Charnwood W815 Lathe
Wednesday 18 November 2009
Mark Baker puts this small lathe through its paces
My initial impression on opening the box was that the W815 was quite heavy for a small lathe - nice at dampening vibrations - and given that this is mostly a cast iron construction, that accounts for the weight.
The lathe benefits from a hollow spindle and tailstock quill, 1 Morse taper and is supplied with drive centre, tail centre, 180mm (7in) and 100mm (4in) toolrests and faceplate. On putting the lathe on the bench I noted that it does not have any fixing screws through the legs of the castings, so before you can use this product you will need to create a timber frame on the bench to stop it from sliding around. But once this is fixed it is ready to go.
On setting up the lathe for between centre work and switching it on, I noted how very quiet it was.
The motor is quite small at 250W but coupled with the electronic speed controller giving speeds from 750rpm to 3200rpm, it ran smoothly and performed well. Designed for small-scale work this speed range should work well, but would be a little high if you used the lathe at its fullest capacity for bowl work that was out of balance.
The speed change via rotating the dial was easy and smooth. There did not seem to be a loss in power on the work either. The electric variable speed is very smooth and packs quite a punch. The only gripe I encountered was the tailstock handle being a wind-on plastic affair, which given everything else, does let the lathe down a little but does not compromise its performance at all.
In conclusion, the lathe is well priced, is a nice small size, but I still can not work out how Charnwood can supply a variable speed lathe at this price!
There is also a range of chucks which can be purchased to accompany the lathe and we will be looking at these in a future issue.