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WM 280V lathe with inverter drive advice

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David James Jenner22/10/2019 12:33:48
8 forum posts

I'm considering upgrading my mini lathe to the WM280V with the inverter drive.

Does anyone out there have any experience with these machines?

Also one of my concerns is what size crate do they come in?

I need to check the access into my workshop as there is limited room for manovering the crate.


Dave Jenner

SillyOldDuffer22/10/2019 13:11:48
5607 forum posts
1153 photos

Yes, I upgraded from a mini-lathe to a WM280VF, and it's quite an improvement!

The machine, stand and extras arrived on the same pallet, so quite big, perhaps1300mm by 1000mm and heavy!

The man (a local delivery driver, not a Warco employee) unloaded the package with a manual pallet truck and wheeled it up a short tarmac drive into my single garage. I didn't have to cope with a garden path or steps. Then I broke into the package and dismantled it. Removing the stand parts and accessories leaves a more manageable plywood box about 1300 x 600 x 600mm. The splash back was bolted to the back of the lathe, making lifting it out a little awkward: it can be removed if necessary.

Four strong blokes should be able to safely lift the lathe, but rehearse and take care. I did it all myself with assistance from my daughter. I bought an Engine Crane; you might prefer to hire one. It makes lifting easy and safe but they're not very manoeuvrable. I came slightly unstuck because there wasn't quite enough room to turn the crane through 90 degrees and drop the lathe against the wall. (It would have been possible had I not wasted a foot by temporarily stacking stuff along the wall.) A happy accident, because having the lathe sideways makes it really easy to change gears and get at the controls and electrics through the back access panel.  Think about access to the headstock end before plonking it into a tight space.

Dropping the lathe on the stand was slightly tricky because the lift point is close under the headstock, which means the splay legs of a crane tend to foul the stand bases. Balance is an issue. The lathe is top-heavy, with most of the weight at the headstock end, and the heavy motor tends to tip it backwards. You don't want it spinning or sliding in the sling. One person moving the crane while another guides the lathe into alignment with the stand's bolt holes is much simpler than one person attempting it.

When positioning the sling or ropes, position them under the bed and behind the leadscrew, making sure they won't snag or crush delicate parts like the toolpost.

It's the sort of job that's intimidating the first time, but is much easier the second time.

I'll leave what to do if there's no room for a crane to someone else! Perfectly possible using rollers and blocks...




Edited By SillyOldDuffer on 22/10/2019 13:14:52

JasonB22/10/2019 13:32:43
17826 forum posts
1949 photos
1 articles

had my non inverter one for about 10 years now and still going strong.

Crate is not that much bigger than the overall machine size, end cover removed in this photo and crate is sitting on a pallet

Mick B122/10/2019 17:53:11
1543 forum posts
83 photos

I have the WM250V, not 280, and I'd say it's a huge improvement on the Myford Speed 10 I used to have, which it itself better than I'd expect a minilathe to be.

The standard 3 jaw chuck it came with is the best I believe I've seen, and on 10mm round bar can run true to about .0006" TIR - and you can buy soft jaws for improved concentric grip on short lengths.

I adapted the Warco baseplate to take the Myford double-swivel vertical slide I already had, and the lathe now spends nearly half its time in milling mode, and my plans to buy a mill keep getting put back.

I've done a big variety of work on it in the 4 years I've had it.

There are one or two gotchas, especially if you engage power feed on a locked slide or at the limit of travel, but so far I've been able to fix all my cockups. There's been no electric or electronic trouble.

David James Jenner23/10/2019 12:13:28
8 forum posts


Thankyou for the replies, very much appreciated.

Could I ask what type of tool post you are using?

Dave J

JasonB23/10/2019 12:26:55
17826 forum posts
1949 photos
1 articles

I have a Myford size Dickson on mine as that is what was on my previous lathe an dI had plenty of tool holders. If starting from scratch then the "boxford" size would be better

Mick B123/10/2019 13:01:59
1543 forum posts
83 photos

I use the 4-way that came with it, along with a home-made packing piece 0.250" thick, so that 1/4" square HSS tools come up to centre height with just a minimal top grind for rake. That's quick-change enough for me, and I can't see that the variety of stuff I do would let me exploit a proper QCTP effectively.

Paul M23/10/2019 13:50:45
38 forum posts

I have the WM250VF. I had an electrical issue from the start which with the help of Warco was easily fixed.

The lathe is acceptable for the price and origin! I don't tend to do heavy cuts as the machine will struggle. It's useful having auto crossfeed although I did once forget to remove an Allen key that locked the carriage and bent one of the crosslide adjusters. I have DRO fitted which does limit the tailstock travel and gets in the way of the cross slide locking bolt. Well worth the limitations though.

I purchased the stands which I regret. The lathe never feels rigid and the slightest offset will result in vibration. This may be as a result of fitting feet rather than bolting the stand to the floor. One day I may try to change to bolting it down.

If you do a lot of screw cutting, I would consider a model with a gear head.

Cabinet Enforcer23/10/2019 16:03:17
66 forum posts
2 photos
Posted by JasonB on 23/10/2019 12:26:55:

I have a Myford size Dickson on mine as that is what was on my previous lathe an dI had plenty of tool holders. If starting from scratch then the "boxford" size would be better

I have a boxford sized Dickson qctp on my 280, I agree that it is probably the "right" size, but the standard centre height range of that model is too high for the lathe, I had to machine a replacement part for the topslide adjustment stack and shorten the t-bolts.

When I get a round tuit, I am going to change to a "4 bolt clamp" and change parts to lower it further so that the extended 20mm holders can be fully utilized.

SillyOldDuffer23/10/2019 17:04:55
5607 forum posts
1153 photos

I'm still with the original 4-way tool-post, mostly with only 2 tools in it to reduce overhang.

Now I know which combination of shims is needed to bring each of my motley collection of cutting tools to centre height, I've not found it worth switching to a Quick Change type. As always, it depends on what you do with the lathe. In my case fast tool changes are far from essential and I don't do rush jobs or intricate work requiring multiple tool changes. Because I mostly use carbide inserts there's no need to stop, sharpen and reset HSS, which a QTCP would simplify. Me taking a couple of minutes to change a tool every so often isn't a big deal, it would annoy others considerably!

Time will tell. Use the lathe in anger for a few weeks and the answer will become obvious.


Howard Lewis24/10/2019 10:37:59
3132 forum posts
2 photos

The standard advice is not to lift under the chuck, for the sake of the Headstock bearings, and the mandrel.Lifting then lathe,as said, be careful not to crush things like the leadscrew. You can balance the weight of the Headstock by running the Tailstock and saddle back along the bed.

Fortunately, my BL12-24 (all 300 Kg! ) had a hole under the Headstock, so that end of the sling went under a stout steel bar through the hole, round the under the Tailstock end of the bed, and back around the bar on the other side of the Headstock.



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