Oh no – the lathe is broken
Recently I was forced into making a lathe upgrade to my trusty Nova 3000 lathe. This is a lathe that has served me well. I bought it second-hand for the grand total of $500 about eight years ago. Since then I have turned countless items on it. Everything from pens to goblets to large bowls. Actually pushing the limits on large bowls is probably what got me into trouble.
The problem arose while I was working on a small bowl. Suddenly the bowl stopped spinning even though the motor was still running. At first I thought it was a broken belt. As I checked things out though I realized that the shaft on the motor was broken. What I was working at the time certainly did not cause that. I believe it must have been wear and tear that built up over time.
Checking around it became apparent that the motor was beyond repair. I would have to get a new motor in order to get the lathe working again. Looking into motors I realized that just replacing it with a similar motor was going to be expensive and complicated by the 3/4″ shaft size on the original which seems to be fairly uncommon. An intriguing option turned out to be a motor that Teknatool sells as an upgrade to the Nova 1624 lathe. The Nova 1624 is what they replaced the Nova 3000 with several years ago and it is a very similar lathe. This motor has their DVR technology that includes electronic variable speed, reverse and a few more options. A call to customer service gave me the information that the upgrade motor could be made to work with my Nova 3000 lathe. Shipping from the USA and the exchange rate with the US dollar however convinced me to try and source it locally. As it turned out our local dealer was back-ordered but I was able to order it on Amazon with free shipping included.
Once the motor arrived a few more complications became apparent. One problem was that the flange for mounting the motor has a different bolt pattern than the new motor. There were indentations on the motor that matched the pattern on the flange so I solved the problem by drilling and tapping threads to mount the flange and it worked well enough.
The next problem was that the shaft on the new motor is 7/8″ in diameter compared to 3/4″ on the Nova 3000 so my old pulley did not fit.
I tried boring out the mounting hole on the pulley but wound up making a mess of it and ruining the pulley. Eventually I had to contact Teknatool customer service again. They recommended replacing the pulley, key (for the shaft) and flange with the ones from the 1624 lathe. Since I had already mounted the motor on my old flange we decided that I only needed the pulley and and key. When those arrived I attempted to mount the pulley myself but it was quite a tight fit. I got stuck with the pulley only halfway on the motor. A visit to a local machine solved that problem. They were able to put it on a hydraulic press to get it the rest of the way on. After that it was a pretty simple matter of just putting things back the same way I took them off.
Success – the lathe is working!
I have been playing with it for few days now and I am pretty happy with how it works. Being able to change the speed with a twist of the knob instead of having to change the belt position every time is a huge improvement. It also has reverse which seems to be handy while sanding pieces on the lathe. I should probably get some grub screws for my chucks to help secure them when running in reverse. There are also a number of preset buttons that allow for quickly setting a particular speed.
One little irritation is that I use an auto switch for my dust collector. It turns on the collector when it senses current from one of the tools being switched on. Unfortunately the control panel on the lathe draws enough power, even when the lathe is not actually running, to activate the dust collector. Switching it off and on manually is something I’ll have to get used to. Overall though I’m pretty happy with it. I expect that a larger and heavier lathe is in my future at some point but with this working there is no need to rush.