Medium sized lathe, with all the best stuff

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Review by Avi posted 12-18-2018 01:57 PM 3981 views 0 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Medium sized lathe, with all the best stuff Medium sized lathe, with all the best stuff Medium sized lathe, with all the best stuff Click the pictures to enlarge them

I have been working with the Scout for about 4 months now.
I only got into turning about 16 months ago, but once I realized I will probably be turning until I am dead, I decided to skip the usual upgrade path and just go straight to the top, instead of waiting for my retirement and/or greater ability to afford it.

My shop is tiny (and in the basement) so I am unable to fit in a permanently standing lathe, so it needs to be on wheels. Thus the lathe plus cabinet/stand cannot weigh more than ~300 pounds total, it can’t be too big because of where it needs to fit in when stored, and the base must have room for storage.

I searched and ended up getting the Robust Scout. It’s Robust’s smallest (and cheapest) of three lathes they make.

It has speed control (from 50 to 3000 RPM – I routinely leave it on 50 for drying finishes) and reverse, a 24 indexer with each stop lockable with a pin, 3 inches of tailstock quill extension (which is very smooth – I do a lot of boring). The motor is Leeson, the inverter Lenze, and the build quality is great. The holder for the inverter, has a place to put in lighting (I used it to hold a wood bar to hold my little spotlight).

After using it for 4 months, I can say it’s a pleasure to use. I have not turned massive bowls, or tired to turn a log like in one of Robust’s vids, but everything I threw at it was no problem. It does NOT have a dual pulley system, however, they explained something about not losing too much torque because of the way the motor works with the inverter or something. Practically, it’s very powerful.

I got the 220V version with the 1.5hp motor and I can’t see myself lacking power. I would advise upgrading the motor from the 1hp standard.

I also got the optional bed extention, but for now I am using it as a real expensive stand for when I remove the tail stock for say hollowing. I keep meaning to install it, but so far I have only turned a spindle 23 inch long (near the limit).

It’s quiet, zero vibrations (even on my cabinet with wheels: caveat: in a certain RPM range when unloaded there IS some resonance/vibration going on, but that disappears when going slower or faster). The banjo and tailstock lock so easily, that gravity pulling the handle down will lock it so that I need to pick up the handle to slide them.

Initially, I was skeptical of the long red stop bar and I was sure I would disassemble it. I also thought I would knock into to it accidentally or something, but not once did this happen. I love it now and I can’t imagine having to press on a small button located on the side of the lathe to stop it anymore.

Finally, the folks at Robust are very nice and helpful, answering even my stupidest questions with patience and grace. They were also very good about my international order, even placing me on the production schedule before I fully paid for it.

As you can see from the pics, my cabinet is relatively massive and its full of stuff, and as such it does take a bit of elbow grease to move it over when I have to use my saw (hence the large handles). This would be impossible with one of the larger and heavier models.

Most reviews have some cons, but I honestly can’t think of any.
OK, well, price. It’s not cheap to begin with, and then I had it shipped overseas, then had local VAT, so for the price at my door (+ another ~15% ish) I could have gotten a full sized Powermatic from a local distributor. But again, that would have been useless for me.

Summary: If you are on a relative budget and especially if you need a lighter, more compact machine than the full sized Robust’s or Powermatics, yet want a high-end machine with top quality and all the important options, this is for you.

-- ~

View Avi's profile


28 posts in 1401 days

3 comments so far

View Wildwood's profile


2959 posts in 3294 days

#1 posted 12-19-2018 11:06 AM

Nice set-up outstanding review. Have never seen or heard of a complete 7 year warranty on a wood lathe good luck with it!

-- Bill

View jeff's profile


1321 posts in 4625 days

#2 posted 12-20-2018 08:10 AM

Nice review Avi. I can’t see Robust not building a high quality lathe in small package.I really like your set-up.

-- Jeff,Tucson,Az.

View 9x9's profile


109 posts in 2400 days

#3 posted 12-21-2018 01:33 AM

Nice benchtop lathe——good choice.

This is mine——got it 8 months ago. My first lathe (Robust Scout) and hope it’s my last. I’m a self tought beginner woodturner. Before got lathe had a scrap wood box with small cut offs from falt woodworking. Now since I have my Scout lathe keep going back to scrape wood box and use em on the lathe. Even the very small pieces has some use for projects on the lathe. Yeap the Robust Scout is one solid well built benchtop lathe.

-- Lafayette, LA

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