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advice on purchasing a lathe

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Forum topic by Jerry posted 891 days ago 1088 views 0 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Jerry

2179 posts in 2171 days


891 days ago

I am looking at a future purchase of a lathe. I have no experience with any lathes ever. We build a lot of kitchens and we dress up our corners with corner moldings I cut on our woodmaster.

I have wanted to get into turning wood posts on a lathe as a way to add variety to our decorative moldings. I have seen cabinets that have corners built to house a small 3” diameter fancy post and I think it adds a lot to the overall look. I like it but want to learn to turn my own blanks into posts.

I have been seeing this one particular lathe on CL weekly, for some reason it does not sell but seems to be a good deal. Please look at the CL add at http://sanantonio.craigslist.org/tls/2890600647.html and tell me your opinion. Also looking for opinions on things I will need to buy or study up on before beginning this new venture.

I also think some type of duplicator would have a strong advantage. Thanks

-- Jerry Nettrour, San Antonio, www.topqualitycabinets.net


14 replies so far

View vman154's profile

vman154

160 posts in 1053 days


#1 posted 891 days ago

i thank i wold be to old and hard to work on try the delta i have i gave 125 for it work grate it was like new and look lsn that had one for 60 buck last mo

View Jerry's profile

Jerry

2179 posts in 2171 days


#2 posted 891 days ago

it is possible they are asking too much but I dont know much about lathes at this point. But would like to learn and get adivce.

-- Jerry Nettrour, San Antonio, www.topqualitycabinets.net

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cabmaker

1305 posts in 1433 days


#3 posted 891 days ago

Hey, long time Jerry. Hows business, Im turning stuff away here. To your question. that is the very reason I have a lathe in my shop. It will open some doors for you and will surprise you as to what else it can do for you. Ive been able to replicate crown moldings in a radius, etc. That looks like a good machine there but when they say 60 inches long they appear to mean overall or so it looks in the pic. what is between centers is what counts. I can turn 60 inches with the bed extension on mine and that has come in handy a few times. Remember, you can turn small items on a large lathe but not the opposite. Also, using a duplicator is not what it appears it to be. They are very slow and a little time consuming to setup. I have used mine a dozen or so times so that paid for it. Good luck with it. JB

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cabmaker

1305 posts in 1433 days


#4 posted 891 days ago

Jerry, also a friend of mine has a powermatic 45 or 90 he may let go cheap. I ll check with him if interested. It is 3-phase presently. He has had it quite sometime and never used it. Its a lot more lathe than the one your looking at. Its going to be approx. 5 hrs north of you.

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Jerry

2179 posts in 2171 days


#5 posted 891 days ago

cabmaker, I would be definitely interested. Only I don’t have 3 phase. I have thought of investing in a converter in the future. Would it be possible to switch the motor out to a comparable single phase.

I love hearing from fellow cabinet makers, I especially like to hear when business is good. I have turned away some work also and currently doing good. So it is great to hear you are doing good. Thanks for the advice.

-- Jerry Nettrour, San Antonio, www.topqualitycabinets.net

View Roy Turbett's profile

Roy Turbett

18 posts in 2204 days


#6 posted 891 days ago

I don’t think the lathe in the picture is necessarily a good buy because it isn’t a brand name and parts may be hard to find. Also, its only 60” long which limits the size of the spindle you can turn. You can buy a new spindle lathe with a longer bed and a variable frequency drive at Harbor Freight for about the same price. You will find that tools and accessories such as duplicators and chucks frequently cost more than the lathe. I would look for a package deal. If you enjoy doing restorations, look at the OWWM site for ideas on which lathes make good canidates. You can also get alot of help if you get stuck.

View cabmaker's profile

cabmaker

1305 posts in 1433 days


#7 posted 891 days ago

Jerry, give me a day or two. He will likely have a single phase motor he could put on it. Lets first see what he wants for it. I ll be in touch.JB

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Jerry

2179 posts in 2171 days


#8 posted 891 days ago

thanks JB

-- Jerry Nettrour, San Antonio, www.topqualitycabinets.net

View Bill7255's profile

Bill7255

143 posts in 909 days


#9 posted 890 days ago

Jerry I would not buy this lathe. Looking at it it appears you need to move the motor/head stock instead of the tail stock. I don’t see a tool rest with that lathe either. That is a lot of weight to be moving on the pipe type rails. I have a PM 90 that was 3 phase I converted to single phase. Some of the PM like mine are easy to convert and some are not. I would suggest getting the PM if can be converted easily and it is a whole lot more of a lathe. You can still find face plates, chucks and the like for the PM. I would expect finding anything to fit the other lathe would be a challenge. The PM is a variable speed drive that is a big plus. A great lathe to learn on. Then if turning is what you want I would eventually upgrade to a PM3520 which is what I will do once the money tree blooms. But the PM does everything I need to do, just no bells and whistles. There are also some good Delta/Rockwell lathes out there that I am not familiar with.

You also need to get chisels a way to sharpen them. I use the Wolverine with a slow speed grinder. Don’t buy any chisels that are not HSS. Even cheap HSS are good to start with.

-- Bill R

View helluvawreck's profile

helluvawreck

15582 posts in 1491 days


#10 posted 890 days ago

Jerry, we own a large molding plant and we buy a lot of things on industrial auctions. I see a lot of good deals on industrial auctions since so many people are being forced out of business by this rough economy. I have seen a number of good deals on some very nice lathes even some duplicator lathes. I think that it might pay you to be patient and check things out. Perhaps you could get your hands on a small lathe in the mean time just to get the feel of things and satisfy your appetite while waiting for the right one to come along.

helluvawreck aka Charles
http://woodworkingexpo.wordpress.com/

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View Roy Turbett's profile

Roy Turbett

18 posts in 2204 days


#11 posted 890 days ago

Jerry -

Don’t be afraid of buying a lathe with a 3 phase motor because you can add a VFD (variable frequency drive) for about $150 and will be very happy with the added functionality. I own three Powermatic 90’s. Two of them are the later “jackshaft” version that were built from 1971 into the early 90’s. The original 3 phase motors were swapped out for single phase motors. Two of the three “heaters” in the starter have to be changed because each leg of a single phase motor draws more amps than the legs on a three phase motor. (You only have to change two of the heaters because there are only two legs on a single phase motor instead of three.) By the time you buy a new single phase motor and change the heaters you will have spent more than the cost of a VFD and have less less functionality. My other lathe is a non-jackshaft version that was built from 1955 to 1970. Because the motor is mounted in the lathe bed, most single phase motors won’t fit the space because the capacitor cover gets in the way. However, I was able to replace the original motor (it was seized beyond repair) with a three phase 1 hp motor by reversing the bells on the motor so the capacitor cover pointed down instead of up. The VFD allows me to slow the lathe to a crawl by reducing the Hz while still retaining all of the mechanical advantage of the reeves drive.

Roy

View Loren's profile

Loren

7387 posts in 2272 days


#12 posted 890 days ago

That lathe is a Shopsmith, missing many parts.
Magna is the same as Shopsmith.

It’s not selling because it’s an old Shopsmith missing
a bunch of parts and the price is high for that.

They are decent lathes and accessories are easy to get on
ebay, but changing speeds is not so easy compared to some
other lathes.

A duplicator is available I think. I don’t remember if
Shopsmith has an indexing head.

I prefer a 1×8 tpi spindle nose because Delta faceplates and
chucks fit. The Shopsmith spindle nose is a different size.

-- http://lawoodworking.com

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

3402 posts in 2585 days


#13 posted 890 days ago

Don’t wanna be a wet towel but, in a production environ I would buy rather than turn. Time is your profit unless I readin’ wrong. I use a lot of Osborne stuff and, after visiting their factory and seeing the reproducing lathes, there’s no way I can turn (no pun) out the products for the price.
I turn as well, but not for profit. (I wish.)
No connection. Just a well-served customer.
Bill

-- bill@magraphics.us

View cabmaker's profile

cabmaker

1305 posts in 1433 days


#14 posted 890 days ago

Jerry, I just made contact. Sorry no sale at this time. He told me he gave 200 bucks for it and knows he will have a hard time replacing it for that. It is a model 90. I ll stay on him, never know. JB

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