Turning Archive 2006

Robust 18x25 Lathe Review *LINK*

>Keith Thompkins ask me to do a lathe review on the Robust so here it is. I listed some of features that was special for me. If you have questions or comments I will try to address them. I already have a larger lathe in the Vicmarc 300 sb. which I purchased 3 years ago, so I got a size smaller. Again I'm a lathe junkie, but this time I think we are out of space (well almost). GT

Robust 18x28 Wood Lathe Review
by George Troy Hurlburt 2-12-06

Getting a new lathe starts with the shipping. This one was wrapped and padded in plastic which makes it water, rain and snow proof. The wood base frame was 2x6s screwed together along with 2x4s around. Both ends of lathe and feet were bolted. After taking out screws we slide it off on to the floor. The Robust ships with level pads, if needed. My concrete floor in the shop is level. I just put some thick pads under the 4x 4 lathe feet, plugged it in the 220 box and was good to go. No setup time here. The lathe itself has a black metallic powder coat on it. A frame supports is designed for the lathe and painted a gloss black. The 2 hp Leeson motor is also painted black and runs very quiet. The Robust 18x28 weights over 500 lbs.

I will try to mention those items and features I thought were important to me when I made the purchase. On startup I just turn on the red master switch which is quiet and has a little red light when on. Off is off and the transformer does not run. The black painted A Frame supporting the lathe is reinforced steel and designed to support the machine without any vibration. The Leeson controller box is inside its own little cabinet. Footprint is 28 . The stainless steel bed is wide at 6 . This gives a broad support for the 4wide base banjo. I decided to go with the 1 size tool rest post since I had some other curves that would fit. Oh yes, Robust offers another choice of tool post size 1 . There is a beautiful non marring black spring loaded tool post handle with a brass tip. The tool rest by Robust matches the lathe and your hand just sets in the curve, I like that. The top edge of the steel tool rest is just that, no secondary edges. If the tool rest drops down, it will not bust your hand because of the ideal height distance.

A great feature is the spindle lock which electronically keeps your belt from spinning when locked. You have an up or down position. I have forgotten to disengage already and leave it, it wont start. Spindle is 1 x 8.You also have a big red panic button on the front of the heavy steel headstock I hope I dont ever need that. From the way the headstock is constructed you can reach over it and turn close to your chuck or faceplate. I put my swing arm light in the holder bracket on the top back side of headstock. The headstock has a 6 indexing hand wheel close to it without protrusions to catch your fingers and knuckles on; and that is a biggy. Headstock Hand Wheel is also threaded for vacuum ready.

I placed the remote controller on the sliding headstock in 4 different positions to see which one I like best for turning on the end of the lathe: headstock, front bevel of bed, tailstock or rear bevel. That rear is awful handy. All the controls are right there start, stop, forward, reverse, and speed dial. Tailstock is an easy on/off with the large round washer clamp. On the 18 swing tailstock, weight is not a factor for me and thats great. The tailstock has an easy lock lever with black knob and stop so it wont go over too far. Tailstock ram clamp down is black spring loaded lever. Tailstock ram is not marked with inch marks, but can be ordered. Tailstock is a Morse #2 taper or 3, it ejects by itself, and however there is no hole in the end to put a bar through. Big 6 aluminum wheel and handle on tailstock.

The projects to date have gone well. I do not turn many large bowls and made no attempt to take it to the limits. Its makes smooth cuts with out vibration or run out and that means the machine has a lot going for it. To me the workmanship and attention to detail is very good. A 25x28 machine is also available. Take a hard look at the Tilt away tailstock for either machine. The Robust (www.turnrobust.com) is an American Made machine manufactured in Wisconsin. Brent English is the owner and designer. He is in a position to work with you one on one and there are not too places with that kind of service. GT

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