Problem Solving Products Issue 24 NOVA DVR XP Lathe

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Lathe motors

Manufactured by Teknatool in New Zealand, the Nova DVR XP falls into the heavy-duty class of woodworking lathes. Its massive cast iron components, expandable bed segments, extra-large ball bearings and extensive line of accessories appeal to all serious turners. Its best feature is one you can’t see–the DVR motor built directly into the heavy cast-iron headstock, resulting in virtually non-existent vibration.

But first, here are the basic specs: The DVR XP has a 16" swing and is 24" between centers. The headstock spindle is 11/4" in diameter with 8TPI (threads/inch) and having a #2 MT (Morse Taper). The headstock swivels 360° and features a 24-division spindle index. The cast-iron tool rest measures 12" long with a 1" post. (A 3" faceplate comes with the lathe, but a stand will cost you another $150).

The Digital Variable Reluctance (DVR) motor, as shown on page 72, is what makes this lathe really special. Originally designed for jet aircraft, the motor has just three basic parts: a microcomputer, a rotor, and a stator. Say goodbye to out-of-balance pulleys or slipping drive belts.

Lathe Motors

Here’s how it works. The rotor is basically a spindle bearing steel laminations, much like a gear. The stator surrounds the rotor with a series of strong magnetic fields that flip on and off sequentially to spin the rotor at a very precise speed. The microcomputer controls this speed while also monitoring load and torque. By analyzing spindle speed hundreds of times a second, the computer senses when cutting pressure is being applied and adds power so that speed remains constant regardless of the cut.


THE SET-UP: This lathe comes assembled, but you’ll need help to lift its 190 lbs. out of the box and onto a stand. Wipe off the grease, attach the toolslide and tool rest, put in the centers, and you’re ready to turn.


Lathe Motors


The microcomputer’s programmable speed function lets you preset five of your preferred turning speeds. After years of pulling belts on and off pulleys, I found DVR’s speed range–adjustable from 100 to 3500 rpm in 5 rpm increments–a little overwheming. However, after a few cuts, I quickly found speeds to match the feel of my cuts and turning stock.

After roughing out a bowl, I tried to bog down the motor by leaning in for a really heavy cut–but the DVR motor never skipped a beat. The lack of vibration and smooth power feed seemed to improve my finish cuts, and the cone shaped headstock made it very easy to get behind my stock and right up to the edge of the faceplate.


BEST APPLICATIONS: Like most lathes in this range, the DVR is designed to handle bowls, spindles, and just about anything. And bed segments are easy to add to expand its capability


TESTER’S TAKE: I was a little disappointed that the basic package did not include a stand, and the 24" between centers seemed pretty short. That said, you can build or buy a good quality stand, and, for a reasonable price, purchase 20" bed segments that expand the length between centers. And with a few bags of sand as ballast, you can solve the weight issue just as well.

Lathe Motors

The DVR motor puts this lathe in a class by itself. The programmable, speed-sensing and auto-adjusting features are unlike any other, and the advantages offered by the motor far outweigh any negatives.


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