• We just finished a major forum upgrade. Please check out the "Whats New and Help" Thread at https://aawforum.org/community/index.php?threads/forum-upgrade-whats-new-and-help-march-2021.17436/ If you are having problems using the forums, please clear your browser cache and that should clear up any issues. Otherwise post in the Help Thread or email us at forum_moderator@aawforum.org. Hope you enjoy the refreshed site!
  • 3/30/21 - We finished what was hopefully the last part of the forum upgrade we started earlier this month, the rebuilding of all of the permissions. In our testing everything seems to be working correctly but if you have any problems please post in the "Forum Technical Support" forum and we will take a look at it. You will also see a few changes with the main forum index. We have moved the AAW Member Forums to their own group and the Marketplace Forums to their own group. This simplified the permissions configuration for the forums and hopefully it will make the forums a little easier to naviagate. Thanks!
  • Gallery Images: Title and Description Required

    Please read the new sticky announcement HERE for full details.

  • Welcome new registering member. Your username must be your real First and Last name (for example: John Doe). "Screen names" and "handles" are not allowed and your registration will be deleted if you don't use your real name. Also, do not use all caps nor all lower case.

Swing away bracket for PM3520C - Worth it?

Joined
Jul 19, 2017
Messages
110
Likes
35
Location
Roscoe, Illinois
I just ordered the Powermatic 3520C but didn't order the swing away bracket for the tailstock. I originally thought that, with the length of the bed I'd just move the tailstock out of the way but have since realized that probably doesn't make sense for hollowing out bowls. Bowls are almost a 100% of my turning. I believe that I would likely slide the headstock toward the tailstock end for hollowing as that would give the best access to the inside of the bowl or vessel. I'd want the tailstock out of the way whether I hollow manually or with some sort of a hollowing system, thus requiring removal of the tailstock for every bowl I turn. Since the tailstock on the 3520C weighs about 50 pounds, it would seem to be cumbersome to remove and reinstall at best.

For those who own a lathe with a heavy tailstock, is the swing away bracket worth it given it costs $300? \

If you don't own a swing away for a full-size lathe like the 3520C, are you sorry that you don't every time you have to remove it?
 
Joined
Apr 18, 2009
Messages
72
Likes
20
I purchased a 3520B about seven years ago, age 71 at the time. Started off putting the tailstock on the floor. A couple of years later made a cart so slide it off on. Sounds easier that it actually worked. Purchased the PM swing away shortly after it was introduced. I have no hesitancy to use it. It does require about 26" of clearance on the back corner of the lathe to operate.
 
Joined
Nov 4, 2011
Messages
253
Likes
386
Location
Bay Settlement, WI
I don't use my swing-away often, but when I need it, it sure is nice to have. It beats having to muscle the tailstock off/on the lathe. An added benefit of it is it adds about 4" to the length of your lathe's bed.
 
Joined
Jun 6, 2018
Messages
913
Likes
365
Location
La Grange, IL
I have a swing away on my Nova and would not want to be without it. I use it all of the time. Although you can slide a tailstock to the end of a long bed it can still be in the way. Bumps my elbow when I'm working on the inside of a bowl or HF. It's in the way when I want to mount or de-mount the hollowing rig. It can be in the way of operating some hollowing rigs. Takes up space on the ways I could use to put down my temporary tool holder. Just generally irritating.

It is possible to build a rolling cart onto which you can slide your tailstock, and I would at least do that if I didn't want to plunk down 3 bills for the PM swing away.
 
Joined
Jul 19, 2017
Messages
110
Likes
35
Location
Roscoe, Illinois
Thanks for the answers. After thinking about it I think the swing away would be a good add-on. It really would allow me unobstructed access from the tailstock end when hollowing, which is something I think is important, with or without a hollowing system. The 26" clearance on the tailstock end shouldn't be a problem. I will put the lathe at least that far from the wall to allow me maneuverability for hollowing; probably more like at least 2 1/2'
 

john lucas

AAW Forum Expert
Joined
Apr 26, 2004
Messages
7,615
Likes
2,212
Location
Cookeville, TN
The worth it part is the hard part. I love it and know I would use it if I could buy it. But justifying $300 is the hard part. Does that include shipping. I'm getting older.and the tailstock is gaining weight so some day I will have to.find the extra.cash.
 

Roger Wiegand

Beta Tester
Joined
Nov 27, 2018
Messages
447
Likes
365
Location
Wayland, MA
Website
www.carouselorgan.com
I think the swing away cost more than that on my AB, but whatever it was, it was worth every penny. It doesn't take avoiding many back spasms to make it a really good deal. I use it pretty constantly. I also really enjoy not banging my elbow into the point on the live center!

On my Conover taking the tailstock on and off was a project, so it didn't happen very often. The contrast with the ease of getting it out of the way on the new one is particularly striking.
 

Dave Landers

Beta Tester
Joined
Dec 1, 2014
Messages
225
Likes
346
Location
Estes Park, CO
Website
dlwoodturning.com
I hollow (hollow forms) from the end of the lathe and do the insides of most of my larger bowls there, too. The swing-away on my 3520B is invaluable and was worth the money - to me.

The only thing I don't care for is the screw that secures/releases it on the lathe. I'd rather have a quick-release toggle. But obviously it hasn't bothered me enough to get me to make one.
 
Joined
Jul 19, 2017
Messages
110
Likes
35
Location
Roscoe, Illinois
The worth it part is the hard part. I love it and know I would use it if I could buy it. But justifying $300 is the hard part. Does that include shipping. I'm getting older.and the tailstock is gaining weight so some day I will have to.find the extra.cash.
If you buy it from a local retailer like Woodcraft or Rockler I would guess you could pick it up from the store and there would be no shipping. I would buy it from the retailer I ordered the lathe from; a local hardwood and woodworking machinery place, so I'd just pick it up with my lathe.
 
Joined
Jul 19, 2017
Messages
110
Likes
35
Location
Roscoe, Illinois
Based on the responses here and my own thought process, I decided I will order it to be delivered with my lathe tomorrow while it's still on sale. Since I do almost exclusively bowls, I do want to hollow from the tailstock end and that would involve removing and reinstalling the tailstock each bowl or vessel I do. I wouldn't look forward to that and the whole point is it's supposed to be enjoyable. With the total cost of the lather, another $270 (on sale) seems worth it.
 
Joined
Feb 25, 2018
Messages
101
Likes
66
Location
Novi, Michigan
The Robust swing away with the lift assist is very slick - but I think it is almost $1k just for this feature (I really struggle with the cost on some of these items - must be the low volume?). Pay now or pay later right?!
 
Joined
May 31, 2019
Messages
101
Likes
89
Location
Highland, MI
I bought a PM3520C almost a year ago. I hefted the tailstock a few times when I wanted to hollow some bowls and HF's from the end of the bed. I knew it was just a matter of time until I either dropped the tailstock or killed my back, so I built a pseudo bed extension on top of a cart that was a couple inches lower than the bed ways. That was ok, but didn't work that well for various reasons. I had a hard time justifying $300 for a swing away, but I finally relented after selling most of my guitar gear and bought one. I've been totally happy that I finally did it.
 
Joined
Jul 19, 2017
Messages
110
Likes
35
Location
Roscoe, Illinois
If I could get it for 270 I wouldn’t hesitate to pick it up. Could you share where you’re getting it from at that price so I can buy from there as well?
All Powermatic lathes and accessories are on sale through March 31st but, for some reason, not all retailers have access. For example, the Woodcraft I usually go to doesn't have any Powermatic on sale. The place I went to was a local hardwood place. I just checked and it appears that Toolnut (an online retailer) has it on sale with free shipping (not totally sure about the shipping). Although the direction is that it will ship in 13- 17 days, as long as it is bought tomorrow, it would still be on sale. There may be other online retailers who have the sale, maybe some on Amazon (they have everything).
 
Joined
Apr 20, 2006
Messages
568
Likes
263
Location
Erie, PA
I love the swing away on my 3520b. One thing I was anxious about was that I have the bed extension on the lower section of the lathe. It clears the bed extension in the lower location without a problem.
 
Joined
Nov 24, 2010
Messages
204
Likes
64
Location
Kentucky
When I got a used 3520B, I already knew how heavy the PM tailstock was. I felt the swing-away was essential and bought one quickly. I was very happy to have it. I no longer have the PM.
 
Joined
Jan 18, 2020
Messages
44
Likes
21
Location
Boyertown, Pennsylvania
I don't use my swing-away often, but when I need it, it sure is nice to have. It beats having to muscle the tailstock off/on the lathe. An added benefit of it is it adds about 4" to the length of your lathe's bed.
Pretty much the same here. I don't use it often, mostly because it's a bit fiddly to use. But it's sure handy to be able to get the tailstock out the of the way for hollowing.
 

john lucas

AAW Forum Expert
Joined
Apr 26, 2004
Messages
7,615
Likes
2,212
Location
Cookeville, TN
OK saving my money. I know could probably build one that works pretty good but really I'd rather be turning than spending the time building that.
 
Joined
Jun 1, 2006
Messages
256
Likes
106
Location
Freelton, ON
I have a Oneway 2436 and ordered the Swing Away Accessory when it was introduced at the Louisville Symposium in 2006. The cost was similar to what you are quoting for the Powermatic. Never regretted that expenditure. All it would take is one incident of back problems due to lifting a heavy tail stock and the cost becomes insignificant. I like to build things and in fact did look at making one but when I saw it at the symposium had my credit card out in a flash!
 
Joined
Jul 19, 2017
Messages
110
Likes
35
Location
Roscoe, Illinois
I don't use my swing-away often, but when I need it, it sure is nice to have. It beats having to muscle the tailstock off/on the lathe. An added benefit of it is it adds about 4" to the length of your lathe's bed.
I agree. Plus, I believe I will use mine a lot but, even if I use it less than I think, I will be relieved I have it every time I need to use it.

I also agree that I'd rather spend my time turning and making cabinets or furniture than making a swing away add-on when I can buy one that is made exactly for that purpose.

It's interesting how feedback on various Forums can be totally different. On this AAW Forum, the feedback was quite favorable to the swing away while in another Forum Turning Section the feedback was mostly not.
 

hockenbery

AAW Advisor
Staff member
Beta Tester
Joined
Apr 27, 2004
Messages
6,862
Likes
2,734
Location
Lakeland, Florida
Website
www.hockenberywoodturning.com
i also have the ONEWAY swing away. It’s the only swing away I have used where you don’t have to lift anything. It just swings the tailstock out of the way.

I’ve demoed many times on a Robust AB with a swing away and powermatics with the swing away.
the Powermatic swings down at a 45 degree angle. You get a mechanical advantage lifting and lowering it. So you still lift a 1/3 to half the weight.
same for the Robust but more mechanical assistance. Maybe lift 20-30% of the weight.
 
Joined
Dec 22, 2006
Messages
5,613
Likes
2,358
Location
Panning for Montana gold, with Betsy, the mule!
It's interesting how feedback on various Forums can be totally different. On this AAW Forum, the feedback was quite favorable to the swing away while in another Forum Turning Section the feedback was mostly not.

Why do you suppose that is?

To my thinking, it's an example of how "herd mentality" works. I'll bet there are those with opposing opinions, who don't speak up because "everybody does it" is a lot easier than having an alternative point of view..... :)

-----odie-----
 

john lucas

AAW Forum Expert
Joined
Apr 26, 2004
Messages
7,615
Likes
2,212
Location
Cookeville, TN
I find the swing away with out tilting down does not get the tailstock out of the way. That's why I like the Robust and Powermatic. When I first demoed on a Robust with the power assist swing away I was blown away. All it took was 2 fingers to lift it into position. But obviously if I'm complaining about the price of the Powermatic then purchasing a Robust lathe with the tailstock swing away is out of the question. Of course I haven't checked my lottery numbers today.
 

Timothy Allen

Beta Tester
Beta Tester
Joined
Sep 11, 2019
Messages
192
Likes
123
Location
NH and ME
I reviewed that other thread, and I didn't sense the respondents were hostile to the idea of a tailstock swing away device, but rather were just trying to suggest other alternatives. Another possible (and not mutually exclusive) explanation might be that the respondents there may not have had much experience (collectively) with a swing away, whereas respondents here may have had more experience (collectively) with the devices.
 
Joined
Jun 6, 2018
Messages
913
Likes
365
Location
La Grange, IL
I find the swing away with out tilting down does not get the tailstock out of the way.
The Nova is actually a very heavy duty hinge that interposes between the lathe and the bed extension. So when swung out there's plenty of room to move the TS to the side. Unfortunately they don't have one for the Galaxi. :(
 
Joined
Jan 3, 2012
Messages
251
Likes
150
Location
New City, NY
When turning larger hollow forms of the donut shape, I use a second banjo extending the trap and boring bar on the far side of the lathe. A swing away tail stock would get in the way.
For $8 HFT dolly plus some scrap plywood, I built a roll away tailstock stand that adds storage.
386AE872-2BB4-4E5F-BB4E-4672DB1CB2CD.jpeg22C13045-89E9-4A47-82DA-AE5B05FD8ED7.jpeg
recently, I moved my 17” outboard extension to the rear of the lathe. When I turn bowls I no longer have to remove the tailstock to get it out of the way. With the tailstock sitting on the extension I am free to hollow without interference. For the additional money invested, what Would you rather have a swing away or an extension?
 
Last edited:
Joined
Aug 14, 2007
Messages
3,281
Likes
997
Location
Eugene, OR
Well, if it saves you from the hole in your elbow once, it is worth it. My AB didn't have the assist shock thingy option when I bought it. I don't think I will upgrade though. I did try the PM tilt away once and thought it was okay, but liked the AB one better. I could easily get used to the PM variation. The Vicmark is a curious one as it pivots away at 90 degrees so the short bed it is on stays level/parallel with the lathe bed. I think it is safe to say that you will want one some day, if, not when. As others have said, I could build one, but would prefer to spend the time on other things...

robo hippy
 
Joined
Jul 19, 2017
Messages
110
Likes
35
Location
Roscoe, Illinois
I just wanted to be clear...I didn't feel any "hostility" about the whole issue on Sawmill Creek or any overwhelming feeling other than a number of posters suggested ways to make a swing away, which I wasn't interested in doing. I would much rather spend my time turning than making an accessory like this which is made just for the correct purpose. It's much more fun and satisfying to me to spend my time making bowls, cabinets, or furniture. Others get more satisfaction from making jigs and accessories. I actually did look at most, if not all, the references online and felt that the Powermatic swing away was the best suited for me. I get that they didn't want to spend the money, which does seem like a lot, but, in the end, compared to the cost of the lathe, it really isn't. I should have just gone with my feeling to begin with. I was actually talked out of it by the owner of the hardwood retailer I bought the lathe from, if you can believe that. He said he wasn't aware of any of the PM 3520's he sold that were sold with the swing away. I feel completely comfortable with my decision even given the cost and am really looking forward to getting it, setting it up, and getting accustomed to using it. In the end, that's my reward.
 

Dave Landers

Beta Tester
Joined
Dec 1, 2014
Messages
225
Likes
346
Location
Estes Park, CO
Website
dlwoodturning.com
I was actually talked out of it by the owner of the hardwood retailer I bought the lathe from, if you can believe that. He said he wasn't aware of any of the PM 3520's he sold that were sold with the swing away. I
I can believe that (the part about none being sold with the swing-away). Sounds like a lot of us who have them bought them later after discovering they existed or growing into the need etc.

I bet if he had a swing-away on his floor model, he'd sell a few.
 
Joined
Jan 3, 2012
Messages
251
Likes
150
Location
New City, NY
@Dennis Weiner , in your photo's it looks like you used two steel plates painted white as the mounting surface for the tailstock on your cart. Do I have that right? Any reason a person couldn't just use plywood?
It was an inexpensive white cutting board bought from a discount store and cut into strips so that the tailstock would slide onto it much easier. A plywood base would have a lot of friction, perhaps a hard finish like Polly with wax would work or a piece of laminate over the plywood. Sacrificing a $5 cutting board was the easiest way to imitate a low friction lathe bed so I went with that.
 
Top