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By Davyc
I have in my shed a viceroy Educator which I am tempted to put a speed control system onto.....
Should I save my money and buy one of those record lathes for around £1000.......
What’s the views of some of you experienced turners or does anyone have any other ideas....
By minilathe22
I added variable speed control to a Union Graduate lathe. Bear in mind you will need a 3 phase motor, I don't believe single phase motors work with a VFD. Also if the motor is very old/has some issues, the variable speed may not work properly.

You should be able to convert it for alot less than £1000 though, and the Viceory lathes look solid to me. I don't know which Record lathe you are comparing it with though.

Obviously the advantage of the new lathe is it will be all setup ready to go. Adding a VFD to an older lathe is a bit of a project.
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By Jacob
Do you really need variable speed? Turners have managed for years with just 5 vbelt pulley sizes, or less.
By minilathe22
This is a good question. I find it very useful for large diameter projects and roughing out when the surface is uneven. I don't think it would be as much value for spindle turning.

You can program the vfd to spin the motor faster than its rated speed as well as slower, and you also get emergency stop (locks the spindle, like a lot of battery drillers do). You can also configure reverse.

It's not a must have by any means. Once setup it is a pleasure to use, and less time spent changing belts, although I do still change the belt based on diameter of work.
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By Trevanion
Jacob wrote:Do you really need variable speed? Turners have managed for years with just 5 vbelt pulley sizes, or less.

Not that I do much turning anymore, I would never go back to changing over the belt. It enables you to find the perfect sweet-spot speed with a dial and because of that it's much safer too because you're not having to put up with the machine vibrating because it's not at the right slow speed or the wood flying off because it's going too fast.

It's hard to find a new machine that has traditional 4/5 speed pulleys as they're just outdated and totally rubbish in comparison, the literal only thing they have going for them is that they're more reliable because there isn't anything electronically to go wrong.
By Davyc
Thanks for the quick replies.....
A bit about me, I took up turning after a stroke as a bit of therapy, both for the hands and probably more for the mind.
I have been using an old Axminster M900 which I enjoy using. I was fortunate enough a few months ago to be able to purchase the viceroy. I am finding having to bend down to change belts to alter the speed a bit of a pain, so that’s why I am thinking about fitting some sort of speed control so it cuts out the bending....
I also think that the ability to have a reverse function would be a good thing....
Thanks again.
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By Jacob
My only experience of variable speed was on a Hegner which I owned briefly. It worked, except at slow speeds it lost torque which made it near unusable.
I don't know if they all do that - I had imagined that the power input would be the same, giving the effect of a powerful low gear at slow speeds.
I've got 4 pulleys on my marvellous Arundel J4 senior. A lower one would be handy but not essential. Belt change very easy. No bending down!
n.b. buying old - look out for accessories, chisels, chucks etc can be worth a lot more than the vendor realises.
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By Lazurus
My VB36 has both variable speed control and pulley system, this ensures correct torque at every speed range, bear in mind it will handle up to 5` 9" diameter bowls it certainly needs to have some grunt at low rpm`s.
By Davyc
So. Today, after a lot of thought and humming an haaing etc I took the plunge and ordered a speed control setup through Newton Tesla. Great people to deal with and very helpful.
Hopefully get it all up an running next week.
Cheers for all the comments. Very helpful.