December 22, 2020

RIKON 10”×18” Pen Lathe Model 70-105 Review

Turning is a broad field with pieces a small as cups to those a big as poles, though all this is turning one cannot use one tool to get the job done on all fronts. There is machinery suitable for each different job in its unique nature. Most pen turners usually improvise with the lathes they have in their workshops. That is because they probably aren’t aware of the existence of the 70-105 from Rikon. If you are some of those people who have been turning down pen projects, then you need to add this beauty to your workshop. Its bed is made of cast iron together with its headstock and its tailstock. 

The cast iron bed does give not only this lathe unmeasurable durability but also has the effect of reducing vibration from the turning motor which aluminium lathes usually suffer from. Most people get the aluminium lathes because they need a lightweight machine which they easily carry around, the Rikon 70-105 does excellent in the weight department coming at 34 kilograms. Expect nothing but the best performance from the reliable motor with speeds ranging from 500 to 3,200 rotations per minute spread over five gears. It is achieved by the shifting of the belt between the tool’s multi-rib pulleys. 

These speed variations make it possible to carry out all phases of turning pens from boring barrel holes to rouging out billets, turning them to shape and everything in-between. For versatility this lathe is equipped with a 10-inch swing over bed together with a 7.25-inch swing over the tool rest, this allows one to use it for faceplate and other endless turning purposes. The Rikon 70-105 has 18-inch between its centres which allows it to accept longer spindles than one would expect for such a small and lightweight lathe. It is powered by a ½ horsepower motor which is not only effective but durable as well. 

Model Number70-105
RPM500, 1175, 1850, 2225, 3200 (five speed)
Motor60 Hz, 120 V
Facelift Size3 inch
Weight34 kg
Dimensions35.5×10.5×14.75 inches
WarrantyFive years

For a light and small piece of machinery which might find itself around naughty children, this lathe has a safety on/off switch. Its spindle is 1”×8TPI with both the head and tailstock having internal Morse tapers. You get 1.75 inches of ram travel from the tailstock while the headstock rides on lubricating the ball bearings to ensure smooth running even during long sessions. Its handles are large, and so are its wheels, these make it easy to adjust the machine suppose you are working on different projects at the same time. The 6-inch tool rest has a 5/8 inch diameter post and is very convenient for placing other tools you might be working with very close to you.  


  • Lightweight
  • Cast iron bed
  • Very durable
  • Five speeds


  • No reverse speed
  • Cannot achieve lower RPM


Most of the people living in the 21st century have evolved to direct a lot of their energy to the looks. Before anyone makes a purchase be it a car or even a property, they first consider the looks before even looking at the specifications and to counter this.

Manufacturers have also evolved to pay more attention to the looks department. Nowadays, it is not surprising to find someone purchasing substandard machinery just because it looks good. Well the Rikon 70-105 won’t victimise you like that, it’s a pretty machine one might even mistake it for a sewing machine, but it sure does the best job. It comes in a beautiful combination of blue and white with many other colours seen as small to tiny specs. 

Performance Review

Whether you are an armature or professional turner, this lathe beats the competition from every angle in this price range. The praise we give to the cast iron bed is not sugar coating. Suppose you have used an aluminium lathe before you will be familiar with the irritating vibration from the motor which has a higher amplitude. In that case, the vibration makes it challenging to work for long hours and scares potential professionals from the trade.

For this reason, we think using cast iron was the best decision Rikon made when coming up with this lathe. When there a change in speed is required, you do not need to switch between lathes as we have seen in some of the workshops, the five speeds are a great feature. They allow one to see a project from start to finish using only one lathe or less than they otherwise would if the Rikon 10-105 wasn’t at their disposal. These variable speeds are also responsible for facilitating customised designs. 


Safety is the number one priority in any workshop before even thinking of quality work. All the moving parts which might be harmful are all concealed except for the ones you use. The machine is also fully insulated and earthed to prevent any electric shocks.

It is advised to connect the lathe to a 10 Amp circuit. It’s on/off switch is designed with safety in mind, it is well concealed by a leaver which you flip up to reach the switch, this is especially useful when you leave the machine connected to the power supply no one will accidentally turn it on. Rikon also gives you a five years warranty for this machine so you can rest easy knowing if it happens to malfunction you have somewhere to turn to.

Who is this product ideal for?

This lathe was explicitly designed at the request of pen turners, so that makes them the best suiters for it, however, in designing it Rikon put in a lot of other features to make it easy to use even for the beginners and armatures. 

Our Verdict

After all, has been said and done the big question comes, is it a great buy? It is the best buy which is sure to take your spinning to the next level best. It even offers you 18 inches between its centres regardless of its size.  

David D. Hughes

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