When it comes to the differences between a gearhead and Electronic Variable Speed (EVS) metal lathe regarding maintenance, the distinction comes down to whether you are comfortable with electronic error codes or actual parts themselves like gears.

To begin with a basic primer on the two types of machines, check out this post here.

When it comes to maintenance, if you’re tactile, you will appreciate the gearhead model. It has significantly more parts than an EVS metal lathe. You can take it apart and see how the gears and innards in all their glory.

If you’re more comfortable with electronics, you may tilt toward the EVS lathe.

At first, the Yaskawa drive (pictured above) on a LeBlond RKL Series metal lathe may seem daunting. However, the drive is analogous to the OBD-II (on-board diagnostics) on your car if it was built after 1995. If the metal lathe drive has a problem, it diagnoses the issue with an error code much like your car’s OBD-II system would.

“When it comes to maintenance on a LeBlond RKL Series metal lathe drive system compared to a gearhead model, the complexity is transferred from mechanical to electronic control,” adds LeBlond Ltd. Sales & Operations Manager Aaron Juillerat.

“The nice thing with the EVS model, the electronic control will act as a troubleshooting guide and diagnose the exact issues with your machine.”

There are hundreds of protective and diagnostic function codes with the Yaskawa drive on a LeBlond RKL Series metal lathe. The alarm functions include fault detection, alarm detection and autotuning capabilities.

For example, if the drive displays “PUF,” then the main IGBT (Insulated Gate Bipolar Transistors) fuse in the main circuit is blown.

This can be caused from the output transistor failing because of a short circuit or ground fault at the Drive output.

When the drive detects a fault, the fault contact output operates and the Drive output is shut off, causing the motor to gradually come to a stop. The “PUF” fault code is then shown on the Drive Digital Operator.

Now you know the exact issue with your manual lathe and realize you have to replace the Drive. If you’re mechanically inclined, you may prefer the gearhead model lathe and actually seeing the problem within the parts themselves.

If you’re interested in new LeBlond manual lathes, K.O. Lee grinders or need original OEM parts for LeBlond, K.O. Lee, Standard Modern, Johnson Press, Deka Drill and W.F. & John Barnes equipment, fill out a contact form here.