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Discussion Starter #1
I got a fair deal on a mini Jet a while back, so got to see what the hullabaloo about lathes was all about. At least some what. I’ve been enjoying it a lot. All my files have really nice handles and so do a those of a few of my friends, for example.

Changing speed, by swapping the belt position, isn’t horrible, but I can see why people upgrade to lathes with variable speed control.

To change speeds on my little lathe, you have to find a wrench and loosen a bolt. I could just buy a replacement knob, but I noticed the bolt allowed me to leave it snug enough to hold the motor in the up position, and to slid it back down.

The only problem I had was, the washer would, occasionally, tilt a little and require me to go grab the wrench again, to loosen the bolt, adjust the washer, then lightly snug the bolt.

Anything to make changes easier is a good thing, of course. On a whim, I grabbed a pieces of 1/4” aluminum scrap about two inches long and used it for the washer. It’s long enough, it doesn’t tip.

Changing belt position is just a matter of pulling the motor lever up (pressure holds it in place), flip the two doors open, position the belt, close the doors, push the motor lever down again and go.

I don’t know if this would help someone else on other lathes, but it might be worth trying, since it can be undone quickly, if it doesn’t work. For me, it made belt position changes a breeze.

P.S., I haven’t had any problems with belt slippage.
 

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Kelly I've got a Delta with a variable speed pulley which is two halves that move apart or closer together changing the diameter where the belt rides. I've never been particularly fond of the system. Other than the the time to change belt position how do you like the fixed pulley system?
 

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Kelly I have a Jet midi lathe with basically the same system for changing speeds. It's simple with very little to go wrong and good quality for the price. I normally use the second highest speed unless I am drilling.

I know people who have the electronic speed control and that system seems to have trouble if dust gets into the system. It just goes to the highest speed!

2 minutes max to change speeds isn't much as you have to interrupt your work to sharpen chisels anyway.

Regards Jeff
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I bought my mini Jet a few months back. It was my first experience with a lathe. I knew stopping to change belts would be an annoyance, but it's not as bad as I expected, now that I only have to lift the lever, flip the doors open, move the belt and reverse the process.

That said, I just picked up a Rockwell Delta 46-450 with a Reeve's drive, like you described. Though I tore it apart to restore it (bearings, rust removal and paint), the drive is working and I think it will spoil me, as long as I keep in oiled.

Everywhere I look, people seem happy with their drives, but it depends on the machine. It's indicated some of the drives are more poorly made and can be problematic. Then there are the electronic versions that can have their issues too.

I just pulled the 120/240 VAC motor off my four wheel grinder and installed a 3/4 horse DC servo motor, which came with a connected, but separate controller.

With the DC beast installed, I can reverse direction, if I wanted to hone, and I can run it from zero to about twenty-five hundred RPM's.

The motor works so well I might consider a more powerful one for my lathe, if the Reeves drive comes to annoy me too much.

3/4 horse variable speed, reversible DC motors can be had, new, with controller, for one fifty or less.

Kelly I've got a Delta with a variable speed pulley which is two halves that move apart or closer together changing the diameter where the belt rides. I've never been particularly fond of the system. Other than the the time to change belt position how do you like the fixed pulley system?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
When I'm not in my "coordination only strikes once every three minutes" mode, I can swap the belts on my mini in thirty seconds or even less, with the lever set up like I mentioned. That's pretty tolerable.

I suspect speed will be less an issue, once I get the Rockwell Delta 46-450 back together, since its weight will dampen vibration of out of round stock.

That will cut down on speed swaps.


Kelly I have a Jet midi lathe with basically the same system for changing speeds. It's simple with very little to go wrong and good quality for the price. I normally use the second highest speed unless I am drilling.

I know people who have the electronic speed control and that system seems to have trouble if dust gets into the system. It just goes to the highest speed!

2 minutes max to change speeds isn't much as you have to interrupt your work to sharpen chisels anyway.

Regards Jeff
 
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