I'm looking at a vintage powermatic 90 lathe for sale. It is circa early 1950's (gray), has a 12" swing with a 17" gap bed, outboard tool rest and faceplate, 110v motor, and by all accounts hasn't been used much in over 20 years. The motor and all parts are original, including the reeves drive parts. I don't have any first hand experience with reeves drives but popular opinion points out several key weaknesses: They're noisy, expensive to replace, and must be running to change speeds. I assume because of the relative age of the lathe that all the bearings will need to be replaced and that the belts may need replacing soon if not immediately.
I am drawn to the lathe because of the oversize headstock/spindle and overall robust design. And because my budget won't allow for a new 3520 anytime soon, the restoration of old iron may be a suitable choice. I would like to hear from those who know...
This is what I would like to get from this lathe:
- Moderate size bowl turning
- Variable speed
- Vacuum chucking
With those hopes in mind, how smooth is a reeves drive. Is there much vibration? A VFD seems the best choice for reducing the rpm's down to a safe speed. Other than loosing torque at lower frequencies, are there issues or concerns that you have encountered? Would a jack shaft be a better choice? How about removing the reeves drive all together?
The info I read shows these lathes as having #2MT, but the seller believes it is a #1MT. Were there multiple spindles made? If so, are some of these solid instead of hollow?
Thanks to anyone who had the patience to read this entire post and double thanks to anyone who actually responds to it.