Pennstate Midi Lathe

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Review by interpim posted 02-15-2009 11:08 PM 8988 views 0 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Pennstate Midi Lathe No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

EDIT: I have now had this lathe for over a year now, and I am still very happy with it. I have now turned bowls, pens, spindles etc… on it, and it has done very well. I still haven’t pulled the trigger on the extension, but to be perfectly honest, I haven’t had a need for an extension yet. I did purchase a barracuda chuck system from PSI, as well as a new set of Benjamin Best lathe chisels.

The motor has held up well, and I am still on the first belt that came with it. I have checked frequently, and the alignment hasn’t moved/drifted since I purchased it.
I still whole heatedly recommend this lathe to any person looking for a midi lathe. The value is tremendous for the lathe you are getting.

I ordered this lathe as part of a pen turner starter set, and have been pleased with the results so far.

I have turned only small pieces on it so far, such as pens and a couple of chess pieces, but it has done well.
The lathe speeds are manually adjusted, which is the only annoyance I can find about it so far. Out of the box the center and headstock were dead on, point to point.

The lathe comes with a small plate, drive center, and live center.
I have enjoyed it, and plan on purchasing the extension bed once I have some extra funds to spare.

I would recommend this lathe to any wood turner on a budget. You are not sacrificing quality at all. If you want variable speed, you can pick up that model for just a bit more. If the quality of this lathe is anything like that one, you will not be disappointed.

-- San Diego, CA

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1170 posts in 4226 days

12 comments so far

View pitchnsplinters's profile


263 posts in 4205 days

#1 posted 02-16-2009 01:02 AM

Thanks for the review. Do you have it bolted to your bench? With the extension do you plan to keep it on your bench?

-- Just 'cause a cat has kittens in the oven, it don't make 'em biscuits.

View NeoDon's profile


49 posts in 4173 days

#2 posted 02-16-2009 04:24 AM

I have the variable speed version and am pleased as well.
Try not to over tighten the Mandrel as I did, It tends to
bend it out of true and makes for a wobbley turned pen.

I will try a bowl I think, any Idea what the limit would be on this thing?
For a bowl in inches, width wise I mean.

View interpim's profile


1170 posts in 4226 days

#3 posted 02-16-2009 05:06 AM

As for the capacity, the manual says 10” diameter. I haven’t turned a bowl yet, but a small one would work i’m sure.

-- San Diego, CA

View Jim's profile


120 posts in 4765 days

#4 posted 02-17-2009 01:15 AM

I have this lathe and will say for a starter lathe it works great. I paid $188 for mine with free shipping from amazon. I have done small turnings- spindles, bowls and made a bunch of saw dust and chips. the only real problems I have had are when setting it up I bolted the extension bed on and it did not line up the best. A little filling and sanding is all it took. Also this weekend I noticed my dead center was slipping in the head stock some. I have spent alot more on accessories for it than I spent on the lathe itself. mine is bolted to the stand I made for it.

-- Jim in Cushing Oklahoma

View brewtang's profile


15 posts in 4281 days

#5 posted 02-17-2009 04:06 AM

One thing to keep in mind with lathe bowl capacities, is that it is a measurement from the center of the spindle to the top of the bed…not to the top of the tool rest banjo. Sometimes you can position the banjo at an angle and get more space, but sometimes you can’t get it out of the way totally. Another thing to keep in mind is that the closer to the max capacity you get, the lighter the cuts you have to take. More aggressive cuts will cause a 1/2 hp motor to bog down.

-- Billy, Jacksonville

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48 posts in 4203 days

#6 posted 02-17-2009 05:10 PM

Thanks for the review

View Karson's profile


35223 posts in 5168 days

#7 posted 02-17-2009 05:16 PM

I bought the same lathe, but I got the variable speed and I also got the entension table. Great lathe for what I’ve used it for. A little unhappy with the joint/fit of the entension bed. You can read my review here

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

View Chris Wright's profile

Chris Wright

541 posts in 4248 days

#8 posted 02-18-2009 09:04 PM

I’ve been looking at this lathe and it’s variable speed brother. I’ve used several different mini/midi lathes (the Jet Mini and the General 25-100) Didn’t have to much trouble with a small bowl, just had it stal the motor out so I had to go slow. Also, and this seems like a no brainer but, keeping your tools sharp will help keep from bogging the motor down. Good luck, have fun and play safe.

Here’s my review of the General 25-100 (

-- "At its best, life is completely unpredictable." - Christopher Walken

View itsme_timd's profile


690 posts in 4598 days

#9 posted 02-20-2009 09:01 PM

I got this lathe in the pen turning starter set as well. After using it for a while I’d say it is a decent, inexpensive lathe.

PSI also offers the VS motor by itself, if you want to add it later, took me less than an hour to upgrade mine and well worth it!

-- Tim D. - Woodstock, GA

View GaryCN's profile


475 posts in 4702 days

#10 posted 02-22-2009 05:14 AM

It looks almost identical to the Steel City one that I have with one exception the location of the
power switch. Under $200 I have not used mine yet except for a few test scraps. Steel City Mini

-- Quando Omni Flunkus Moritati

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3915 posts in 4702 days

#11 posted 02-17-2013 03:14 AM

Interpim, I was just curious how this Lathe is still holding up for you I am in the market to replace mine and downsize to a smaller one since I only do pens and small objects. I am on a pretty tight budget right now so I was thinking about going this route.
Any insite you can give would be greatly appreciated.


-- Chris L. "Don't Dream it, Be it."- (Purveyors of Portable Fun and Fidgets)

View interpim's profile


1170 posts in 4226 days

#12 posted 02-17-2013 04:26 AM

The lathe has held up great. I have been deployed for the past 6 months, so I haven’t used it in a while, but it was working perfectly when I left… I would say I was turning about 2 bowls a week on it before I left

-- San Diego, CA

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