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General International maxi vs. nova comet II

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Forum topic by Chris posted 04-03-2015 03:49 AM 1288 views 0 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Chris

68 posts in 839 days


04-03-2015 03:49 AM

Topic tags/keywords: lathe reviews general maxi nova comet

looking to purchase a lathe as i have some decent store credit at a local place. Looks like my choices are between the following:

General international for $900 CAD

or the Nova Comet II for $550 CAD

I have done some research and find the info not leading me to a decision. Any suggestions or past experiences would be good to hear. This is going to be a purchase that I hope will allow me to turn pens, small bowls, knobs, ring “boxes” and other type of beginer stuff.

I am leaning towards the General as it seems to be a heavier build, but if the comet will work for what i am looking at – i can use the extra $ and get some chucks, chisels, etc.

Thanks in advance.

cj

-- designer by education, wood working hack by choice


16 replies so far

View Wildwood's profile

Wildwood

1887 posts in 1602 days


#1 posted 04-03-2015 10:35 AM

Last time Canadian asked about a Delta & General lathe he bought Delta verus buying local!

Will see threads & reviews like this on most Asian mini/maxi lathes including GI.

http://www.penturners.org/forum/f30/comet-ll-sped-control-problem-130963/

They ask a lot of money GI mini/maxi lathes here so not sure competitive with other brands in US. Found one review here from US buyer, very happy with his GI maxi. For what you want to do that Nova or even new Rikon maxi would work.

-- Bill

View Kaleb the Swede's profile

Kaleb the Swede

1732 posts in 1436 days


#2 posted 04-03-2015 10:54 AM

The difference I would see is that the General can pivot the head to turn outboard I believe. Other than that it’s just the money difference.

-- Just trying to build something beautiful

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Chris

68 posts in 839 days


#3 posted 04-03-2015 11:34 AM

Good points. I am learning towards the General as I read someone once suggested find what you can afford an then go step up. I’m just wondering if the general is really one step up for the price

I am also a bit concerned with buying used as at least new you know no abuse is there and you have a warranty.

-- designer by education, wood working hack by choice

View LeeMills's profile

LeeMills

273 posts in 768 days


#4 posted 04-03-2015 01:12 PM

I do not know anything about the General but I have the Comet2 and have been pleased with it.
Tools Plus has it for $479 for the lathe and G3 chuck.
If you really don’t want the chuck you can buy the lathe only for $485.
http://www.tools-plus.com/nova-lathes.html

-- We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. Albert Einstein

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Chris

68 posts in 839 days


#5 posted 04-05-2015 02:42 AM

upon further review it seems the only difference is the general is a bit heavier and seems to have the 360 swing which could allow be to run larger bowls…

but the nova has a great street rep as being a solid machine – yep, getting no closer to making a decision :)

-- designer by education, wood working hack by choice

View waho6o9's profile

waho6o9

7179 posts in 2044 days


#6 posted 04-05-2015 03:44 AM

The General makes the Nova look like a toy.

I’d buy the General it looks durable plus the tail stock is stout.

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Rick M

7934 posts in 1847 days


#7 posted 04-06-2015 04:33 AM

I do not own either one. General International usually takes a bashing quality-wise, and Wood Magazine rated them lowest in their midi-lathe reviews last year. My woodworking club owns a bunch of those Comet II. The main gripe seems to be something about stripping threads but they never gave specifics so I don’t know what threads or whether it was a quality problem or a ‘I have to tighten every bolt until it squalls like a cat in heat or someone might question my manhood’ problem. But if I were to buy a new midi lathe it would be a Delta.

http://lumberjocks.com/topics/65909

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

View DavidQ's profile

DavidQ

2 posts in 573 days


#8 posted 05-17-2015 11:57 AM

Hi, I new to the Lumberjocks forum. I bought a Nova Comet a couple of months ago and was having a ton of fun with it until I smelling something funny and then it quit. I opened up the motor control unit and found what looks like a capacitor (20 mm round by about 7 mm thick and wires soldered into the circuit board) and burned up. I think the problem was when the surge button was installed, it twisted the “capacitor” (NTC thermistor to be precise) so the wire leads shorted.

Anyway Teknatools is a bit of a nightmare to deal with. Slow to answer emails, different people don’t talk to each other and I am still with a dead lathe and no resolution so far. It’s been a week, but I am in the middle of turning 10 green bowels for and event in July and now you all can understand the hurry.

If anyone on the blog has a Comet II, would you be willing to open the motor control unit and get me the specification on the NTC thermistor? It’s only 7 screws and takes about 1 minute. I can read NTC and maybe a 20. But the rest is burned. It should read something like NTC and then 5D-20 or similar. It’s about a 20 cent part that I can get online and could try getting the lathe running why Teknatools figures out how to send me some new parts. If I am not specific enough, I can send photos.

Thanks!

David

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LeeMills

273 posts in 768 days


#9 posted 05-17-2015 12:28 PM

I check my daughters and found nothing as you describe (20mm X 7mm).
The only round thing was about 25mm diameter by about 50mm tall. It is purple with A1128 and 110V/550W.
This is the first production run and they may have changed parts when they made modifications.

From my experience it is best to phone the service center. I have had emails never answered and others answered in less than 15 minutes. I have always gotten good service via phone.

-- We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. Albert Einstein

View Andre's profile

Andre

1023 posts in 1273 days


#10 posted 05-17-2015 02:40 PM

Do you have a Busy Bee in your area? I have been thinking of updating my old Craftsman Lathe and will probable go with a Craftex from Busy Bee. They have a couple of table top lathes with a price that is very competitive IMO.

-- Lifting one end of the plank.

View DavidQ's profile

DavidQ

2 posts in 573 days


#11 posted 05-18-2015 11:34 AM

LeeMills, thanks for looking. My guess is that they made these comet lathes in a variety of ways depending upon where the got the motors from. I have added some pictures that might help. The NTC thermistor is resting on the motor and you can see the brush port. I went when where the flash reflection on the circuit board is.

David


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LeeMills

273 posts in 768 days


#12 posted 05-18-2015 01:24 PM

I took another look here and still do not see it. There is a fuse in mine close to where you are showing.
I would ask Teknatool/Nova for a full control box.
For myself I would not try to disassembly and solder a new one in. Hopefully they will get it to you priority.

-- We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. Albert Einstein

View Wildwood's profile

Wildwood

1887 posts in 1602 days


#13 posted 05-18-2015 06:59 PM

Teknatool tells you to contact you dealer with any problems first! Even if bought a recondition lathe would do that. Doubt you will get an even swap but at least worth a shot. They may have better source to contact to get you back up and running.

Agree with replacing the whole motor control unit verus fixing one part of it. You get a free replacement if still under warranty. There are people that have replaced that module more than once under warranty.

Many people working at customer service get confused easily so just stay calm and ask for a new motor control unit.

Once motor control unit no longer under warranty you can trouble shoot those old ones and build one using old & new components.

-- Bill

View LeeMills's profile

LeeMills

273 posts in 768 days


#14 posted 05-18-2015 08:51 PM

I guess I have been lucky with Teknatool compared to Bill. I have never had a problem with service and have never contacted the “dealer” for anything (nor been asked to).
Most of my calls were for general info or to order.
When I purchased the Comet2 UPS tore up the box corner greatly and the door was cracked at the top hinge. I called Nova to order a new one and get the price to file a claim with UPS. They said “Don’t worry about it” and I had the replacement in two days at no charge.
With the pics I can’t see why they would object to anything.
Again, just my experience with them over 6+ years with the 1624, Comet2, and seven chucks.

-- We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. Albert Einstein

View Wildwood's profile

Wildwood

1887 posts in 1602 days


#15 posted 05-19-2015 04:13 PM

Lee Mills don’t own a Nova Comet II, trying to explain to David better to work with Teknatool until warranty runs out. Merely agreeing with your previous post, yes you have been lucky right out of the box.

Unfortunately David is one of many that have motor control issues! Teknatool has been hit or miss responding to those issues. Regrettably must stay calm and persistent to get CS to help!

Still waiting for Chris to tell us what he bought!

-- Bill

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