Turning Archive 2004

Need additional lathe info

Wolf Kiessling
>I had pretty much made up my mind to buy a Vicmarc VL300 lathe but had some unexpected financial problems come up so that high end piece of machinery is out, at least for the time being.

However, I was at Woodcraft a couple of weeks ago and looked at a Jet 1642 with the electronic variable speed control and 2 hp motor and got thinking this is not such a bad piece of equipment.

I am now asking if anyone has any knowledge of , and can give a good, valid comparison between both the Jet 1642 (with the electronic variable speed control and 2 hp motor) and Powermatic 3520A.

The main difference as I see them are:

1. The PM has a 20 swing while the Jet only has a 16.

2. The PM has 34.5 between centers while the Jet has 42.

3. The PM weights in at 650 lbs (a big plus) while the Jet comes in at 420 lbs.

4. The Jet has 36 position indexing (a big plus) while the PM does not have it.

5. The PM I would have to purchase at Craft Supplies for $2700 plus shipping, but no tax, while I could purchase the Jet at Oklahoma City for about $2000 plus tax, but no shipping.

My initial reaction is to lean toward the Jet because of the indexing feature and lesser cost even though I like the heavier weight of the PM . The swing and between center distance does not make too much difference to me because Im not sure that I need a 20 swing and probably would never need 42 between centers. I guess what I mainly need is some info regarding quality of construction, ease of use, reliability and probably customer support in case of machine problems. My other option is wait until next year to purchase the Vicmarc but Im not sure I want to wait that long.

Any input would be greatly appreciated.

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