SIP 01490 Lathe archive

Wednesday 18 February 2009

Colin Simpson tests out this large lathe from SIP


The SIP 01490 is the largest lathe in SIP’s portfolio and the most substantial. It was delivered in two heavy boxes that two of us struggled to load into the back of my car. I could not unload them myself so I had to open up both boxes and remove the components one at a time.

The first box contained two substantial cast iron legs and the second held the lathe. The lathe is packaged with the headstock, toolrest and tailstock already fitted to the bed bars but I had to remove these while still in the box, in order to carry them to the workshop.

The instructions state that at least two people are required to assemble the lathe and I must admit it would have been a lot easier had I had a second person to help with the unloading.

However, once the parts were in the workshop it did not take long to assemble the lathe. Each of the cast iron legs has four tapped holes to receive bolts that secure the lathe bed. These bolts went home easily - showing that the holes in the lathe bed and the legs lined up perfectly.

Once all the bolts were tight the lathe was very solid and stable. For greater stability and safety, there are holes provided in the legs to enable them to be bolted to the floor.

First impressions

When I had assembled the lathe, my first impression was that it was a solid machine and the castings, while not perfect, were reasonable when you consider the price of the lathe. The lathe bed had been well machined and the headstock, tailstock and toolrest banjo all moved smoothly along it. I have seen similar quality lathes with a higher price tag.

The headstock can be located anywhere along the bed bars. I think this is a useful feature on a lathe because you can bring it to the far right of the bed bars and stand at the end of the lathe - a particular benefit when making vases or hollow forms, since you do not have to work over the bed.

The hollow spindle is machined for a No. 1 Morse taper and has a 3/4 x 16 tpi thread.

The headstock also swivels and can be locked in any one of five pre-set positions - 0, 60, 90, 120 and 180 degrees. The toolrest comes with an extension arm and I found it more convenient to place the toolrest to the left of the headstock and to use the extension arm when the headstock was swivelled to 90 and 120 degrees. At 180 degrees the toolrest has to be to the left of the headstock, but I would not then use the extension arm. In all positions the main toolrest has to sit across both bed bars - do not over extend it - in order that it locks securely.


The tailstock is cast iron and the quill or shaft is machined to accept a No. 2 Morse taper. Like the headstock spindle, the tailstock is also hollow and has an acceptable 57mm of travel of the shaft. The tailstock slides smoothly along the bed and locks firmly in position. In common with many lathes in this price bracket - and some with a higher price tag, the speed is controlled by means of a lever.

Again, like all lathes with this type of variable speed, the speed can only be changed while the lathe is running, so it is good practice to always start and stop the lathe at the lowest speed. There are 10 fixed speeds. From 500 to 2000rpm.


As part of my evaluation I used the lathe to make a 255mm (10in) bowl, a 380mm (15in) platter and turned a 75 x 75 x 560mm (3 x 3 x 22in) blank of square oak to round. I found that the lathe coped well with the bowl and spindle work. It managed the platter, but struggled a little bit with it. It was reasonably quiet, solidly built and represents good value for money. The lathe comes with a two-year parts and labour warranty covering all manufacturing defects.

Woodworkers Institute

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colin simpson , Lathe , SIP 01490

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"The lathe was reasonably quiet, solidly built and represents good value for money"

The Numbers

SIP 01490 Lathe
Price: £357.64 (inc. VAT)
Motor: 550W - about 3/4hp
Speeds: stepped variable speed from 500 to 2000rpm
Maximum diameter over bed: 370mm
Maximum distance between centres: 1200mm
Drive spindle: 3/4 x 16 tpi. No. 1 Morse taper
Tailstock spindle: No. 2 Morse taper
Weight: 132kg


Contact Details

Contact: SIP UK
Tel.: 0800 028 4438