View Full Version : Vicmarc motor options (enough torque?)

10th Nov 2004, 01:29 PM
Hey guys, any Vicmarc lathe owners out there? I am about to get a VL300 short bed, and have some issues with what motor/inverter option to go with.

My current lathe runs a 415 motor with phase inverter, and I have issues with torque. Particularly rough turning a large, unbalanced burl blanks where you can't spin them up fast. Recently a lot of people have told me that torque is a common problem with variable speed lathes using inverters.

Vicmarc sell standard with 1.5KW motor and Fuji inverter, and reckon they've NEVER had issues with torque. However, they will sell me one with a 2.2KW for only a little more.

Enzo from Vermec will sell me a VL300 but uses his own motor/inverter package. 1.5KW motor with Hitachi SJ100 inverter that is supposed to "provide 200% torque at low revs".

Am looking for first-hand opinions from Vicmarc/Vermec lathe owners, with feedback on their rigs, and issues they may be facing (or positive comments). Pretty sure the other Vicmarc models use the same motor/inverter setup too, so even if you have a different model - opinions gladly received! :D
Thanks guys,

Cliff Rogers
10th Nov 2004, 03:25 PM

I've got a VL300ESVX & it is magic.
I've had it for 19 months now & it wasn't new when I got it.
It had been a demo unit.
I understand that they are using a different controller now.
It has 2 mechanical speeds, 1:1 & 1:3.
I use it on 1:3 when I do big stuff & it's fine.
At 1:3, I can't stop it one handed on the lowest speed, I have to use both hands.
If I have it on 1:1 & try to turn something big at low revs,
it does slow down if I bog into it too hard.
At 1:1, I can stop it one handed at the slowest speed.

The only thing I would like to change is it's ramp down speed.
It doesn't stop fast enough for me. I have read the book &
tried to change the programing but I can't get it to slow up any faster.
I know it can be done 'cos if I hit stop & then hit start again before
it runs down, it stops it very quickly & then starts it again & ramps it up
to speed normally.
I think the programming on mine was changed at the last venue that it was
used for a turning demo by Terry Baker. Terry does big stuff out of red gum &
he was having troubles with it stopping too fast & the momentum of the
piece was unscrewing the chuck from the spindle when he stopped it.
Instead of using the chuck locking collar, they just changed the program but
I'm bug'red if I can change it back.

10th Nov 2004, 03:47 PM
Hi Cliff,

Gee, the manufacturer says torque is NEVER a problem huh? and you tell me you can stop it by hand at low speeds? I guess they meant 'during normal operation' or something like that! Funny, they never mentioned this bit to me.

In regards to your programming - with the issues I had with mine, I spoke to the local rep from the inverter distibutors and got a programming manual shipped to Australia. They were most helpful and walked me through reprogramming it to try to resolve my problems. Experience has taught me (the hard way) that the lathe manufacturers settings should be used as a guide only. If it doesn't suit you, check the options you can fiddle with. Just make sure the motor can handle them.
I looked at the specs on the Hitachi inverter that Enzo sent me, and whilst the braking speeds are configurable, if you need more control, with an external resistor added you can induce 'dynamic braking' of up to 150% (not that this setting would be a good idea, unless you want to wear the wood!) but at least you know it can be done.

Maybe you should talk to the manufacturers of the inverter on yours. Is it a Fuji?

Thanks for the feedback on the VL300. I know it's a rock solid lathe, and I just want to make sure I know exactly what I'm getting before I cough up the dough.

10th Nov 2004, 05:35 PM
Buy it! I've had mine for five years now and it has done everything I've asked of it.
Believe me unless you intend to make a career out of turning huge round things out of tree trunks the V L 300 short bed (Fuji EC) will do all you want it to. If you run it below 500 r.p.m. for an extended period change the belt onto the lower speed pulleys and run at twice the indicated revs, if you see what I mean!. Lots of torque!!!
If you do want to turn lots of big stuff get a Graduate from Pommie land. If you've got lots of $$$$'s! :)

10th Nov 2004, 07:04 PM
I have a VL300 short bed.
Never had a problem with anything I have turned.

Have had some large out of balance logs on her with out a problem and have never felt the need to change the belt to the lower speed setting.

I think you should find some one to let you try the Vicmarc. I don't think you will need anything more than a standard version.

I can not stop mine one handed on 1:1. It just keeps cranking up the power until it tears the chuck out of my hands or the belt finally slips.

10th Nov 2004, 08:25 PM
Geday guys, I have a VL300 short bed, no problems turning large heavy burls. For the larger burls 30 to 50 Kg I use the lower speed and find that I can slow it down if I get a bit heavy handed with the gouge. It does take some time to run down but that doesn't worry me.

10th Nov 2004, 08:36 PM
You can always do with more torque on a lathe. I ordered a VL-175 to be specially built with the 2 hp motor and electronics as in the VL-300. Through someone stuffing up my order, I ended up with a 1. 5 hp (1.1 kw) motor and upgraded controller.What I wanted is exactly what is standard on the VL-300, although I realise that the exact motor as supplied with the VL-300 would not fit, but would have to be changed to a flange mount. I ordered the lathe as a special build and was prepared to pay for the special building! The minimum speed according to suppliers is supposed to be 30 rpm as I requested.It is actually 62 rpm on the 3:1 ratio and 186 on the 1:1 ratio. I can stop the 1 hp and the 1.5 hp Vl-175 with my one hand when they are spinning at their lowest speed on both 1:1 or 3:1 ratio. For most normal turners this will never create a problem, as it is very seldom that a lathe will be used at 86 rpm. However I had a special project in mind, which was the reason for my special order. I took delivery of the lathe on 3/7/04 and have used it twice up to now.(10 November 2004) The stuff up has definately taken the euphoria and excitement out of getting new gear ! Maybe, just maybe I'll get enthusiastic about turning again one day in the future.However, I have turned on VL-175's before my purchase and found their low down torque adequite for everyday turning. Drilling into jarrah with a large forstner bit slowed the one lathe down, but I realised that I was well below the maximum speed that can be used with that bit size. I turned the speed up a bit and it coped very well with the job in hand. At the time of order I was going to do a project that I had been dreaming of for many years, however due to the lower output of the supplied lathe I have come to realise that it will not do what I intended and have shelved the project, and lots of others for now.

I would say that for 99.999999 % of turners there will be more power than what is necessary. One can use brute force and ignorance and stall virtually anything or use one's savvy and do a good job with available power.

The Vicmarc lathes are excellent lathes, I rate them as the Rolls Royce of lathes for sure.

Cliff Rogers
11th Nov 2004, 12:12 AM
... and you tell me you can stop it by hand at low speeds? ....

Not low speeds, I said 'the lowest speed.'
The lowest speed is far too slow for turning, I use it for power sanding sometimes,
but I never use speeds the slow for turning with a stationary tool.

Little Festo
15th Nov 2004, 09:48 AM
Hello Ian,

I have a "Enzo" Vicmarc 300. If I take "very heavy" cuts I can slow down the lathe and have seen a 300 stalled at Demo (don't know if that lathe was of the Enzo variety though). Power is NOT a problem. The New 300s have three speed ratios

10 to 1000
20 to 2000
30 to 3000

I use mine mostly on 20 to 2000 and have no problems. I've managed to slow down a Nova 3000 (quite easily) and even a DVR but it's because my cuts were too agressive - this dosen't detract from the quality of turning that can come from any of these lathes. On a 300 you can hollow out a bowl pretty quick. Powerwise you won't have any problems with the Vicmarc 300 and if you have doubts go for the bigger motor although it's probably not necessary. The 300 is a pleasure to use.

Happy turning - Peter

15th Nov 2004, 01:54 PM
G'day Ian

I've got the 300 long bed (not Enzo's) and can highly recommend it. I did some sub-contracting turning where I had to turn wet African Mahogany trunks to form gas/oil well pipe plugs. The original rough blank was approx. 500mm long x 590mm dia. and took three men to lift onto the lathe. After some trepidation the 300 handled it beautifully with plenty of torque. If you are going to turn bigger/heavier stuff than this I think you will have to spend a lot more of your hard earned cash.
PS can send you photos if you want.

22nd Nov 2004, 12:37 PM
Hey Fongy,

can you email me some of those photos please? email to ian@cbhs.com.au


29th Nov 2004, 03:30 PM
I have a Vicmarc with the Hitachi SJ100 inverter and it works as advertised with excellent torque at minimum revs. Recently I installed an SJ100 with a 1.5KW motor onto a Stubby for a friend whose old controller had died and we set the minimum revs below 100rpm. At it's slowest speed you can't stop it and the claim of 250% torque at low speed is justified. It doesnt maintain that torque for long periods as the motor would overheat but in service there's been no sign of any heating and the revs do not droop when youre working.

29th Nov 2004, 04:14 PM
Thanks to all you guys who took the time to post a reply to my original question. The result of all this - I ended up ordering the VL300 short bed from Carbatec in Sydney but got the 2.2kW motor instead. I got the guys to plug their demo model in for me (has standard motor) and was pleasantly surprised with it even in standard config.

Basically it came down to either $350 more for 2.2kW motor or $350 more from Enzo with Hitachi gear. Same cost either way.

Figured it was safer to go with a local supplier (i'm in Sydney) JUST in case there are any after-sales issues (which I doubt).

Also got it with remote switching on magnetic-based switch box so I can locate controls anywhere I want (particularly good if outboard turning to be able to move the controls around to the end of the lathe - at least that's the theory).

Should be delivered mid-January - can't wait !!!!

29th Nov 2004, 04:36 PM
Does any Vicmarc owner ever touch the control panel? :confused:

I only touch the on/off, Fwd/Rev and speed control during work.

I have never altered the control panel.

I adjust the speed by ear and feel, and only read the speed occasionally to see what I had been using.

29th Nov 2004, 05:08 PM
Dave, the remote box is not the electronics - they will stay in the base of the lathe.

It will be a box containing a second ON/OFF switch, FORWARD/REVERSE and potentiometer.

The on,off,forward,reverse options on the base will still work, but the variable speed dial will not - it will only work off the remote box. The rest will work from either.

I saw this setup at Woodturn 2004 on Tim Skiltons VL300. If I am turning on the outboard end, I can locate the ON/OFF etc somewhere more suitable than having to walk around the lathe every time I want to start/stop etc. This should also make it safer if clothing were to catch (god forbid!) in the job, the off switch is close at hand.

29th Nov 2004, 09:10 PM
I thought you had the extension lead for the controls on the front of the box.
That unplugs and can be placed elsewhere.

I love the big red bar. Only have to move the leg and you can stop the lathe. No looking for the button.

Never yet used the outboard side. Find it hard enough to get good wood big enough to use to the max of the inboard side.

Still - Has anyone ever used the controls that are available.
There is a lot that can be reprogrammed. Any body ever used it??.

Cliff Rogers
30th Nov 2004, 12:41 AM
Good on ya hocko, you'll love it.

I've had one for just over 18 months now & honestly, I haven't even used the outboard ability yet.

The funny thing is now, when I go to stop the lathe, even on another lathe, I use my knee, it looks silly on a Jet mini I can tell you. :D

30th Nov 2004, 11:31 AM
Cliff - thanks for your feedback on torque - the demo one i played with met with your description perfectly. I swapped the belt to the highest ratio to get the highest speed/lowest torque setting and wound the speed right down. Needed two hands to stall it. In a practical sense this would never happen anyway, so I was quite impressed.

As for the outboard - I've only ever owned one piece large enough to be able to make use of it, but as i couldn't at the time, I sold the timber to someone who could. But now, if I get my hands on another after January ... :-)

couple more questions now:
It is being delivered on a crate (apparently they will use a pallet jack to pull into the shed). I guess i will need to get it off the pallet/crate onto the floor. Enzo suggested that putting a section of rubber under each foot is a good idea to reduce mini-vibrations.

It will be too heavy to lift by hand to get the pallet out, and rubber under. I guess I might need to locate an engine jack or similar for this.

anyone else been through this? Anything I need to know?

Cliff Rogers
30th Nov 2004, 02:09 PM
I couldn't get my lathe delivered to my shed in the hills so,
I hired a mobile engine hoist for a weekend.
I made a rope sling through the pallet the lathe was delivered on.
I then used the hoist to lift the lathe up, I reversed my trailer under it & lowered it into the trailer.
I then loaded the engine hoist into the trailer as well, it fits around the lathe, & headed for the hills.
I reversed the trailer into the shed, unloaded the hoist, rolled it under the trailer, lifted the lathe up & drove the trailer out from under it.
I was then able to roll the hoist across the floor & lower the lathe into
I had to change the sling to lift the lathe up off the pallet & pulled the pallet out.
I lowered the lathe into position & marked the floor, lifted it up again, turned it 90 degrees, bolted a couple of bits of heavy RHS to the floor to lift the lathe up to my height, & then lifted the lathe & swung it into position & bolted it down.
I didn't put any rubber under it & I don't think it needs it.
The lathe runs very smooth & quiet & it has some form of out of balance detection that stops the motor if things are shaking too much.
I suspect that if there was rubber under the lathe, it would allow more movement in an out of balance situation & the motor would stop more often.
I don't know this for sure as I don't know how the out of balance detection works, it may not be a balance switch, it may simply be feed back in the motor, I don't know, I'm just guessing but I do know that it stops the lathe if you have a bad catch or a seriously out of balance piece.