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Thread: Turning Speed Chart?

  1. #1
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    Turning Speed Chart?

    Anyone have a really good speed chart showing suggested RPM per diameter measurement? Jet has a questionable one in their owner's manual, but I was hoping to find something a little more sophisticated. In my own experience, the hardness and dryness of the wood needs to be factored in, too.

    I know one of you will come through with this. You always do.
    Russell Neyman.

    Writer - Woodworker - Historian
    Past President, Olympic Peninsula Woodturners
    West Puget Sound, Washington State


    "Outside of a dog, there's nothing better than a good book; inside of a dog it's too dark to read."

  2. #2
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    I'll jump in with a starting point. I built this list from a couple of Richard Raffan's books and some other introductory turning books. My lathe is a Jet 1642 with variable speed so I can hit all of these speed points. For almost all of my bowl turning I keep the belt on the lower speed - higher torque position that limits me to a little over 1200 RPM. I haven't done enough spindle turning and wonder if the 3200 RPM at 2" is a bit too fast.

    Bowl Height Spindles
    2" 4" 6" 8" 10"
    2" 1800 1600 1400 1200 1000 3200 (2400)
    4" 1700 1500 1300 1100 900 1600
    6" 1600 1400 1200 1000 800 1080
    8" 1500 1300 1100 900 700 800
    10" 1400 1200 1000 800 600 650
    12" 1300 1100 900 700 500 540
    14" 1200 1000 800 600 400 460
    16" 1100 900 700 500 300 400


    Cheers,
    David

  3. #3
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    Marietta, GA
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    Saw the following on a Mike Mahoney video - gives you some wiggle room with a range: Dia X RPM = 6000 to 9000 So, an 8" diameter piece @ 1000 rpm (=8000) is right in the sweet spot. HTH
    Steve \o/
    WARNING: I spin pieces of wood at high rates of speed and poke at them with sharp things!

    Located 45 miles NNW of Russell Eaton & 365 miles S of John Keeton
    Jet 1642-EVS2 & Epilog Helix 35W

  4. #4
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    Super good info. Thanks David. This was a question I have failed to ask 'cause I've seen the pros spinnin' at really high rates.
    Bill
    On the other hand, I still have five fingers.

  5. #5
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    If you go to page 18 (bottom of the page) there is an X-Y chart for rpm-diameter for rough stock and for general turning.
    http://www.teknatool.com/products/La...ual_Jun_08.pdf
    This is in the Nova manual.
    I can't copy and paste (even if Nova says it's OK) with my reader but you can print out the single page.
    "I became insane, with long intervals of horrible sanity." - Edgar Allan Poe

  6. #6
    any chart should be taken with a large grain of salt primarily because there are always going to be variables that cannot be factored into the chart

    if it in anyway seems too fast...... IT IS!!! alot better to turn it slower and be safe than to turn it too fast and regret it

    the number 1 safety device anywhere is squarely between your ears ..... and should always be the very first thing used

    ok off my soapbox now hehe

    be safe everyone

  7. #7
    For myself, I turn fairly fast. Unless its a oblong, out of balance, really too big for my lathe, chunk of wood. Then I pain stakingly slow it down to a snails crawl and spend what seems forever to round that blank. As soon as its round I speed it back up. As a general rule of thumb for my particular taste, I turn spindles 1 1/2" and smaller at 2200rpm. Bowls up to 8-10" are done at 1400rpm and larger than that are at 1000rpm or so. My Nova has belt changes for the speed so I cant "dial it in" an in between speed.

    I feel comfortable at those speed and DO NOT recommend those speeds to anyone who hasn't either been working themselves up to those speeds or ever turned at those speeds.

    I had to chuckle at a guy in our turning club on Saturday. We had a workshop and had the clubs Jet mini lathes out to play on. I put a 4" dia branch on it to turn a NE goblet using light to get it thin and he commented on th efact that I cranked the speed knob all the way up! I gave him the same speal as above.
    -------
    No, it's not thin enough yet.
    -------

  8. #8
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    Thanks for the feedback and information. I'm a proponent of the "turn by feel" technique, and adjust my tool angle and speed until my turning reaches an optimum, and my results are quite good. But a fellow turner said he thought I could avoid the tearout I encountered recently with a quilted maple bowl by following a speed chart, so I decided what the heck I'll put one on the wall above the lathe and give it a try. This Teknatool one seems to be the easiest to follow. I reformatted it so it's more readable.
    Turning Speed Chart.jpg
    Last edited by Russell Neyman; 09-19-2011 at 6:22 PM. Reason: added chart.
    Russell Neyman.

    Writer - Woodworker - Historian
    Past President, Olympic Peninsula Woodturners
    West Puget Sound, Washington State


    "Outside of a dog, there's nothing better than a good book; inside of a dog it's too dark to read."

  9. #9
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    This is page 30 of the PM 3520b manual. Speed PM 3520b manual.pdf
    God is great and life is good!

  10. #10
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    Hmmm. Interesting that there are some fairly significant variations between these three charts. I wonder--? Do you think it has to do with the weight of the lathe?

    On a broader scale, I wonder if any of the other old timers follow these charts, or do you do as I do and just work by feel?
    Russell Neyman.

    Writer - Woodworker - Historian
    Past President, Olympic Peninsula Woodturners
    West Puget Sound, Washington State


    "Outside of a dog, there's nothing better than a good book; inside of a dog it's too dark to read."

  11. #11
    It should be noted that a lot of the "High end" lathes have NO speed indicator on them. Robust and Stubby in particular. I questioned the fellas about this, while at the symposiums and they said that they don't think you really need a speed indicator that you just turn it up to a speed that you are comfortable with and get to turning.
    -------
    No, it's not thin enough yet.
    -------

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Hackler View Post
    It should be noted that a lot of the "High end" lathes have NO speed indicator on them. Robust and Stubby in particular. I questioned the fellas about this, while at the symposiums and they said that they don't think you really need a speed indicator that you just turn it up to a speed that you are comfortable with and get to turning.
    The implication here is that faster is better as long as the piece doesn't vibrate or explode. That's worrisome.
    Last edited by Russell Neyman; 09-21-2011 at 12:50 AM.
    Russell Neyman.

    Writer - Woodworker - Historian
    Past President, Olympic Peninsula Woodturners
    West Puget Sound, Washington State


    "Outside of a dog, there's nothing better than a good book; inside of a dog it's too dark to read."

  13. #13
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    Speed Kills, if it explodes it's too late. I recall talking to a chap at Busy Bee, it seems that he turned pens at around 2000 RPM and then started turning bowls. His second or third bowl exploded, what saved him, he was wearing a full face shield. The face shield broke and he had a nasty cut above his eye ( could have been much worse without the shield) and the open wound on his chest looked like he had been shot. After talking with him I got the impression he was turning the bowls at the same speed as he turned pens. So if you are going to turn at a fast speed, stay out of the firing line.

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