May 7, 2022

Powermatic 3520b Lathe Review

Overview

The Powermatic 3520B Woodworking Lathe includes the original Powermatic features, such as a sliding headstock, electronic variable-speed control, a spindle lock, and some exciting new parts. A digital RPM monitor makes keeping track of your speed a breeze, a revamped tailstock provides internal storage, and a laser etched quill self-ejects, to mention a few. You’ll get the best of both worlds with the 3520B, which combines classic reliability with contemporary technology to help you manage your most vital chores.

The Powermatic 3520B features a 20″ swing over the bed and a 16″ swing over the tool rest. With the belt on the low-speed pulleys, the speed range is 50-1200 RPM, and with the belt on the high-speed pulleys, the speed range is 125-3000 RPM. Although the distance between centers is 34-1/2″, numerous owners have reported that it is a few inches shorter unless the tailstock hangs over the bed’s end.

Features

The 3520B Powermatic wood lathe features a digital speed readout and a reversible 2 HP motor. It has a sliding headstock that allows outboard turning by moving the headstock to the far right end of the lathe.

An optional 18″ bed extension that you can place at the end of the lathe, 9″ lower than the bed, is available. And this allows you to spin more giant bowls and other items while still having room for a tool rest. A height extension for the extra tool rest, a 50″ bed extension, and a 26″ tool rest are also available.

The Powermatic 3520B has 48 indexing positions and a self-ejecting tailstock with 4-1/2 inches of ram travel. It has a 14″ tool rest, a safety barrier to deflect giant shards if the workpiece explodes on you, and brackets/mounts for a comparator are all included. The comparator allows you to mount a finished spindle that is ideally in alignment with your workpiece so that you may duplicate it precisely.

Electrical

Except for a connector to match your 220V outlet, the Powermatic 3520B Lathe comes wholly wired. The onboard electrical system includes an inverter that transforms single phase 220 current found in residential areas to the three phases required by the 2HP motor. If you don’t know what 1-phase/3-phase means, understand that the included inverter makes setting up the Powermatic 3520B Lathe in your shop a breeze.

The factory-installed TEFC (totally enclosed fan cooled) motor requires no maintenance now or in the future. It appears to be loafing while running on 220V and having more power than you will need most of the time. That lack of strain ensures long life.

The variable speed dial, forward/reverse toggle switch, and pull-on push button are all present on the front panel of the headstock. The spindle speed is displayed clearly and accurately on an easy-to-read LED panel.

Speed range

The Powermatic 3520B Lathe features two-speed ranges controllable via the variable speed dial. The low range is 50-1200 rpm, while the high degree is 125-3200. The low range is typically used for substantial pieces to maximize the torque of the 2HP motor. Many spindles and smaller tasks that safely employ higher speeds benefit from the high range.

The belt tension adjuster and pulley access door are located in front of the headstock and are used to change speed ranges. Please close the door after loosening the wide, multi-groove belt and slipping it onto the other pulley position. 

Pros

  • It runs smoothly and quietly.
  • The Powermatic 3520B is suitable for both novice users and seasoned veterans.
  • It is durable and Resistant to Vibration
  • It comes with a powerful Motor for High Torque
  • It comes with a 20-inch swing and 34-1/2 inches between the centers to accommodate many project sizes.
  • It has a cleverly designed headstock that is easy to adjust.

Cons

  • It is not easy to move because of how huge it is

Motor

The Powermatic 3520B, powered by a two-horsepower, 220-volt, 6.2-amp, TEFC (totally enclosed fan-cooled) engine, has plenty of muscle to get the job done. The machine uses a pair of two-range, multi-groove pulleys connected by a strong poly V-belt to prevent surging to ensure that torque gets to your workpiece as efficiently as possible. 

The motor can function with either a single-phase or three-phase input because it has an inverter. The inverter feeds a single-phase current to the three-phase motor, allowing for excellent torque at low speeds and maintenance-free operation.

Durability

The Powermatic 3520B is exceptionally long-lasting. This 682-pound lathe is rigid and steady, thanks to precision manufactured thick-walled iron castings. It’s incredibly sturdy and effectively resists vibrations generated by out-of-balance workpieces, so there’s no need for giant sandbags or weights.

Accessories

The Powermatic 3520B Lathe comes with several extra parts that make it fully functioning right away. The craftsmanship on these items is as impressive as the lathe itself.

A 14″ ductile iron tool rest, a well-made drive spur, and a 3″ diameter faceplate (also heavy-duty) comes in addition to the live center. The faceplate incorporates two set screws for reverse turning operations to help lock it to the spindle. The faceplate is installed or removed with a reasonably large – and hefty cast iron wrench, which is out of character in the woodworking manufacturer industry.

The chrome plated knockout rod with a sliding hammer is also unique. The solid steel (say hefty) handle glides a few inches on the rod to deliver substantial hits without the force of a traditional knockout rod. Hold the brass tip against the component that has to be removed and flip the handle to remove it.

Verdict

A Powermatic wood lathe is an excellent choice of severe woodturners. Yes, the price of admission is higher than the most expensive and most excellent Jet or Nova woodworking lathes, but a Powermatic lathe is in a class by itself. It is significantly heavier and more capable than almost anything else available for the money. 

Overall, the 3520B Powermatic wood lathe has received rave reviews. The “Mustard Monster” has a devoted following among woodturners. Few other woodworking tools have a following as large as the Powermatic 3520B wood lathe. 

The Powermatic 3520b lathe is genuinely a bargain compared to other woodworking lathes with equal capabilities and quality. Everything about it is exceptional. It has a lot of devoted admirers and receives rave reviews. The woodworking community well regards the lathe.

David D. Hughes
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