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4 Best Midi Lathe In The Market Today


A midi lathe is the perfect size tool that does not take up too much space.


It is a great middle option for those that do not want too big of an investment.


Choosing a midi lathe can be a difficult task because almost all of them seem the same.


 Differentiating between midi lathes almost seems like one of those “Spot the Difference” worksheets we completed as a kid.


In this article we help to break down some of the main components and features of a superior midi lathe.


Hopefully after this you are able to narrow down the best choice to fit your needs.

What Is a Wood Lathe?


A wood lathe is specifically designed to stabilize wood, while rotating against a cutting edge or other tool.


A motor powers the spindle that rotates the wood at variable speeds.


 A wood lathe simply rotates quickly, but is able to assist with a large number of different tasks in regards to wood turning or woodworking.


Depending on the tools you use, you are able to sand, drill or form the wood into different patterns or shapes.


There are different types of lathes, but a wood lathe is made specifically for turning wood.

Parts of Midi Lathe


To better understand how to use and how to choose a midi lathe, it is important to learn about the main parts of a lathe. You will be able to operate the tool easily and also decide which features fit your needs. Some of the main components of a midi lathe are:

Motor

The motor that usually comes with a lathe is a variable speed motor. This ensures that you can easily adjust the speed of the rotation by changing the voltage.


This is an important feature because different size materials require different speeds or torque.


For smaller materials, a higher rpm helps to give you more control when cutting.


 Different size motors depend on the size of the lathe.


The most important feature is usually the range of the variable speed, since this gives the tool more versatility.


Depending on the type of work you want to do, the horsepower or variable speed range may be more important to you.

Tool Rest

The tool rest is just as the name sounds. It is a part of the tool that you can rest your tools on.


This may seem like an extra trivial feature; however, it is actually one of the most important parts.


Not only is it there for your convenience, it also keeps your hands safe.


Since the lathe spins at a high speed, it is best to keep your hands away from it, which can be hard while switching tools.


 The rest allows you to conveniently switch between tools.


 The tool rests are usually adjustable, which makes it easier for you to place it in the right location for you.

Headstock

The headstock on the lathe is located on the left side, which also houses the power of the tool.


 The motor, tension pulleys and drive belt are part of the headstock.


The spindle, which is the part the rotates, is attached to the motor on the left.


This part of the tool is usually fixed to create a stable side the material can push on.


An important measurement, when considering a wood lathe is the swing of the lathe.


This is how much the material can swing over the spindle.


This is important to determine what size lathe you need.

Tailstock

The tailstock on the lathe is the right side of the tool.


Unlike the headstock, this end is usually adjustable, so you can firmly stabilize a variety of materials at different lengths.


The tailstock is important to help the wood rotate evenly, since it keeps the spindle in place.


Make sure to find one that locks well and stays in place while turning. 

Speed and Power Control

The speed and power controls of the lathe are usually located on different areas of the lathe, depending on the manufacturer.


In most cases, a control that is closer and easier to see makes it more convenient to adjust.


Many have an easy-to-read digital face that lets you see the exact speed easily.


You do not have to squint at a small adjuster to see if you have the right power anymore.


This is important to get the most use out of your wood lathe.


A good rule of thumb is to use a higher rpm for smaller materials, and a lower rpm for larger materials. 


It is also important to look for a lathe with a wider range of speed control, if you are turning a large variety of wood materials.

Types of Wood Lathes


The three sizes of lathes include the mini, midi and full size lathe. They each have their own strengths and weaknesses depending on the application. You should determine the tasks you want to complete, then determine which size you will need.

Mini Lathe

This size is the smallest of the three sizes.


Mini lathes are most optimal for turning small wood objects, such as pens.


It is also a great portable option and for those that have limited space.

Midi Lathe

Midi lathes are great for medium sized objects like medium bowls and furniture spindles.


We found that this is a great size to move from place to place, but also has the weight to stay stable and sturdy.

Full size Lathe

This is the largest size of lathes and can handle any task that involves turning.


They can be quite heavy, which is great for those that want to dedicate a spot for a lathe.


 It is also great for larger materials, but can be too big for infrequent users.


Regardless of size, lathes are usually made of cast-iron or welded steel, which aims to keep the lathe sturdy.


Usually with a higher price, comes more heavy-duty components which allows for more convenient and easier turning. 


Lighter lathes are great if you want a portable optional however, a heavy lathe is more stable and has less vibrations.


A midi lathe is a great in-between option for those that are looking for both portability and performance quality.

Safety Rules

A lathe can be a dangerous tool to operate. Here are some safety tips to help you avoid serious injuries.

  • Wear the proper clothing (no loose clothing).
  • Wear protective gear on your head.
  • Wear compatible safety glasses while operating.
  • Wear a face covering to protect from sawdust and other particles.
  • Keep your hands a safe distance from moving parts.
  • Be sure to safely disconnect the tool when switching parts.
  • Never force cuts.
  • Do not leave the lathe running when you are not present.
  • Always make sure the cutting material is tightly mounted.
  • Turn the lathe off quickly if it catches.

Now that you know everything you can about Midi lathes, here are some of our top picks that provide superior performance as well as convenience to assist on all your turning projects.

Delta Industrial 12 1/2 Variable Speed Midi Lathe

The Delta Industrial 12 ½ in. midi lathe has a wide range from 250-1750 rpm for a range of projects.


It has an incredible 12 ½ swing capacity, which is large, especially for a midi lathe.


 This is great for those that want to work with larger materials, but are not able to dedicate a spot for a full sized lathe.


A great feature that sets this tool apart is the patented belt tensioning system.


It allows for easier adjustment at the accurate tension.


The lathe also features a heavy-duty cast iron construction that weighs 97 pounds in total.


It keeps the system stable, while also being light enough to transfer around.


Some other additional features include forward and reverse functions as well as onboard storage.


This is a great heavy-duty tool that can assist you with many different tasks.

Pros

  • Large variable speed range for variety of work
  • Forward and reverse switch leaves smooth finish
  • High quality performance

Cons

  • Customer service is lacking
  • Can be hard to find replacement parts
  • Headstock handwheel can start to wobble after use

Nova Flexible Midi Lathe

The Nova midi lathe is a powerful tool that also has an incredible speed range. The variable speed starts at 250 rpm and goes up to 4000rpm.


This is much higher than many other lathes on the market.


This can be great for those that have smaller materials that require a higher rpm.


The headpiece also has an easy-to-read digital face that is in a great position for you to see and easily adjust.


This tool also has the capability to work with many different accessories such as a bed extension or other tools to help with turning.


Like the Delta lathe, this one also comes with a forward and reverse switch that provides a superior finish.


This lathe is a great base product that can work with other add-ons to provide maximum flexibility.


This is a space saving tool that has the performance and capabilities of larger full-sized lathes.

Pros

  • Higher rpm range for smaller materials
  • Compatible with a number of accessories
  • Lightweight yet heavy-duty components

Cons

  • Tool rest made of softer steel
  • Only has 12 indexing stops
  • Tech support does not respond quickly

Jet 12x21 in Variable Speed Wood Lathe

The Jet 12x21 in. wood lathe has a slightly larger lathe bet for longer materials.


 It has a slower variable speed range, starting at 60 rpm, going up to 3600 rpm.


The low speed is great for those that need to work with large products.


It provides the right control for the application.


This lathe stands out with its innovative ratchet style belt that provides maximum control.


With this tool you are able to customize the settings to the perfect ones for your project.


Because this is a slightly bigger midi lathe it does weigh a bit heavier at 136.4 pounds.


This reduces the vibrations and also provides more stability and even turning.


If you are looking for a high-quality lathe and cannot commit to a full sized product, this is a great choice for you.

Pros

  • Hefty cast iron construction for increased stabilization
  • Easy pulley system to adjust speed
  • Extremely quiet when in operation

Cons

  • Size can be too big for some users
  • Some can have manufacturing defects
  • More optimal for bigger materials

NOVA 46300 Comet II Variable Midi Lathe

This Nova Midi lathe has a pretty standard speed range starting from 250 rpm to 4000 rpm.


The performance however, is not standard by any means.


The powerful motor delivers capabilities of a larger lathe.


The lathe also features a swing of 12 in. on the bed and 16.5 in between the center capacities.


This tool is also compatible with other accessories in case you need to extend the bed or add additional tools.


This is a great basic model that you can customize to your own liking.


The optional accessories let you turn a simple product into a whole station if you need.


We highly suggest this product for those that want to save space, yet get the customization and performance of a larger lathe.

Pros

  • Self ejecting tailstock for easy adjustment
  • Features large swing
  • Compatible with other accessories which is great for customization

Cons

  • May need to check alignment before use
  • Can be slightly squeaky through use
  • Has a standard speed range

Last Thoughts


There is a wide array of options to choose from when picking a wood lathe.


It can be hard to choose, but the one that stands out to us is the (Nova Flexible Midi Lathe)


When considering a wood lathe, make sure you find one that has all the features that you value.


A midi wood lathe is a great option for those that have limited space, but need a tool that is able to operate similar to a full-sized lathe.

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