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In search for a good small lathe for under $500 ish

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Forum topic by gurnie posted 1146 days ago 2328 views 0 times favorited 22 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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gurnie

342 posts in 1622 days


1146 days ago

Hello fellow jocks,
After too many incidences of me getting into a sparring match with said a-hole at the community shop, fiancé decided that I should get a lathe to use on the patio before I shank the lathe bully (we are getting married and fiancé is hoping I can attend the wedding so long as I stay away from hurting this fellow).

So I am in the market for a mini/midi lathe (not sure the difference between the two – mini and mid size I presume). I make a lot of bottle stoppers but I’d like to go back to making some kaleidoscopes and maybe walking canes (one that comes apart in to a few pieces). A majority of my items are under 12”. I’d like to keep the price under $500-400 with a stand but I also understand there are people in hell who want water too. I am hoping to get it for less that $400 if possible. I like adjustable speed lathes, and one that isn’t going to crap out after a year.

Thanks for your help fellow jockers!!!

-- Please visit my Etsy site, http://www.etsy.com/shop/cgurnham or http://www.christinagurnham.com You can also follow me on my artfire blog: http://www.artfire.com/users/cgurnham/blog


22 replies so far

View reggiek's profile

reggiek

2240 posts in 1856 days


#1 posted 1146 days ago

Jet makes a great lathe in mini or midi…..the mini might make it…I have the JWL-1220VS which is a midi and might be slightly above your budget..I also have a powermatic but that is not a mini or midi. The mini runs around $499 or so so it would fit without any leeway….You might also want to look at craigslist for your area. The Pennstate is a nice lathe also…the only one I would avoid at all costs is the Laguna.

Remember that your tools and chucks may cost as much or more than your lathe. A good chuck with jaws goes around 299ish…tools are expensive..you dont want to get a cheapie set unless you are a beginner and want to see which tools you will use the most…If you need help in that regard…you can ask another question here or pm any of the many turners we have on LJs…there are alot of starters tool sets that are reasonable and fairly well made. You will also need to learn/know how to sharpen them…and get a good sharpening system going (scary method is great for the smaller budet…you just need sandpaper and a piece of glass, tile or granite for a flat surface).

-- Woodworking.....My small slice of heaven!

View Bertha's profile

Bertha

12951 posts in 1279 days


#2 posted 1146 days ago

I’ve got the JET mini, which is withing your budget even with variable speed (I think). Of course, the stand, bed extension, and stand extension will start to add up. I’ve never had a single complaint with mine. I’ve also heard good things about the Delta, which should also be well within your price range. I’m not sure I’d stray too far from those two brands if I were you. That’s just my opinion, of course. You can always buy the big OneWay later and use your little mini for small projects:)

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

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dbhost

5377 posts in 1818 days


#3 posted 1146 days ago

The Penn State Industries Turncrafter lathes look pretty nice. The Turncrafter Commander Variable Speed with extension bed goes for $480.00

-- My workshop blog can be found at http://daves-workshop.blogspot.com

View Bertha's profile

Bertha

12951 posts in 1279 days


#4 posted 1146 days ago

DB, I’ve heard mixed things about the PSI, mostly bad. That’s quite a bargain, though.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View interpim's profile

interpim

1123 posts in 2045 days


#5 posted 1146 days ago

I have the non-variable speed turncrafter pro from penn state. I absolutely love it, and I have owned it for about 2 years now.

-- San Diego, CA

View Arlin Eastman's profile

Arlin Eastman

1793 posts in 1148 days


#6 posted 1145 days ago

My first Lathe was from Penn State. They say 3 year warrenty, however, it had taken 8 months to get a new tailstork and Toolrest.
So I bought a Delta 46-460 for $599 it cuts to 12 1/2”, has a rev switch and the variable speed with the belts on the front with a tenshion rod, this makes it so so easy to change to a higher speed and also with a 1hp motor. I do not think you will ever be wishing for another lathe. Even the weight is just perfect, I can make 10” bowls and 12” platters
Arlin

-- It is always the right time, to do the right thing.

View Bertha's profile

Bertha

12951 posts in 1279 days


#7 posted 1145 days ago

^Thanks, Dahlgren. I stand corrected. ^there’s a vote for the Delta.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View gurnie's profile

gurnie

342 posts in 1622 days


#8 posted 1145 days ago

Good morning,
I am sorry I did not get to reply until now. I have been traveling.

What are people’s thoughts on the grizzly G0657

My woodshop teacher says grizzly is pretty good, and this one is totally in my budget and leaves me room for tools / stand. i’d be very interested to hear people’s thoughts

the lathe I am currently use to at the shop is a Jet variable speed mini lathe model number JML-1014VS . I understand they don’t make this model anymore but the JET JML 1014VSI seems to be the next generation. it’s a bit out of my range

at the moment i don’t really need to purchase any chucks – i’d be very happy if i could just use my 8 TPI attachment and turn my bottle stoppers and work on my kaleidoscopes. anyone heard anything about the grizzly?

Oh yeah – my other shop teacher said what makes the price go higher is the lathe and variable speed option. he said if i didn’t get the variable speed option and changes the bands that i would save some money. he said changing the bands wasn’t hard and he can do it in a matter of 30 seconds. does you guys concur with this? would you go with a variable speed lathe or do you not care about changing the bands to change the speed of the lathe (can’t think of the real terminology)

-- Please visit my Etsy site, http://www.etsy.com/shop/cgurnham or http://www.christinagurnham.com You can also follow me on my artfire blog: http://www.artfire.com/users/cgurnham/blog

View gurnie's profile

gurnie

342 posts in 1622 days


#9 posted 1145 days ago

I’d like to add this is the only website I can find people discussing the grizzly lathes. seems like the difference is the warranty is 1 year VS 5 years

-- Please visit my Etsy site, http://www.etsy.com/shop/cgurnham or http://www.christinagurnham.com You can also follow me on my artfire blog: http://www.artfire.com/users/cgurnham/blog

View dbhost's profile

dbhost

5377 posts in 1818 days


#10 posted 1145 days ago

I honestly can not say one way or another about their lathes. But I have bought lots of small things from PSI, turning tools (those have been great except the wooden case they ship in stinks), flex hose, dust collection bits and pieces, filters etc… And everything I have gotten from them has lived up to expectations.

For what it’s worth, if you are wanting a 12×36 type lathe, the Central Machinery #34706 (Jet JWL1236 clone) is a steal. Typically goes on sale for around $230.00 or so, and you can slap the 20% off coupons on it. I have had mine for about two years now, and do a LOT of turning with it. Nothing fancy though, I’m not that good, but it is a great machine to learn on. And honestly, a LOT of turners close to me have them and use the snot out of these machines. They take a little fiddling around to get alignment just so, but it can be done. No worse than the original they clone in that regard, it’s just an issue with that rotating head stock design… I set mine and left it for straight turning and never do outboard turning…

-- My workshop blog can be found at http://daves-workshop.blogspot.com

View Bertha's profile

Bertha

12951 posts in 1279 days


#11 posted 1145 days ago

Miss Gurnie, your teacher is right that belt changes on non-variable speed lathes (at least the JET) only take a second or two. It’s one of those things, though, where the variable speed is really handy to have and for the few extra bucks, it might be worth it to you. I find myself running my lathe at the same speed all the time, though. Depending upon what you’ll be doing with it, you may be able to happily stick with the cheaper fixed speed.

DB brings up a good point about saving money on the lathe. Don’t forget to budget in lathe tools and a method to sharpen them. My sharpening system costs probably twice what my lathe did once you add all the tricky jigs and such. Lathe tools are one of those things that are worth buying quality if you’re going to be doing a lot of turning.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View gurnie's profile

gurnie

342 posts in 1622 days


#12 posted 1145 days ago

Thanks everyone for the replies

personally I don’t have to weight in the costs for sharpening because I have access to a community shop that has that capability. I currently right now have a set of mini turning tools, but nothing full sized. so if in my budget if i can get a set of tools (i think lee valley sells a nice set of 6 for $140/150 shipped) that would be excellent.

maybe i need to stay away from the variable speed for now to save $$$. does anyone have a non- variable speed lathe that they like to use?

i also do not do outboard turning and currently don’t have a use for it. I like straight turning at the moment

i am still eyeing that grizzly http://grizzly.com/products/G0657

-- Please visit my Etsy site, http://www.etsy.com/shop/cgurnham or http://www.christinagurnham.com You can also follow me on my artfire blog: http://www.artfire.com/users/cgurnham/blog

View WayneC's profile

WayneC

12239 posts in 2684 days


#13 posted 1145 days ago

I have the Jet VS mini. Love it. You might look on eBay or Craigslist to see if you can find a good used one.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View Bertha's profile

Bertha

12951 posts in 1279 days


#14 posted 1145 days ago

^I’ve got what Wayne’s got. No complaints. There are always people upgrading to full-sized lathes and dumping their little mini’s. If you find a non-VS and the price is right, the decision is made for you! I can’t imagine that a used lathe would run the risk of significant damage. I figure that if the cast iron isn’t cracked and it runs, then it runs:)

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View Cliff De Witt 's profile

Cliff De Witt

128 posts in 1279 days


#15 posted 1145 days ago

It seems you have already made up your mind on the Grizzly

I was in the same situation, minus the fiance issues, and I chose the Delta 46-460, 1 HP, Reverse, and Variable speeds.

I have heard nothing good about the PSI, I have used the Jet I still would choose the Delta, but that is me and you want the Grizzly.

-- Trying to find an answer to my son’s question: “…and forming organic cellulose by spinning it on its axis is interesting, why?”

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