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Thread: Lathe Choice

  1. #1

    Lathe Choice

    I think I am finally ready to make the plunge on a new lathe. I bought a cheap HF bench top to get my feet wet and figure out what I wanted to do with a lathe, what I needed to do that, and how that might fit into my shop space. I don't regret my time with the HF cheapie, I think I'd have likely bought the wrong thing if I'd have spent more money in the beginning and it would have been more painful to make the switch now.

    I think that the size and feature set of the Nova 1624 II matches my needs pretty well. Line by line it looks like a great match. I think I'll be happy with it for the foreseeable future, but wonder if there are any other models with a very similar form factor and feature set that I ought to be considering. I definitely want floor standing model that doesn't take up much more space. A similar capacity is required, as is variable speed, a similar speed range, reversing, and spindle indexing.

    I also wonder about thoughts of the difference between the old and new 1624. At the moment both seem to be available with a $200 difference in price.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
    Location
    Western Maine
    Posts
    15
    After much research, I chose the Nova 1624 II and don't regret it. It's a great lathe for the price. Personally, I don't mind taking a minute or two to change spindle speed, but maybe someday I will get the VFD upgrade. The only complaint about it is the banjo lock and the toolpost lock are too close together, sometimes making it awkward to get things locked down.
    Would I like to have a PM or Robust AB? Of course, but I am happy with the Nova and can get a lot more chucks, turning tools, and accessories instead.

  3. #3
    Okay so, I have been waffling a little. I am wondering about getting a VFD model. Maybe the 1624 with the upgraded motor (maybe $1900 shipped)? The Nova Saturn 55241 ($2000 shipped)? The Grizzly G0838 ($1,595+$119 Freight)?

  4. #4
    More waffling... I did a little reconfiguring of the shop and decided I have just slightly more space than I thought. I also just realized that my size requirements regarding floor space were misguided in some ways in that I did not account for the fact that the motor hangs over the end of the bed and I can actually get some of the larger lathes in the same space by sliding the head down the bed a way and eliminating the overhang. so the the for example the Jet 1640 and 1840 can both be about a foot shorter than their overall listed footprint. That puts some of the 40" machines in my size range and opens three of the Jet machines to my list. I have been very happy with the other Jet machines I own and the support i have received from Jet. With the current 10% off deal I am really going to look over the specs 1440, 1640, and 1840 to see if one of them looks like the right choice.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2017
    Location
    Notasulga Alabama
    Posts
    48
    I've owned the 1624-II for several years and loved it. The only upgrade I've done is the VFD motor which simply makes changing speeds more convienient. For me, the next step to an 18" lathe would not be helpful for two reasons (1) I'm 72 years old, and an 18" piece of wet oak weighs more than I can lift and easily mount. and (2) rewiring the shop for 220v is a bit too much. Now a "Sweet Sixteen" is something to dream about.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by richard shelby View Post
    I've owned the 1624-II for several years and loved it. The only upgrade I've done is the VFD motor which simply makes changing speeds more convienient. For me, the next step to an 18" lathe would not be helpful for two reasons (1) I'm 72 years old, and an 18" piece of wet oak weighs more than I can lift and easily mount. and (2) rewiring the shop for 220v is a bit too much. Now a "Sweet Sixteen" is something to dream about.
    I am about 4 years behind you. I am starting to think that by the time I buy a Nova 1624 and upgrade to a VFD motor I can get a Jet 1640 with the current 10% off and free shipping it is a wash cost wise and the Jet is more lathe. The 220v upgrade isn't a big deal to me since the lathe will be next to the electrical panel and I worked as an electrician for quite a few years in a previous life.

    I think I can give up the extra floor space. Given that I can slide the head down the bed so the motor doesn't hang over the end it can be pretty close to the same footprint and when I need the longer bed I can move it into the aisle and temporarily clog up the aisle a bit (or work with the roll up door open). I think it is a workable solution.
    Last edited by Pete Staehling; 12-18-2019 at 10:18 AM.

  7. #7
    Pete, I've been turning on a Jet 1640evs for about 1 1/2 years now. This would be an excellent choice. It is an excellent piece of machinery.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    sykesville, maryland
    Posts
    463
    Keep in mind that big swing isn't just for big wood. Think about platters, winged bowls, frames, and offset turnings. And being able to put the tool rest under a piece while turning is nice too and it usually takes about 2" from the usable swing. My thoughts after using a lathe with 15" swing: I need more capacity and set my minimum at 18" when upgrading.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Bevilacqua View Post
    Pete, I've been turning on a Jet 1640evs for about 1 1/2 years now. This would be an excellent choice. It is an excellent piece of machinery.
    I have turned on a few of these, should do almost anything you reasonably want it to do.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Location
    Southwest Louisiana
    Posts
    107
    Iíve had a jet 1642 for 7 years with no problems, didnít have he 5 year warranty a single time. If the 1640 is as good as the 1642 you canít go wrong.

  11. #11
    Hi Pete, I'd invite you to check out my "big list of lathes" spreadsheet to get more ideas. You can winnow down the choices by going to Data > Create new Filter View.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by David M Peters View Post
    Hi Pete, I'd invite you to check out my "big list of lathes" spreadsheet to get more ideas. You can winnow down the choices by going to Data > Create new Filter View.
    Thanks. that would have been very useful if I had seen it before I ordered my lathe

    That said I think the Jet 1640 will be a good choice for me. I have been very happy with Jet stuff in general and their customer support has been very good on the few occasions that I have needed it. I think the 1640 feature set will be a pretty good match for my needs.

    Anyone have any idea what kind of turn around time they are likely to have on delivery to Tallahassee? Woodcraft declined to even give me an estimate.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Location
    Southwest Louisiana
    Posts
    107

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Kapolei Hawaii
    Posts
    2,984
    You ordered the Jet? I have a 1642 2hp and am happy with it. It's pretty old. You won't be unhappy. I also have (2) 1014 minis. They are all solid. If you have the space, keep the small lathe. I use the minis for all the small stuff.
    Congrats!

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jun 2019
    Location
    Hoodsport
    Posts
    141
    Get the biggest, heaviest, largest swing lathe you can afford! Look on the used market also. I found a great lathe (laguna 18/47) with a bunch of large bowl blanks and tools, and a couple chucks; for less than half of what a new one would have cost. Keep your eyes peeled!
    Where did I put those band aids?

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