If you own a workshop or you are, hobbyist or DIYer, who deals in symmetrical objects, then a mini lathe machine is a must-have tool.
A mini-lathe is typically a machine that rotates a workpiece around its axis to create objects with symmetry about an axis.
Depending on the type, mini-lathes can handle woodwork, metalwork, or even glasswork. Other brands have broader application in thermal spraying and shaping pottery. That means a mini lathe can create a plethora of objects, including table legs, baseball bats, screws, musical instruments, gun barrels, candlestick, and crankshaft, among others.
With a mini-lathe, you can not only create symmetrical objects, but also you can deal with a wide range of material.
How much do mini lathe machines cost?
No single price covers all mini-lathes, i.e., the prices vary incredibly. But if you have between $100 and $1000, you’ll get a decent mini-lathe.
The reason for variations in prices is due to sizes (though they are mini), construction material, and the sizes of components, among others. Similarly, each brand has its price tag.
Highly-priced lathes have unique features and thus perform better.
Are mini lathe machines worth it?
Though they are little machines, mini-lathe machines can make your work incredibly easy. Whether you want to cut, knurl, sand, drill, face, or mere turning, a mini-lathe will do it with unmatched precision.
Again, these machines are built of high-quality material, which makes them sturdy, corrosion-resistant, and has a long life.
Comparison of the Best five mini lathe machines
RIKON Mini Lathe has a ½ horsepower motor, which generates enough power for effective turning. Its swing stands at 10 inches, which is decent for most small workshop tasks. The between-center distance is 18-inch, which again is an ample size.
The RIKON 70-105 offers 5-speed range, and you can easily change by merely putting the belt on different wheels. The variable speed allows you to work on multiple projects. You can bore barrel holes, shape wood, rough out pen billets, and do the finishing. And still, it has a self-ejecting tailstock.
It features an iron cast construction, which minimizes vibrations compared to aluminum counterparts. Thus, it is a sturdy and ideal option for pen turners. Here is how it looks.
What Customers Say
Many buyers are pretty much impressed with their purchase. Here is one of the most balanced review:
A great little machine that turns pens. I make bowls on this lathe. The only disadvantage is that I am limited to about 9 inches diameter prior to starting to cut the bowl. It is plenty powerful for most jobs within its size limit. It offers five positions on the pulley system. This gives you a good range of speeds for any project. My next lathe will be a larger Rikon lathe.
- Plenty of power
- Operates quietly
- Easy to use
- A good range of speeds
- Customer support could be better
- Changing speed is manual, which can be a little dangerous
Delta Industrial 46-460 is merely powerful. It features a one horsepower motor with up to 1,725 rpm motor. Delta Industrial has electronic variable speed, plus three-pulley speed ranges. This arrangement provides you with the speed you need without changing the belt position.
Interestingly, you have the reversing and forwarding function, which allows turners to get a superior fining.
The swing capacity is huge. At 12-1/2-inch swing, it is the largest capacity in its class.
Additionally, the patented belt tensioning system allows easy and quick change speeds. Besides, the system lets you set the belt at the correct tension for maximum power transfer and longer tool life.
You can check out this video for details.
What Customers Say
Delta industrial – is another excellent mini-lathe you can buy in the market today. It’s larger than most mini lathes and delivers incredible power.
However, most customers had a few complaints. Standing out among all of them is a faulty variable speed mechanism. It would initially function but eventually goes off when you touch the control knob. However, the retailer is very quick to resolve the issue.
Otherwise, customers appreciated the reverse switch, 12.5” swing, and the fact that it never stalls and rarely slows down.
- Straightforward and easy to use; use a switch to change motion
- Small form factor; thus, takes little space on the workbench
- Powerful 1.0 HP motor neither hampers nor stalls
- Some customers complained of poor customer support
What sets this mini lathe apart from the rest it is power and speed.
JET JWL-1221VS runs on a 745 W DC motor and has variable speed. You can achieve different speeds by simply turning the dial. That makes it easy to get a precise working seed.
Remember, the motor has a working range of between 60 and 3600 RPM. You can also run it on reverse without necessarily turning off the device.
The belt tension system (pending patent) can enable a faster change of belt without disassembly. This innovative, ratchet-style belt system is vital in efficiency and time management.
Still, it offers 24 indexing positions. The indexing pin is alongside the spindle lock. Such an arrangement allows for easy removal of threaded accessories. What’s more, the center aligns appropriately, an essential aspect for practical functionality.
We have a video for you. Check it out.
What Customers Say
Positive reviewers liked this machine for its LCD display, though a few said it could be a bit bigger. Besides, the reverse capability, variable speed arrangement, and the locking mechanism were features that appealed most.
However, some customers complain of poor quality control. Simply put, they received defective products.
- Offers an abundance of torque at lower speeds
- Digital speed control + 3 variable speed changes
- Smooth forward to reverse transitions
- Efficient and innovative ratchet style belt system
- Lightweight; thus, prone to vibrations
- Some customers received lathes with a loose headstock
This precision mini lathe is ideal for turning, counter facing and making bushings, spindles, prototypes, or models.
Weighing about 90 pounds makes it a heavy machine. Unlike others, it is packaged in a cardboard box with wooded top and bottom for safer shipping. Speed and forward and reverse motions are switch operated; you can easily get it to precision.
18 threads are ample for most jobs in labs, workshops, engineering, and educational settings.
Other features making it a standout tool is the automatic feed system and the chuck guard that is operated by a micro switch. These features aim at making it easy to use this tool.
Speeds of between 0 and 1100 RPM on the lower side and 0 and 2500 RPM on the higher side justifies the wide application of this machine. However, you need to check out this video before buying it.
What Customers Say
For most customers, this machine met their expectations. Some termed it as the best for introductory works, particularly on small parts. They loved it for smooth operation, well priced, and the power.
However, what some customers did not know is that you have to buy extra parts to operate the machine. As such, they had a bad experience.
- Lots of torque at low speed
- Well priced
- You have to buy additional parts to use it
If you are looking for an accurate metal lathe, then you must consider buying the Erie Tools 7 x 14. Most hobbyists, modelers, and DIYers use it a lot for their metal works, thanks to its spindle precision of 0.0004 inches (0.01 mm).
The Erie Tools 7 x 14 is compact; thus, it fits in a home workshop. Its swing is 7 inches while the between-center distance is 14 inches, ideal for most small scale metal works.
The motor offer variable speed up to 2500 RPM, thanks to its Single Phase 0.53HP
What Customers Say
The product arrives quickly upon making an order. However, the packaging and shipping, in some instances, were horrible. Thus, the merchandise came with defective parts. Still, some customers received the tool, less some parts.
On the other hand, a high number of customers expressed their sat faction with this product. It operates smoothly, it’s stable, and you can disassemble and assemble easily.
- Friendly for beginners
- You can replace the plastic gears with metallic ones
- Switch operation makes it easy to change the rotation
- The plastic gears give it a cheaper look, and they aren’t long-lasting
A mini lathe is an awesome machine, and people who love DIY jobs, modeling, or hobbyist won’t lack one of these pieces in their workshops. When you shop mini lathe machines, it means you want something that takes a little space on your workbenches but still offers incredible outcomes.
We have 5 options for you. Choose one or more of this to enjoy your modeling jobs.