View Full Version : Review: Kent KLS-1340A Lathe
02-22-2005, 08:53 PM
I was searching the world over to find the best bang for the buck for a 13x40 sized lathe. I considered Jet, Birmingham, Wilton, etc... when I ran across the Kent KLS-1340A. I talked with a sales rep. that sold both the Kent and the Birmingham Lathes figuring that since he sold both, then he would not have a predisposed bias as to wich lathe was the better. He suggested the Kent, so I bit.
The KLS-1340A lathe has a few more extra features than it's competitors had that I wanted such as a coolant system, a worklight, a front access chip pan, and a foot break. It is esentially a bench lathe set up like an engine lathe. It's made in China, of course, but the fit and finish of this machine is very good. It came with much of the needed attachments such as a 12" faceplate, a 6" 3-jaw, an 8" 4-jaw, steady rest, follow rest, and misc. tools.
It came fully assembled on a pallet so there was no assembly to do. (Unlike the Birmingham) Of course it took about 8 hours to get all of the anti-corosion grease and paper off of it. As I was doing so, I was thinking a good used lathe would have been the ticket! http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//smile.gif But eventually, all of the stuff came off and there stood a nice clean lathe.
The lathe is single phase and claimed to work with 110 or 220v. And the instructions were not clear as to how the machine was set up from the factory. There was only a mention in "pigeon english" as a footnote on several of the wiring diagrams. After some investigation, I determined that the machine was indeed set up for 220v. A person could run this lathe on 110v, but changing it requires a lot of wiring changes to not only the main motor, but also to a transformer in the electrical box. I chose to keep it at 220v.
The gearbox works nicely. But there are a bunch of change gears that are used for different threading applications. At first, I wanted a lathe that didn't need change gears. But in the end, I decided that I would compromise that feature to gain other features. They are not hard to change and are clearly marked on both the front panel and the operators manual.
The only problem I ran into was that the transformer was not properly grounded and thus did not produce power for the relays in the electrical box. Simply put, the lathe would not function once power was applied. I used the wiring diagrams to trace power until I found the culprit. The transformer has a spade type connection that is used for ground. However, this spade was not used and istead, a banjo connector was used against a painted surface with a mounting screw. Not too good. I just cut the ground wire, added a female spade connector to it, made the connection to the transformer, and all was well.
After that samll amount of frustration, I'm now quite happy with my purchase. Now I know that this is not the lathe for everyone. But for ~$2600, it's hard to beat.
02-22-2005, 09:14 PM
Sounds good! How about some pictures?
02-22-2005, 09:24 PM
congrats, I'm not in the market for a lathe but if that day comes I'll keep the Kent in mind. I have been eyeing the Birmingham mill, but that's probably going to have to wait for now.
I'm a little curious about the electrical probablem you had during start-up. Do I understand you to say that the relays would not pull-in (operate) until the transformer was connected to bare metal on the machine frame? The transformer should be bonded to the machine as you did, but I would expect the relays to work without that wire. This indicates to me that they are using the machine frame as the neutral or common, similiar to how a car works. Not generally a good idea for 120VAC systems.
02-23-2005, 03:16 AM
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by bernie l:
congrats, I'm not in the market for a lathe but if that day comes I'll keep the Kent in mind. I have been eyeing the Birmingham mill, but that's probably going to have to wait for now.</font>
I can vouch for the Birmingham mill too. I have one that is about 4 months old now. It's a very nice machine. I would call it a Bridgeport clone, not a copy. Most Bridgeport parts on the head will interchange without modification. One hell of a machine for the duckies.
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">I'm a little curious about the electrical problem you had during start-up. Do I understand you to say that the relays would not pull-in (operate) until the transformer was connected to bare metal on the machine frame? The transformer should be bonded to the machine as you did, but I would expect the relays to work without that wire. This indicates to me that they are using the machine frame as the neutral or common, similiar to how a car works. Not generally a good idea for 120VAC systems.
No, the transformer had it's own ground wire. It just wasn't attached to the right place. They had it attached to the transformer with the mounting screw instead of the supplied grounding spade. Except for this little wiring mess up, the rest of the wiring was top notch using Siemens relays and blocks. The relays work on 24v and thus would not work unless the transformer supplied the necessary voltage.
Maybe I can figure out how to post pics... http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//smile.gif
02-23-2005, 03:35 AM
Pics of the Birmingham mill and Kent Lathe.
02-23-2005, 09:03 AM
Smurph, my wife is gonna hurt you - she saw me looking at the KLS-1340! Here are a couple of links:
Good looking machine!
02-23-2005, 11:23 AM
I purchased the KLS-1440 about a year ago.
It came with a heavy solid cast base that makes for a nice vibration free footing.
I rechecked the level just the other day, and it has not changed since the day I first mounted it.
I opted for the 3 phase motor.
I run it off a VFD which required considerable rewiring of the control circuits.
Actually, I ended up removing about 75% of the control circuits.
I've been too lazy to make a test bar to check accuracy, but, any and all parts that I've made, have come out well within tolerance.
I have not been able to find anything to complain about, except I had to replace the Lamp Bulb within the first week.
The flexible conduit running to the Lamp had all come loose.
I never used the tool post that came with the machine. I immediately replaced it with a quick-change.
The fit and feel is the best of any comparably sized machine that I've ever used.
Never any chatter. Bored holes have no taper. Turned surfaces are bright and smooth. And, I can hog the hell out of it.
OH! Yes I do have a complaint!
There is no detent on the speed change levers.
It's hard sometimes to know when the gears are properly engaged.
The very first time I chucked up a part, I broke the first rule of the Machinist Code of Conduct.
I left the chuck key in and scratched the paint on the gearbox.
It's been over 30 years since I've done that.
The gray touch up paint that came with the machine, does NOT match!
The spindle is bored for a 5MT taper, I wish it was a 5C.
I have never needed to contact the Kent Service Center. So I don’t know about the quality of their service or technical support.
Tom: Grizzly sells through replacement parts
an adapter with 5MT exterior and 5C interior
for something like $20. It is a subpart for
their 5C collet closers.
Smurph: My lathe had the #1 contactor loose
its smoke. This contactor is "on" whenever
the lathe is ready to run by flipping the
apron switch. Turned out that the xfmr driving the 24-28vac coils on the contactors had taps at 6v, 27v and 33v and the contactors were connected to the 33v tap. I felt this bit of stress contributed to the premature failure of the 'always on' contactor. It was
simple to switch the taps so the coils were
driven by the 27v tap. This was simplified
for me by the placement of my lathe at rt
angles to the wall with tailstock toward the
wall. Have you had any trouble with rust with the bare block walls? Steve
02-23-2005, 01:00 PM
T M Mayfield, only left the chuck key in once. 18 years old, knew-it-all, instructor told me NEVER leave the key in the chuck (brand new LeBlonde 16x78, chuck key must have weighed 5#). Luckily the speed was set low, key hit me mid-chest, knocked me on my a**, instructor got a big laugh, and I learned a valuable lesson!
02-23-2005, 08:19 PM
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by sch:
Have you had any trouble with rust with the bare block walls?</font>
Well... no. At least not yet. Contrary to the pictures, the room is actually quite dry. All of the stains on the walls are from when the house was first built and the waterproofing was sub-par. Fortunately, the walls were not completely backfilled at the time and once there was evidence that the walls were leaking I had the waterproofing redone. Now it's desert dry in there, thank goodness. And the whole basement area is air conditioned to boot. 70 degrees, year round. http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//smile.gif One day I will find the time clean and paint the walls. One day...
It's hard to tell from the pics, but there is actually 18" from the wall to the back of the lathe. It's a tight fit to get back there and make the wiring connections, but I did it with no problems.
The transformer on this lathe only has 2 outputs; 100v and 24v, so hopefully I won't run into anything loosing that magical smoke. http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//smile.gif
I agree with mayfieldtm. The first order of business for this lathe is to get a nice quick change tool post fitted. I have ordered a BXA series that should arrive any day now.
And for those wondering, the KLS-1340 does have detents on the speed selectors. All of the ranges have a very positive engagement. The transmission is a little rough shifting so it requires a gentle nudge on the chuck to switch between some speeds. A jog button would have been nice. (I might add one) But who knows, it might wear in with use.
Here is what the Birmingham and Kent replaced... A Hannifin Combo. Ever seen one? http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//smile.gif
02-23-2005, 09:45 PM
You mean like this one?
That's at Greer Machinery in L.A. where I purchased my Mori Seiki.
02-24-2005, 01:27 AM
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Michael Moore:
You mean like this one?</font>
Yep, the one and same. That's the absolute first time I've ever seen a picture of that machine that I didn't take!
I wonder if they are willing to part with the pulley for the lathe motor.
06-29-2006, 12:26 PM
Always had a keen interest in machining... however dollars prohibited me.
I JUST bought one of those Hannafins' from a little old lady whose husband died. She claimed it came off a Battleship in the Pacific, and on the relay box there is a Navy stamp. Other than that, I know nothing about the machine, heck, still trying to wire it up.
Any and all info is greatly appreciated. I paid 1k for it... did I get ripped off?