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Thread: PSI Turncrafter VS

  1. #1
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    PSI Turncrafter VS

    I'm starting to do more turning now that I've finished the large flatwork projects I've had in the queue. From now on, flatwork will be mostly keepsake and jewelry boxes. I've been learning about stabilizing and casting acrylic for pens and bottle stoppers and want to turn some of those as well as who knows what else. After researching different variable speed lathes, the one that seems to suit my needs and frugality is the PSI TCLC12VS. Can anyone give me some first hand experience or other knowledge about this lathe?

    Thanks!

    Edit: Should have mentioned: I currently have a Jet 1236 that works fine, but I can see the benefit of lathe with a variable speed motor.
    Last edited by Bill Arnold; 08-17-2014 at 08:29 PM.
    Bill Arnold
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  2. #2
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    Bill,

    The specs for the PSI TCLC12VS do NOT show the horsepower. That is a biggie. My Delta 46-460 is 1 hp. It is just barely OK. I have absolutely no problem stopping dead (I am not talking slippage, I'm talking stopping the motor) when roughing or doing something in the 5" diameter range. Don't get me wrong; I really enjoy the lathe even with its faults.

    Items that show good in the PSI specs: #2 Morse taper, Variable speed, 40" bed, 12" swing is good for a midi, 1x8 drive threads,

    Good to have items NOT mentioned in the PSI specs: Reversable motor, do you need to use a wrench to move or tighten the tool rest or banjo or tail stock position or anything else (if you do you will find it a real pain and process interrupter), indexing for drive, does it permit using a vacuum chuck,

    I just rattled the above thoughts out of my poor old brain. I do not have a list of wants, etc. The reason I got rid of my previous lathe were: 1) no variable speed and 2) had to use wrenches to set-up and adjust parts. Deal breakers for me: I must have variable speed (The slower the low speed, the better; I would love 50 rpm for many things.) and I must have locking levers, not wrenches, for tool rest height, banjo position, tail stock position and locking.

    If I think of more I will whistle.

    Have fun and Enjoy,
    JimB
    Last edited by Jim C Bradley; 08-17-2014 at 08:58 PM.
    First of all you have to be smarter than the machine.
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  3. #3
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    Jim,

    The operator's manual shows the model I referenced having a 1hp motor. The reviews and Q&A seem positive overall. With two pulley positions, I assume one would use the lower speed set for larger turnings to maintain power; the higher speed set should be right for spindles and pens.
    Bill Arnold
    Citizen of Texas residing in Georgia.
    NRA Life Member and Member of Mensa
    My Weather Underground station

  4. #4
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    I use the slower speed for applying finish. Then I keep the lathe on slow speed for awhile---until the finish is dry enough to not run. With Seal Coat or shellac that is only a few minutes---like 4 or 5 min.

    If I am roughing a piece that, for some reason, I have not knocked the "corners" off of with a jointer or saw, I like the slow speed to get started.

    I like the slow speed for Forstner bits, especially larger bits. Also, I am sure you will find other uses for your lowest speed.

    The 1 hp will be fine for most things; it will be acceptable for many more things. You just don't do the other things or go visit a buddy. If you decide to to use it to turn an eight-foot, 12 inch diameter pole---please let me know---I want to watch!

    Enjoy,
    JimB
    First of all you have to be smarter than the machine.
    VOTING MEMBER

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim C Bradley View Post
    ... If you decide to to use it to turn an eight-foot, 12 inch diameter pole---please let me know---I want to watch!
    You're on, Jim. If I go for something like that, I'll buy you a plane ticket to come visit!

    On another note, I'm disappointed that I didn't get much input here, but several folks on IAP were helpful. I ordered the lathe and should have it by the end of the week. I'll have the 1236 up for sale soon.
    Last edited by Bill Arnold; 08-19-2014 at 05:06 PM. Reason: Sp.
    Bill Arnold
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Arnold View Post
    ...On another note, I'm disappointed that I didn't get much input here, but several folks on IPA were helpful. I ordered the lathe and should have it by the end of the week. I'll have the 1236 up for sale soon.
    Congrats on the (soon to be) new tool. You're going to enjoy having the variable speed.

    I don't think many (if any) members here have that lathe, so that's likely part of the reason for such little response. I've not had any hands-on experience with the Turncrafter lathes, but I've seen both positive and negative reviews for the PSI lathes in general. I suspect they're coming out of the same Asian factories as the rest of the lathes on that size class, so I'm betting they're no better or worse than all the others.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vaughn McMillan View Post
    Congrats on the (soon to be) new tool. You're going to enjoy having the variable speed.

    I don't think many (if any) members here have that lathe, so that's likely part of the reason for such little response. I've not had any hands-on experience with the Turncrafter lathes, but I've seen both positive and negative reviews for the PSI lathes in general. I suspect they're coming out of the same Asian factories as the rest of the lathes on that size class, so I'm betting they're no better or worse than all the others.
    VS is what I want, so I looked at several options. Since I'm not a big time turner - not yet, anyway - I didn't want to spend a bunch on a new lathe. A couple of people commented about the similar Jet and Delta models being almost identical except for having to pay $200-$300 for the names.

    The negative reviews I read seemed centered around a couple of years ago and on the 10" version with a 3/4hp motor. More recent reviews were very positive as were the responses on IAP.

    Part of my consideration to sell my 1236 is that my neighbor in Florida gave me a great deal on it. He had it for a couple of years, started getting real interested in turning green wood after some lessons and bought a big mustard lathe. He sold me the 1236, the basic tools that had come with it, a couple of chucks, and several tool rests for $300. I can use everything but the tool rests with the PSI - different shaft diameter. I've had the 1236 for about 10 years and should be able to get $300-$400 for it, considering a new one is about $1000.
    Bill Arnold
    Citizen of Texas residing in Georgia.
    NRA Life Member and Member of Mensa
    My Weather Underground station

  8. #8
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    Bill I look forward to your review on this lathe as I've thought of getting one in the past as well. I would have chimed in to say I know a couple of locals that like theirs a lot, but I've been offline other than my phone for a few days. I bet you're gonna love it! Congrats.
    A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone. -Henry David Thoreau
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  9. #9
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    Seems to me that lathes in that price range are all pretty much the same and probably made in the same place. Probably pretty much depends on which color you like! It will turn small items as well as any in my opinion.
    "We the People ......"

  10. #10
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    Congrats on the new toy! Looking forward to the review. Pretty sure you'll really like having VS.

    I don't have any experience with lathes in that size range, although if i had a bigger shop I'd consider adding one for small stuff.

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