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Titan lathe – smooth and vibration free, with a better finish from the higher speed.

My new Titan lathe is up and running, though I haven’t had time yet to do much with it. I started with a bit of mahogany about 50 x 150 mm between centres. Not exactly challenging, but I didn’t have a usable chuck or faceplate yet). The tailstock ram has a nominal 200 mm travel. With a four prong drive centre in the headstock, the No. 3 MT ram felt as if it could happily force its way right through the mahogany and out the other end. The blank felt rock solid. There was nearly a foot of clear space between the blank and the bed. I switched on.

Titan lathe noise level

The Titan lathe has two different ramp speeds, one that reaches full speed almost immediately, and a slower one that gradually winds up to speed and down again, safer for large blanks. The lathe made a bit more noise at full speed (3000 rpm) than I hoped, but not excessive. At about 1000 rpm it was quiet. I suppose large bearings cannot run silently at speed.

I took a cut with a roughing gouge and in two or three passes made the blank into a cylinder. There was no hesitation or vibration whatsoever. The toolrest is very heavy (40 mm stem) and too deep for the underhand grip that I use. If I don’t get used to it I can easily make up some smaller rests for detail work.

Chuck insert

My Vicmarc 120 chuck had an insert threaded for the Graduate lathe. I remember that I had trouble fitting this insert originally. Because it sometimes came loose when unscrewing the chuck, I used some Loctite bonding agent in the thread. This worked perfectly – so well that even with a large pair of Stilson grips it was impossible to remove. Warming the insert with a small blow torch softened the cement and it was then easy to undo. Loctite doesn’t seem necessary with the new insert.

I screwed the chuck on the Titan, but found a small amount of run-out. This is not a problem with the lathe, it means the insert is not seated properly in the chuck. I was too impatient to correct this, so loaded a small bowl rough-out for a trial cut. This was smooth and vibration free. I compared a cut at about 1000 rpm with one at full speed. There was a big difference at high speed, with much less tear out. The surface was slightly burnished, without ripples.