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Thread: VS or Bigger Machine

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Go Cats, Kentucky

    Question VS or Bigger Machine

    New in turning, going to get a small lathe. Interested in knowing which you guys would prefer. For the same $$ Jet 1014-VS or the Jet 1220? Would you go for the Variable speed or the bigger lathe? Plan on turning pens, ornaments, and other small items. Thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Mountain Home, Arkansas
    On the pen turning forums, the Jet VS is practically considered sacred. On the other hand, the 1220 is larger and more powerful. The belt system isn't all that hard to adjust. If you ever decide you want to make something larger and the mini won't handle it, you might regret the decision. Little things can be made on big lathes, but not visa versa.
    Can't leave without saying: I was in the Grizzly store last week and noted that they now have several new mini and midi lathes that look like serious machines. I didn't take notes or prices but it might be wise to, at least, check them out before making a final decision.
    "Folks is funny critters."

    Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so, too. ~Voltaire

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Tokyo Japan
    Welcome to the Family Scott!

    VS is really nice to have, especially when sanding etc, as you can quickly change speeds, but that being said, it is not a necessity for doing nice work.

    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
    William Arthur Ward

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Fort Worth, Texas
    I'm going to speak heresy now so everyone cover your ears...

    VS on a full-size lathe is wonderful! But on a mini it isn't worth the extra $100 (IMHO). The speed settings on a non-VS Jet mini will let you do anything you could possibly want to do on a mini. And moving belts on a non-VS takes all of 10 seconds. Even with VS you will still have to move belts to go from one range to the next.

    VS also comes at a (slight) sacrifice in torque at the low end. This is why the 1220 doesn't come with VS. Jet decided it wasn't worth the compromise on the larger mini.

    Spend that extra $100 on a Wolverine. Or tools, or a Beall, or....

    Now, let the outcry begin!
    I may be lost but I'm making good time!
    Three Seasons Woodturnings

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    ABQ NM
    No outcry from me, Neal. I think your points are solid. My sub-mini (a little Wilton) has VS, but I tend to use all the way on, about midway, and about halfway between the two. I suspect I could get the same results changing belts. I think the extra swing and slightly more mass would make the 1220 worth sacrificing the VS.

    And hey...welcome Scott. Either of the two lathes you mentioned would be great starter lathes. (And depending on what you decide you like to turn, either could be all the lathe you might ever want.)
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Goodland, Kansas
    Welcome Scott to the Family. I have to agree with Neal. I would go for the 1220 because of more power and at a later date if you want to turn bowls you get a 12" swing. It doesn't take me 30 seconds to change belts and besides if you are not in a production mode like me I am in not that big of a hurry I can't change the belt.
    Bernie W.

    Retirement: Thats when you return from work one day
    and say, Hi, Honey, Im home forever.

    To succeed in life, you need three things: a wishbone, a backbone and a funnybone.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Go Cats, Kentucky

    Thanks Much

    Thanks guys
    These forums are great for gathering information. Really enjoy looking at the items you make. I think the Jet 1220 will be the one.
    Sounds like no matter which one I pick .....I win
    We made too many wrong mistakes. Yogi Berra
    Fettucini Alfredo is macaroni and cheese for adults. Mitch Hedberg

  8. #8
    Short answer:

    I own both. Go with the 1220.

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