So I went and did it. I sold my General International midi lathe, but of course after close to three months without turning, I could not just sit there and do flat work. My sanity would have been jeopardized.
I turned around to what I hope will be my last lathe. The Nova Galaxi DVR. I know, it is fully computerized, and computers are not known for their perpetual reliability. But given that all higher end lathes with variable speed come with some electronic parts these days, I had to make a choice. And it was Nova. The Galaxi DVR (digital variable reluctance motor) appeared to be an amazing product, and Nova has a very good reputation as regards customer service.
I asked the store to unbox the lathe as it came in a plywood crate that was close to 90 pounds on its own. This allowed me to move the lathe in parts, both at the store and at home afterwards. The lathe took less than 20 minutes to put together as it simply needed to have eight bolts screwed into the legs, and then the tailstock, toolrest and headstock placed on the bed.
Needless to say, the morning after I brought the lathe home, I felt the urge to give it a try. I cleaned it up thoroughly to remove the packing oil on it, and then put on a chuck to turn a few tops. I must say I was impressed, especially in the following areas:
1- It is very smooth and adjusts torque when pressure is put on the workpiece. This adjustment is barely felt as one turns, except when one pays attention to the woodchip flow that remains even at all times.
2- It is extremely quiet. Regardless of the speed at which I turned on that day, which was up to 1700 rpms, there was barely any noise made by the lathe.
3- It was very simple to operate despite its very complete (and complex) capacity for adjustments. I had read somewhere that a beginner could use it easily by relying on its basic features (say, speed knob for tweaking rpm) and that an advanced turner could make it a perfect precision tool by programming it to suit his/her needs for a specific project. I soon discovered the pre-programmed favorite speed buttons and left the speed knob behind eventually. I can see how those functions will be useful in the future.
4- It is extremely stable. With its 460 lbs, this lathe can handle some substantial projects before vibration is felt.
I am therefore very happy with my purchase, and would not hesitate to buy the same lathe again, at least for the time being.