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Rockwell/ Delta Model 46-400 lathe 1960's vintage recommendations

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Forum topic by woodman44 posted 11-09-2013 05:06 AM 2853 views 0 times favorited 20 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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woodman44

39 posts in 1378 days


11-09-2013 05:06 AM

Topic tags/keywords: lathe rockwell delta model 46-400

Does anyone have any experience or knowledge about this lathe? It has a 12” swing ( 16” over the gap) x 38” bed and variable speed 300 – 3,000 rpm with 1 HP motor and wired for 230 volts.

This would be my first lathe. I plan to turn bowls from logs and salt & peeper mills to start.

Any helpful comments are appreciated.

Ken

-- Ken, Michigan


20 replies so far

View Rick M.'s profile

Rick M.

4131 posts in 1067 days


#1 posted 11-09-2013 07:58 AM

I only know them by reputation of being exceptional machines.

-- |Statistics show that 100% of people bitten by a snake were close to it.|

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Wildwood

1097 posts in 822 days


#2 posted 11-09-2013 12:40 PM

Ken, this Delta and Gen 260 you are interested in are great lathes. Only way to know if any used lathe any good is go look at them. See and hear lathe run from slowest to highest speed without lots of strange noises. With lathe off, checking spindle is tight and rotates freely, no side to side movement. With drive center in headstock, live center in tailstock check alignment. Dose the tailstock lock down tightly and quill operate smoothly. If see worn belts, may as well think about bearing replacement as well.

Missing or broken components (tailstocks, tool rest base) can be hard to find. I know they do not make the Gen 260 anymore, think it is true of the Delta.

Price should always be based upon condition. Be wary of sellers that have no time for you to test drive the lathe or willing to negotiate.

While quality of both lathes superior to most of China imports sold today there is no warranty or ready source of parts or components. My way of saying would be hard press to almost new lathe price.

Right now can buy a Jet 1221 lathe for $800, lathe speed on that lathe is EVS vice Reeves drive. That lathe will turn everything you want. So those old lathes in fair to good conditions should not cost that much!

-- Bill

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Rick M.

4131 posts in 1067 days


#3 posted 11-09-2013 06:17 PM

The Jet 1221 is not in the same league as a 46-400, it’s like comparing a benchtop saw to a Unisaw.

-- |Statistics show that 100% of people bitten by a snake were close to it.|

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Wildwood

1097 posts in 822 days


#4 posted 11-09-2013 08:56 PM

Rick M, you are right Jet is not in the same league as either Delta or General lathes Ken has asked about. Still, Ken can turn everything he mentioned on that Jet. Point trying to make all about dollars, warranties, vise buying where is as is!

I do know Ken has been asking about used Nova 1624-44. I know reconditioned Nova 1624-44 sell for about $950. Have seen a few used 1624 lathes selling for $750. A new Jet might be in the ballpark for a first lathe.

Without knowing how well Delta or General actually run, or if any optional tools thrown in cannot advise someone buy one or the other.

This lathe on E-Bay at the right price definitely deserves his attention.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Delta-Rockwell-12-Heavy-Duty-Wood-Lathe/121210149282?_trksid=p2047675.m1850&_trkparms=aid%3D222002%26algo%3DSIC.FIT%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D11%26meid%3D2587764116539157495%26pid%3D100011%26prg%3D1005%26rk%3D4%26rkt%3D5%26sd%3D350805748089%26

http://www.ereplacementparts.com/delta-46400-type-1634-wood-lathe-parts-c-3275_9659_12797.html

-- Bill

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woodman44

39 posts in 1378 days


#5 posted 11-10-2013 12:23 AM

Rick & Bill,

The lathe on Ebay is the lathe I was asking about. Actually I found it on Craigslist before making my inquiry to the forum. It is about 1+ hour from me and his asking price is $ 695. I don’t think it has any additional accessories such as chucks, gouges, etc.

Is this a fair price if it checks out mechanically? What about the 230 volt electrical, will it operate on my residential 110 volt circuitry or will I have to invest in a converter? If so, do you know what I should budget for the conversion?

I assume that Rockwell/Delta 46-400 and the General 260 are significantly better that the Jet 1221, correct?

Thanks,
Ken

-- Ken, Michigan

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Planeman40

484 posts in 1448 days


#6 posted 11-10-2013 12:51 AM

If you live in a residential area in the USA you should have access to 110 volts and 220 volts SINGLE PHASE. If the motor on the lathe says THREE PHASE you will not be able to run the lathe except in an industrial area with THREE PHASE current unless you install a phase converter (kinda expensive). If the motor says SINGLE PHASE 220 volts, you can run it off a 220 volt stove or washer-dryer circuit or have an electrician install an circuit for you.

For what it is worth, a residential 220 volt circuit is simply made up of two 110 volt circuits that are 180 degrees out of phase.

Planeman

-- Always remember: It is a mathematical certainty that half the people in this country are below average in intelligence!

View Rick M.'s profile

Rick M.

4131 posts in 1067 days


#7 posted 11-10-2013 02:10 AM

A 46-400 is a great lathe for someone willing to work on vintage machines. Looks like it’s been repainted and may have been partially restored. I would quiz the seller to see if it has problems. After thinking about it I’m pretty sure these are the same lathes we used in my HS shop class, if so, they were awesome machines. But keep in mind they are 50-60 years old and may require bearings or replacement control cards. Lathes are simple though. It’s not the kind of machine you buy just because you want a lathe but tuned up it will be the last lathe you buy (unless you need a bigger one). As for price, who knows. When you get into vintage machines there are a lot of variables.

I don’t know anything about the General.

-- |Statistics show that 100% of people bitten by a snake were close to it.|

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TheDane

3860 posts in 2350 days


#8 posted 11-10-2013 01:51 PM

We had one of these in the shop where I took a woodturning class a few years ago. It was a solid machine, but they were always having problems with the Reeves drive (some students didn’t get that you can’t change speed without the lathe running).

About 6 months ago, our local tech school was cleaning out a garage where they had some old equipment stored. Since they have contemporary machines (8-PM3520B’s and 4-Delta 46-460’s) there was no place for it in the shop. They put it up for sale as surplus equipment … one of our club members bought it for $50. Last I heard was that they still don’t have it running yet.

The Jet Wildwood mentioned and the Delta 46-460 (which is what I have) are newer technology machines. In my opinion it comes down to what you want to do: spend your time working on an old machine, or spend your time spinning wood.

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

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Wildwood

1097 posts in 822 days


#9 posted 11-10-2013 08:44 PM

Planeman40 answered the electrical side of your question. Definitely need an electrician to check your circuit breaker box. Advise you whether lathe motor can run on house current. You could always swap out motors, but not sure worth the cost or smartest move.

Not sure, this Delta lathe worth $695 if have to include upgrading house electricity or swapping out motors in total cost. It would be true for that General 260 lathe.

The only inexpensive starter level full size would recommend you take a look at if have a store near you.

http://www.harborfreight.com/12-inch-x-33-3-8-eighth-inch-wood-lathe-with-reversible-head-34706.html

You can read reviews posted at the site. Yes, change speeds while lathe is running (reeves drive). Will have to reinforce the stand if want to turn out of balanced pieces.

-- Bill

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woodman44

39 posts in 1378 days


#10 posted 11-11-2013 03:28 PM

Bill,

Thanks for your great advice. I will talk to my electrician that wired a 220 outlet for me in my garage for my wife’s pottery kiln to see if the Delta lathe which supposedly has 230 volt circuitry is compatible with my existing plug. If I need additional wiring or a different motor, I will take your suggestion and pass on the Delta 46-400.

With regard to the HF lathe you mentioned. Actually I bought one and I was going to return it before I even open the box based on a member of my turning club that advised against it. He said that even though it looks like a Jet clone, it does not come close to the quality control and some of the components that Jet lathes have. It requires many more adjustments and other somewhat annoying issues based on one they tried out in the club in the past.

Ken

-- Ken, Michigan

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Wildwood

1097 posts in 822 days


#11 posted 11-11-2013 08:50 PM

Have to understand, many woodworkers cannot stand HF tools. Some have actual experience and others passing along what they have heard. Like, any China made lathe old HF 34706, you either love or hate the thing.

While have no problems with reeves drive lathes made in North America, think Asian made reeves drive lathes not worth having. Only exception is the HF 34706 because it is so inexpensive.

Delta, Jet, Grizzly, Laguna, and others reeves drive lathes over priced today. Delta stopped selling their 1442 lathe. For more than couple years Jet did not sell their 1236 lathe, now will pay little over $1,000 for it with shipping. When Jet 1442 sold for less than $1,000 with stand not a bad lathe. Few years back could buy one without a stand for around $1,100 before shipping, that is no longer available. I do not see the Jet 1442 now selling for $1430 with stand plus shipping a great starter lathe.

If HF 34706 not the lathe for you take it back, and do not look back.

Good luck with your search!

-- Bill

View Rick M.'s profile

Rick M.

4131 posts in 1067 days


#12 posted 11-11-2013 11:19 PM

I’d rather spend my money on a vintage lathe even if it needed some work rather than a HF lathe. Don’t mistake this for bashing but machines that cheap are going to have niggling problems that decrease your level of satisfaction. If something is just a tiny bit aggravating every time you use it then pretty soon you aren’t going to use it at all. Better to have all the aggravation up front (if there is any) but have a rock solid dependable machine that will be a joy to use. That’s just me though.

Have you learned anything else about this or the other lathes yet?

-- |Statistics show that 100% of people bitten by a snake were close to it.|

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woodman44

39 posts in 1378 days


#13 posted 11-12-2013 02:27 AM

The owner did repaint it and I had him check the alignment of the head/tail stock and that checked out OK. I won’t be able to check anything else until I see it myself and power it up.

I am leaning toward the Delta 46-400 unless I find something better in the next 5 days. I did take back the HF 34706. Now I would like to find out the fair market value of that Delta to see if $ 695 is in line with others in a similar condition.

If anyone out there knows of a resource for the value older equipment like the 46-400 please chime in.

All the best.

-- Ken, Michigan

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Rick M.

4131 posts in 1067 days


#14 posted 11-12-2013 04:28 AM

owwm.org is your best bet.

-- |Statistics show that 100% of people bitten by a snake were close to it.|

View Rick M.'s profile

Rick M.

4131 posts in 1067 days


#15 posted 11-17-2013 10:48 PM

That lathe sold for $760.00. Did you buy it?

-- |Statistics show that 100% of people bitten by a snake were close to it.|

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