Results 1 to 12 of 12

Thread: Fixed head vs sliding head

  1. #1

    Fixed head vs sliding head

    First I'm not an experienced turner. I have a DVR XP lathe and and thinking of upgrading it to either a Oneway 2436 or a Robust AB. I have never wished my headstock on my lathe could slide. What does a sliding headstock gain you? I dont understand the whole thing of sliding the head towards the tailstock

  2. #2
    It lets you turn the inside of a bowl without leaning over the bed of the lathe. Same thing if you do hollowing.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    E TN, near Knoxville
    Posts
    10,240
    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Woodmark View Post
    First I'm not an experienced turner. I have a DVR XP lathe and and thinking of upgrading it to either a Oneway 2436 or a Robust AB. I have never wished my headstock on my lathe could slide. What does a sliding headstock gain you? I dont understand the whole thing of sliding the head towards the tailstock
    A few things I can think of. Sliding it down to the end is useful, especially for hollowing and turning inside a bowl, as Chris mentioned. Also most, like my PM 3520b can mount a bed extension on one end, but lower than the normal bed. This lets people turn larger diameters than possible over the bed. The bed extension comes with a tool rest extension also.

    Another helpful thing is the head can be removed when moving the lathe. Reducing the weight makes it a lot easier to set up.

    In my shop I keep a second lathe, a Jet 1642, in a spot where the space is a little tight on the headstock end. Since I never use the full bed length on that lathe I slide the headstock down a little away from the end letting it fit better in the space while giving me more room on the end to access the handwheel.

    Once the sliding headstock came in handy when a VFD failed on one of my two Jet 1642s. Until I was able to replace it I simply pulled the headstock from a spare out of storage and used that for a while. (Everyone has a spare emergency lathe in storage, right??)

    A removable headstock also might be handy for maintenance - I know a guy who carried the headstock to someone who changed the bearings.

    JKJ

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Wayland, MA
    Posts
    2,294
    I slide mine to the end for hollowing and bowl turning, making a short bed lathe. I also keep it moved over a bit so that the legs of the lathe don't get in the way of my feet when I'm working in close to the headstock. I've not yet seen any alignment issues on the AB while moving it.

  5. #5
    At about 7:15 in the American Beauty video on the Robust Tools website, Brent demonstrates the advantage of the sliding headstock down to the end of the lathe for working on a bowl interior, fwiw.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Wilmette, IL
    Posts
    202
    For what it is worth, the best thing about sliding the headstock to the end of the bed ways, other than comfort, is that you are absolutely out of the line of fire, when hollowing or working on the interior of a bowl. I never gave that a lot of thought other than being aware until a rather large bowl, had a completely hidden crack, which I uncovered and which immediately launched about a third of the bowl. It was exciting, scary, but I was completely out of the way.

  7. #7
    This topic is discussed in the thread Oneway or Robust Sweet 16. I prefer the sliding headstock, and that is all I have used for about 20 years, till I got a Vicmark 240 which has a pivoting headstock. They are the only ones who do the pivoting headstock correctly. With long bed lathes, you can turn outboard/off the back end so you pretty much have a bowl/short bed lathe.

    robo hippy

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Peoria, IL
    Posts
    2,109
    I've turned for 35 years without a sliding headstock, so it's not a necessity.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Wayland, MA
    Posts
    2,294
    I don't think anyone has suggested it's a necessity. I too turned for decades without one. However, now that I have one I enjoy the flexibility. I haven't yet discovered any downside (I've only had the lathe a year) other than the cost which, given my memory, is now lost in the sands of time.

    Heck, motors aren't even a necessity on a lathe. People turned for centuries without them.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    E TN, near Knoxville
    Posts
    10,240
    Quote Originally Posted by roger wiegand View Post
    I don't think anyone has suggested it's a necessity. I too turned for decades without one. However, now that I have one I enjoy the flexibility. I haven't yet discovered any downside (I've only had the lathe a year) other than the cost which, given my memory, is now lost in the sands of time.

    Heck, motors aren't even a necessity on a lathe. People turned for centuries without them.
    Other non-necessities that I enjoy anyway: variable speed on a lathe, chucks, HSS tools, sandpaper, live centers, compressed air, heat&air in the shop, bright lights, safety equipment, wisdom and intelligence (based on some YouTube videos I've seen and a couple of people I've met).

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Harvey, Michigan
    Posts
    20,573
    Mark, given that you have limited experience as a turner, I highly suggest that you check with your local turning club and get some hands-on time with both styles of lathe. The sliding headstock is the way to go as far as I am concerned because it really does save your back! Plus, you can use the sliding headstock lathe as a fixed version if you wanted. One other advantage of the sliding headstock is that you can move your work anywhere on the bed to turn it. I have made slight moves before in order to eliminate vibration when rough turning blanks. Good luck with your new lathe, whichever version you decide to get!
    Steve

    “You never know what you got til it's gone!”
    Please don’t let that happen!
    Become a financial Contributor today!

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Lummi Island, WA
    Posts
    562
    The last two lathes I bought on this journey have both been sliding heads. Started on a fixed head lathe, got a jet 1642 then wound up with the Robust AB. I use the sliding head very seldom at the left end and mainly for spindles.
    Bowls and boxes for the most part are turned at the end. Coring happens with the head at about the middle of the ways. While I know its possible, I’m not sure I could do what I do without it - I don’t want to try, I’ve fully adjusted.
    I do agree that a nice benefit is getting out of the line of fire.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •