Reply by moke

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Posted on DELTA WINs -- RIKON Mini Lathe Model 70-100 or the DELTA 46-460 ????

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1432 posts in 3310 days

#1 posted 12-10-2012 10:01 PM

I have both the Delta 46-460 and the Rikon 70-050. Both are on the manufacturer stands and wheels. The Delta has the bed extension and the stand extension. I have turned mostly pens, acrylic and segemnted, and using mostly the Delta and the Rikon is used some for drilling pen blanks but mostly for a three wheel Beal Buff for acrylic pens.

I do turn some bowls, pepper grinders, and occasional project in conjunction with flatwork….ie: spindles.
I have found there is a substantial difference in a 1 hp (Delta) and 1/2 hp (Rikon), the chief difference is it is easy to stall the 1/2 hp. Keep in mind my Rikon I bought as a second lathe for 199.00 with free shipping from Woodcraft. It is the Economy version….no variable speed at all and 6 (I think) speed changes with the belt.
This is what I have noticed as differences…..the Rikon head and tali stock is not co-planar. I have shimmed, and filed some on the tailstock and it is now co-planar but requires constant manipulation of the shims as I move the tailstock. The belts are harder to change, not so much for me as I have to move it to different position in order to utilize it and it is very accessable to the rear of the machine. If you were to put it against the wall it would be harder by a fair amount. The 70-100 may not have this issue, but it would cetainly bear some investigation. As mentioned above the stand is a good addition, and well made, but will add no storage, as a shop built cabinet would.

I am certainly not advocating the Delta….it is a great machine but I have some misgivings on what is going on with Delta right now. But I will say, there is a substantial difference in the two machines, one only needs to turn one on and listen to it to tell. The Rikon is louder, “rougher”, the location of the controls on the Delta are just better designed, but the Rikon is certainly very useable and for it’s price is far superior to many mini and midis out there.

As far as tools and sharpening goes, start with a kit, find out which tools you like the best and buy Sorby or Benjamin’s Best tools as you go. One key suggestion I would have is investigate how to make your own tools that have inserts. You seem more than able to research and make most anything you want, maybe work your way into make some carbide insert tools. They are awesome, but they are pricey.
Sharpening has it’s own learning curve, with many toys to buy and who knows what is the best. I have been turning 10+ years and have many different systems and I am just as confused as to which one is better as I was when I started. Replacable insert tools eliminate your need to have sharpening system, so may be cheaper in the long run.

I have a collet chuck and while it is very useful in pen turning I am not sure how useful it would be to turn spindles. There are now very affordable jaw chucks, even some under 100.00. Woodcraft has some great buys.

The one thing you will experience with a lathe is it is very different from any flatwork you have done. It is addictive, and expensive as you buy more attachments and toys!! I have to say, I have had a lot of fun making things I thought I would never make!!

-- Mike

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