Variable Speed Lathe Conversion Tips

variable speed lathe is used when more cutting control and variation is needed to complete a project. Standard fixed speed lathes have a motor that is set to a universal speed and variable speed lathes have a motor that can be increased or decreased as needed. The following tips are helpful when switch your lathe from a fixed to a variable speed motor.

Conversion Kits

Most common lathe manufacturers sell variable speed conversion kits and there are universal kits also available. Finding a kit that is made for your lathe is easier than using a universal kit because it is built to the specification of the lathe. With universal kits the installation can be more challenging and additional space may be required to house the motor if the converted motor is larger than the existing motor.

Motor Size

Determine what size motor you will need to use based on what you are using your lathe for. If the lathe is used to turn metal and harder materials a motor with a higher horsepower should be selected to achieve the speed needed to tool the material. Also, a lathe with more pulleys will need a higher  horsepower for proper operation.


When converting a fixed lathe to a variable speed lathe take all necessary safety precautions. Since you will be working with electrical wiring, consult an electrician if needed. Refer to the original user manual to ensure that the proper equipment is being used in the installation of the new motor.