NOVA Comet II Midi Lathe
Having taken up turning for necessity rather than for a love of the hobby, has always been an Achilles heel for me as a fledgling turner. Over the past few years I have developed a love for turning new things and I find it quite relaxing as well as a lot of fun. So when NOVA asked us to try out their new Comet II Midi Lathe we were quick agree. I find most lathes in this class underpowered and not a lot of fun for me, but was open to trying a high quality midi lathe and especially one with a good reputation like the NOVA. I set the lathe up for several different projects from bowls to lamps and then on to writing pens. The lathe is very well machined which made it easy to set up and I even installed the bed extension with no problem. The capacity of 12” swing over the bed and 16 ½” between centers expands to 42” with the accessory bed extension. I fired up the 3/4 HP variable speed motor to find it had ample torque and raw power, and was also very quiet. I turned a lamp and then a bowl and then moved on to my newest hobby, turning a writing pen. The pen mandrel mounted perfectly and self-centered to the tail stock with zero deviation.
Here are some of the real cool features of this versatile lathe. It has a belt driven 3 step pulley system providing for a wide choice of speed ranges. I stayed mostly on the middle step utilizing the variable speed of the motor, however the lower and higher positions were always available if more torque or speed were required, ranging anywhere from 250-4000 RPM. This wide range of speed control along with a multi point index system allows for tons of turning opportunities.
The lathe turned each project with a big lathe feel that I have never gotten from a small machine. For a tool class I had previously been quite disappointed in, I think I have found a tool that has risen to my standards of quality. I found this lathe a joy to use on the bench top but would not hesitate to make or buy a dedicated stand for a such a nice tool as this, deserving of some valuable floor space.
Along with the testing of the NOVA Comet II, I have also been testing a new chuck from NOVA and will use it a bit more before I write a final review of it but can say that the quality seems to run through the entire product line. There are some great add ons for this lathe and one of the coolest is the mountable grinding wheel. This is the perfect accessory for a new hobbyist who needs a way to sharpen his or her turning tools and could have that ability with this lathe. The Lathe also has a forward and reversing switch which is not a common feature in this class. I have spent a great deal of time on the NOVA Comet II over the past month and really enjoy this tool. It is the best midi lathe I have found in this class bar none. I give it 5 out of 5 stars.