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I recently tested a new mini-lathe from Jet, the model 1220VS. It features a 3/4-hp variable-speed motor (270 rpm to 4,200 rpm), a 1-in. by 8-threads-per-inch (tpi) spindle, and No. 2 Morse-taper centers. It also has a 12-in. swing over the bed (9-1/2 in. over the tool rest) and a 20-in. capacity between centers. A sister mini-lathe, model 1220, has a six-speed (500 rpm to 3,900 rpm) motor.
A 24-position index pin doubles as a spindle lock, a real time-saver when removing faceplates and chucks. Jet has also included a plastic tool caddy, a flexible work lamp, and both a 6-in. and a 10-in. tool rest.
Other standard equipment includes a faceplate, a spur center, a knockout bar, and a live center. All that good stuff adds weight; the 1220VS is about 125 lb., so it won’t be portable for everyone without help.
Options include a bed extension that increases the capacity between centers to 48 in. and a steel stand that adjusts from 43 in. to 45 in. tall. Both were sturdy and well-made.
Once fired up, the 1220VS was a pleasure to use. I turned spindles and bowls with very good results. It ran quiet and smooth, with no noticeable vibration. And it had plenty of power throughout the entire speed range, with no drop-off in torque at the lower speeds.
Accessories add capacity. An optional bed extension allows longer turnings, while a sturdy stand is height-adjustable.
The 1220VS sells for around $550; the 1220 for about $445. For more information, check out www.jettools.com.
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