Turning Archive 2005

The new Powermatic 3520B (gripe)

Mike Schwing from Md.
>Lots of nice new features on the lathe - but it still has the same retarded spindle lock as the current model. (for those of you unfamiliar - the "lock" is spring loaded and requires a hand to keep it in that position) A Powermatic engineer had the poor fortune of introducing himself as so to me at the AAW trade show last week. He appeared to truly never have heard of a single complaint about the lock, so I asked him to pretend to do a few things on the lathe that required a locked spindle and he soon realized that 3 hands were needed and that the lock was mostly worthless. We discussed the common means that woodturners employ to modify that crappy lock until he agreed that it was a significant drawback to such a fine machine. I also questioned the cast spindle lock collar that I hear of breaks occasitionally (mine did too). We agreed that a machined collar would be stronger but that the cast iron would break before spindle damage occured, probably.

I also talked him out of trying to market the threaded indexer (which I don't really like either) as a spindle lock as it takes about 30 seconds to screw the locking pin in, and then 30 more to get it out.

He was concerned about starting the motor with the lock in place, so I showed him what happened - you immediately heard the noise and pressed the stop button, lasts maybe a second, and the belt slips. No big deal. He seemed to be concerned about that anyway and said he could rig a stop circuit so the motor couldn't be turned on with the lock in place. OK, but will it ever show up in production? Who knows.

The spindle lock, in my opinion, is built poorly. It consists of a threaded hole on the inboard side of the spindle right next to where your faceplate or chuck will reside. It offers probably 6 positions, but I did not count, BUT, it is too close to the spindle to offer significant accuracy and the diameter of the spindle collar that the locking pin screws into is probably 3" in diameter, offering very few positions. But it is something we asked for and it does now exist.

If I bought the "B" model I would still be complaining about both issues (as I am now with the "A")

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