April 21, 2021

Powermatic 3520b vs 3520c | How These Lathes Compare

If you are on the market for a good lathe, you may struggle to decide between the Powermatic 3520b vs 3520c. They have some apparent similarities that make it challenging to pick one! After comparing them closely, some differences could help your decision-making process.

One of these is where the tailstock and headstock attach. Both lathes use ball bearing slides with an adjustable gib stop system (which will be especially helpful if anyone else ever needs to operate this machine). One has been designed without lost motion at any point when correctly set up – making single square turning infinitely more efficient than before. The other model requires adjusting parts separately each time we change tools. 

Overview of the Powermatic 3520b

The Powermatic 3520b is a lathe ideal for amateurs and professionals. It comes with thick-walled iron castings that make it durable. It weighs up to 682lbs. You do not feel vibrations when it is in operation. The 20inch swing and 34 ½ inch space center capacity allow you to work on large applications efficiently. The 18inch extension kit is applicable when there is a need for more spindle capacity. 

It is mounted to extend the bed rails. It comes with a 2hp 220 Volt motor that is fan cooled. The lathe motor is powerful enough to withstand the speed variance of the 3520b. The front-mounted tension levers and the access door make it a tool-free lathe. The two-speed phases include a speed variance of 50-1,200 and 125-3,200 rotations per minute. The motor controls are at the front of the powerhead. 

They are easily accessible. The toggle switch is meant for forward and reverses the motion. The speed control dial gives you rotations per minute control in different speed ranges. The LED display gives you the speed rate of the moment. Your preferred speed depends on your material. The On/Off switch is there to activate and deactivate the lathe machine. You use a brass-tipped hammer rod for accessories that use the #2 Morse taper in the spindle. The tailstock is of heavy iron casting. 

Pros

  • Powerful motor
  • Dependable engine
  • Exceptional torque
  • Ideal for large-scale applications.
  • It is durable and very stable
  • Exceptional System cooling
  • Superior spindle bearings

Cons

  • The headstock could be wider
  • Minimum height

(See The Price)

Key Features of the Powermatic 3520b

Motor

The 2hp motor comes with an inverter. That allows it to receive a single-phase current since it is in 3 phases. The single-phase is ideal for high torque at the low end. The power is in two pulleys that a Poly V-belt connects. The belt design is durable and prevents surging. It is fast and easy, ranging from 50 to 1,200 and 125 to 3,200 rotations per minute. 

Safety features

The inverter prevents an unexpected starting of the machine. Just in case the electrical power goes off while the lathe is in operation, you need to switch off the lathe before switching it on. 

Spindle locking mechanism

It comes with a button loaded with springs. It is at the front of the headstock. A pin is screwed into three holes on the spindle housing. It gives you 24 indexing positions. They drill hole patterns and other decorative patterns on spindle activities. 

Clamping disc

The clamping disk locks the tailstock to the bed. It is at the headstock, and its function is to avoid deflections of the tailstock ram. That is bound to happen when pressure is on the material in use. It also allows the extension of the tailstock base. The handle locks the tailstock in position. It becomes secure. 

Overview of the Powermatic 3520c

The Powermatic 3520c has a new ergonomic spindle lock design and an anti-rotation tailstock for smoother operation. The lathe machine maintains low speeds, as low as 15 rotations per minute. It weighs up to 726lbs and is cast iron. It has a new leg shape that is easy to enclose. There are riser blocks that make the lathe machine taller. You have about 6inches more on the height of your lathe.

It comes with a tool rest that is 14inch long and weighs 5lbs. The heavy-duty dual ball-bearing live center makes the lathe ideal for heavy-duty activities. The riser blocks are simple and compatible with the one-way adjustable legs. Adding or removing the riser blocks is easy. When adjusting the legs, you have to crank the feet on the bottom of the legs in or out. It has a new spindle nose on the right side. 

The new spindle nose is convenient when working on materials that are close to the headstock. The new control box that the lathe comes with is movable. It has the On/Off switch, direction, and speed features. Unlike the old model lathes with one switch button, the 3520c model has a two switch button. That old switch could be hard to operate at times. The control box is magnetic at the back, and it has a thin layer of soft foam. That is protective of the lathe. 

Pros

  • Adjustable height
  • New control box
  • New indexing system
  • Ease of use
  • It has a new control panel
  • Ease of use

Cons

  • No power cord
  • Heavyweight

(See The Price)

Key features of the Powermatic 3520c

Headstock and Tailstock

When you want to remove the headstock, you slide the pallet back and remove the headstock. The headstock is a silver handwheel. The grip is not easy. It is manageable. The tailstock is easy to remove as well. 

Feet

The feet of the Powermatic 3520c has a steel and hard plastic bottom. The plastic bottom makes it sturdy. The steel feet are durable. The nuts of the feet are removable. They determine the height of the lathe. The riser blocks give you a taller lathe. 

Legs and riser blocks

The legs are also easy to install. You use the Allen wrench when installing the legs. You do not have to forget to put the four black socket head cap screws for tightening the legs into place. The bottom of the legs is compatible with the feet. The riser block has holes in the legs, ready to accept the feet. When attaching the riser block, you need the cap screw that runs through the riser block hole and goes through the foot hole into the leg.

Indexing system

Above the control box, there is the new spindle lock knob. It is big and easy to use. You twist it to lock or unlock. The new indexing system is easy to control. It is activated by pushing the Index button. When it is in operation mode, the index number is displayed. Turning the spindle changes the index number.

Similarities

  • The bearings on both models have the same distance between the in-board and out-board.
  • They are both in the high-end class. 
  • They use the same belts and pulleys. 

Differences

  • The 3520b has one leg option, whereas the 3520c has a leg riser.
  • The headstock of the 3520b is on the right side, whereas the 3520c has it on the left side. 
  • There is a new spindle nose on the right of the 3520c, and the 3520b has an old model one on the left side. 
  • The 3520c model has a 10inch wide headstock, whereas the 3520b has about 8inches.
  • The 3520c is 1/4inch taller than the 3520b.
  • The 3520b has a manual spindle lock, whereas the 3520c has the automatic one. 
  • Indexing on the 3520b is more difficult than on the 3520c.
  • The Variable Frequency Drive on the 3520b is not enclosed, whereas the one on the 3520c is enclosed. 

Cost 

The 3520b is more affordable than the 3520c. The 3520b ranges from 3,000 to 4,000, whereas the 3520 c ranges from 4,500 to 6,000.

Design Comparison

With an overall weight of 726 pounds and dimensions of 69.5 x 36.5 x 47 inches, the Powermatic 3520c is significant and exceptionally durable equipment. The Powermatic 3520b, on the other hand, has a considerably more modest set of specifications, weighing only 682 pounds and measuring 55 x 27 x 31 inches.

Because of this significant disparity, Powermatic gains some advantages; the heavy weight reduces vibration significantly during operation. The spindle speed is more stable with a large engine block, making it easier for the carpenter to polish his work. Furthermore, the machine’s incredible size and weight aid in efficiently reducing noise during operation because its material is solid cast iron, and the noise can quickly spread due to the large volume.

Power Comparison

With two horsepower and one phase capacity, the Powermatic 3520C lathe is one of the most influential industrial wood lathe lines. The 3520b model, on the other hand, has a better set of characteristics when generating up to 3 potent horsepower, which you will see most clearly while utilizing this device. This gadget also has frequency converter technology, increasing the engine’s efficiency while saving electricity and running without maintenance. This inverter also allows the machine’s torque to achieve its maximum potential. As a result, the 3520b model has a slight edge over the 3520c model in this section.

Feature of Comparison

You receive a moveable controller with the 3520c for convenience in remote operations. In addition, the primary power switch is securely covered behind the helmet to reduce the risk of fire. Furthermore, the spindle is intended for 360-degree flexibility, making it easier for the carpenter to work with one hand.

Meanwhile, the 3520b boasts a robust anti-vibration system to keep you from being too troubled. Its cast iron material is very durable and stable. The built-in digital reader, which allows for accurate speed readings, is its most conspicuous feature.

What could be better

Powermatic 3520b

The Powermatic 3520 b’s headstock is narrow and challenging to work with. It could be better if it has a broader headstock to make it easier to work with while completing wood crafts.

Powermatic 3520C

The Powermatic 3520C is very weighty, which isn’t essential. It might be lighter to make getting from point A to point B easier. It will help if you do not place it in an area that will be continually in motion but instead in a fixed location.

Verdict

There are a lot of similarities between the two models. They both use bearings on their bases. There is an equal distance between the inboard and outboard sides. The belts and pulleys used by these two machines are also identical, so you won’t have to replace any parts if you want to change your lathe from one model to another! If budgeting for tools is tight, the 3520b would be perfect.

It’s cheaper than its counterpart. Don’t worry about quality – they’re almost alike with only a few slight differences. These include a better riser block and more accurate readings. That is thanks to digital readouts and enclosed Variable Frequency Drives included within this new design! Have you read our Milling Machine vs Lathe post?

David D. Hughes
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