So here's a dilemma: Mini lathes are designed to be portable, but when you get where you're going, it's nice to have some weight in the machine. At 106 pounds (more than a sheet of MDF weighs), the Maxi Lathe, $300, from General International outweighs other machines in this category by 20 to 30 pounds. Extra weight is good for damping vibration in a lathe; lugging it around is tougher. General International has set the mini-lathe bar a little higher with the Maxi Lathe's spindle capacity. At 15 in. between centers, it exceeds other mini-lathe capacities by up to 2 in., depending on the model. Its 10-in. bowl capacity is comparable to that of other machines. The Maxi Lathe, model 25-100 M1, has step pulleys at 480, 1,270, 1,960, 2,730, 3,327 and 4,023 rpm for speed control. It's driven by a 1/2-hp motor. Two bed extensions are available. The 25-130 extension, $95, increases the spindle capacity to 35 in. between centers. The 25-125 bed extension, $160, increases the spindle capacity to 45 in.
General International, (514) 326-1161, www.general.ca, Maxi Lathe, 25-100 M1, $300, Bed extension, 25-130, $95, Bed extension, 25-125, $160.