Upgraded mini-lathe

  • Advertise with us
Review by Sawdust2 posted 05-17-2009 10:27 PM 14406 views 0 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Upgraded mini-lathe No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

I’d been using a Carba-Tec mini-lathe for so long I can’t remember when I bought it.
When my 65th birthday came around (remember my b’day cake?)

I decided to get the variable speed version. A while back I had tried to make my old mini-lather variable but you just can’t do that with an old AC motor

Old Carba Tec
So here is a picture of the new one right out of the box

I also order a 4 jaw chuck so I could try some new turning stuff.

One thing that surprised me is the tool kit that came with the lathe. It had 2 wrenches, an 11/13 mm and a 12/14 mm wrench. The only bolt on the lathe is 10mm for when you want to loosen the tension on the motor so you can change the belt from low speed to high speed (or vice-versa).

I took the old lathe off the turning station and I had to make a new base for the new lathe. It has a different footprint but would fit just fine in the old station.

You can see that I have the Jet 1100 cfm dc. All of my shop is on a permanent collector system but the lathe is in a different area. What I ended up doing was running a flex hose from the back of lathe over to the unused inlet on the dc

The other tools have automatic gates when they are turned on and I don’t have a spare gate, right now. I decided that I would just clean up the old turning area, move the new lathe closer.

The drawback is that I have to remove the hose from the collector and put the cover back on when I am running the other tools but that is no big deal. When I am using the lathe I just crack one gate enough to activate the system and it really sucks.

Oh, the review?

The first item I tried to turn was a bottle stopper. I hadn’t cut the corners so I was dealing with a square piece of oak. After a few attempts I noticed that the machine was squealing. “Damn. 1/4 horse is just not strong enough.” WRONG. Of course, when you are turning square pieces it put a lot of torque on the wood, thus the mandrel jars every time it hits the corner. I tap my bottle blanks and screw them on to the mandrel.
After a few jars the lathe had burned the tapped hole and the wood was just spinning in a pressure mode. The mandrel was spinning in the hole and that was the squeal. So. I guess 1/4 horse IS strong enough.

I originally had a concern because the tool rest was not staying secure on the base. After tightening the nut on the bottom it stayed secure wherever I placed it. That was the only adjustment I made from out of the box. (Other than cleaning the goo off of the raw metal.)

So, for ease of installation, ease of use, simplicity of operation and POWER of the motor I give it 5 stars.

My first turning was a bullet pen with antler handle. Look for that in my newest project.


-- No piece is cut too short. It was meant for a smaller project.

View Sawdust2's profile


1466 posts in 4940 days

6 comments so far

View BarryW's profile


1016 posts in 4759 days

#1 posted 05-17-2009 10:45 PM

A great little lathe and area for work..

-- /\/\/\ BarryW /\/\/\ Stay so busy you don't have time to die.

View a1Jim's profile


118136 posts in 4430 days

#2 posted 05-17-2009 10:50 PM

Looks like in well do the job.


View John Stegall's profile

John Stegall

538 posts in 4369 days

#3 posted 05-18-2009 08:32 PM

I have the same old model as yours…I did not get one for my 65th so I am going to mount a DC motor on it and then use that for my variable speed. But I am seriously consdidering buying the jet mini for my 66th. I tried for a long time to find one (Jet mini) that needed a motor so I could use the DC on that, but I will give up in September if I don’t get find one by then.
Good looking stand btw.

Edit to add ing

-- jstegall

View Sawdust2's profile


1466 posts in 4940 days

#4 posted 05-19-2009 01:33 AM

I thought of that, too. But the base is 2” too small, you need to do some drilling and some adding of metal to make the motor fit. It’s 4” in the new one.
If I farmed it out it would be between $75-100. If I screwed it up I would be out the $109 for the motor kit.
For $20 more I got the real deal, no hassles.

Some new guy will buy my old one off Craig’s list and two people will be happy.

A friend has the Jet mini. I’ve used it. It’s nice. It’s not $400 nicer.

-- No piece is cut too short. It was meant for a smaller project.

View John Stegall's profile

John Stegall

538 posts in 4369 days

#5 posted 05-19-2009 11:25 PM

“It’s not $400 nicer.” Boy do I agree with that! I had it worked out to add the motor underneath on a separate shelf. The problem I had that stopped me (so far) was that the shaft on my DC motor is larger than the pulley size (hole through it). I got my motor very cheap and I got my lathe many moons ago. So I would not have much tied up in it. It also is a larger motor (overkill).
I am also looking at making my own lathe using some materials that I have picked up over the years…headstock, tail stock, and ways. But I have been saying that for years too. I would like to get back to turning larger things though which is just not possible with the Carba Tec. I do like the color scheme on the new one.

Is that a larger lathe behind your new one?


-- jstegall

View waukez's profile


21 posts in 4143 days

#6 posted 05-24-2009 02:18 AM

Looks like your old lathe has a cutaway table for cutting large flat things like collection plates. Some one will definatly like that on craigs list.

-- Tool Maker

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics