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Thread: User Evaluation/Reviews on PSI Turncrafter Commander

  1. #1

    User Evaluation/Reviews on PSI Turncrafter Commander

    Any users of this lathe out there that can give a good evaluation of this lathe? Our club is trying to decide on a lathe and we have it narrowed down to the new Delta VS mini and the Turncrafter Commander since they fit our budget. I have the Delta and highly recommend it but others like the Turncrafter because it has a few more features. None of us have ever seen or used the Turncrafter and it has been out probably a year now.

    I have done searches on this and other forums but can't find any actual users that have put it through its paces for maybe six months or more.

    Just for your info we will build an adjustable stand for it since we have a 6' 6" turner plus 2 that turn from wheelchairs and one that turns from a stool. We will also get the extention so we can turn canes, lamps, etc. Thanks in advance......Ron
    A turning a day keeps the doctor away.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Minot, ND
    Did you read the review on the Penn State page? One of the reviewers likes it but listed all the negatives he could think of about it. I have never seen one up close but I think I might go with the Delta for the reversing. The digital readout would be nice for use by a club.

    Good luck on your choice.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Erie, PA
    I'll say this my Delta 46-460 came out of the box without on single problem or misalignment, zip, nada, nothing. After all this time I've had it and used it (that includes several 8 hr hands on with different users) that I can still say the same as above. It may cost a little more but it has paid for itself in having no problems what-so-ever. We bought two for our club and they have been the same way.

  4. #4
    Thanks Clint. I had not seen the reviews on the PSI site. Good info.

    Bill, your experience mirrors mine with the 46-460. No problems at all and plenty of power.

    I don't have a warm fuzzy feeling about the PSI machine since I haven't found anything on any of the forums. We've got another two weeks to go before we take a vote so I'll keep looking. Thanks all.........Ron
    A turning a day keeps the doctor away.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Lockhart, Texas
    There is a thread on the Penturners forum,, thread number 73121, which contains a review and comments. It may be helpful to you.

    I have the delta and love the thing. Upgraded from Rocklers Excelsior. The x is a nice start up for the price.
    Last edited by John Keeton; 01-03-2011 at 8:16 AM. Reason: To remove direct link to another forum per TOS
    Lupe D. -

  6. #6
    Thanks Lupe. Interesting thread........Ron
    A turning a day keeps the doctor away.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    New Hill, NC
    Ron, a recent issues of FWW had a comparison of midi lathes. I think that it was an issue 2 - 3 months ago. They rated the Delta 46-460 as the Editor's choice, and the PSI Turncrafter Pro as the "Best Value". From reading the article, the PSI sounded like a very nice unit for the $. The Delta had a bit more torque (PSI was #2 in the torque rankings), and the benefit of reverse.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Loudonville, NY
    I would also taken into consideration the warranty that comes with the lathe and the customer service you will likely receive in the case that something does go awry.

  9. #9
    Thanks Scott. I'll try to track that issue of FWW down.

    Chris, you're right about customer service. I've never had a problem with Delta and I have no experience with PSI.......Ron
    A turning a day keeps the doctor away.

  10. #10
    I have the 46-460. If you have the funds, I'd get that. I haven't read a negative review of the Delta, and I can't offer any negatives, except perhaps that the tool rest isn't the best.

    Reverse is a great feature on the Delta.

    The other bells and whistles on the Turncrafter (tool tray/light/readout) seem unneccessary to me; I've never wanted for these with my Delta. Plus, the electronics are just one more thing to break.

    FWW DID rate it best value, though.

  11. #11
    I've had the Turncrafter Commander since about November. I'm relatively new to turning so you may need to take this "review" with a grain of salt.

    If it weren't for the variable speed controller on this lathe I'd be COMPLETELY happy with it. The way mine seems to work is that the piece will spin up to speed. When you enter the cut with the tool of course this will slow the RPM's somewhat, and the variable speed controller senses this and tries to compensate by applying more power to the turning to keep the RPM's up. As your depth of cut changes and/or you cut through wood of varying density, that changes your RPM's slightly and again the variable speed controller tries to adjust. I find that this varying of speed makes it difficult to control the cut, especially when I'm intuitively making an adjustment AND the variable speed controller is trying to adjust for it as well.

    Perhaps this just takes some getting used to. I know that I seem to be improving quite a bit as I get used to it. I will say however that to me it seems like it would introduce a hazard if you're spinning large, off balance pieces. I've mounted up ~11" bowl blanks that I cut out of logs myself. Certainly not well balanced. You spin it about as fast as you feel comfortable with. If you happen to get a catch, the variable speed controller kicks in to increase the power & RPM's, you remove the tool from the catch and all of a sudden your work is spinning twice as fast as you felt comfortable with. Scary. I'm a beginner. I've had catches and seen this happen. Fortunately the lathe didn't bounce off the stand and the bowl blank stayed put.

    As for the rest of the lathe, the tool tray yes is cheasy. I never even bolted mine to the lathe. Readout is OK but I still judge the speed by the sound, feel, etc. The variable speed has two ranges (set them by changing a belt...two pulley positions), and the low range is like from 150 rpm's to as high as I'll likely ever need. The centers were dead on. Everything else about this lathe is wonderful in my opinion, but the variable speed makes me wish that I'd bought the Delta that I considered rather than this one.

    Now, I understand that Penn State had some issues with their supplies of variable speed controllers. Maybe mine is defective and not working properly, or maybe that's the way they designed it to work. I've recently sent two emails to Penn State's technical support asking questions about this lathe but haven't heard from them yet. I'm likely going to give them a phone call today sometime.


  12. #12
    Just a quick update...I never did get an email returned from Penn State, but I did just give them a call. I was told that the VS controller wasn't working the way it should, so they're sending out a replacement motor & variable speed controller. I'll post an update after I try that out.


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