Powermatic's Model 90 Lathe

A robust machine gets a new life thanks to new technology

I already had one that I was rebuilt and working, but it's minimum speed was 1000 rpm...too fast for turning large diameters. My intent was to buy this newly found machine and outfit it with a jackshaft, an option not provided on early Powermatics. That was three years ago and the lathe sat, primed, new replacement parts located, and blocking one bay of our garage. The original plan was to remove the three phase motor and place a set of pillow blocks on the original motor's mounting holes. The pillow blocks would be packed-out to position the jackshaft to nearly the same position as the motor's shaft. The packing used would actually be 1 inch square steel that would extend down to be the new motor mount. A single phase motor would then be positioned so that it was facing the opposite direction... toward the tailstock. Here a pulley configuration of 1:2 or greater could be used to reduce the Model 90's speeds to 500 rpm or less. It was complicated and would take time, but would be well worth the effort. As soon as I had some time....

Well, 2002 brings lower prices and new features to wood working machinery, including the Variable Frequency Drive, an all-in-one phase converter, frequency regulator, speed controller, overload protector, and workshop cleaner (OK.... I made up the last item, but the others are true!). The use of a VFD will enable the Model 90 to use its original motor and get speeds that are much less and much safer for large diameter stock.

 


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I'm not sure of the exact weight.... but these boys are heavy. Here, the bed casting has been primed and ready for re-masking and final painting. Having a "helper" is essential to moving this around. My other Model 90 was moved without any type of mechanized support, so the headstock had to be removed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The older Model 90 lathes were the regular "Vista Green", a color that was not on my list of favorites. I originally was going to keep the lathe in line with my other gray tools, but liked the results I had gotten with the Rustoleum's Hammered Green paint. So.... the primer was dusted off, re-scuffed with some sandpaper and steel wool, and the tags and machined surfaces were masked off. Warm weather permitted outdoor painting, an option not always available in early March.

Blue painter's tape was used for nameplates and emblems.

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Some Assembly Required ....

 

Stacking with...


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....Safety!

Again, I would not be surprised if the main casting weighed nearly 400 pounds. A slip, or careless move could not only damage the machine, but also do serious damage to a foot or hand that was placed too close to a suspended machine. The use of a shop crane is very helpful, but does not decrease working time... in fact, I prefer to work slower and more carefully when using this type of equipment. Again, a crushed foot or a fractured skull from a racked shop crane could mark the beginning of a very bad day.

In addition to battling gravity, one also needs to be careful with paint that is still soft and easily scratched.

 

Here we have things positioned and ready for final fitting and installation of electronics. In terms of final fitting, the lathe is missing a knob for the variable speed dial and the crank handle for the tailstock handwheel. These will be fabricated by me using hardwoods.

The electronics will be ordered, and the final installation will be documented here in the next page.

 

 

 

Final finish and installation of electronicsEmail to Dave PottsBack to Tools SectionBack to Home