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

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Forum topic by HorizontalMike posted 12-10-2012 05:21 PM 24541 views 4 times favorited 106 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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7933 posts in 4127 days

12-10-2012 05:21 PM

Topic tags/keywords: lathe rikon mini lathe 70-100 delta 46-460 midi lathe 1 hp

UPDATE: Delta 46-460 Midi-Lathe has arrived. 8-)

OK, I am starting to look at the feasibility of purchasing the Rikon Mini Lathe 70-100 AS MY FIRST LATHE. I have read the other threads regarding which to buy…HF, Jet, PM, etc. I will NOT consider the larger lathes at this point as I will never be able to spend multiple thousand$ on a lathe.

My GOAL: I envision wanting to turn table legs in the range of ~30in length, turnings for chair backs, as well as turn hand plane knobs and smaller such items.

I am also considering buying the:

That said, what I am looking for in the way of advice:

  • Are the above turning tools enough to start, quality/quantity? Do I need a smaller set as well?
  • Is 1/2hp motor enough, considering my goals?
  • Is the RIKON Universal Mini Lathe Stand
    1. Capable/Able to mount the this lathe WITH a 24in extension?
    2. Is this worth it? I have read some neg. reports regarding this stand and wonder if I should pass, and make my own stand or plate for mounting on my workbench when needed?
  • AND THE BIG QUESTION— What OTHER additional things do I need in the way of collets, chucks, jaws, etc.? I have read several time where this may be the biggest part of the money hole, so help me out here.



  • NO to stand—build own cabinet or base to anchor to WB
  • Collet holder—Buy LATER On

Sub-Total of Add-ons = ~$320 so far (many at Sale prices)

Rikon 70-100 Mini Lathe = $360 on $ale

RIKON Rough TOTAL = $360 on $ale + $320 = ~ $700 + Sales Tax/Shipping

DELTA 46-460 Rough TOTAL = ~ $680 + $320 = ~ $1,000 + Sales Tax/Shipping

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

106 replies so far

View Cosmicsniper's profile


2202 posts in 4371 days

#1 posted 12-10-2012 05:35 PM

I’m anxious to hear the opinions on this one, Mike. I’m sure I’ll be doing something similar next year.

-- jay,

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 4183 days

#2 posted 12-10-2012 06:30 PM

I don’t have that exact lathe, but the HF lathe that looks like it.
I also have the HF high speed tool set and I bought the bed extension from Penn State Industries.
The HF is identical to one of PSI lathes, but I think the Rikon, Jet, Delta machines are far superior in fit and finish.
So we were thinking along the same lines, but I just went cheapo because I fully intend to get a much bigger lathe if I like the process. Mainly because I want to do bowls on a larger machine eventually and if I do pens the little lathe is fine for those.

Additional tools you need are, a couple of chucks, adjustable one for the headstock, and a drill chuck on a #2 Morse taper to plug into the tail stock.

Also, one of the “Easy Wood” tools with the replaceable carbide insert would be really nice, but cost twice as much as my whole starter set cost.

You need a full face shield also.

You will need a sharpening station as well. I built a shop made station based on some setups I saw here on LJ. Sharpening is much easier than I expected. Not like the kind of precision you look for in chisels and plane irons.

After using mine for a while, 1/2 hp is under powered for anything bigger than pens in my opinion. I would have just gotten the HF 12×33 lathe with at least a 3/4 hp motor if I was doing this over.

The bed extension is a good idea in theory, but I’d rather have a bigger machine to start with.
I built a nice little cabinet to put mine on and planned to store things in the bottom. Wound up having to store sand bags and concrete blocks in the bottom to keep in on the floor.

View David Kirtley's profile

David Kirtley

1286 posts in 4210 days

#3 posted 12-10-2012 06:53 PM

Don’t discount turning legs in parts that connect. Think pool cue.

No on the stand. That won’t work for the extension. It will sag in the middle. You want something heavier anyway. You can rarely go wrong with a cabinet with storage for all the goodies.

Really consider variable speed rather than belt changes. Life is much better with a variable speed. Ability to go slow is more important than fast.

Don’t even think about chucks when you first start. There are a lot of other ways to hold stuff. You don’t have a large enough swing on that lathe to do really big pieces anyway like bowls and hollow forms that really makes chucks worthwhile. The 1” x 8 tpi spindle is smaller than most spindles if you get to really like turning and want to upgrade lathes.

A collet holder to hold workpieces and mandrels makes things a lot nicer.

One thing I really suggest that can add a whole lot of options is to get a tap that matches the spindle. Beall Tools sells them for example. Just drill a hole, tap it and thread the workpiece onto the spindle. You can also make your own faceplates.

The tools you show look “ok”. Another source of inexpensive turning tools is Penn Industries. I have a small size set from them and they are nice.

You also want a drill chuck on a MT#2 taper for the tailstock.

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune:

View MonteCristo's profile


2099 posts in 3401 days

#4 posted 12-10-2012 07:16 PM

Good speed control is key on a lathe, especially if the initial piece is out of balance. For small stuff not such a big deal but then you’ll want to be able to spin it pretty fast, especially when sanding, because the small diameter translates to relatively slower surface speed.

For detailed work, a set of small turning tools is nice to have. Big tooling would be a waste on such a small lathe.

There are some amazing options these days for holding the workpiece, but if you are mostly doing “between centres” or “spindle” turning, you won’t need most of them. Scroll chucks, vacuum chucks, spigot chucks . . . are for so-called “faceplate” turning (making bowls and the like).

A lot of cheaper lathes come with pretty poor spur centres. A good one is worth buying.

-- Dwight - "Free legal advice available - contact Dewey, Cheetam & Howe""

View HorizontalMike's profile


7933 posts in 4127 days

#5 posted 12-10-2012 07:57 PM

I’m listening guys… Trying to look these things up online so I can better understand what these accessories are and do.

I will UPDATE / EDIT the OP to show a running tally above. Keep the suggestion coming! I sure appreciate the input!

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View HorizontalMike's profile


7933 posts in 4127 days

#6 posted 12-10-2012 08:09 PM

_”...After using mine for a while, 1/2 hp is under powered for anything bigger than pens in my opinion. I would have just gotten the HF 12×33 lathe with at least a 3/4 hp motor if I was doing this over….”

Hey Crank (the other Mike 8-)), At this point if I turn nothing bigger than roughly 4×4, will I be OK with 1/2hp?

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View David Kirtley's profile

David Kirtley

1286 posts in 4210 days

#7 posted 12-10-2012 08:35 PM

The spindle in the lathe headstock that the lathe comes with is not changeable. It has a thread on the outside (1”x 8 threads per inch) and a tapered hole down the middle (Morse Taper #2). The one on that lathe is the same size as mine (HF 12×33.) I don’t have a chuck for mine either and don’t feel like I am missing anything. If you get a larger lathe in the future, it will most likely have a different size thread and taper. A good chuck is a major investment and a cheap one is not worth having. Wait until you are sure you are going to live with this lathe long term before investing.

Since the spindle has a thread on the end like a bolt, you can screw things onto it. That is where you would screw on a chuck. You can also just thread a piece of wood and screw it on directly. If you want to turn a bowl for example, you can have a piece of wood that is a bit longer and just drill a small hole and thread it and bolt it directly to the spindle rather than hold the wood in a chuck. You can also mount things like sanding disks and buffing wheels on it. Yes, you can even use it to sharpen your lathe tools. If you wanted to, you can also make attachments to do other things. This is how a Shopsmith works. It is just a lathe with bolt on attachments.

You can put something small in the headstock on the drill chuck but more importantly, you can put it in the tailstock with a drill bit and drill holes in or through the workpiece. If you want to drill a round mortise or open up a piece to turn something hollow, you can just stick a drill bit there and have at it. Another way to drill through is to use a hollow center (a turning center with a hole in the middle) and pass the drill bit through the tailstock. This is how you can drill through like for passing a wire through a lamp.

The collet holder is a nice addition but down on the list. It is nice that you can grip small things (like up to 3/4 in) but more importantly, you can turn a small 3/4 tenon on something and hold it (and take it off and put it back on without it getting too off center much more easily than any other way (including a chuck)

The small tools are nice but a luxury. You can do some pretty detailed turning with normal size tools. (Please note I took the high road and didn’t expand on this with an analogy) :)

More power is nice but if you don’t have enough power, take lighter cuts. Human powered lathes put out much less power and turn some pretty big things.

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune:

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 4183 days

#8 posted 12-10-2012 08:49 PM

Depends on the wood to some extent; maple is way harder to turn than fir, for instance.
And the type tools you are using; scraper, gouge, skew etc.

First piece I turned was a little minature baseball bat from a piece of maple (old table leg) I just had laying around.
It was about 2” square when I started and that was hard to do. I keep stalling the machine.
It was fully dried as well since it was recycled wood. Once I got it rounded out with a gouge and scraper and then figured out how to run the skew I was able to make the shavings fly pretty good.
Right now I have a piece of green cherry on the chuck and it’s about 4” diameter and that is all that little machine wants.

Perhaps a better quality machine would not stall as easily as the HF machine. I can’t say. This is my only reference. But, from an engineer’s perspective, the watts of this machine are typical of other 1/2 hp machines so I don’t think it would make that much difference.

View HorizontalMike's profile


7933 posts in 4127 days

#9 posted 12-10-2012 10:00 PM

David, 10-4 on the Chuck At $40 it does not break the bank, even though it may not go with a larger lathe. I really don’t see me and a bigger one anytime soon. At least two to three years out.

Table legs, chair spindles, and hand plane knobs is more than enough to keep me busy for awhile. All of those are in that ~2in range that you mention. Sounds like I should be able to pull it off if I am careful about wood choice.

QUESTION FOR ALL: Still looking for an economical sharpening system. I do all of my hand plane blades by hand via “Scary Sharp” method. Do I really need a powered sharpening system for the turning tools? Or just a bit more sweat equity?

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View moke's profile


1929 posts in 3989 days

#10 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

View David Kirtley's profile

David Kirtley

1286 posts in 4210 days

#11 posted 12-10-2012 10:13 PM

I use a belt sander for my sharpening.

That kind of chuck is nice. Only bad thing is that the chuck is longer than a keyed chuck which can be a little problematic on a short bed lathe. Not a deal breaker either way. When I was cautioning about buying chucks, I was talking about this kind of chuck: They get really expensive when you start getting jaws and such.

Tap handle for tap would be useful.

Also, take a look at Beall’s website for other stuff he has. Everything that I have bought from him is high quality.

These are the small tools I have:

They also have some HSS tools a lot cheaper than the ones at Woodcraft:

This is their collet holder:

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune:

View HorizontalMike's profile


7933 posts in 4127 days

#12 posted 12-10-2012 10:24 PM

Thanks for confirming my thoughts on the collet holders being too small for my needs/goals. At least for now, they are on the back burner. Those carbide insert turning tools look pretty neat. Much like my carbide inserts on my Grizzly Jointer.

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View HorizontalMike's profile


7933 posts in 4127 days

#13 posted 12-10-2012 11:46 PM

Nice stuff on Beal Tool. I do have a tap handle for a set that I currently own, but will be aware of any future needs. I have often thought of a better handle as you depict, but have gotten away with my little Crapsman set for a number of years… ;-) I DO appreciate the forethought in hitting ALL possibilities. Many miss that.

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View RussellAP's profile


3105 posts in 3499 days

#14 posted 12-11-2012 12:15 AM

Couple of things Mike as a new lathe owner myself. I found that everything under the Delta 46-460 is basically the same lathe. This Rikon has better capacity, but it’s underpowered and doesn’t reverse.

Listen man, take my word for it; you want variable speed control and reversing motor. If you don’t buy it now, in two months you’ll have that Rikon on the market and you’ll be getting the delta.

Also figure in about 100$ for a chuck and about 85$ for chisels.

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

View TheDane's profile


6006 posts in 4876 days

#15 posted 12-11-2012 12:52 AM

Mike … I went through a similar process two years ago. I finally decided to ante up the extra money for a Delta 46-460 with an extension bed. I have never looked back.

I have not used the Rikon, but have used similar lathes at seminars and trade shows and there is no comparison … the Delta is, hands down, a superior machine. IMHO, a machine with a 1/2hp motor just isn’t going to develop enough torque to handle bigger spindles or bowls.

The reversing/electronic variable speed system is a real life-saver for sanding and finishing. I bought then PSI Utility chuck, and have a Woodcraft grinder with a Wolverine rig for sharpening.

I have turned bowls up to 12”, 10” platters, pens, ornaments, and a baseball bat and have never felt that the job was too big for the Delta.


-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

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