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Lathes - which one

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Forum topic by Kennie posted 09-05-2016 02:27 PM 776 views 0 times favorited 22 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Kennie

2 posts in 92 days


09-05-2016 02:27 PM

Topic tags/keywords: lathes

I am brand new (never turned) to woodturning. Hoping to begin a long term hobby (I am retired and my wife wants me out of the house). Thought I would try my hand at pens, bowls, etc. Realizing I need a lathe and doing a bunch of research I have come up with a couple of alternatives:

Delta Industrial 46-460 12-1/2-Inch Variable-Speed Midi Lathe
by Delta
4.5 out of 5 stars 119 customer reviews | 22 answered questions
Price: $599.99 Free Shipping for Prime Members
In Stock.
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com.
Powerful 1 hp max, 1,725 rpm motor
Large 12-1/2-inch swing capacity provides the largest capacity in its class
Electronic variable Speed with three-pulley speed ranges provide the required speeds needed to turn a project without changing belt position
Forward and Reversing function allows the turner to achieve a superior finish. Sanding a turned piece with the grain causes the wood fibers to lay down and remain rough.
Patented belt tensioning system for easy and quick speed changes and sets the belt at the correct tension every time for maximum power transfer and longer tool life

OR

General International $600
14 in. x 17 in. VARIABLE SPEED MAXI-LATHE VF
MODEL #25-114QC MI
Still New. Used for about 5 hrs or less to turn a few wood.

The Maxi-Lathe VF 25-114QC M1 features a simple belt and pulley system allowing 3 variable speed ranges: 250 to 800, 550 to 1700 and 1200 to 3600 RPM with electronic control. It offers a 14 in. swing over bed, 10-3/4 in. swing over tool rest and a 17 in. distance between centers. Making it ideal for small to medium hobby and production uses. With a cast-iron bed, headstock and an open cast-iron tail stock, it also has a 1 in. tool rest post for flex-free turning. The tool rest and tail stock are equipped with steel lock levers for positive locking action. With 24 indexing positions in 15° increments and a spindle lock, the 25 – 114 M1 has a 3/4 HP 110-Volt, 5 A motor with reverse operation. The headstock thread is a standard 1×8 TPI to accommodate standard after-market accessories. The head and tail stock are fitted with a standard MT2 Morse taper. The lathe is factory supplied with a 6 in. tool rest; 3 in. face plate, live center, spur center, knock-out bar, spindle wrench.

Stable cast-iron frame, head and tail stock to reduce chatter and vibration for smoother turning
3 variable speed ranges: 250 to 800, 550 to 1700 and 1200 to 3600
Features positive indexing in 15° increments, total 24 indexing positions
Heavy-duty 1 in. Dia tool rest post

Any help by anyone would be greatly appreciated.
Ken

-- Kenny from AZ


22 replies so far

View MrRon's profile

MrRon

3926 posts in 2707 days


#1 posted 09-05-2016 03:03 PM

Based only on the specifications posted, I would pick the General International. I believe it is made in Taiwan (good), (China, not so good). Delta tools these days are iffy as they seem to be having problems with ownership changes and places of manufacture. An older Delta lathe would be a good deal if you can find one. There were many good wood lathes made 30+ years ago and if you can find one, it would save you lots of money. All my power tools are top quality, but one I bought at Harbor Freight, a 12” x 36” lathe for <$200 (on sale) has performed my turning needs. I don’t do wood turning much, but when I do need something turned, it does the job. It has continuous variable speed and a 1”-8 threaded arbor. It’s a good beginners lathe.

View HapHazzard's profile

HapHazzard

92 posts in 331 days


#2 posted 09-05-2016 03:27 PM

I just happened to find a thread comparing these same two models here: http://www.sawmillcreek.org/showthread.php?140402-Delta-46-460-versus-General-Maxi-Lathe-VF
Bear in mind that the thread is six years ago, and things change, but it might be worthwhile to try to contact the OP and ask him which one he ended up with and whether he’d do the same if he had it to do over again. I suspect his turning interests are similar to yours since he was considering exactly the same alternatives, but I wouldn’t assume it. Also, check out the reviews here: http://lumberjocks.com/reviews/category/24

-- Unix programmers never die; they just > /dev/null

View HorizontalMike's profile

HorizontalMike

7146 posts in 2377 days


#3 posted 09-05-2016 03:39 PM

About 3-1/2yr ago I was in your position and ended up choosing:

Delta Industrial 46-460 12-1/2-Inch Variable-Speed Midi Lathe
from Acme Tools http://www.acmetools.com/

FWI. They currently have this for sale at $609.99

I have been quite pleased with this midi lathe. I was also pleased by Delta’s Service. When I got my live center stuck in the tailstock, Delta had me go to a local authorized Service Center. They also sent me a replacement as well. They get +10 for that, IMO.

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View TheDane's profile

TheDane

4997 posts in 3126 days


#4 posted 09-05-2016 03:53 PM

Don’t know anything about the GI lathe, but had a Delta 46-460 (type 1) for about 5 years. Mine was a great lathe, turned hundreds of projects on it, and only sold it because I bought a much bigger lathe and didn’t have room for two lathes in the shop.

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

View Wildwood's profile

Wildwood

1883 posts in 1598 days


#5 posted 09-05-2016 04:08 PM

Where do you live? If lived in Canada would buy the General, if live in US Delta might make more sense!

-- Bill

View Mike_D_S's profile

Mike_D_S

185 posts in 1678 days


#6 posted 09-05-2016 05:31 PM

I honestly don’t have much experience with lathes in general, so can’t comment on the relative quality/usaibility of the ones you have listed, but I bought a used Nova Comet ii and like it.

It has a little smaller swing at 12” than the other two, but very often goes on sale with a free chuck, see Rockler link below on sale for $529. Electronic speed control, etc.

http://www.rockler.com/nova-comet-ii-12-x-16-1-2-midi-lathe-with-free-nova-g3-comet-ii-reversible-chuck

-- No honey, that's not new, I've had that forever......

View Rick M's profile

Rick M

7913 posts in 1843 days


#7 posted 09-06-2016 02:49 AM

General International has a poor reputation. Given those choices I wouldn’t hesitate to buy the Delta. I have quite a few Delta machines and other than the Black and Decker chop saws, they have given me good service.

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

View Dustin's profile

Dustin

143 posts in 204 days


#8 posted 09-06-2016 05:07 PM



I honestly don t have much experience with lathes in general, so can t comment on the relative quality/usaibility of the ones you have listed, but I bought a used Nova Comet ii and like it.

It has a little smaller swing at 12” than the other two, but very often goes on sale with a free chuck, see Rockler link below on sale for $529. Electronic speed control, etc.

http://www.rockler.com/nova-comet-ii-12-x-16-1-2-midi-lathe-with-free-nova-g3-comet-ii-reversible-chuck

- MikeDS

If I were in your shoes, I’d take this route. I’m currently saving up for a Comet II, even though I already have the g3 chuck on my current mini-lathe. I love it, but would love to run one lathe for drilling, and the other for turning, without swapping out chuck jaws frequently. Keep in mind, that chuck alone will set you back a cool $120.

-- "Ladies, if your husband says he'll get to it, he'll get to it. No need to remind him about it every 6 months."

View Rick M's profile

Rick M

7913 posts in 1843 days


#9 posted 09-06-2016 05:23 PM

Might want to read my review of the Comet II before buying.
http://lumberjocks.com/reviews/8402

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

View Woodmaster1's profile

Woodmaster1

737 posts in 2050 days


#10 posted 09-06-2016 06:42 PM

I have the 12” variable speed rikon. The rikon has performed excellent for me. You can make a maximum of 11” bowl
The speed control is excellent. I know it is not one of you choices but it is a good one for me. I have access to a larger lathe at my woodworking club. You might want to find a turners club and ask them to try out different lathes.



View DrDirt's profile

DrDirt

4169 posts in 3206 days


#11 posted 09-06-2016 07:10 PM

I also have a Delta Midi lathe…but it is only variable speed by moving the belt. – - – something only on larger lathes back in 2005.

I have no complaints on how it works (versus design)... I would never buy a lathe without a variable speed knob again.
I would give the Rikon a look too – - they seem to be making good tools.

-- 'Political correctness is fascism pretending to be manners' ~George Carlin

View MrUnix's profile (online now)

MrUnix

4224 posts in 1662 days


#12 posted 09-06-2016 07:23 PM

I also have a Delta Midi lathe…but it is only variable speed by moving the belt. – - – something only on larger lathes back in 2005.

I have no complaints on how it works (versus design)... I would never buy a lathe without a variable speed knob again.
I would give the Rikon a look too – - they seem to be making good tools.

- DrDirt

I dislike the electronic variable speed drives – proprietary electronics that will fail eventually, and may not be easily replaced (or very costly to do so). Setups using a standard controller and DC motor (like those found in a treadmill) are better as the electronics (and motor) are easily replaced if needed. I do like the reeves drive though as it’s mechanical. In reality, you don’t need an infinitely variable speed, but just a handful of speeds that can easily be changed via a belt change. Slow for roughing, a couple middle speeds for turning depending on diameter, and a higher speed for sanding/polishing.

If you have never owned a lathe or turned wood, it might be a good idea to look for a nice used machine that won’t set you back as much as new. It will give you a chance to determine if you like the hobby, and if you do, will give you something to use while you look for a bigger/better/newer/whatever one if you decide you want one.

Cheers,
Brad

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

View OSU55's profile

OSU55

1057 posts in 1453 days


#13 posted 09-06-2016 07:30 PM

You might look at the HF 34706. The pivoting head allows bowls bigger than the 12” swing, and makes hollowing bowls etc much easier vs reaching over the bed. The longer bed will do table legs etc. The lowest speed does limit it to about 15” bowls or platters. It does not reverse, but you can still get a nice finish (see my LJs projects). Can be had for a little over $200 with coupons.

View DrDirt's profile

DrDirt

4169 posts in 3206 days


#14 posted 09-07-2016 01:42 PM

Brad – Agree that there are more and more things to go wrong – but a lot of electronics anymore are both cheap and pretty robust. Not unlike how our cars can go 100K miles before changing plugs.

I dislike the hard start on my lathe – generates a lot of torque for any turnings like goblets with thin sections – because you hit the switch, and the motor wants to go 0-100% immediately…

Maybe if it at least had a ‘soft start’ like most routers.

But having used a 1224 Oneway in classes, – it was really nice to have that dial where you can turn up the speed slowly (from zero rpm)- and set it exactly where you want to be turning, as you go from scraping to sanding without having to move belts around and risk snapping your ‘almost done’ piece

-- 'Political correctness is fascism pretending to be manners' ~George Carlin

View ki7hy's profile

ki7hy

493 posts in 202 days


#15 posted 09-07-2016 04:03 PM

Kennie, I have the General International. Picked it up at Woodcraft at 50% off. I think I saw that CL post you reference here. Looks like the same verbage. I am thinking they got the same deal. You could probably get it cheaper if you offered. I would think $425ish.

For what it’s worth, I enjoy the lathe. Good power and adjustable speed with a 14” capacity.

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