Turncrafter Commander 12" Variable Speed Midi Lathe Reviews

  • Advertise with us

« back to Power Tools, Hardware and Accessories forum

Forum topic by DonFaulk0517 posted 05-14-2010 03:01 AM 15591 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View DonFaulk0517's profile


131 posts in 3515 days

05-14-2010 03:01 AM

Topic tags/keywords: lathe tool woodturning

Does anyone know how the quality and durability of the Penn State Turncrafter Commander 12” Variable Speed Midi Lathe? I am looking to get into pen turning but am overwhelmed by the costs of all items to get into the hobby. The Turncrafter seems to fit the bill, but I do not know how the centers line up, the fit/finish, or other important features. If anyone can shed light on this lathe I’d appreciate it.



6 replies so far

View interpim's profile


1170 posts in 3488 days

#1 posted 05-14-2010 03:10 AM

I have a Turncrafter Pro Midi Lathe, and it has been great over the past year. If Penn States other lathes are similar I would have no problem recommending it to you. The centers were dead on out of the box, and have remained so throughout my somewhat heavy use of it… I have probably turned 100+ things on it.

-- San Diego, CA

View Frank1950's profile


2 posts in 3247 days

#2 posted 12-17-2010 06:07 AM

After months of waiting, i got the 12” Commander variable speed. When i assembled it and plugged it in, it popped and died. They sent a replacement speed control. It worked great – except for a stretchy drive belt – for about 12-15 hours, then the speed control went out and the lathe motor runs at full speed only. PSI is having trouble getting parts from their supplier. I have been trying to get something resolved for about six weeks. With the drive belt on the lower range pulley (the variable speed has high range and low range) it is ok for pen turning. However, after another 6 hours or so, the drive belt has begun to separate and now will not stay on the pulley. If I could find a different belt, I would be able to at least turn pens. I wish I had gone ahead and bought a Delta.

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 3000 days

#3 posted 12-18-2010 08:01 AM

Frank, did you notice that this is a 7 month old thread?

Since we talking anyway, I’ll mention that I saw a thread a while back where those belts were being discussed. The poster said he was able to get a replacement belt at a auto parts store.

I just bought a HF 10” x 18” mini 5-speed after I realized it was the same lathe as the Penn State 10”. I thought the PSI machines were pretty well thought of. Sorry to hear you are having problems.

I wonder what ever happened to DonFaulk0517 ?

View Frank1950's profile


2 posts in 3247 days

#4 posted 12-19-2010 02:30 PM

I know it’s an old thread – but I really needed to vent—
Everyone I know has had good luck with PSI. This is a new product, made in Taiwan, that doesn’t have the bugs worked out. They had to have the wiring harness redesigned and from what they told me, a shipment of the speed controllers was all bad.
If I can get it running for a reasonable length of time I will do a review.

View Roper's profile


1389 posts in 3742 days

#5 posted 12-19-2010 05:29 PM

I do not like Penn State tools. I would go with a variable speed Jet Midi for the money, they are strong machines.

-- Roper - Master of sawdust-

View DonFaulk0517's profile


131 posts in 3515 days

#6 posted 12-21-2010 02:15 AM

I’m still here… spending a bit of time between my real work and my workshop. I bought the Delta 46-460 and have had a great time turning pens… made about 35 pens in the past few months. The Delta has been great and I love the reverse feature for sanding. Sorry to hear of the problems with the Penn State Turncrafter Commander.

Craft Shows with my wife and Christmas have been demanding… sold half of the pens… the bullet pens are a great demand. I was at a family X-mas in NY this past weekend (I live in Michigan) and I now need to make a few to send back… of course as soon as possible!

Have fun turning!



Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

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