The newest Delta midi lathe pack big features. First, look at the Midi Lathe 46-460, $1400. The electronic variable speed on this machine allows you to dial in the rpms from 250-4000. There’s no easier way to change the speed on a lathe than electronic variable speed. It’s uncommon to see such a low rpm at the low end on machines in this category, and low rpm is great for getting bowls started. Since the speed control lends itself to bowl work, I’m glad to see a 1-hp motor on this lathe. Some small lathes, with smaller motors, can stall when you’re turning large-diameter bowls.
Besides the forward speeds, the 46-460 has a reverse switch. No, it’s not for putting wood back on if you make a mistake; it’s for sanding. Being able to reverse the rotation of the spindle helps you achieve a nicer finish by working the wood fibers in both directions. It’s also useful for shaping the inside of bowls, especially hollow vessels.
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