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What Is a Midi Lathe?

By Jean Marie Asta
Updated May 17, 2024
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A midi lathe is a small, affordable lathe suitable for turning small wooden objects. These types of lathes are slightly larger than standard mini lathes. They also have more features in common with standard sized horizontal lathes than with mini lathes. This lathe is suitable for use in a variety of environments, from home-based woodshops to large-scale factories.

Essentially, the midi lathe is a smaller version of a horizontal lathe and most of a standard lathe’s components are also part of a midi lathe. These include an electrically-powered motor that spins the headstock and an adjustable tailstock to hold the work piece in place. A tool rest sits between these parts. The motors of most midi lathes are able to adjust to spin the work piece at different speeds as well, depending on the needs of the operator.

Standard lathes also have accessories that a worker can buy if he or she needs to perform additional or advanced functions with their lathes. The accessories that are commonly used on large scale horizontal lathes are also available in smaller form for use on midi lathes. These include attachable drill presses, lathe duplicators, tail piece extensions and other additional components.

Midi lathes differ from mini lathes in a few key areas. They have a more powerful motor than mini lathes and the spindle that this motor turns is larger than a mini lathe and thus capable of supporting larger work pieces. Some of the midi lathe components, such as the tail piece extenders, are not available for mini lathes.

The purpose of a midi lathe is to specialize in turning objects such as pens, stool legs, wooden doorknobs, small bowls, and other things that can be made from a small wooden work piece. For people on a budget, tail piece extenders can also make a midi lathe useful for turning larger sized objects. Their small size is also useful if there isn’t much available space in workplace.

Purchasing a midi lathe can be done in a number of ways. They are available at most hardware stores. Used models can be found at garage sales or through newspaper classified ads, for example. The Internet also features a number of websites that sell power tools such as these in new and used condition.

The low price and small size of midi lathes makes them ideal for beginning woodworkers. Their power and versatility ensures that even experienced woodworkers will find them useful, however. If a shop or factory ever has a need to produce small turned wood objects, a midi lathe is a wise investment.

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