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What can you do on a mini/midi lathe...

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by Bob Borzelleri, Nov 19, 2009.

  1. Bob Borzelleri

    Bob Borzelleri

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    that you can't do on a full sized one?

    I'm quite new to turning. I've had a Nova 1624 for a few weeks and have thus far been concentrating on spindles and learning techniques for beads and coves.

    Along the way, I've noticed that many turners who have full sized lathes also seem to have minis or midi lathes. Obviously the smaller lathes are limited in the size of stock that can be turned on them, but can they do things that full sized lathes simply can't do?

    I can certainly understand the propensity to "gather" things (I have several mandolins). Just wondering if there is factual reasoning other than the lathe version of MAS (Mandolin Acquisition Syndrome).

    ...Bob
     
  2. MichaelMouse

    MichaelMouse

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    Anything up to its capacity while there's something else mounted on your regular lathe.

    I don't have the room either. But I do have a Nova 3000. Fun lathes, aren't they?
     
  3. Griesbach

    Griesbach

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    Many turners who started with the minis and up sized to larger lathes simply kept the minis for travel, buffing, simply doing small projects or having two projects going at once etc.
     
  4. Bob Borzelleri

    Bob Borzelleri

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    Thanks for the responses. I now feel no need to go out and buy one of those cute little lathes. :D
     
  5. Steve Worcester

    Steve Worcester Admin Emeritus

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    there's also the power and stability factor. A big lathe will have more horse power and torque than a small lathe. Torque being the more important factor in this case. Additionally, if you can swing a piece the same size on both, the larger lathe having more mass, will have less vibration. Especially in an out of balance situation.

    You can do small things on a big lathe, but you can't do big things on a small lathe.
     
  6. Rick M

    Rick M

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    Notwithstanding what others have already pointed out:
    • Take a lathe you're completely comfortable and familiar with to a hands-on workshop with fellow turners (sometimes even a world class turner at the helm) to learn new skills so you can concentrate more on the lessons and spend less time fumbling with "borrowed" equipment.
    • Haul it to an all day gathering of turners making pens for the Freedom Pen Project (IIRC as of our last meeting, our club has produced over 25 percent of the several thousand pens shipped this year to deployed military personnel as a way of thanking them for their service).
    • Use it to demo woodturning at public events, or at club meetings to emphasize the many types of projects that CAN be produced on a smaller lathe (within the size boundaries of the lathes involved, the finished work doesn't reveal what kind of lathe was used to create it).
    • Depending on your mechanical/electrical ability and willingness, perform a greater variety of DIY repair(s)--or modifications--without shipping/hauling major components to a repair facility or waiting for a technician to come to you--potentially saving money post-warranty since smaller parts cost less to produce and ship.
    That's fine. Certainly no need to rush--but--I wouldn't write those mini and midi lathes off completely. Although I plan to add a bigger one some day, I can't imagine ever getting rid of my 1220 unless it ever becomes uneconomical to repair. If I may paraphrase and IMO improve upon your last quote, I might have suggested it read:
    :cool2: ;)
     
  7. john lucas

    john lucas AAW Forum Expert

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    OK, I turn pieces smaller on my big powermatic than most turners can even see. And I mean that litteraly. The photo below shows my large goblets.
    I often turn on my Nova Comet which is one of the first high quality mini lathes. Why. The tool rest banjo is very light and can be moved almost effortlessly. When turning smaller work this really is much less tiring.
    I can stop the spindle almost instantly with my hands on the handwheel when I turn the lathe off to inspect a piece. This saves huge amounts of time when doing production pieces.
    When drilling with the tailstock the same light weight becomes a valued asset when doing production work. It's very easy to remove and replace the tailstock if necessary and you can move it up drill the hole and move it back very quickly due to the light weight.
    I also have a smaller Carbo-Tec mini that I use when I do demo's in the schools and other venues. I couldn't do that with my big lathe.
     

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  8. Bob Borzelleri

    Bob Borzelleri

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    Rick...

    I accept your edits without prejudice ;).

    Your points are both well taken and sufficient to move me to consider a mini the next time I get the itch to take up up more space in my shop that is not really available :rolleyes:.

    Thanks for the added thoughts.

    ...Bob
     
  9. Bob Borzelleri

    Bob Borzelleri

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    John...

    Wow!

    ...Bob
     
  10. Rick M

    Rick M

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    Wow Indeed!!! :eek:

    John, you must be reshaping the tips of needles to use for gouges . . .
     
  11. john lucas

    john lucas AAW Forum Expert

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    Rick Needles didn't work that well. I used .025" piano wire. That was actually too large. The really really small goblets started to look like egg cups because the tools were too large. I have made some new tools out of .015" piano wire but haven't had time to turn a new small goblet. The smallest I've done so far is 1/4th the size of the head of a pin or maybe slightly smaller. I don't know if I can get any smaller but with my new tools I think I can make it look more like a full size goblet, only about the size of the period at the end of this sentence.
     
  12. Rick M

    Rick M

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    Just got back from a few days out of town and all I can say is I find that kind of work truly jaw-dropping! My hat's off to you.
     

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