Best Metal Lathe for Hobbyists: The Jet Metalworking Lathe

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The Good

This is a powerful, precision machine designed for tacking even larger workpieces. We love its 2HP motor, its 40-inch distance between centers as well as its 13-inch swing over.

The Bad

At almost $6900, its price is probably beyond most hobbyists’ budget. This is also a heavy piece of machinery and weighs over a thousand pounds which means that moving it around could be a challenge.
jet 321360a

The Bottomline

This is the perfect full-sized option if you have the cash. We especially recommend this product for U.S.-based buyers because Jet has over 750 authorized service centers nationwide.
For most hobbyists and small shops, the smaller-sized mini metal lathe is perfect for their needs. After all, most of their projects only involve the fabrication of small custom made metal parts or modeling tasks. But for those who plan on tackling larger projects as well as those engaged in a commercial scale high volume fabrication, there is simply no other choice but to get a full-size lathe designed for precision, heavy-duty work that also features bigger capacities, so it can accommodate larger workpieces. So you’re a hobbyist with a plan to take things seriously, this item is a must-check.
And most certainly, if you want a full-sized machine for your workshop that will last long. The Jet Metalworking Lathe is manufactured by Jet Tools, a subsidiary of the Tennessee-based JPW Industries, Inc. with more than 50 years of experience in manufacturing metalworking and woodworking tools and equipment. A well-known brand, you’re assured that this product is built to exacting standards; you’ll be getting only the best quality and performance that you deserve.
One of the main features of this product is its generously sized distance between centers and swing over distance. Meanwhile, it also features a powerful motor. In other words, this is the lathe to choose if you plan to work on large metal turning projects that small-sized models can’t handle. Let’s take a look at one this machine can do.

Powerful Machine, Precision Performance

If you’re engaged in the commercial scale fabrication of metal parts or if you plan to work on larger pieces of metal, one of the things to consider when choosing the right machine for your workshop is its power. Since you will be working with heavier workloads as well as larger workpieces, you have to make sure that the equipment of your choice has enough power to see your projects to completion.
With this product from Jet Tools, power will never be an issue as there’s plenty to spare. Its powerful 2HP, single phase, 230-Volt motor is more than enough to handle the energy and torque requirements for the types of tasks it was designed for.
This machine is also geared for precision performance. There are 12 spindle speed options available and you can set the rotation at a leisurely 60 RPM up to its maximum speed of 1240 RPM. This gives you the flexibility to choose the right speed appropriate for the material and task at hand for best results.
Meanwhile, both its automatic feeding and threading are fully interlocked which makes it very convenient to use as well as ensure that your threading projects come out perfect each and every time. In addition, it has a very wide range of threading range allowing you to create between 4 to 112 TPI. You can also easily switch between metric and inch threads depending on your preference.
Designed to accommodate larger projects, this product features larger capacities compared to others. Its swing over capacity is 13 inches while its distance between centers is 40 inches.

Safe, Durable Construction

When operating any type of machinery, the safety of the operator is of utmost importance. After all, you’re dealing with metals here and, coupled with the high rotation speed of the spindle, any mistake could spell trouble. That’s why you need to choose a product that already incorporates a few safety features into its design.
For instance, the Jet Metalworking Lathe features an enclosed gearbox so its gears are tucked away reducing the risk of accidents. In addition, it has a full-length splashguard gives the user maximum protection while operating the machine.
When working with metals, the stability of your machine is also very important, not only for the quality or the end product but also for the safety of the operator. With this Jet machine, however, stability is not an issue at all as it weighs over a thousand pounds.
This is a finely crafted quality machine so its durability is top notch. But just in case something happens, it is good to note that it is covered by a 2-year warranty. Another plus, at least for US buyers, is that Jet has over 750 authorized service centers to help you with any trouble.

But I Just Wish…

A high quality product of a well-known brand, we really can’t find fault with this product. But if we have to name a few minor issues with the Jet Metalworking Lathe, one thing that comes first to mind is its price. It is currently being offered on Amazon at just under $6350, which puts it way beyond most buyers’ budget, especially for hobbyists and those still starting out with metalworking crafts.
We’ve said it before that the smaller options would suit the needs of hobbyists better. But that doesn’t mean that this Jet machine won’t be a perfect match for those with deeper pockets. As long as you have cash to spare, this could be the best hobby metal lathe for you. Also, this is one heavy machine, which means you need a more stable place to put it in your shop since moving it later could be a challenge.
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