I am in the research phase of my latheing experience and would
appreciate any opinions of the Delta Midi Lathe that I am considering.
I plan to turn mostly bowls and small spindles and would this lathe fit
my needs. Your input is appreciated.
I have the Jet mini "midi" lathe which is pretty much equivalent to the
Delta, and I love it. I'm a total newbie at turning, but it seems to have
all the qualities for it's size that you will want. There is a new EVS mini
from Jet that is available now, which you might want to consider as well.
A review of the current mini/midi lathes was done for October issue of
The lathes tested:
Vicmarc VL 100
Jet JML 1014
CarbaTec CML 4SE
And reading the review, Steve picked the Vicmarc as the lathe of choice for
quality and value for $ spent. If you have the money though he said the
Oneway you get what you pay for. The Jet, Fisch and Delta pretty much were
all about the same, but if you read the article closely, it would seem that
he possibly liked the Jet or Fisch over the Delta where the Delta lacked.
Like the tailstock quill throw for instance - on the Jet its 2 1/2" long, on
the Delta its 1 1/2". Delta has plastic locking handles instead of metal.
The Delta and Fisch both need a washer between the headstock and the
faceplate where the Jet does not. The Vicmarc - better fit and finish of all
parts. A 24 point indexing system the Jet, Fisch and Delta lack. The Vicmarc
though can come with or without a motor. The motorized unit is more
expensive and is still only a 5 speed lathe. Buy it motorless and hook up a
Variable Speed motor. If you don't feel comfortable hooking up your own
motor and such, then the nod would go to the Jet. And like someone else
said, if you wait, the Jet VS version will be available soon.
Oh, the carbatec - that's a smaller lathe than the rest and Steve said
primarily only for doing miniatures or hobbyist things like pens or doll
I originally bought the Delta Midi as my first lathe and was quite happy
with it... for a while. It turned out that I had a bad spindle; the threads
seemed to be cut off centre so when a faceplate or chuck was installed, it
wobbled. This was fixed for free by Delta since it was still under the
warranty. I also had to buy some new handles because the plastic tailstock
I just recently won a Jet Mini and having them side by side really shows the
quality advantage the Jet has over the Delta.
- it's quieter
- the handles are all metal
- it's much smoother running
- it has a better faceplate
- quality of the spindle seems much better
- the spur center is much nicer
Having said that, I much prefer the location of the power switch and the
ease of switching speeds on the Delta. Had I had the money (Jet was more
expensive) and known the differences between the two machines, I would have
originally bought the Jet. It's similar to buying a new Honda Accord and
having no complaints about it until you drive a Lexus for a while.
Hope this helps,
I have to second Carlo's comments about the Delta.
The one I bought had the off-center headstock/bent spindle/whatever it was
that caused a good deal of vibration and made getting a smooth cut
impossible. Checking display models in several stores showed that they had
the same problem.
Delta did correct the trouble for free under warrantee. The plastic handles
on mine have not broken, yet. But they probably will not last forever.
As I am another newcomer to turning the plan is to keep this one for a while
then, when it can be justified, selling the Delta and getting a better
If I had it all to do over I would have gone with a different lathe.