In a series of posts, we are exploring the differences between LeBlond’s classic metal lathe the Regal and our current model the RKL.

In this previous post, you can find out more about the history of the two machines. Today, we cover the primary difference between the two machines, that being variable speed.

V for Variable

There are three primary RKL Series models: the 1340V, 1560V and 1960V. The “V” after the RKL model number stands for variable as in headstock speed. The RKL’s are two or three speed machines that an operator can adjust the RPM’s one at time from as little as 20 to as much as 2500.

For example, with the RKL 1960V, the operator can supply high torque in a low range (30-125 RPM), medium range (125-450 RPM) or high range (450-2200 RPM).

Regal Was Geared Head

The Regal was basically a gearhead model. See this post about the difference between a variable speed and gearhead manual lathe.

“The Regal head was a 12-speed gearhead design,” says John Cook, Customer Service Representative at LeBlond Ltd. “A geared head with fixed RPM was the base of all the Regal designs. The RKL is a variable speed machine and that is the primary difference between the two models.”

Let’s Talk about Sandpaper

To understand why variable speed is a newer and more valuable feature, first you have to understand sandpaper.

There are different types of sandpaper like course grip (60 grid) or fine grip like 600 grid. The larger the grid or grit size, the more edges in the sandpaper and the smoother the finish.

If you are using fine grip sandpaper like 600 grid, you will be able to achieve a finer finish cutting away metal or paint when, say, doing body work on an automobile.

Variable Speed Means Finer Finish

A variable speed metal lathe like the RKL is like fine grip sandpaper and allows an operator to cut a finer finish on a workpiece. “With a variable speed metal lathe like the LeBlond RKL, you get the RPM to match up to your cutting feed rate and the surface finish you want on a piece,” Cook says.

So with a variable speed manual lathe like the LeBlond RKL, you have greater efficiency. Stay tuned for a future post where we discuss other differences between the two models like current accessories that make the modern RKL more like a CNC-type lathe.

Don’t miss LeBlond’s promotion until September 15th where you can save up to 20% off or as much as $4500 off an RKL 1300 or 1500 Series metal lathe. Check out the offer here. If you’re interested in larger 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.