not really a review

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Aug 17, 2008
Portland, Oregon
Last week the Little Machine Shop had a 14" mini lathe extension kit on sale. About a year ago I bought an Enco 7x10 on deep sale, and while the price was terrific, I almost immediately regretted not getting a longer bed. The extension kit seemed like a perfect answer.

It arrived well packed via UPS. In the package was a new cast iron bed, a new rack, a lead screw, a package of hardware, and 12 pages of instructions. I had also ordered the three drill bits and taps they recommended when they pointed out that this wasn't a bolt on product -- that drilling holes and tapping them would be necessary.

The instructions were well written, step-by-step procedures that led me through dismantling the lathe piece by piece and reconstructing the new longer bed with the components taken off the lathe. The only problems I had reconstructing the machine had to do with my inexperience in things mechanical, but the instructions were written well enough that I could ultimately figure out what to do. Marking, drilling, and tapping the nine holes required was much easier than I anticipated, even though I've never tapped anything other than ebonite.

The entire process took about five hours -- it would have been less, but I mounted and dismounted the motor three times because I had routed the wires incorrectly at one point, and had to change out a hex head screw another. The motor mounting process was unlike the original mount, but was very straightforward and stable and unlike the original mount, allowed for greater adjustment for belt tensioning.

Like everything else I have purchased from Little Machine Shop, every component was of excellent quality, carefully packaged and complete. The lathe is running seamlessly, and I like to think that given the original sale price of the lathe and the sale price of the kit I have a 7x14 for significantly less than if I had purchased one initially.

If you're looking to add some length to a 7x10 or 7x12, I'd recommend the extension kit. It is admittedly pricey to ship because of the weight (about $30), but well worth the time and effort it takes to reconstruct.

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