knobs with regular star knobs.
4) Occasional ticking sound. I haven’t dug into the headstock to diagnose this one yet. On previous lathes it was always a loose set screw on the pulley, hopefully that’s what it will be here.
5) Bearings may need replacing, not sure. Most of the time they are quiet as a church mouse then occasionally they growl (or something does).
6) Parts available through dealers only. I would prefer ordering online, through a catalog or website. I don’t like having to call someone, read off part numbers, hope they’re not an idiot or too busy to help, wait for them to look it up, wait for them to find the price, listen to them curse about their crappy computer, etc. Just put the parts online Teknatool.
7) Has a lot less power than my other lathe.

What I like:
1) Quiet
2) It actually stops when I turn off the switch (my other lathe motor has a big flywheel and takes a bit to spin down).
3) Modern compared to my other lathes

I know my dislikes are bigger than my likes but I actually do like it. Really I like the conveniences of a modern lathe vs the vintage lathes I’ve used to. Some of the dislikes have to do with it being a well used lathe and as you mentioned, some things have been redesigned so newer versions won’t have those problems.

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

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