Author Topic: Axminster Trade AT508WL Woodturning Lathe  (Read 1469 times)

Offline Twisted Trees

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Axminster Trade AT508WL Woodturning Lathe
« on: April 06, 2019, 02:56:23 AM »
I may be fantasizing, BUT maybe not...

I am considering upgrading my lathe and rather fancy the Axminster Trade AT508WL, wondering if anyone out there is using one and what you think of it?


Offline Graham

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Re: Axminster Trade AT508WL Woodturning Lathe
« Reply #1 on: April 06, 2019, 09:24:43 AM »
I am familiar with the two smaller models, the 350 and 405 as they are called now and they are superb machines. I have not seen or used the bigger one but let me tell you a story that may help you decide.

I brought one of the bigger Jets, the 3520b, from Axminster about four and a half years ago. After about 18 months it suddenly stopped working, it would go round slowly but that was it. I emailed Axminster and described as best I could what was happening. They answered within minutes and the upshot was that a couple of days later an engineer arrived ( from about 150 miles away ) and replaced the electronics box on the back ( very expensive to buy ) free of any charge and suddenly the lathe was up and running again, and still is.

He did not know what had caused the problem but suspected that it was because I routinely stopped the mchine by turning the speed down to zero and leaving it that way til the nest time I used it, which I have never done since.

The point of this story is that you can compare lathes one against another and place great emphasis on the very minor differences you will find between them but the most important thing you need to consider is the quality of the after sales service and you will not get better than Axminster.
Regards
Graham
I have learnt the first rule of woodturning.
The internal diameter should never exceed the external width.
Nor the internal depth, the external height.
Does that make me an expert now ?

Offline Twisted Trees

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Re: Axminster Trade AT508WL Woodturning Lathe
« Reply #2 on: April 06, 2019, 12:21:39 PM »
Thanks Graham,

I have had good and bad experience of Axminster customer service, to be fair the bad experience was a month outside guarantee on my dust filter electrics (motor and construction had a longer guarantee) but I was still able to buy the part.

For balance I have had excellent service from Record Power for an out of production BS500 Bandsaw, and from Robert Sorby on a number of minor issues. I think it is good practice to buy tools made in the country where you want service as the pride level seems higher.

I need a "various purpose" lathe as I do enjoy turning platters and large bowls, and it has to be bigger than my Myford Mystro as I occasionally come up to the limits of it, never on bed length, but outboard large bowl capacity. I would be looking to modify my workshop layout drastically, using what I have learned over the years since I built it as a novice turner / woodworker, to probably come up with another unsatisfactory layout. (has anyone solved this without a massive space?)

Think a drive to Axminster is required, probably go by bike to prevent too many random purchases.

 

Offline andy44

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Re: Axminster Trade AT508WL Woodturning Lathe
« Reply #3 on: April 06, 2019, 02:59:48 PM »
Hi
I have had this lathe for about 12 months now and tbh I cant fault it, I don't turn long spindles so the bed extension is permanently on the legs if its needed to turn bigger pieces than needed over the bed. I was lucky as I got mine when it was on sale for £2200. I think its currently for sale for £3000 which is a lot of money, you could buy the Record Maxi1 with the out rigger for just under £2200, I think Pete and Les use the maxi1 so maybe they could give you their thoughts on that lathe
Andy
regards
Andy

Offline bodrighywood

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Re: Axminster Trade AT508WL Woodturning Lathe
« Reply #4 on: April 06, 2019, 03:28:17 PM »
Yes we both have the maxi and to be honest can't really fault it. Only problem I have is going to be the same as with any lathe and that is that when I turn seriously off balanced things I wish I could bolt it down but as the concrete floor is too thin I have to go slow and follow it around the workshop LOL. Unless you are looking at something like an old wadkin or a VB that is something that you will always have. Regarding the aftersales service from Axminster I always used to swear by it but since they have expanded they seem to have been shall we say less helpful and the quality of the items I have bought from them over the last couple of years has been less than expected  in my experience. May be just my bad luck though.

Pete
Turners don't make mistakes, they have design opportunities

Offline Graham

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Re: Axminster Trade AT508WL Woodturning Lathe
« Reply #5 on: April 06, 2019, 07:37:46 PM »
<quote twisted trees>I think it is good practice to buy tools made in the country where you want service as the pride level seems higher. </quote>

Yes, that is probably true though I think most lathes originate in the far east. One thing I know for sure is that there are many many more makes of lathes sold than there are built !!

I have a hankering for one of the big Robust American Beauties but at £8000 plus it is not a very serious hankering. How would you deal with a total breakdown when the manufacturer is in a far off land and the English importers are not a serious/major stock holder ?. This is not intended as a slur to the importer, and it applies to several other nice lathes I can think of, but it has to be bourne in mind when spending large amounts. ( i.e anything over 50p )
Regards
Graham
I have learnt the first rule of woodturning.
The internal diameter should never exceed the external width.
Nor the internal depth, the external height.
Does that make me an expert now ?

Offline Twisted Trees

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Re: Axminster Trade AT508WL Woodturning Lathe
« Reply #6 on: April 06, 2019, 08:05:39 PM »
Thanks Andy and Pete,

The Maxi 1 is one I also want to take a look at, I figure a maximum budget of £4000 SHOULD get me a great lathe, (I consider my Myford Mystro to be a very good, but short of great) with 2 chucks, with jaws (my 2 Patriot's are not an ideal fit on an M33 spindle) plus rework the workshop extraction.

Obviously there are dream brands, Wivamac, Vicmarc etc. but I haven't won the lottery yet!

Graham,
you are right they probably all come from China, there are a lot of very similar looking castings with just a slightly different trim. However if the brand is from your country they hopefully hold a reasonable stock of spares.

Offline Derwent Woodturning club

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Re: Axminster Trade AT508WL Woodturning Lathe
« Reply #7 on: April 06, 2019, 08:10:45 PM »
<quote twisted trees>

I have a hankering for one of the big Robust American Beauties but at £8000 plus it is not a very serious hankering. How would you deal with a total breakdown when the manufacturer is in a far off land and the English importers are not a serious/major stock holder ?. This is not intended as a slur to the importer, and it applies to several other nice lathes I can think of, but it has to be bourne in mind when spending large amounts. ( i.e anything over 50p )

Graham, don't do it. One of my students went for one and the quality of engineering leaves a lot to be desired. And bear in mind you will have to pay import duty and VAT on it.
Regards,
Derwent Woodturning Club

Offline Wood spinner

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« Last Edit: April 07, 2019, 11:47:31 AM by Wood spinner »
What can I muller this time ?

Offline The Bowler Hatted Turner

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Re: Axminster Trade AT508WL Woodturning Lathe
« Reply #9 on: April 09, 2019, 07:36:21 PM »
twisted trees if your budget is £4000 forget all of the little toys that these other turners have been talking about and buy yourself a second hand Graduate. I have used mine now for many years (I can't remember how many)and it has coped with everything I have asked it to do. At one time I even removed the out board bed to turn a large diameter piece.(I'm talking five foot diameter) Bolted to the workshop floor it has served me really well. You could probably get a decent one for less than £15oo and buy some tooling to go with it. British made so the castings are top quality as you would expect and on the odd time when I have had a breakdown I have been able to get the parts and fix it myself. Mine is now over 60 years old and still going strong, I doubt is any of the modern lathes will last that long.

Offline Twisted Trees

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Re: Axminster Trade AT508WL Woodturning Lathe
« Reply #10 on: April 09, 2019, 10:45:50 PM »
I think any half decent lathe will probably see me out! my Myford is 26 years old and works perfectly well, probably all the lathe I will ever need in truth done a few 26" platters on it, and it handled a well off balance 22" root ball superbly well with patience. I just want rather than need a new toy.

Used a Graduate a few times, but sort of looking towards modern dial up speed and other things that can probably go wrong and make my blood boil.

Pete


Offline Simon_M

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Re: Axminster Trade AT508WL Woodturning Lathe
« Reply #11 on: April 22, 2019, 02:12:00 PM »
I am considering upgrading my lathe and rather fancy the Axminster Trade AT508WL
Short story: It's very good.

Long story: it's very good and you should base your decision on your requirements. There are a few (about 30) small differences with the AT508WL which may not be apparent but which are nice to have:

The lathe bed can be mounted either way round. It can be mounted with the mid extension mount facing towards a workshop wall if you have/don't have the space. Or (more likely) it can be mounted with the mid extension mount towards the front e.g. with the m/c label plate to the back and warnings label to the front. The inverter box can also be mounted inboard at either end. The inverter fan stops when the stop switch is depressed but the display continues to be illuminated. There is an on/off isolation switch on the inverter box (I mostly use the switch on the wall socket). There are no vents in the box so there is no chance of dust getting inside and for cooling the lathe leg acts as a passive heatsink along with the steel box.

I have it with the mid extension mount towards the front and the inverter box inbound on the left leg. There are no wires going into the lathe bed because the inverter is in a separate unit that bolts to the inside of a leg. For setup this means you can completely remove the headstock and there are no trailing wires to the lathe bed. The same extension holes are provided (at the same height) at each end so you could extend at either/both ends and still have the centre height maintained. There are high and low mount points at either end of the legs but I think it's more convenient to use the mid extension mount. The bed extension is as deep as it is wide and is rock solid.

The lathe bed is about 200mm longer than AT406WL but you can of course position the headstock inboard. There should be little need to use the extensions at either end to increase the swing and the mid extension mount puts the forces down between the legs along the length of the lathe and not across the legs so it should be more stable in this configuration. For me this is a more compact (square vs rectangle "like") layout and you can store the extension underneath when not required. There are 3 pulley positions and the #2 pulley covers most needs: 100 - 2200 is a very convenient middle (everyday) range. For more torque and a slower speed the #1 pulley could be used or for high speed e.g. pen turning the #3 pulley could be used.

It's a heavy setup e.g. 280kg lathe/legs + 30kg for the extension. The banjo is deep/substantial and the tool post is 30mm. Using the mid mount you have an extension that comes out 520mm and with the headstock rotated, clearance is out to at least 500mm radius (equivalent to 1000mm swing) with easy access via the banjo and 300mm tool rest. A tool post extension is also provided but it's not needed when using the mid extension mount. The banjo is lower in this position so it provides additional clearance but the tool post can still be used. Without the extension it's also practical to swing the head outwards and still reach across with the banjo and tool rest e.g. to comfortable turn the inside of bowls without being "over" the lathe bed.

The tailstock has a working travel of 160mm which provides good clearance for the bigger tool rest although the 150mm tool rest is convenient for smaller projects. Some small (but welcome additions) are 3 way live centre, index pin that's magnetic and meets the spindle at 10:30 o'clock position e.g. have both hands free to detach a workpiece. There is an access cover (bolts) to access  the headstock bearings. The lever for the tailstock is at the end (not behind) which is very convenient and the tailstock handle is fully machined round and works well. The lathe bed is wide and the headstock is square so the distance between bearings is maximised. The headstock pin is underneath between the bed ways and the headstock/tailstock are held with a circular flange and the quoted distance between centres is comfortably exceeded.

Some differences between the supplied lathe and the Axminster description/illustrations are: mid extension mount point is now towards the front (or they switched the labels), travel of quill is 160mm not 135mm. The inspection window has no red index mark and there are no (upside down) 1 - 24 index marks on the pulleys (easy to select using the hand wheel and lock).
« Last Edit: April 22, 2019, 09:53:15 PM by Simon_M »

Offline Twisted Trees

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Re: Axminster Trade AT508WL Woodturning Lathe
« Reply #12 on: April 22, 2019, 10:15:28 PM »
Thank you Simon for such a great review.

Online John

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Re: Axminster Trade AT508WL Woodturning Lathe
« Reply #13 on: April 25, 2019, 01:16:37 PM »
Hello Twisted trees
I am down sizing in preparing for a move.
I have an Aminster At1628Vs with leg stand for sale is this of use to you.
John
John English