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Phaded
30th May 2010, 09:09 AM
Hello,

I am a new member and this is my first post after lurking this forum for a while to gather information. I am in the market for my first lathe and would like to see if anyone has an opinion on the Steinert Piccolo mini lathe, it is made in Germany and it has 350mm between centers which is about 13.78 inches.

The Steinert lathes are made by a parent company which is well known in Germany called Wema WEMA Werkzeug- und Maschinenbau GmbH - Welcome to Wema (http://www.wema-olbernhau.com/index_e.html)
The Steinert Lathe company does not have an English website but I used Google to translate to give a rough idea of features and there I will list another site with many pictures.
Here is the Base model link & picture
Link for info >>>Google Translate (http://tiny.cc/grvbu)

Here is an upgraded model, I can not figure out why is cost so much more
Link for info>>>Google Translate (http://tiny.cc/ygzyb)
[/URL]
Here is another version with sliding headstock and can rotate with extra charge
Link for info>>>Google Translate (http://drechslershop.de/media/images/00020300_big.jpg)

Here is another site with more info and lots of pictures >>>[URL="http://tiny.cc/94g68"]Google Translate (http://drechslershop.de/media/images/00020500_big.jpg)
Here is a little background on me and reason for my purchase. I am not experienced in wood turning, hence turning to you more experienced members of this board. I have a project I am working on that used exotic hardwood parts in a dowel shape with rounded corners, measurements with be roughly 3-4" diameter and 6-7" long.

This will be its main purpose but I have a feeling I will get bit by the woodturning bug and want to do many more projects with it so another question to you is, do you think this lathe will be fine for me or do you think it would be better to get a larger lathe like the Oneway 1224 or another recommendation?
(this would mean I would have to wait and save up more money though)

artme
30th May 2010, 04:46 PM
G'day Phaded and welcome to the forum! :2tsup::2tsup::2tsup:

There are may tings to consider when buying a lathe.

*Remember that you can turn small items on a big lathe, but you can't turn big items on a small lathe.

*Quality tools are impotant, as is sharpening equipment. Budget for them.

* What sort of budget do you have? A good second hand lathe may be a better buy than a new one. Always get the best lathe you can for the money you want to spend.

*Look at convenience features such as electronic variable speed if you have the money
.
* When you examine a lathe make sure the centres line up.

There are woodturners near you. I suggest you google for organizations in your are. They can help you out.

Why would you buy a german lathe when there are good American machines to be bought? For instance Delta makes a very good small lathe.

Hope tis helps. Have fun.:)

Phaded
30th May 2010, 08:50 PM
Thanks for the welcome


*Quality tools are impotant, as is sharpening equipment. Budget for them. I have a grinder and I plan on purchasing a sharpening jig in the near future. I will set aside a hundred or two for tools and then buy them as I go,


* What sort of budget do you have? A good second hand lathe may be a better buy than a new one. Always get the best lathe you can for the money you want to spend. Budget is around $1500 give or take. I have kept an eye out for a used lathe of decent quality but the used lathes I have seen lately are not that much cheaper than a new one but they are many years old and in poor condition. Infact there is a Oneway 1224 on Ebay right now that looks to have had some hard miles on her, the asking price is $1700 and I could get a new one for $2400.


There are woodturners near you. I suggest you google for organizations in your are. They can help you out. I have been to local clubs and to a couple classes, this is what influenced my choice to take on this challenge. When I purchase my lathe I will join more classes for sure.


Why would you buy a german lathe when there are good American machines to be bought? For instance Delta makes a very good small lathe. Unfortunately Delta lathes are made somewhere in Asia now, I wish it were not the case. The reason I am thinking about a German lathe is that the quality looks top notch and the price is not bad, it is even a little cheaper than the Vicmarc VL100.
I have some Festool & Metabo tools which are made in Germany and they are of excellent quality just like most German Cars, built like a tank.

artme
30th May 2010, 09:52 PM
Perhaps i am Biased, being Australian, but the general opinion is that Vicmarc is top of the class. Beautifully manufactured here in Australia and superbly accurate.

Phaded
31st May 2010, 07:09 AM
No I couldn't agree more, Vicmarc is a good quality lathe, one if the instructors I met has the big VL300 and it was smooth as butter.

I was considering the Vicmarc VL100 but the lathe is $2,000, an amount I find too much for a lathe that was less than half that amount just a few years ago according to some ads that I found, one even $524 on sale from an original $750. I could understand if the machine was redesigned but it has been in very similar form for about 15 years. I also heard they were not making the cast iron parts in Australia anymore and moved the casting to Thailand.

I am not doubting the quality of Vicmarc and I can understand price increases but I just can not justify paying double the amount I would have payed as little as three years ago. It is the same with anything, I don't think anyone here would buy a car that has doubled price in a few years without a redesign, it just wouldn't seem a value.

Today I was doing some thinking about what you said artme, you basically told me that you can not have too big a lathe. So with that in mind I might try to save up for a larger lathe perhaps the Oneway 1224 or something of similar quality & size. I would really like to buy a top brand first rather than a cheap one and be unsatisfied, I have always had good luck when I buy what I really want the first time around.

artme
31st May 2010, 07:45 AM
Today I was doing some thinking about what you said artme, you basically told me that you can not have too big a lathe. So with that in mind I might try to save up for a larger lathe perhaps the Oneway 1224 or something of similar quality & size. I would really like to buy a top brand first rather than a cheap one and be unsatisfied, I have always had good luck when I buy what I really want the first time around.

:way2go:

Texian
31st May 2010, 04:03 PM
We live in an inflationary economy. Everything costs more than it did three years ago, even if it is exactly the same product.

The Delta 46-460 or especially the Jet 1.5 hp. 1642 EVS would probably do any work you require, and do it within your budget. However these would not be included among the "highest quality" (and highest dollar) tools like OneWay, Serious, Stubby, and Vicmarc that you seem to desire. Just a matter of priorities.

Phaded
31st May 2010, 08:09 PM
We live in an inflationary economy. Everything costs more than it did three years ago, even if it is exactly the same product.

The Delta 46-460 or especially the Jet 1.5 hp. 1642 EVS would probably do any work you require, and do it within your budget. However these would not be included among the "highest quality" (and highest dollar) tools like OneWay, Serious, Stubby, and Vicmarc that you seem to desire. Just a matter of priorities.

I have used a Jet mini lathe and examined a Delta mini, neither have that wow factor that I am looking for, I know they will work just as good and a top tier brand will not make me a better wood turner but when I make a costly tool purchase I like to pick something I am going to be satisfied with for as long as possible, it helps me sleep better at night without thinking I should have purchased a different model. Plus I try not to make major purchases from China, not until they practice fair trade and improve labor laws.

For the price it seems like it still could be a good investment to purchase a mini lathe when you consider most turners still keep and use their mini lathes when they upgrade, everyone I know say they prefer using a small lathe for the smaller projects rather than making a pen on a full size lathe. With the price of large pieces of wood and limit of large functional art projects I would think a small lathe would come in handy with making pens, peppermills, handles, small boxes, etc. The most popular thing people seem to turn with a large lathe are bowl and vases which are great but unless you have access to huge logs every day or you are working as a professional bowl turner I imagine most will turn to a small lathe for everyday projects. Don't get me wrong I do want a large lathe but it would seem purchasing a lathe this size would allow me to save for the large lathe I really want, like an Omega Stubby 750.

For some reason that little German lathe really just calls my name, especially with the slide and rotate headstock it probably turns as good as it looks, the company who makes them are well known in German speaking countries and most will agree the Germans are famous for their engineering. Check out a video on YouTube of their largest lathe. YouTube - Drechseln mit der steinert® maximo - Teil 2

cultana
2nd Jun 2010, 03:09 AM
Perhaps i am Biased, being Australian, but the general opinion is that Vicmarc is top of the class. Beautifully manufactured here in Australia and superbly accurate.

Typical, you left out that bit about serious addiction again.
Suck the poor guy in till it is too late for him to escape the curse of wood turning. Shame!!
:D

Allen Neighbors
2nd Jun 2010, 11:52 AM
Welcome Phaded, to the forum of the now and the future... :D
Considering the pricing discrepancies of the Vicmarc VL 100, could it be the difference between the prices of the VL 100 Bench model, and the VL100 VS model?

I do agree with German construction being right on, having lived there for five years, but you just can't beat a Vicmarc or Oneway... 'course, I'm biased... :D

Phaded
2nd Jun 2010, 04:03 PM
The price difference is a result in the fluctuation of the US & AU dollars, from what I have read that is the reason dealers stopped importing them. I looked it up on some currency exchange sites and apparently in 2003 the Australian dollar was worth almost half of a US dollar back then.

The Vicmarc VL100 shares very similar specs when compared to the Steinert Piccolo so if the quality is equal it would be nice to have something different then everyone else, and I like the way the German mini lathes looks. I was the first one of my buddies to buy Festool and that worked out pretty well. The company Wema/Steinert is no slouch in Europe, infact they are the most capable & well built lathes in Germany from information I read and was able to translate from foreign forums.

I am glad you mentioned the Oneway, I know they are great lathes but I just can't decide whether or not I want a welded steel constructed lathe, I like features and design, including the touches of brass which make it stand out from the rest. I just can't decide if the steel construction is a plus or a minus. It is hard making a decision, I wish I could just buy 1 of each. :D

Thugpipe
2nd Aug 2010, 07:43 AM
Phaded,

I just found this thread and I was curious if you ever got the piccolo, I had been looking at this same lathe a number of years ago and I went with the vicmarc VL100 instead because at the time it was much cheaper and I could get it form craft supplies. had you found an importer for the piccolo or were you going to have it shipped from germany? just curious sorry for my tardiness :D.

peter

Gil Jones
2nd Aug 2010, 08:32 AM
Hey Phaded, welcome.
Seeing as you asked, would recommend a Powermatic 3520B. I have one, and it is a fine machine. It is a bit more than your budget, but unless you are in a great hurry (never a great idea) a bit of saving could cure that.
Vicmarc, Robust, and Oneway are fine lathes too, though a bit more money.
You might consider joining a local turning club, and possibly you could "test drive" some or all of the lathes that interest you, and make a more informed decision.
Good luck,
Gil

Manuka Jock
2nd Aug 2010, 03:24 PM
Unfortunately Delta lathes are made somewhere in Asia now, I wish it were not the case.
Made in Asia does not necessarily mean crap manufacture.
Also , many tools and machines are manufactured in Asia , but carry tags from elsewhere in the world .

Phaded
26th Sep 2010, 06:42 AM
Sorry for dredging up this old thread, I have been away but wanted to answer these questions and also tell this board and possibly manufacturers reading that the Wood Lathe market is really an overpriced nightmare.

These companies are charging so much for such simple machines, if anyone has any engineering experience they will be laughing right along with me.

Do Wood Lathe Companies realize that they are charging the as much or even more than what heavy equipment costs, like some CNC lathes and mills for metals. If you look at the metal lathe market you will see some pretty complicated machinery and then you look at Oneway charging the same amount for their welded tube and you can't help but scratch your head.:?

You can even get a small Hyundai or Nissan Versa for less than a fully loaded Robust Lathe. Do the manufacturers really think their simple wood lathes should be priced as much as a car? :rolleyes: And Judging by Robust's pricelist, I think he does think he is selling a car, each lathe has a long list of options as if your not paying enough already, what happened to just making a good product, why make everything an option. :?

I have been looking at some of the lathe models out there and here are some comments and my opinions based on my journey, it is a bit of a RANT so bear with me guys. :D

I looked into those lathes (Vicmarc, Robust, and Oneway) and for the price I found them all lacking for the price and here is why:

Vicmarc seem like a solid lathe but the design is also ancient and for the price of the larger models I would expect more features. Now if I was a dedicated bowl turner and wanted a simple but solid design then the Vl300 might be a good choice. Even more fitting would be for schools where they might need simple bulletproof lathes with few moving parts to damage by amateurs which can be abusive to tools.

Oneway & Robust to me seem cheap, nobody likes fabricated lathes but when someone slaps a $7,000 price tag on them and suddenly they are desirable. No offense to anyone who owns one but to me they seem like they were made in some garage with welded sheet metal and metal tubing. call me a cast iron guy or whatever but if I am paying the kind of money for a lathe, then you can bet that I want to be just as happy looking at it as I would be turning on it. Plus the big, industrial lathes seem to be Cast Iron, so there must be something to it.

Another thing I notice about the fabrication is to me each one of those welds screams possible point of failure and possible human error by the accuracy of the welder (truthfully from the pictures the welds are cosmetically mediocre) They could at least file the welds smooth if they are not going to have good bead.

Oneway doesn't even have a sliding or rotating headstock and another thing that bothers me about Robust is the Cost/Price, how to they get off charging the same amount as Oneway right out of the gate with no reputation?
One more thing about the Robust is all of the positive selling points they want to charge extra for. The Tailstock Tilt_Away, Outboard Turning, and the 3hp motor, and maybe even the Tool Caddy, these things could easily be included in a $7,000 wood lathe.

Omega Stubby Lathes I have not seen in person but from what I have seen in America so far, they look to be one of the most innovative lathes out there with their unique bed design, they seem to think outside the box by offering a different design and I like the fact that they seem to include a couple extras that most companies would charge you for, like an Extra Banjo and Side Extension, plus I like that they are not outsourced and appear to be of great quality.



Phaded,

I just found this thread and I was curious if you ever got the piccolo, I had been looking at this same lathe a number of years ago and I went with the vicmarc VL100 instead because at the time it was much cheaper and I could get it form craft supplies. had you found an importer for the piccolo or were you going to have it shipped from germany? just curious sorry for my tardiness :D.

peter



I looked into the Steinert Piccolo and they are more than happy to ship to the USA or any other country for that matter but I changed my mind because of pricing, they seem to charge extra for everything.

Example is they charge:
400 Euros for a Sliding Headstock
650 Euro just for Variable Speed PLUS 200 Euro more for a Magnet Control Box
80 Euro for upgraded Motor Power
350 Euro for an Extra 30mm in Spindle Height
35 Euro for Measurement Tailstock Sleeve.
145 Euro for Indexing

This adds up to 1,860 Euros extra for most of which I believe should come standard on a 1,200 Euro MINI LATHE. I could just buy the basic lathe and still might in the future but at this time I think I will look towards a bigger lathe for the money. I still really do like the all of the accessories and options they have, pretty innovative for this size lathe but it comes at a price.



Made in Asia does not necessarily mean crap manufacture.
Also , many tools and machines are manufactured in Asia , but carry tags from elsewhere in the world .
Of course Asian products can be built well, I just try when ever possible not to reward companies that outsource there work, especially larger purchases. I don't want to get into politics, but I hate that companies have to outsource their manufacturing because they don't know how to run a successful business and keep jobs in their home country.

However, if I was a professional turner and needed the most lathe I could get for lets say around $3,500, then at that point it would be obvious to look at something like a Powermatic which offers some of the best features for the price.

bobsreturn2003
26th Sep 2010, 10:31 AM
have a look at the teknatool lathes from new zealand, they have some interesting machines , made in asia though as people cant afford to make in the west as our costs and enviromental conditions are just un reasonable .regards Bob

Manuka Jock
26th Sep 2010, 12:57 PM
Yeah , thats right Bob ,
a lot of the machines that we use are manufactured in Asia .
Badge technology is no indicator of the place of origin anymore eh :)
Check out the familiar faces on the China Woodworking Machinery (http://www.made-in-china.com/Manufacturing-Processing-Machinery-Catalog/Woodworking-Machinery.html)site, and notice how many of them have multiple identical siblings wearing different clothes :U

Phaded
26th Sep 2010, 04:17 PM
As for these outsourcing companies, of course I know that they SAY they can't afford to manufacture in the West, would they really admit otherwise?

Perhaps they compared the numbers of domestic versus off-shore manufacture and switched for financial gain. Or maybe they had poor business practices, spent too much on advertisement or upper management.

Anyone in the workforce should know that companies are always looking to make more revenue, growing and expanding, producing faster and cheaper. Companies are just not satisfied anymore to make a top of the line product with a fair & honest amount of profit, they would all rather sell to the masses. Can't blame them really, they are just taking after our Governments which panic over growth and believe it to be a bad year if they don't grow.

It is still possible for a company to operate domestically, you just have to start off with the right business model, quality product, good market, even pay scale, and it helps to have the correct amount of start up capital with no debt.

I will say this bluntly, anyone who sympathizes or just willingly accept outsourced products when they have an alternative, these people are the problem. If people started buying domestically or at least from foreign countries with proper human rights, then companies would have no choice but to conform.

Sadly most people have forgotten what quality is or have never seen it in the first place, instead of handmade shoes, most would rather have the latest Nike Air Jordan's for $200 and only cost $5 to make, pennies of which go to the sweatshop and the rest of the profit goes to Tiger Woods so he can pay 100 Million Dollars to his Ex-Wife.

Manuka Jock
26th Sep 2010, 04:38 PM
No more motor vehicle ownership for you then mate :D No car , no truck , no motorcycle .
They outsource a fair amount of their parts.

Ya best get yourself a decent pair of walking boots . Make sure that they are made in the actual USA tho eh :U Can't have any of that 'Made in the USA' stuff , that are , in reality , manufactured offshore in the North Pacific and Asia :no:

Phaded
27th Sep 2010, 04:21 AM
No more motor vehicle ownership for you then mate :D No car , no truck , no motorcycle .
They outsource a fair amount of their parts.

Ya best get yourself a decent pair of walking boots . Make sure that they are made in the actual USA tho eh :U Can't have any of that 'Made in the USA' stuff , that are , in reality , manufactured offshore in the North Pacific and Asia :no:

Are you trying to be funny? Because it isn't working. If you don't like what I have to say then speak your peace and move on, but not many can deny that a more powerful China is not a good thing.

I clearly stated that I just try to buy domestic whenever possible, and some is better than none. I just try not to buy from China, which is a a communist country with poor human rights. They have some of the highest surpluses in the world, yet their people live in poverty. The United States has the largest GDP in the world, more than three times that of China which is number 3 in the world. The United States has the 4th largest per capita GDP in the world, 800 percent larger than China’s which has the 89th largest GDP per capita in the world.

RETIRED
27th Sep 2010, 08:59 AM
Play nicely kiddies.

Politics is in another part of the Forum.

Manuka Jock
27th Sep 2010, 10:53 AM
Are you trying to be funny? Because it isn't working. If you don't like what I have to say then speak your peace and move on, but not many can deny that a more powerful China is not a good thing.

I clearly stated that I just try to buy domestic whenever possible, and some is better than none. I just try not to buy from China, which is a a communist country with poor human rights. They have some of the highest surpluses in the world, yet their people live in poverty. The United States has the largest GDP in the world, more than three times that of China which is number 3 in the world. The United States has the 4th largest per capita GDP in the world, 800 percent larger than China’s which has the 89th largest GDP per capita in the world.
This forum is international . So is the world that we live in . That is what is so good about it :2tsup:

swallow
11th Oct 2010, 08:23 AM
Ok for want of nothing better to do let me throw another stick on the fire. Firstly let me say that as a former pattern maker I can say quite emphatically that there is not one wood lathe on the domestic market that does what a really good wood lathe should do. Oh sure there are some that are smaller and some that are bigger, some have more bells and whistles and some have less but none as far as I have found do what they should do and that is what a pattern makers lathe does.

Most of you have never seen much less used a pattern makers lathe big or small and that’s ok as it's sort of a speciality item but it really needn’t be let me explain the difference, firstly a pattern makers lathe will do all of the things that a standard wood lathe will do plus most of the things that a machine lathe will do as it carries the saddle and cross slide plus a longitudinal screw an an off settable tail stock.

Now as a former pattern maker and machinist I can see no reason whatsoever that these company’s that are manufacturing wood lathes in the US, Canada, Europe or even Oz for that matter cannot manufacture a decent sized wood lathe built along the lines of a pattern makers lathe at a reasonable price for the domestic market. It's not rocket science and it does not have to perform to the specs of a high end tool room lathe for heavens sakes. Sure the tooling up is dear but once it's done it's done and the machining of the individual parts is without exception jigged or is self jigging and any half way well equipped machine shop can do the work.

Personally I would think that there would be a sizable market for a heavy home shop lathe that was quality built with the bells and whistles that a wood turner really needs and still be sold at a descent and equitable price.

Now I'm not knocking anyone’s product but steel is not the answer to building a lathe, cast iron because of the carbon flake inherent in it's makeup absorbs vibration and noise, steel transmits it. It's just one of the many reasons that virtually all quality machinery be it metal working or wood working is made of cast iron and not cast steel.

Now having said this I am currently in the process of building the pattern tooling for just such a lathe. It won't be a large machine at 36” point to point with a 12” swing over the gap but that is all that I will ever have use for and at around 600 pounds it should be more than stable enough for most needs. Even out board turning.

Now I'm lucky in so far as I have access to a fairly large machine shop that I can use after hours and as well I am on good terms with the management at two iron foundry’s within thirty miles so getting the casting done at the current rate of $0.86 Canadian per pound is not going to break my wallet. My projected cost for castings, bearings, acme rod, etc. Is somewhere in the neighbourhood of $1200. Canadian, granted machining has not been factored in but seeing that I have no intention of ever going into production I don't see the point. And as this will be more of a prototype most of the parts will be standalone machined so there will be no production jigging costs, besides in most lathe machining operations the majority of the parts are as I have already mentioned self jigging anyway and the most important thing is to make the tooling with enough meat to give a good first cut to get to good metal. Pattern shops have always considered tooling for lathes and mills as gravy jobs.

All in all it should be a fun project and if for nothing else than to prove a point. That point would be that the manufactures of wood lathes don't have to get rich off of every single customer that they manage to snag.

Also I agree wholeheartedly that company’s that feel the need to outsource their products to the orient or elsewhere should first take a course in business management and labour relations then keep the jobs at home. Shipping a product halfway around the planet (an iron product no less) and then selling it for less than it can be manufactured on home soil is simply beyond ignorant.

I will now duck.

KevM
11th Oct 2010, 09:12 AM
Now having said this I am currently in the process of building the pattern tooling for just such a lathe. It won't be a large machine at 36” point to point with a 12” swing over the gap but that is all that I will ever have use for and at around 600 pounds it should be more than stable enough for most needs. Even out board turning.

Now I'm lucky in so far as I have access to a fairly large machine shop that I can use after hours and as well I am on good terms with the management at two iron foundry’s within thirty miles so getting the casting done at the current rate of $0.86 Canadian per pound is not going to break my wallet. My projected cost for castings, bearings, acme rod, etc. Is somewhere in the neighbourhood of $1200. Canadian, granted machining has not been factored in but seeing that I have no intention of ever going into production I don't see the point. And as this will be more of a prototype most of the parts will be standalone machined so there will be no production jigging costs, besides in most lathe machining operations the majority of the parts are as I have already mentioned self jigging anyway and the most important thing is to make the tooling with enough meat to give a good first cut to get to good metal. Pattern shops have always considered tooling for lathes and mills as gravy jobs.

All in all it should be a fun project and if for nothing else than to prove a point.


Now that's one WIP I've love to see, please create a separate thread with lots of photos as you progress through this build?

RETIRED
11th Oct 2010, 11:07 AM
Me too.:D

bobsreturn2003
11th Oct 2010, 12:10 PM
Yes i agree but the costs to make things in Australia , are truely amazingly high , Have a pattern makers lathe a chinese one bought from a machiney dealer in melbourne many years ago . He hasnt stopped smiling $$$. and neither have i ,chinese electrics cut all power to shed when you flicked the switch . Then came on when when motor got up to revs . With good motor and vfd its a good thing . There are a few old english lathes about Wadkins etc. BUT FULL MARKS TO YOU FOR MAKING YOUR OWN . Though you could make several in about the same time .as set up can be a killer , best regards Bob :2tsup: