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Thread: PM impressions

  1. #1
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    PM impressions

    Saw my first PowerMatic lathe in the flesh (well...in the mustard) yesterday. My woodturning club had it's meeting at our president's shop and he used his new PM for the demo. First impression: massive and real solid. When running it seemed strange how the speed built up, like a jet engine revving. Weird. Ran very smoothly. I was turned off by the short rails. I know extensions can be purchased. But this seemed restrictive. The live center was about 6" long, effectively making working length shorter and with a chuck, there wasn't much left with a larger piece. The headstock doesn't swivel for outboard turning. (my Grizzly does ) This means the tail stock must be removed, headstock slid down to work from end. That restricts placement in a shop which might not be feasible for everyone. I would have to rearrange my entire shop. Then to reset a piece, headstock must be slid back, tail stock replaced. Seems limiting. The headstock morse taper wouldn't stay in place, hammering required frequently. Seems chintzy for a, supposedly, high grade machine. But, when/if time comes for me to upgrade the PM will still be on list of those to consider. Although, the company should be prepared to hear me wail mightily if my MT keeps flying out of the running headstock.

  2. #2
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    Something isn't right with that MT for sure. I have put them in by hand and then couldn't get them out without some force. Sounds like that one (1) was not machined correctly or (2) he didn't install it correctly and it spun, damaging the taper.

    I wouldn't put up with that out of new machine for a minute!

    Jeff
    God grant me the senility to forget the people I never liked anyway,
    the good fortune to run into the ones I do,
    and the eyesight to tell the difference.


    Kudzu Craft Lightweight Skin on frame Kayaks.
    Custom built boats and Kits

  3. #3
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    Dec 2006
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    Frank,

    I too don' have that MT2 problem you described.

    You only need a swiveling headstock if the swing isn't big enough. Can your Grizzly turn 20" ? . If you are not planning on turning bigger than 20" your point is moot. BTW, I will take a sliding headstock over swiveling anyday.

    Removing the tailstock is indeed a pain (especilly due to its weight) but one that I am willing to pay for the flexibility.
    -------------------------

    Dario

    http://www.aoturnings.com/

  4. #4
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    [QUOTE=Frank Fusco;18379]. First impression: massive and real solid.

    1. When running it seemed strange how the speed built up, like a jet engine revving. Weird.

    1A. I think this is a function of the speed controller.

    2A. Think of it as a portability issue, its much easier to move it if you first remove some of the mass.

    3.The live center was about 6" long, effectively making working length shorter and with a chuck, there wasn't much left with a larger piece.

    3A. I don't have an answer for this accept to question, is the LC more heavy duty the others?


    4. The headstock doesn't swivel for outboard turning. (my Grizzly does ) This means the tail stock must be removed, headstock slid down to work from end. That restricts placement in a shop which might not be feasible for everyone.

    4A. Doesn't this make for a much stronger mounting for the headstock?


    5.The headstock morse taper wouldn't stay in place, hammering required frequently. Seems chintzy for a, supposedly, high grade machine. But, when/if time comes for me to upgrade the PM will still be on list of those to consider.

    5A. Maybe the MT need to be clean, run a little emory cloth inside the MT & over the outside of the taper it may have some fine burs.

    "Forget the flat stuff slap something on the spinny thing and lets go, we're burning daylight" Bart Leetch
    "If it ain't round you may be a knuckle dragger""Turners drag their nuckles too, they just do it at a higher RPM"Bart

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dario Octaviano View Post
    Frank,

    I too don' have that MT2 problem you described.

    You only need a swiveling headstock if the swing isn't big enough. Can your Grizzly turn 20" ? . If you are not planning on turning bigger than 20" your point is moot. BTW, I will take a sliding headstock over swiveling anyday.

    Removing the tailstock is indeed a pain (especilly due to its weight) but one that I am willing to pay for the flexibility.

    Even for smaller turnings, I find it far more comfortable to turn my headstock out to about 45 degrees and use the tool rest extension. I can stand straight and don't have to lean. A great feature and much more better, IMHO.

  6. #6
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    [QUOTE=Bart Leetch;18404]
    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Fusco View Post
    . First impression: massive and real solid.

    1. When running it seemed strange how the speed built up, like a jet engine revving. Weird.

    1A. I think this is a function of the speed controller.

    2A. Think of it as a portability issue, its much easier to move it if you first remove some of the mass.

    3.The live center was about 6" long, effectively making working length shorter and with a chuck, there wasn't much left with a larger piece.

    3A. I don't have an answer for this accept to question, is the LC more heavy duty the others?


    4. The headstock doesn't swivel for outboard turning. (my Grizzly does ) This means the tail stock must be removed, headstock slid down to work from end. That restricts placement in a shop which might not be feasible for everyone.

    4A. Doesn't this make for a much stronger mounting for the headstock?


    5.The headstock morse taper wouldn't stay in place, hammering required frequently. Seems chintzy for a, supposedly, high grade machine. But, when/if time comes for me to upgrade the PM will still be on list of those to consider.

    5A. Maybe the MT need to be clean, run a little emory cloth inside the MT & over the outside of the taper it may have some fine burs.


    1A: Might be. Dunno ifn it's good or bad. Just an impression, "weird".
    2A: Again, dunno, if it was heavier duty. It did look expensive. And long.
    4A: Probably. But I'll betcha you could hang a bulldozer on my Griz, it is plenty strong. Yes, I'm still defending the Griz but am realistic, comparing a $400.00 machine against a Rolls-royce. The Griz headstock is strong, clicks back into register accurately and can be tightened in any positon. I think that is a real asset at any price.
    5A: We all agree, something is wrong there. I'm surprised that the owner has put up with it. He is accomplished at many things, woodworking, machine stuff, etc. No dummy but to handle this situation he keeps his hammer handy. Go figger. My point, I wouldn't tolerate on my $400.00 entry level lathe and no one should tolerate on an expensive piece of equipment.
    Just posting impressions. Glad I saw it.
    P.S. I once rode in a Rolls-Royce. Not comfortable. Wouldn't want one as a gift except to resell.

  7. #7
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    Frank,

    If you slide the headstock near the end and use it w/o the tailstock...you can turn w/ bliss facing your piece...almost like a full time bowl lathe.

    Again the downside is, you need to remove the tailstock and you need space at that end to move around.

    BTW, Tell your friend to stop using a hammer to mount that MT2...he might end up damaging the bearings!!!
    -------------------------

    Dario

    http://www.aoturnings.com/

  8. #8
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    Frank, the slow start is designed in. Like the "soft start" of most new routers, and is one of the things I like about it. It's a safety device so that if you notice a bad imbalance or other problem while the piece is spinning up, you can reduce the speed or turn the lathe off and correct the problem before it actually becomes one.
    The LC is actually a bit shorter if you remove the black nose cone.
    The lathe I upgraded from has a swiveling headstock and I liked it. But with my added swing, I don't have a problem with my mustard. Even if I have to slide the headstock down I'm okay with that. Real, true, or imagined, my mind tells me that an off balance block spinning in-line with the way and the rest of the lathe is safer and more steady than the same thing on a 45 degree cocked headstock. And this same mind tells me that it is less hard on many of the parts.
    I've not had a problem with my spur center coming out. But the lathe pieces came soaked in cosmoline. If the MT and spur weren't fully cleaned of this protectant, I can see how it wouldn't stay engaged.

    I'll address the lack of the swiveling headstock now from a different perspective. I was curious as to how uncomfortable this might be until I first used it. I have no problem getting the positions and angles I need to use to turn even with the headstock at the end of the ways where we expect to see it. I can sally right up to this monster and nothing is in my way. For one reason or another, I cannot say the same thing about my Delta Midi. I am verrrrry please with my upgrade.

  9. #9
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    Hi Frank,

    I think the notion of outboard turning is one that appeals to folks superficially. Yet, no high end lathe manufacturer will incorporate this feature into their machines and this is for a reason, or several for that fact. If you are trying to turn a 80lb bowl blank that is out of balance on a lathe where the turning axis is different than the axis of the ways (outboard turning of the type you speak) the blank could easily distroy the bolts that hold the lathe together or cause the lathe to move (or even fall). The largest bowl I have turned on my PM came in just shy of 40lbs and made me appreciate my PM3520a. My lathe has an 18" extension on the outboad side and allows me 53" between centers. So far, that's been plenty for me. As has been mentioned previously, you can slide the headstock to the end of the lathe and you have what amounts to a dedicated bowl lathe like the big VBs. I can't speak for your friends problems with the taper falling out unless he unwittingly lubricated this area, mine has never been a problem...

    If you get a chance watch the video "Nick Cook, Woodturner" over on thewoodworkingchannel.com. Nick turns a pedistal for a table that is an entire oak trunk about 5' in diameter and he is turning this huge blank on a.... PM3520b
    Last edited by Chris Barton; 01-22-2007 at 01:41 AM. Reason: booboo

  10. #10
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    I'm not meaning to start a flame or debate here. Those were my impressions. But, I do wish to comment on the outboard turning feature. Y'all are right about big, heavy pieces. It is unlikely I will often, if ever, come across an 80 piece suitable for turning. But, even smaller pieces, if they fit the swing (14" at present) of my lathe, can be trued and brought to balance over the ways. Then, it can be rotate out for a more comfortable working stance. I'm 68 years old and the reaching, leaning bit can be tiresome. Standing straight is far more comfortable and allows me to work for longer period time.
    As for my friend and his hammer, I'd a thought he was smarter than that. He sure knows better.

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