Lathes are machine tools useful for the removal of unwanted metal or wood material from a rotating workpiece. Over time, it has gone through several technological changes that make it stand out among other machines. It has been made smaller in size, very easy to use, faster and very versatile. For this reason, most metal and turning enthusiasts call it ‘The Mother of Machine tools’. It is considered as part of the most versatile and widely used machine tools all over the world.
The need for more functional and work effective lathes have led to increasing in the manufacturing of varied lathes. Bench-top Lathes have advanced from the mini and standard full-sized lathe to the midi lathes. Considering the available space and how difficult the task performed may be, the midis becomes preferred owing to its peculiarities. Choosing the best lathe for distinct purposes becomes even more difficult especially for newbies owing to several options available.
Wooden lathes have made woodwork easy and fast since one can sand cut and drill woods on the horizontal axis. However, generally, Bench lathes known for turnings are available in three sizes; mini, midi and full-size lathes. These sizes come with outstanding features, countless qualities and of course, limitations known to professional turners. The need for a perfect lathe becomes necessary as most wood projects need a matching wood lathe for best outcomes.
To smooth out the edges of certain furniture and other wooden products specific kinds of lathes are required for effect. The midi lathes come in as an alternative to both the minis and full-sized lathe. What then is a midi lathe? Do they combine the size of the minis and the power of the standard lathe or they’re mere marketing tricks?
So, What exactly are midi lathes?
Midi lathes are considered as a relatively new innovation in the woodworking and turning industry. It is becoming one of the most renown and popularized style, and for good reason being its outstanding characteristics. Midi lathes is a combination of the power and performance level of a full-size lathe. The Midis come along with optional bed extensions and can provide the turning capacity of a full-size floor model.
This innovation, unlike the full-size lathes, saves space and it is much less expensive compared to the full-sized. These lathes became popular for their convenience and have proven to be even more versatile. To many, it is a mere marketing gimmick, however, there are obvious features specifications that stand it out.
Major Characteristics of the Midi Lathe
The midis can perform a task that only the full-size lathe can perform at a time. They have an average of 12″ to 14″ of bed swings while rubbing up to one horsepower. It compromises of four primary parts; the motor, headstock, tailstock, Banjo and the bed. It has a DC motor with electronic variable speed control, Forward to reverse directional control and Headstock.
Also, it has a tailstock Spindle, a quick-change belt pulley system, Morse 2 spindle taper, Digital readout meter. The spindle speed range is generally 60 to 4000 rotation per minute almost the speed of standard lathes. If it’s an electronic variable, you can possibly turn the woods without changing the belt. This is possible since it can automatically be controlled by a speed knob without hitches.
Are midi lathes mere market tricks?
That midi lathe can work as effectively as a full-sized lathe and yet remain very small remains hard to believe. Although it may not give up to a 2 HP like full-sized lathe, it’s performance remains incredible! With its characteristics stated in this article, one can only imagine how powerful this machine is. Thus, NO! midi lathes are not in any sense a mere market trick.
Having a very simple user interface, great proficiency but yet not too big in size remains a big plus. Turners that may have used the midi lathe for their woodworks have considered it their preferred lathe.
Is the Midi Lathe really different from the Mini Lathe?
Both lathes would have been considered similar but not for the size and the horsepower of a midi lathe. And, of course, many other tinier distinctions that make up the difference. Although both lathes can posses a variable DC motor, the midi lathes works with an averagely high horsepower motor rating of about 3⁄4 to 1 HP and this is bigger than that of the mini lathe. Also, unlike the mini lathe that has its bed swing starting from 8″-10”, that of the midi starts from 12′′ with some going up to 14′′.
It has already been established here that every lathe has some characteristics that makes it much more fitting for certain duties than the others. The mini lathes for example are more suitable for turning smaller sized work pieces like pens, pet calls, bottle stoppers, and other turnings under 8 inches (ca. 20 cm) in diameter. The midi lathes on the other hand takes on relatively larger turnings like baseball bats and table legs etc.
Why Should You Opt for A Midi Lathe?
Midi lathe will come in as a handy tool when making tasks easier becomes a priority. This ease can be achieved at a very pocket friendly price while retaining space and saving time. Rotating or spinning items like bowls, wooden doorknobs or other items can be done using the midis . Midis can work on woods that falls between a diameter of 12-14′ far more that minis can do. Tailpiece in midis make working with larger turnings for baseball bat and furniture easier.
Hence, when there is a need for a lathe alternative for the standard wood lathes even in a cheaper price, the midi lathes becomes the perfect choice.
The Bottom Line.
The midis remains a very useful tool as far as the wood work and wood turning industry is concerned. However, as an alternative to the standard lathe, this machine saves a lot of quality time and space. While it is less expensive compared to the full-sized lathe, it tends to possess exquisite functionalities.