General 26020VD Lathe
by Jesper

The lathe was delivered with the variable speed drive 3 phase 2 hp motor running on 220V single phase, and includes an outboard attachment.

Shipping: Arrived on a skid, wrapped in plastic, so any damage would have been obvious. There were none. Lathe came fully assembled, install it and plug it in.

The ways and base for the head and tailstock is a heavy single casting. The headstock is bolted to the base with four bolts and a couple of neat little adjustment screws to line it up. The head and tailstocks are on centerline, exactly. The lathe is mounted on a pretty substantial sheet metal base, housing the drive on the left.

The motor and spindle both have four groove pulleys for four different speed ranges. The pullys have clearly been balanced dynamically - nice touch. Handles, controls, locking levers are all industrial quality stuff and no plastic.

The finishing of the castings is excellent, with the exception of the toolrests, which needed a tune-up on the beltsander. I don't know if this is to be expected, but it was one of those things which you can easily do yourself.

The outboard turning bracket came with a second banjo - identical with the main, so it can be used for longer toolrests.

There is no detectable run-out on the spindle and zero vibration. The tailstock slides easily on the ways and locks solidly in place.

The drive is a really neat idea. 220 volt single phase is fed to a Telemechanique VFD, which converts this to 3 phase with variable frequency based on input from a potentiometer. The VFD is an industrial component, mounted in it's own electrical enclosure on the back.There is an on-off power switch, a forward-off-reverse switch and the potentiometer on the front.

The motor accelerates smoothly from stop to full speed - even if turned on with the pot set high. Switching from forward to revese while running, the motor slows down in a controlled manner, stops, and then accelerates in the other direction. No jerks or sudden changes.

My oveall impression: This machine is clearly better assembled and finished than anything else I have in the shop.