Woodturning Lathe Speed “Wandering”


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New member
19 Jan 2023
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Hi there. Im new to this forum and hoping for some friendly advice, please.

I have a Silverdrive Statesman Woodturning lathe (I was told when I bought it second-hand 10 years ago that it was the machine used and reviewed by Mike Swain back in the mists of time). It’s direct drive with a massive 3-phase motor running off a 13 amp plug via a VFD (think that’s what it’s called) controlled by a little control box with a potentiometer, small circuit board and read-out, all running off a 13 amp plug on a normal domestic circuit - like the Poolewood Euro lathes (I understand Silverdrive made for Poolewood and there was a big falling out way back - have tried contacting but both companies no longer in business). It’s been a great machine, very smooth running and no matter what I’ve done with it it hasn’t skipped a beat and the highly powerful motor purrs along hardly breaking into a sweat.

But just recently it will no longer run in reverse and now the speed is “wandering” down and back up to the speed set via the potentiometer on the control box. Anyone got any thoughts on the problem here. There’s not a lot of options - motor, control box/pot, VFD. Or does anyone know the right person to come and diagnose/fix the problem - I’m in Sevenoaks, Kent - I’ve searched the net but not sure what sort of person I’m looking for given the mix of electronics and motor.
Maybe give Scott and Sargent a call at Horsham. They may have a technician that can look at it.

If you're lucky it might be just a failed reversing switch and dirty/failed speed potentiometer which might be a cheap fix. If not it could be terminal :-(
I have the same issue of speed wandering on occasions with my Statesman 240. It is generally caused by the ingress of sawdust into the speed control box (no idea how it gets in there as I have sealed it round with duct tape). Just undo the box and give it a blow or gentle brush out - with the lathe power off!
Hope this works for you.

Thanks, Dave - I gave it a go today - there really wasn't a lot of dust in the control box as it's screwed up tight, but I blew it out anyway and....I now have reverse restored and the lathe appears to spin consistently, without the wandering back and forth as it had previously. I haven't turned anything yet, but no reason to think it won't work as the problem was there whether under load or not. Thanks for your help. Regards. John