Tool Addicts

Tool Addicts

New Delta midi-lathes have the power, mass, and capacity of larger lathes

comments (0) July 15th, 2009 in blogs

AsaC Asa Christiana, Special Projects Editor, Fine Woodworking magazine
thumbs up 43 users recommend

Delta says that most buyers are opting for the 46-460 version, with its stronger, variable-speed motor, which is also reversible for tasks such as sanding. Many will also opt for the bed extension and heavy-duty stands shown here.
The 5-speed 46-455 has a quick-release lever that allows speed changes in a few seconds.
Fine machining on the bed promises smooth sliding action for the tool rest.
Delta says that most buyers are opting for the 46-460 version, with its stronger, variable-speed motor, which is also reversible for tasks such as sanding. Many will also opt for the bed extension and heavy-duty stands shown here. - CLICK TO ENLARGE

Delta says that most buyers are opting for the 46-460 version, with its stronger, variable-speed motor, which is also reversible for tasks such as sanding. Many will also opt for the bed extension and heavy-duty stands shown here.


Until now, it has been hard to tell some "mini-lathes" apart from "midi-lathes." Midis offered longer beds than minis (especially if you added a bed extension), but often had the same size motor (1/2 hp) and the same lack of mass in the castings. Delta found that customers were adding the bed extension to the previous Delta midi-lathe, and then expecting it to have the power and mass to handle big, long workpieces without stalling or vibrating. Like most of the midi-lathes on the market, it didn't.

Two new Delta midi-lathes are designed to be true mid-sized lathes, with 20 lbs. more cast iron in them, a 3/4- or 1-hp motor, and much better fit and finish. Both offer a 12-1/2-in. swing and 16-1/2 in. between centers (but that expands to a lengthy 42 in. with the addition of a $140 bed extension). On the 5-speed version (product no. 46-455, list price $499, 3/4 hp motor) you change the speeds manually, but a quick-release lever makes that very easy. But Delta's product manager told me that 80% of people have been opting for the 46-460 version, for $599. The extra $100 gets you a true variable-speed motor, with an AC power inverter that offers the best low-end torque in the category, Delta says. Also, the motor is 1 hp. By the way, the 46-460 is also the only midi-lathe on the market that has a reversible motor (for sanding, for example).

Other nice features on both models are heavy 6- and 10-in. tool rests standard, an easy-to-use indexing head that seemed to have no play, and nice tool holder slots in the sturdy stand (optional).

I thought the new Delta lathes looked heavy-duty and very nicely machined, and they promise smooth, vibration-free turning of large pieces.



posted in: blogs, workshop, tool, turning


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ABOUT TOOL ADDICTS

If you enjoy woodworking then you probably also suffer from an addiction to tools. Whether you collect hand planes or seek out the latest and greatest in power tools, our expert tool addicts will keep you in the loop with news, reviews, and commentary on the latest in woodworking tools.

New: Don’t miss posts by contributing editor Roland (aka Rollie) Johnson. Over the year’s Rollie’s tested countless tools for the magazine. His fascination with motors and gears goes beyond woodworking, he's also an enthusiastic hot-rodder who likes to restore old cars, and is the author of Automotive Woodworking (Motor Books International, 2002).

Contact us: Keep us in the loop on tool news or ideas for this blog. Email the editors at fw at taunton.com or “tweet” Rollie via Twitter at https://twitter.com/Toolwriter.