If you are looking to buy a manual lathe, the RKL series from LeBlond Ltd. is an excellent option. Both the LeBlond RKL-1560V and the RKL-1960V are variable speed lathes at 7.5 horsepower.
The swing (the part on the lathe that you can chuck up and turn) on the LeBlond RKL-1560V has a 15” swing over bed while the RKL-1960V adds four more inches in diameter. Both machines have an identical 60” distance between centers.
The two LeBlond manual lathes offer varying headstock gear ranges. The RKL-1560V supplies a high torque or horsepower in two ranges – low (20 to 400 RPM) and high (400-2500 RPM). The RKL-1960V provides three headstock gear ranges – low (30-125 RPM), medium (125-450 RPM) and a high range (450-2200 RPM).
“A big difference between the two is that the RKL-1560V has two ranges and the RKL-1960V has three,” states John Cook, LeBlond Ltd. Customer Service Representative. “The three-range 1960V would have a better curve in the horsepower range.”
The headstock gear ranges on the LeBlond manual lathes are important for the type of cutting that you are performing. For example, you are doing some rough cutting. You have a part that is 10” in diameter and the finished piece needs to measure 8” in diameter. You will take ¼” side cuts in a few passes at full horsepower to whittle the piece down. Once you get the part down to the desired 8” in diameter, you would switch to a higher range to get the surface finish that you are looking for.
“ You can almost get a ground finish from some of these machines at the higher RPM’s,” says Cook. “It depends on the type of material that you are using and, of course, the cutting tool. The machinist has a gauge to check the surface finish.”
On the new LeBlond RKL manual lathes, you would use the low headstock gear range for the rough cutting and the higher RPM’s for the surface finish work. You can always finish a piece on a grinder for a very smooth finish.
If you’re interested in new LeBlond or K.O. Lee machines or require original OEM parts for your LeBlond, K.O. Lee, Standard Modern, Johnson Press, Deka Drill and W.F. & John Barnes equipment, call LeBlond Ltd. at (888) 532-5663.