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Axminster Hobby AC370WL recommended?

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TomGW

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I am looking to buy my first lathe as I now have the luxury of enough space to better accommodate a proper workshop. I'm in Northern Ireland and there would appear to be very few used lathes for sale locally, so I am looking at what is available new. One of the attractions of Axminster is that delivery is included in the purchase, so it's an obvious advantage.
I am considering an AC370WL (previously ASVWL1000) and would appreciate any advice or alternative suggestions. I could spend a bit more if that would be advisable and appreciate that tools and accessories will add on a similar sum regardless of the actual cost of the lathe. One alternative suggested is a Union Graduate short bed with electronic variable speed control at £1k which is available locally.
The intention would be to turn bowls and similar, rather than spindles.
 

Doug B

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Axminster’s hobby range is rated for 2 hours use per week, I spend far more time at the lathe than that, when you’re learning you take longer to do things than once you’re proficient so personally I don’t think a hobby range lathe is a good idea, infact Axminster say this themselves on their site :-

“A hobby woodturner, for example, can easily overuse a Hobby rated machine purely by the number of hours they spend on their hobby”

The Graduate sounds a much better option if it suffices your needs
 

marcros

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I haven't looked, but I seem to recall that the hobby range had a low number of expected starts and stops within that 2 hours per week too. I don't know if I turn normally, but in turning simple things like I do, the lathe is often off and on to change speeds, chuck jaws, sanding, check progress etc.

I would always rather buy a better quality used machine than a new budget model. Other people would always rather buy new with warranty, so you pay your money and take your choice. If you have the £1k, for me it would be a no brainer. If you "only" have the £430 for the Axi, I would spend it on something used. I note that you are in NI, so that eBay may not be as useful to you.
 

Terry - Somerset

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I initially bought an AWVSL1000 as a first lathe but have now upgraded after around 5 years light use.

On paper the specification is good with 10 speeds, enough power, 14" over the bed, good for long spindles etc. No regrets but it is cheap for a reason:

1. It is built down to a price and all metalwork is less than well finished
2. You can swivel the headstock but in reality the tool rest is not rigid enough
3. Minimum speed is too high - blanks over 12" need to be fairly well balanced or the machine will vibrate uncontrollably
4. The cone drive is noisy compared to electronic controls
5. The headstock spindle thread is 1"x8. Most new machines are M33x3.5 - if you upgrade in the future you may find chucks etc will need replacement

I upgraded to a Record Coronet Herald after considering Axminster AT350WL.

If you need to keep the cost down, I would suggest secondhand if you can find one - although would personally go for a current machine for spares back up reasons etc (I know graduates are highly regarded but the last ones made will be 30 years old).
 

Spence

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I'd get the Graduate, I did have one but it was a little too heavy for my workshop floor and I was afaid it would give way!
 

gog64

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I’ve got the AC370WL (it’s Craft, not Hobby, they rebranded!) and have had great fun with it. I’ve made loads of bowls, platters, lamps, candlesticks, pens, etc etc. The largest bowls I’ve made were with the head turned 90 degrees as they were too big to fit over the bed. Worked great!

On the plus side, it’s fantastic, does everything I’ve asked it to do.

On the negative side. (1) I wish it had a hand wheel! (2) electronic speed control would be very nice (3) a bit more weight would be welcome. So, a good beginners machine IMO not a keeper for life.

To be fair, we’re all different. I’m quite happy to fettle a new machine and pretty much expect to have to do that. On the other hand, dealing with ancient industrial electrical motors & wiring is out of my comfort zone!

Sounds to me like you have two good choices.
 

TomGW

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Thanks to all. Food for thought. I will check out the Union Graduate, at least to get a better understanding of what it's like. Cost wise it is very similar to the Coronet Herald so would need to properly understand the pros and cons. If there's anything else I should be thinking of I'd be glad of suggestions.
 
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