When I ordered my lathe recently, I knew I needed to get a new base for the captive rear rest on my Monster hollowing rig, to accommodate the extra swing capacity. I decided while I was getting a new base, I should get something cool to put in it, so I splurged and got one of Randy Privett's Monster articulated hollowing arms, Since I already had the compatible boring bars and cutters, I was able to save a few bucks off the price of the full rig. (Still, the full rig is a bargain, IMHO.) The end result is that I now have a choice of two hollowing systems: The captive D-handle and the articulated arm.
I finally got a chance to test drive the articulated arm rig tonight, and I suspect the captive D-handle won't be getting a lot of use anymore. If I had to use one word to describe this thing, it'd be smoooooooooth. I realize it helps to have a very smooth lathe, but this seemed to have much less vibration and chatter than the D-handle rig. If you push it too hard, or the wrong way, you can get this one to chatter pretty badly too, but it's much easier (for me, at least) to control the tool and get smooth cuts. Also, compared to the D-handle setup, the articulated arm can enter the opening at a more acute angle without the need for re-adjustment. This makes it easier to get the hard to reach areas such as inside the rim.
Here are a few pics, but before anyone gets on my case about the screw holes in the rim of the hollow form, I should explain that I started out planning to make a bowl out of this piece of ambrosia maple, but once I got into it a bit I decided to go with a hollow form instead. I can show off more of the pretty figure that way. I'll cover up the screw holes with a collar later.
Here's the rig, with the straight boring bar and a swivel cutter:
This shot shows the swan neck bar and a scraper head:
And here's one with the straight bar again, but with a bent cutter I got from Randy a while back:
And here's a little something I added to the rig at the recommendation of some guitar player guy I know. It's the Hunter carbide cutter, mounted in the Monster swivel head. It has a different feel to it, and I had to adjust my technique a bit, but man this thing can cut clean.
The cutter head is angled, and you don't sharpen it. When the edge gets dull, you loosen the cutter and rotate it a little bit. Then after a LOT of turning, you replace it for about $22.
And since I've not really posted any action shots of the new Mustard, here are a few obligatory pics. I have some others from the first piece I turned on it (a few days ago), but unfortunately those pics are in limbo on a hard drive that I'm unable to access right now.
I should start by saying I love this lathe. Very quiet, and very smooth. I had never even seen a PM 3520B in person until I assembled this one. It is everything all the other folks say it is. I've not yet turned anything that was very out of balance, but it's nickel test smooth when spinning and cutting round blanks. Tons of torque in the low end, too.
Also, to anyone who has doubts about the wheels I put on it, put those doubts to rest. When the feet are down, I can't budge it. At all. The rubber pads are a lot stickier than the nylon feet that come from the factory, or the bare cast iron of the legs. But when it's on the wheels, I can move it one-handed.
Here's proof that I'm getting it a bit dirty. By the way, the magnetic remote switch is very handy. I really like being able to mount it in a lot of different places (including the metal cabinet at the end of the lathe). While I was hollowing tonight, I set it right on the bed, so I could easily shut off the lathe while still holding the hollowing tool in place.
And I guess this is a rite of passage, but tonight I also got the first rust on the bed. (Musta not had it waxed enough.)
Nothing a little steel wool and Johnson Paste Wax couldn't solve:
So...in a nutshell, the articulated arm hollowing system kicks tail, and so does the Mustard. I'd buy either again in a heartbeat. I'm a happy camper.