Quantcast
  • We invite you to join UKWorkshop.
    Members can turn off viewing Ads!

Lathe progression?

UKworkshop.co.uk

Help Support UKworkshop.co.uk:

MarkDennehy

Established Member
Joined
29 Mar 2016
Messages
898
Reaction score
96
Location
Stepaside
So, I'm academically curious about this, to be clear. I'm not planning on buying a new lathe anytime soon, but I was hoping this year would see a new shed, so naturally you play the "I've won the lottery, now how will I make my dream shed" game. And I realised, I got the minilathe with very modest goals - literally to turn new handles for chisels, shaker drawer pulls, maybe someday a table leg, that sort of thing, and a year later I haven't turned one drawer pull but I've turned bowls and platters and yule decorations and even a tortoise. So I'm wondering - how did other people "progress" from lathe to lathe and how did they know what lathe to get after a minilathe; or do most people just stay with a minilathe forever? Surely everyone who tries this can't just wind up standing in front of a massive powermatic lathe turning 48" end grain hollow forms while wondering "how did I get here, I just needed a new handle for my half-inch chisel..."? What do people tend to move up to as a second lathe?
 

chunkymonkey

Member
Joined
22 Dec 2020
Messages
8
Reaction score
4
Location
cornwall
So, I'm academically curious about this, to be clear. I'm not planning on buying a new lathe anytime soon, but I was hoping this year would see a new shed, so naturally you play the "I've won the lottery, now how will I make my dream shed" game. And I realised, I got the minilathe with very modest goals - literally to turn new handles for chisels, shaker drawer pulls, maybe someday a table leg, that sort of thing, and a year later I haven't turned one drawer pull but I've turned bowls and platters and yule decorations and even a tortoise. So I'm wondering - how did other people "progress" from lathe to lathe and how did they know what lathe to get after a minilathe; or do most people just stay with a minilathe forever? Surely everyone who tries this can't just wind up standing in front of a massive powermatic lathe turning 48" end grain hollow forms while wondering "how did I get here, I just needed a new handle for my half-inch chisel..."? What do people tend to move up to as a second lathe?
 

chunkymonkey

Member
Joined
22 Dec 2020
Messages
8
Reaction score
4
Location
cornwall
So I started off last April , deciding I would like to try woodturning,! I bought a used NOVA 1624. for £150
This was a cracking lathe ,no digital speed control ,but 8 belt speeds .
As I was retiring I started to sell many of my workshop tools, And someone collecting their purchase fell in love with my lathe, so I sold it there and then for £350 .
I loved the Nova but had my thoughts on a big beast of a lathe as my timber stock is really large pieces!
So I invested my money in a Powermatic 3520 for £3200 with new chucks and jaws! 1 year old and clearly hardly used as it is in mint condition, I love it what an amazing bit of kit ,I am very proud and have built a room around it in my workshop ! so I will never want another lathe.
 

TRITON

Established Member
Joined
5 Oct 2014
Messages
370
Reaction score
200
Location
Scotland
Im still using me old axminster, with the extension.

At one point id 2. the Ax and a CL3.
Answered an ad on gumtree lathe, hardly used scheppach chippings extractor ,hardly used CL3 lathe plus the RP stand and 1/2 dozen good chisels...now to make you all sick ....£90 for all of it :oops:
Chap going into a smaller house and no room for it. What a guy, mine was the first reply, and he'd plenty after me, but was a gentleman and first come first served. He knew it was a steal, but had to go and go that day.

Wish id kept it, far more capable that the ax, with better swing and outboard capacities. When deciding which to keep and which to sell, i went with the ax due to its longer between centers.

That was one of my worse decisions :dunno:
 

johnnyb

Established Member
Joined
13 Nov 2006
Messages
1,146
Reaction score
106
Location
Biddulph staffs
I (like many) had a blue record cl2brought from tabwell tools in bakewell. at that time I'm sure they had 2 maybe 3 shops in bakewell! it became obvious that I needed a longer lathe but not really heavier like a graduate as I was making legs and spindles. eventually I brought a hegner that was oldish but heavily modified with variable speed. the bearings were dodgy so I changed them upgrading the front from a deep groove to a double angular contact. this was nearly twice as thick so required some fettling. now it runs at full tilt very quietly and it fulfils all my needs.
 

minilathe22

Established Member
UKW Supporter
Joined
31 Jan 2016
Messages
349
Reaction score
59
Location
Stevenage, UK
I think its wise to start with a smaller lathe, firstly in case you loose interest you have not invested so much, and also so that you learn and make all the mistakes with a less powerful machine which reduces the risk (a little). I started with Sheppach DMT450, 4" centre height, then I got a Union Graduate, and now recently purchased a 12" centre height lathe weighing over 600kg. For most people I think the size of the lathe is limited by what their other half will put up with!
 

TFrench

Established Member
Joined
6 Jul 2015
Messages
1,302
Reaction score
121
Location
Leics
I started with a myford ML8, tried putting a slightly out of balance piece on it and it danced across the workshop. Found a union graduate to restore, which was heavy enough but I found it a bit too low and I couldn't fit the blanks I wanted to work with on the inboard side. As luck would have it a wadkin RS6 came up on gumtree not long after so I snapped it up. Ended up clearing all the machines from a college workshop, selling them and winding up with a free lathe. Still wouldn't say no to a VB36 if I saw one cheap!
 

Lazurus

Established Member
Joined
22 Sep 2017
Messages
822
Reaction score
63
Location
Norfolk Broads
I had a Axminster ML900 for 20 years and learnt as much as I could on tools technique and what I wanted to do. I now have a VB36 which ticked all the boxes for me, but I needed to use the Axi to discover the wants and needs for the future.VB36.jpg
 

Sachakins

Is near enough good enough?
Joined
4 Apr 2020
Messages
215
Reaction score
112
Location
Liverpool
Bought a discounted aldi workzone lathe, wasn't sure i would stick to hobby. 18 months later moved up to a 36" used record power DML SH 36 MK2, a lovely lathe, 24 months later moved up and treated myself to a new coronet Herald, as didn’t ever need to turn long stuff, more into bowl turning. Had it about 6 months now and absolutely loving it.
 

KingAether

Eternal noob
Joined
14 Jan 2020
Messages
113
Reaction score
47
Location
Dorset.
Similar story to everyone else; I started with what is still my current lathe, a mini from axminster i got used from a gentleman who had to upgrade to variable speed due to health problems. Its done me well though not used a lot now as half of my wood stock is bigger than the lathe and i currently have a local Wadkin BZL and Union Grad to choose between to upgrade in the next few weeks
 

Retired

Established Member
Joined
24 Jun 2012
Messages
167
Reaction score
170
Location
Fenay Bridge. Huddersfield.
Hi,

Huge engineering lathes at the pit in the early 60's when I reached 16 and was allowed to use them after firstly spending 6 months on a NCB training course.

At home a home made woodturning lathe then up to a very nice Record Power DML 24" bought at Tabwell Tools where my lovely wife paid £200 for it as a Christmas prezzie for me when money was really tight only for a week later Tabwell dropped the price to £100 which was soul destroying; I still have this delightful lathe and can recommend A DML 24" to anyone as a starter lathe; I've owned two Union Jubilee's; a huge industrial Dominion and currently have a fully rebuilt and much modified Union Graduate which doubles up for metal spinning.

My metal turning lathes were firstly a very old lathe of unknown make kindly given to me by the CEO at work; a Colchester Triumph which eventually proved much too big for my workshop; assorted Myford's; A mini Clarke which I blew up then heavily modified to servo motor and counter shaft allowing it to take a decent cut without self destructing; current metal lathe is a beautiful extremely rare floor standing German Lorch Schmidt precision lathe I've fully restored and upgraded to Poly V drive 3 phase through a VFD; this VFD also powers my Graduate with some fancy switching and remote controls.

I've now just got the DML; Graduate and Lorch when I've owned up to five lathes at a time; I'm addicted to lathes and there's no known cure.

I've posted the pictures on other threads a few times but here they are again.

Workshop_0001.JPG


My extremely rare Lorch Schmidt. Roll on warm weather then I can declutter.

Workshop_0002.JPG


The new drive on the Lorch only involving the drilling of one hole hence the Lorch remains original and can be put back to as was supplied from the factory.

Workshop_0005.JPG


My heavily modified Graduate; the wall cupboard with the white door houses the VFD which power both the Graduate & Lorch; both lathes having identical 3 phase 1.5hp inverter rated motors.

I'll never be without lathes and am looking forward to playing with them this year. From 16 to now 73 and still never bored of lathework.

Kind regards, Colin.
 

KingAether

Eternal noob
Joined
14 Jan 2020
Messages
113
Reaction score
47
Location
Dorset.
@Retired Do you have any experience with the BZL ? Im finding it a bit of a job finding someone who can give a experienced opinion on the Graduate vs BZL decision, they seem largely the same but due to lockdown i dont have a chance to get hands on with them. Thank you
 

deema

Established Member
Joined
14 Oct 2011
Messages
2,281
Reaction score
98
Location
chester
For woodworking I started with and still have a Union Graduate (UG). After reading, and looking I settled on a UG. I wasn’t sure what turning I wanted to do, or whether I would continue with it. However, I wanted a lathe that would both be capable of doing anything I was likely to attempt as well as having the advantage of being able to sell it for at least what I paid for it if the need arises.
The UG is a very heavy lathe, splits into 3 pieces for transport, for anything big your turning / before It’s been trued up mass is your friend.
There are plenty out there, spares are still available, and they don't depreciate.
For metal work I started with and still have a Cholchester Student. At some point I’m sure I will be looking at a full CNC machine something like Haas or a manufacturer refurbished Mazak.
 

Garno

Grumpy Old Git
Joined
21 Oct 2017
Messages
1,264
Reaction score
225
Location
Dronfield
@Retired with your Lorch Schmidt I notice that the belt is on the middle pully, How do you move it to one of the other pullies and keep the tension? Does the motor move or something similar? ( Genuine question)
 

Retired

Established Member
Joined
24 Jun 2012
Messages
167
Reaction score
170
Location
Fenay Bridge. Huddersfield.
Hi,

@Retired Do you have any experience with the BZL ? Im finding it a bit of a job finding someone who can give a experienced opinion on the Graduate vs BZL decision, they seem largely the same but due to lockdown i dont have a chance to get hands on with them. Thank you
Thanks for asking ; unfortunately I can't compare for you because I've never run a Wadkin BZL lathe; however I can state the big Dominion wood turning lathe I owned was a right pain to use; it didn't have a clutch and because of its size it took ages to slow down and come up to speed; it was 3 phase 415V; I had bought a Transwave 7.5hp static converter and detested this converter with a passion it being extremely poor on starting power under load and if on the Colchester taking a heavy cut it used to chatter its head off; I was forever adjusting the Transwave control between machines; in the end I got rid of my big 3 phase machines just because of the converter. I did however modify the Dominion adding a long lever at the front; when I pulled the lever to horizontal it would lock and physically raise the motor hence the drive belt was allowed to slip thereby affording a crude clutch letting the motor run but being able to stop the mandrel. Both the Colchester and Dominion were simply too big and with the poor Transwave winding me up I sold the lot.

My Graduate is a joy to own and use; I can state what it's like to own my Graduate but it came at a cost and needed a comprehensive rebuild and heavy upgrade. The Graduate came out of an academy where it had been badly abused virtually reducing it to scrap; I like buying old cast iron machines in such condition because I get them much cheaper and being a mechanical engineer with a decent workshop it's no problem for me to restore any such machine.

I replaced the headstock bearings and drive belt; next I replaced the 3/4hp single phase motor with a top quality 3 phase inverter rated Brook motor at 1.5hp. I already had a VFD I'd bought and used on my Jubilee; here's the type of VFD I have mine is a 3hp but runs a 1.5hp motor happily with parameter adjustments.

1611594547439.png



Once set up with a VFD then forget about belt changing for speed just turn the dial for full variable speed also forward & reverse aren't a problem; these VFD's make a motor virtually talk but for a novice they are extremely complicated to connect and adjust the parameters. The Graduate will be a better machine due to availability of parts through places such as eBay but for me I can make missing parts so it's not a problem.

I'm sure you love your Graduate deema and if it's in good condition it will last many lifetimes with the odd change of bearings; like the Wadkin the Graduate is heavy cast iron and for general use won't even need bolting to the floor it being very steady indeed; I'm 6' tall so used raising blocks to make it 3" taller to suit me. I wanted a Graduate for many years often drooling over a brand new Graduate at John Boddy's but at around £3,300 I could dream on. I wouldn't turn my nose up though at anything with the Wadkin name on it.

@Retired with your Lorch Schmidt I notice that the belt is on the middle pully, How do you move it to one of the other pullies and keep the tension? Does the motor move or something similar? ( Genuine question)
Actually a good question Garno and if you don't ask you'll never know so ask away I'm always happy to help if possible. As I've explained both my Graduate and Lorch lathes are powered through one VFD; I've never seen two lathes connected like this but I like to experiment; working at Brook Motors here in Huddersfield for 24 years before retiring I was always on the lookout for motors and workmates too kept me updated; the research department often tested brand new motors putting them through load test etc. then the motor still in excellent condition would be scrapped of no further use; one day a workmate told me two such motors were awaiting the scrap wagon so I made it my business to visit the scrap area and retrieve both these are the two motors I now have on my lathes; the motors are inverter rated 3 phase 1.5hp 3 phase; all I had to do was ask for permission to bring such motors home and it was always granted on the understanding I promised never to sell any of the motors; I've still got a good selection of these motors and I also used to be allowed to raid the shaft department bringing home lots of both mild and stainless bar ends that motor shafts were made from.

With both motors being identical it occurred to me that with a bit of experimenting I might be able to run both motors through the one VFD so I set about sorting out the wiring and switching; I'm not a sparky so took lots of care not to electrocute myself; I have plenty of electrical test equipment having restored vintage valve radios for ten years so I knew the dangers of mains electricity. I encountered many problems and in the end after hours of frustration I found the main problem wasn't my circuits or switching after all it was "cross talk" I had connected remote controls to both lathes arranged allowing one lathe at a time to be used by selective switching; the low voltage signal cables were picking up cross talk because they were too near the power cables; I tried CAT 5 cables but after lots of more hassle and frustration in the end re-routed and used CAT 6 cables which to date have cured the problem.

Please don't ask for circuit diagrams because as I say I'm not a sparky and I don't want to electrocute anyone; it's so long ago too that I've forgotten a lot of the details but running two identical motors from a single VFD one at a time definitely can be done.

Lathes_0002.JPG


Wiring to the VFD.

Lathes_0003.JPG


The switch that switches signals between the lathes. Middle position is stop but then up or down selects which lathe needs to be controlled.

Lathes_0004.JPG


Here's the Lorch remote giving vairable speed with forward/reverse and start/stop.

Lathes_0005.JPG


Here's the power rotary switch allowing power to be switched between lathes.

Lathes_0006.JPG


The VFD in its dust proof enclosure is so quiet I added the power on warning lamp then I don't leave the VFD switched on in error.

Lathes_0007.JPG


Here can be seen lathe selection switches the big switch for power the small switch for remote controls.

Lathes_0008.JPG



Here are the Graduate remote controls. As I say I'm not a sparky but I've picked up a lot of knowledge over a lifetime and no way would I ever encourage anyone to follow my lead because a simple mistake could be the last mistake you'll ever make; mains electricity doesn't take prisoners.

So to answer your question regarding speed changing on the Lorch the drive belt remains on the middle pulley full time and I just turn the remote VFD control to change speed from stop to full speed; it's all so easy once set up but setting up is the really difficult part; I did it the hard way but connecting a single motor to the VFD is easier.

All this work restoring and modifying both lathes with comprehensive full rebuilds and modifications took quite a while but now both are set up they are a delight to own and use.

I often say I'm an old fashioned dinosaur but I was taught the old fashioned way and with deep respect for survival and safety whilst using my head and hands to make or repair anything;

Kind regards, Colin.
 
Last edited:

CaptainBarnacles

Established Member
Joined
18 Aug 2013
Messages
214
Reaction score
15
Location
Forest of Dean
I (like many) had a blue record cl2brought from tabwell tools in bakewell. at that time I'm sure they had 2 maybe 3 shops in bakewell! it became obvious that I needed a longer lathe but not really heavier like a graduate as I was making legs and spindles. eventually I brought a hegner that was oldish but heavily modified with variable speed. the bearings were dodgy so I changed them upgrading the front from a deep groove to a double angular contact. this was nearly twice as thick so required some fettling. now it runs at full tilt very quietly and it fulfils all my needs.

Not to derail this thread but Tabwell Tools, oh my goodness, what a jewel of a tool shop that was. I spent many a happy hour in there in my younger days. I miss it now that I don't live in that neck-of-the-woods (Is it still open?). Mrs Barnacles and I (before she was Mrs B o_O) had a mucky weekend at the Rutland Arms Hotel in Bakewell. She was not impressed when I kept sneaking off to Tabwells!
 
Top