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Thread: another lathe choice thread

  1. #1

    another lathe choice thread

    Hi folks,

    I've been turning for a little less than a year now on an old Delta/Rockwell 46-???. 11" throw, belt changes for speeds, banjo stickiness... it's time for a new lathe.

    After reading every post everywhere, watching countless videos, and saving a bit of cash, i've come to a crossroads.

    I would like a full size lathe that has basically all the trimmings. 18"+ throw, full bed, variable speed, (fancy stuff).

    The choice seems to be between Jet 1840 EVS and the PM 3520c. Shout out to the Oliver 18" modern lathe, if anyone has experience with this it might make it back into contention, but for now i don't have enough info.

    Laguna seems pretty but the warranty (2v5) can't compete with the Jet or PM.

    I have full set of tools, grinder, etc. already. Just need a larger lathe to tackle these growing pains.

    Any opinions, insights, horror stories, or anything else would be extremely helpful right now. I've turned on older PM lathes and really like them. I tried my friends Harbor frieght special and was horrified (id stick with my delta if that was the choice). Never tried a jet, or modern PM.

    help please!

    isaac

  2. #2
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    I have a PM 3520B and have no complaints except for the slow travel on the tailstock, and they've apparently addressed that in the 3520c. I've not used a Jet 1840 but I don't think it's really in the same grouping as the PM3520. Not saying it's a bad choice, just that I don't think that's apples/apples -- but neither are the prices, so it's not like that necessarily points one way or another.

    I have not used a Harvey lathe, but I've looked at their bigger offering on their website. It has an impressive list of features for the price tag. If I were shopping right now I'd be trying to find out more about it to decide if it should be in the running.

    And of course Grizzly has offerings in your size range; those machines have big fans and big detractors, not sure how to do that math. Sometimes I think there's a Sawstop-type reflex reaction induced in some by Grizzly products -- by that I mean that there are strong negative opinions supported by logic that doesn't always make complete sense to me. There have been lots of Grizzly lathe threads you can search and read, and reach your own conclusions.

    I will say finally that lathes are a little like cars -- there are all kinds of makers and price points and features, but it isn't like everyone buys the same one. All models have people that own and like them. Maybe there's some confirmation bias in there, but I think it also speaks to the issue that different people focus on different features and have different senses of "value". There is nothing like actually turning on a lathe to help you understand what appeals to you.

    Best,

    Dave
    Last edited by Dave Mount; 02-25-2021 at 4:21 PM. Reason: typo

  3. #3
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    If you settled between these two, having ruled out Grizzly, Laguna, Record, Nova, Harvey, et. al., then it comes down to is the PM worth ~ $1500 more? What are you getting for that $$$? It is nearly 200 lbs heavier and can turn a little bigger diameter. I think either will work just fine.

    However, there are better values out there in the other brands, like the Harvey T60S and the Grizzly G0766.

  4. #4
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    Tools are an emotional purchase. I use to give the wife cr^p about buying shoes but I get it. When picking a tool you shouldn't really want a different tool and feel like you've settled for less. Granted money also is added into the mix or we would all have an American Beauty next to a Oneway in the shop. Have you thought about used? About the only full size lathes I see used on Craig's list that I would like to own on a regular basis is the PM3520 and PM4224. If you can afford the Powermatic ask yourself this "would you feel like you settled" if you bought the Jet?

    I have a G0766 and it's been great for me. I have multiple brands including a lesser quality Grizzly mortiser so I don't think I'm a fan of any one brand. But I got my Grizzly lathe just before the tariffs kicked in. It's now almost $1000 more so I probably would look around to see what else I could get in that price range.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by tom lucas View Post
    If you settled between these two, having ruled out Grizzly, Laguna, Record, Nova, Harvey, et. al., then it comes down to is the PM worth ~ $1500 more? What are you getting for that $$$? It is nearly 200 lbs heavier and can turn a little bigger diameter. I think either will work just fine.

    However, there are better values out there in the other brands, like the Harvey T60S and the Grizzly G0766.
    By value you only mean price? With that Grizzly you have to keep at least one spare potentiometer on hand, the banjo design is not in the big leagues, and the headstock only has 2 bearings in it.
    I'd get the Powermatic. That will be the last money you have to spend on a lathe. They have the legs drilled for a dropped extension for even more capacity over the end of the machine. I'm a firm believer in you get what you pay for.

  6. #6
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    If the PM is in your budget, I'd also suggest your get that. I have a Jet 1642, and I also had that choice when buying mine. I don't often regret that, but the choice was to save the coins and get a hollowing setup with the saved monies buying the Jet. Naturally, getting into hollowing cost me even more money in tooling down the road, but that's another story. Next stop for me is a Robust or OW if I would want to upgrade.
    Good luck in your decision. I don't think you can go wrong with either.

  7. #7
    I have not ruled out the harvey, today is actually the first time i'm legitimately considering it. Thanks for adding it to contention.

    Grizzly seems to have a lot of hate/love but i feel like I've seen more hate/rehab videos and i hear of other issues (filing off a small amount of metal near the spindle so certain chucks fit tight) that make it unattractive. And the spare potentiometer, etc. Maybe a bit of confirmation bias there but i don't believe I'd be happy spending the money there, I'd always have a little doubt in the back in my head. That doesn't seem to be there with the Jet or PM.

    The Jet and PM (and harvey) it seems, while have close to 2k between them in cost do seem very similar in terms of performance, except for weight. I also know i could get them in my basement, unlike a oneway or robust.

    anyone turned on a modern oliver? I know andy rawls (youtuber) has one but he has only made 3 or 4 videos using it.

    I never see any used PM lathes around me. The Harvey looks great too - anyone turn on one? - edit actually seems less up my alley because of the servo motor.. those seem more expensive to replace or repair as opposed to the others standard motors.
    Last edited by isaac green; 02-25-2021 at 4:59 PM.

  8. #8
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    Isaac -- I purchased a PM 3520C this past summer. It's a very good lathe and I'm happy with my purchase. Both Powermatic and Harvey have their lathes on sale. With shipping (the PM includes shipping, the Harvey costs $379 to ship), they're virtually the same price. However, the Harvey provides a lot of extra capacity: 4" of additional swing and 13" extra inches between centers. It also comes with Harvey's version of a tailstock swing away (on sale, the PM version costs $270). If you can use the extra capacity, I would strongly recommend you consider it. It has an excellent reputation. I wouldn't let the servomotor dissuade you.

    So, why didn't I get the Harvey last summer? I have a very small shop. I preferred the smaller form factor of the PM.
    David Walser
    Mesa, Arizona

  9. #9
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    Sorry, Richard, you are wrong on the Grizzly. Must be thinking of the old ones. New ones have none of those issues. Banjo is every bit as good as a PM's. I've had no issues with the potentiometer in 2 years of ownership. Actually zero issues period. $2000 in my pocket, 50% more power, and more swing without sacrificing anything is my definition of a better value.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by isaac green View Post
    I have not ruled out the harvey, today is actually the first time i'm legitimately considering it. Thanks for adding it to contention.

    Grizzly seems to have a lot of hate/love but i feel like I've seen more hate/rehab videos and i hear of other issues (filing off a small amount of metal near the spindle so certain chucks fit tight) that make it unattractive. And the spare potentiometer, etc. Maybe a bit of confirmation bias there but i don't believe I'd be happy spending the money there, I'd always have a little doubt in the back in my head. That doesn't seem to be there with the Jet or PM.

    The Jet and PM (and harvey) it seems, while have close to 2k between them in cost do seem very similar in terms of performance, except for weight. I also know i could get them in my basement, unlike a oneway or robust.

    anyone turned on a modern oliver? I know andy rawls (youtuber) has one but he has only made 3 or 4 videos using it.

    I never see any used PM lathes around me. The Harvey looks great too - anyone turn on one? - edit actually seems less up my alley because of the servo motor.. those seem more expensive to replace or repair as opposed to the others standard motors.
    When you look at Grizzly's history and posts, you have to also consider that they probably sell far more lathes than anyone else. So it stands to reason you'll see more "issues" the more lathes that are being sold. They have too many models, I think, and some are not so good. I guess it's what they have to do to meet those low price points on some of them. That is not the case with the G0766. All of the early design issues with that lathe have been fixed. I have 4 chucks. Only one (Vicmarc) would not clear the boss on the headstock at first, just barely. It took all of about 20 seconds to fix it: Turn the lathe on slow and hold a file to the boss for 10-15 seconds. No file marks left and chuck slips right on like it should. This is not a quality issue but more a tolerance issue with certain mixes of european/asian/N.A. machining in a mixed metric/imperial environment.

    I don't own a Jet lathe but do own a 17" Jet floor drill press, and a big belt sander. I also own 7 Grizzly machines. The Jet's are no better or worse quality than any of my Grizzly's. I've had zero issues with any of my Grizzly's (many over 10 years old) but I have had a failure on the Jet drill press. So, they aren't all that IMHO.

    I read that Harvey makes the PM lathes, and made the Grizzly 800 too. Others have wondered about Laguna being made by them as well, given their similar headstock look. IDK. The guys that have the Grizzly 800 rave about it (no longer available). Harvey has changed out the 3 HP AC induction motor for the DC servo motors. They tout the Servos as being the best. I don't know anything about them. So I don't dare to comment on them. Overall though, they look like a very nice lathe, if you have the room for it. As for the servos being more expensive to repair, you have to consider the variable speed controller for them is much simpler. So you have to look at motor and motor controller when considering whether one has a higher maintenance risk. I suspect the Servo and controller together are simpler and less expensive than the the AC motor/3ph converter.
    Last edited by tom lucas; 02-25-2021 at 7:41 PM.

  11. #11
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    I looked at Oliver's new lathe. It's hard to beat Oliver's reputation and the lathe certainly is built "like an Oliver". However, the controls look like an after thought. I'm sure it's still a very good machine. Just seems a little "out of date", but that could aesthetics only. I think it would be hard to go wrong with an Oliver though.

  12. #12
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    Have you considered the Rikon 70-3040? Seems like a real space saver.

  13. #13
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    After thinking about it, Harvey's motors may actually still be AC. It isn't clear. Does anyone know for sure? These may be the way of the future. Plenty of servo advancements in recent years with the widespread adoption of robotics. And many manufacturing robots run nearly continuously, back and forth, fast and slow, for days and weeks at a time. So there is plenty of institutional design experience to draw on with a proven track record for reliability.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by isaac green View Post
    I have not ruled out the harvey, today is actually the first time i'm legitimately considering it. Thanks for adding it to contention.

    Grizzly seems to have a lot of hate/love but i feel like I've seen more hate/rehab videos and i hear of other issues (filing off a small amount of metal near the spindle so certain chucks fit tight) that make it unattractive. And the spare potentiometer, etc. Maybe a bit of confirmation bias there but i don't believe I'd be happy spending the money there, I'd always have a little doubt in the back in my head. That doesn't seem to be there with the Jet or PM.

    The Jet and PM (and harvey) it seems, while have close to 2k between them in cost do seem very similar in terms of performance, except for weight. I also know i could get them in my basement, unlike a oneway or robust.

    anyone turned on a modern oliver? I know andy rawls (youtuber) has one but he has only made 3 or 4 videos using it.

    I never see any used PM lathes around me. The Harvey looks great too - anyone turn on one? - edit actually seems less up my alley because of the servo motor.. those seem more expensive to replace or repair as opposed to the others standard motors.
    I will add my two cents regarding the Harvey 24/36 lathe. I purchased the pretty much identical Lathe with the Laguna nameplate attached. Grizzly also carried the same lathe for awhile called the GO800 I believe.
    I sold my 1/12hp Jet 1642 to move up to the Laguna and what a move up it was. With 3hp (AC) I think, the power was amazing. I very seldom, maybe once or twice, changed to the lower belt speed, the power and low end torque was great.
    Two things made it worth it for me with the wide stance and weighing 850lbs. the lathe was stable as a rock. My only complaint was the banjo was a little cumbersome. I thought of replacing it with a Oneway but never did.
    The 24" swing may be more than you think you might need but you will find that the banjo will fit under your work most of the time.
    Lots of nice lathes out there. The new PM 3520c impressed me too.
    Good luck on your decision and purchase.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by tom lucas View Post
    I looked at Oliver's new lathe. It's hard to beat Oliver's reputation and the lathe certainly is built "like an Oliver". However, the controls look like an after thought. I'm sure it's still a very good machine. Just seems a little "out of date", but that could aesthetics only. I think it would be hard to go wrong with an Oliver though.
    The Baileigh WL-1840VS looks exactly like the Oliver. The specs are the same also. It's hard to believe they are not the same lathe with a different paint job. The Bailiegh is about $300-$500 less than the Oliver. Does anyone have any better knowledge about differences between these two lathes?
    Brian

    Sawdust Formation Engineer
    in charge of Blade Dulling

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