Laguna Tools - Platinum Series 18/47 Lathe (Rating: 4)

Updated in Dec 2020:

I used this for several hours after setting up. I was making a bowl from a small log and operating at lower rpms. I may have actually taken it below 50 rpm. The result was that the lathe stopped and never restarted. After some time I discovered a fried component on the VFD board. Years later (2019) I called Laguna techs and found they no longer supported this lathe. They have now gone to their Revo line with different components. They suggested I talk with Grizzly for spare parts since they make the same lathe, their G0733, in the same factory in China. I was expecting a more helpful response. So, I am looking at options to refit a new, different VFD, to this lathe to try and get it working again. Total turning time on my lathe since new is about 5 hours.

This has become an adventure. Contrary to what Laguna said, neither the motor or the drive (VFD) that came with my lathe are compatible with any Grizzly product. The structural portion of the casting seems identical with Grizzly, Jet, and even Powermatic lathes, probably made in the same Chinese factory. Even today Laguna has been incapable of providing me a wiring diagram that includes the VFD and motor on my Laguna lathe. So I bought an M-series Delta VFD (used on G0733 lathe) and have just purchased a replacement Grizzly motor. So far as I can tell the controls on the face of the head stock are the same. I've asked for some help on Lumberjocks and Saw Mill Creek for help in programming the VFD parameters and I have gotten very good response. Grizzly doesn't allow access to the VFD for programming parameters. Since mine is a stock Delta M-series VFD it does not have the Grizzly changes to it, so I need to program them in.

Am am wary of anything Laguna based my experience here. It is good to see Grizzly supporting their products.

Original post:

I had been looking for a bigger lathe for some time. Larger Jets, Powermatics, One-Ways, Stubbys, Nova, Grizzly, etc. I had been doing pretty well with my old (hybrid) Jet JWL-1236. I had bought it from a guy used who had bought an old head and mated it to a newer bed and tail stock then crafted his own welded steel and cast iron support for it. It was obviously something thrown together but worked pretty well for me. I didn't have the full range of speeds (6) that I was suppoed to have and I couldn't lock it into the two lowest speeds, so that was a problem and it wasn't heavy or powerful enough to cut bigger stuff at lower speeds and withstand the vibration. Even so, the swiveling head allowed me to turn stuff up to 20" in diameter with some caution, but it was never intended for that.

Anyway, price and function drove me to look more closely at a new Laguna entry into the woodworking lathe genre of tools. I have no other Laguna Tools, but found this when doing one of my many on-line searches. The swing was between that of the larger Jet and the Powermatic I was looking at, yet priced about the same as the Jet. The bed was longer and the unit a bit heaver than the Jet, both good for me. After doing some soul searching, comparisons with others, and wearing down my wife a bit, I took the plunge and bought one.

Set up was pretty straightforward. Nothing was broken or amiss. Make sure you have a friend or two or some wheeled dolly to get it where it needs to go - it is heavy. The bolts holding the head and tailstock onto the bed ways are bit too long and had to be filed to achieve clearance to slide both into the slots on the bottom side of the bed. I needed to do a bit of grinding to make it fit. The cool Laguna name on the legs are cheesy decals - this was a bit disappointing. The cast iron legs have a pebbly (probably as-cast) finish and applying a transparent decal over it looks very amateurish because it only makes contact on all the highpoints. It should have been painted or a different type of decal applied.

Once ready to run, the belt squealed. I made some adjustments to the pulleys (very minor) but the squealing persists. Although it says a minimum speed of <50>t know how many Laguna has sold but I had to wait a couple of months for mine. Customer support has been good to work with but I am still dealing with a bit of a squeal with the belt. Otherwise, color me a satisfied customer. I think I paid around $1700 for it, but price on their site is at $1854 now.

More info on it can be found here.