Carl’s New Powermatic 3520C Lathe verses My Old Powermatic 3520B

Chick here for printable PDF

Updated: 5/31/2024. My google and web server stats say this blog entry from 2018 still gets a lot of web hits. Thus, I reviewed this blog entry and decided no changes are needed. I still stand by what it says here.

My New Powermatic 3520C Lathe verses my Old Powermatic 3520B Photo: My New Powermatic 3520C Lathe verses my Old Powermatic 3520B

I decided to replace my old Powermatic 3520B Lathe with the new C Model.

Here is my unpacking and set up experience. Plus some comparison of the B and C models.

I purchased the new model C on 2/1/2018 for a little less than the $4400 list price.

I am a long time (10 years) Powermatic 3520B owner and a big fan. I purchased my model B on 4/1/2008 for $2700.

I am writing this blog entry because I was frustrated by the lack of real photos on the web before purchasing my Powermatic 3520C. There were some glamour shots put out by Powermatic. But, not much else.

Note: I also own 2 Oneway 2436 lathes, a VB36 lathe, a mini lathe and a metal lathe.

In a Nutshell

After a month or so of use, I think I am going to also be a long time big fan of the new Powermatic 3520C Lathe.

There are some things I don't like. Like it does not come with a power cord. It still has the offset Banjo that I can't live with. But, overall I am really happy.

It is really nice to see a company make a new model that is beefier than the old model rather than making things more flimsy to cut costs! For example, the base of new headstock is wider than the old one and it weighs more!

In my not so humble opinion the new model C is is at least as good as the old model B and probably a little better.

From now on I am going to abbreviate Powermatic as PM. Model C is PM 3520C. Model B is PM 3520B.

Photo: New PM 3520C Lathe Specs for Reference New PM 3520C Lathe Specs for Reference

Click on the photo at the right for new model C specs that I do not mention in this blog entry.

I downloaded this info from the PM web site.

Part 1: Unboxing and Set Up

Photo: Lathe on Pallet Lathe on Pallet

The lathe comes nicely packaged on a Pallet. It fits in a small pickup no problem.

I had help loading it. I unloaded it on my own by unpacking the pallet while it was still on the truck.

I mostly set up the lathe on my own. I needed help turning the stand over after bolting on the legs. And I needed help lifting the Headstock up onto the bed.

Photo: Cast Iron is NOT Light Weight Cast Iron is NOT Light Weight

The PM web info says the lathe weights 726 lbs and the label on the box agrees.

The label says the shipping pallet weight is 770 lbs.

I weighed each of the parts as I unpacked things. I used a modem electronic bathroom sale so all weights are approximate. Probably +/- 2 lbs.

Here is what I found for the new model C:

Headstock: 160 lbs
Tailstock: 53 lbs (the Old model B Tailstock is 46 lbs)
Banjo: 34 lbs
Tool Rest: 5 lbs
Box of Parts: 18 lbs
Main Leg: 70 lbs each
Leg Riser Block: 28 lbs each
Bed: I can't lift the Bed so here is my guess:
726-160-53-34-5-18-70-70-28-28 = 260 lbs

The above weights are with the cast iron triangle shaped duplicating bracket installed on the headstock and NOT installed on the tailstock. i.e. the way the lathe is shipped.

Note: Should I call it the lathe "bed" or "ways"? I decided to go with "bed". Same as PM spec sheet. The "ways" are just the top part of the "bed".

Photo: Shipping Carton Removed Shipping Carton Removed

The shipping carton was made to be easily removed. Just cut the straps and lift it up.

The photo shows what I found under the cardboard carton.

Lathe bed in the middle with legs in cartons on each side. The small carton that fell down is the all the nuts, bolts, and other small parts.

Photo: A Leg A Leg

Each leg is 22-1/4" tall and weights 70 lbs. (Leg height with out the silver feet that go on the bottom.)

Nicely packaged. Easy to remove. No shipping grease or oil BS that I need to deal with.

When I first saw a photo of the new model C, I did not like the new leg shape. Not as sexy?

I fell in love with the new shape when I built my own self to go under the lathe. The new leg shape makes shelves easier to enclose. No stupid big opening (hole) in the leg that collects dust and shavings. The new legs don't have a funny curve that gets in the way of things stacked on the shelf and thus gives you more room on the shelf. Stay tuned, for a new blog entry coming soon with my new weighted shelf design.

Photo: A Leg Riser Block A Leg Riser Block

Each riser block is 4-1/4" tall and weights 28 lbs.

Thus the legs with riser blocks weight 70 + 28 = 98 lbs.

I have the riser blocks installed on my lathe with the silver feet screwed all the way in. From floor to bottom of riser is 5/8". Thus the silver feet on the bottom add 5/8" minimum. Note: I DO NOT have the nut installed between the top of the feet and bottom of leg. The nut would add another 3/8".

From floor to top of ways (bed) is 34-3/4". The distance from top of ways (bed) to center of spindle is 10-3/8". So the center of my spindle is 45-1/8" above the floor.

If no riser blocks it would be 45-1/8" minus 4-1/4" = 40-7/8" above the floor. This is very close to the 40-5/8" spec on PM web site.

The bed is 7-3/4" tall.

If you wanted to make the lathe taller you can crank out the feet a few inches. Or, I see no reason why you could not add more riser blocks. See "Installing The Riser Blocks" below.

The PM web says the riser block adds 6". This is about right if you crank out the feet, under a 4-1/4" riser block.

The old model B only had one leg option. No riser block. The lowest possible spindle height was 45" above the floor. I just measured it on my old PM 3520B.

Note: The distance between the feet on the bottom of legs is the same on model B and C. 21″ center to center.

Photo: The Tool Rest The Tool Rest

The lathe only comes with one tool rest. It is 14" long and weights 5 lbs. Same as model B.

Photo: Box of Parts Box of Parts

Nuts, bolts, feet, wrench, live center, etc.

Photo: Owners Manual Owners Manual

I really like the owners manual. PM ships 3 SEPERATE owners manuals. One in English. One in Spanish. And one in French?

I am stick to death of owners manuals with just a couple of pages of English text and then a ton of useless paper in other languages.

The Owners Manual has one very serious problem. It does not tell you how to hook up the power cord that you MUST supply on your own. More about that later.

Photo: Headstock, Banjo and Tailstock Headstock, Banjo and Tailstock

This is how they ship the Headstock, Banjo and Tailstock.

They are just locked down to the bed via the silver handles. No extra, nuts, bolts or other BS you need to remove. It seems to work just fine.

I was also VERY delighted to find bare metal surfaces coated with just a light coat of machine oil. NOT that heavy crap you have to remove with kerosene. Like, the stuff you find on cheap tools shipped from China, etc.

Photo: The Headstock The Headstock

Close up of the headstock

Photo: The Tailstock The Tailstock

Close up of the tailstock.

Photo: Back Side Back Side

The back side of Headstock, Banjo and Tailstock

Photo: Banjo and Tailstock Removed Banjo and Tailstock Removed

Removing the banjo and tailstock was easy. Then the pallet was light enough that I could slide it out.

Photo: Removing Headstock Removing Headstock

I slide the pallet back in a little and then removed the Headstock. I let it sit on end of tailgate while I got up my nerve.

It feels a like a lot more than 160 lbs at this point. It is not easy to grip, but not to bad.

Photo: Headstock on Dolly Headstock on Dolly

I set the headstock down on to a dolly and rolled it into my studio.

This went ok. But, I decided there was no way I was going to be able to pick it up and install it on bed. I could pick it up. But, I could not pick it up and align the big washer on the bottom of headstock with the ways on my own. I was going to need help.

Photo: Ramp to Unload the Bed Ramp to Unload the Bed

The bed is to heavy for me to lift by myself. To awkward.

I think it is 260 lbs. Not really sure. See "Cast Iron is NOT Light Weight" above.

I got my 2×10 ramps. The ones I use to load and unload my snow blower, rototiller, etc.

Photo: Down the Ramp Down the Ramp

I decided that removing the bed from the pallet was going to be awkward in the truck. So I just slide the pallet down my ramps. No problem

Photo: All Unloaded All Unloaded

Here are all the big parts after I unloaded everything.

Eventually I just rolled the bed off the pallet onto some rubber floor mats.

Note: The model B big useless metal Guard Assembly (that sort of looks like a metal spider web) no longer ships with the model C lathe. It is now an option. So, you no longer have to pay for this big waste of money.

Photo: Contents of the Parts Box Contents of the Parts Box

Here is what was in the parts box after I unwrapped things.

The new model C still comes with the very good "Jet" knockoff of the Oneway heavy duty dual ball bearing live center. The black thing above the big yellow wrench in the photo. The Oneway center is my absolute favorite. The Jet knockoff is a very close second. What's the difference? The threaded part on the Oneway is made of steel. On the Jet it is aluminum. The Jet only comes with the small aluminum cone.

Note: Jet and PM are owned by the same parent company.

The silve sliding hammer knock out bar with brass tip is best of breed. The model C one is the same as the model B.

The new model C lathe comes with the same cast iron face plate as the model B. They are identical. Ok, but not great. Not shown in this photo. See headstock photos above.

Photo: The Feet The Feet

I really like these feet.

Most feet these days are hard plastic with a steel stud sticking out of the top. These feet are mostly steel with just the hard plastic part on the bottom. They look real sturdy.

I removed the nuts you see on the feet before I installed them. This allowed me to crank the feet all the way in and get the lowest possible spindle height with the riser blocks. My floor to center of spindle height with riser blocks is 45-1/8". I wanted my new PM 3520C spindle height to be the same as my old PM 3520B spindle height of 45". Because, I have grown to like that height.

See "A Leg Riser Block" above for more measurement info.

Photo: Installing the Legs Installing the Legs

Here you can see I rolled the bed off of the pallet onto a rubber mat.

The legs are easy to install with a Allen wrench. You just have to put in the 4 black socket head cap screws.

Photo: Installing the Riser Blocks Installing the Riser Blocks

Here I show 2 options for the photo. I show one of the silver feet installed directly in the leg and one installed in the riser block.

The bottom of the legs are threaded to accept the feet. The bottom hole in the riser block is a threaded like hole in leg to accept feet. The top hole in the riser block is NOT threaded. You just install a bolt (socket head cap screw) thru unthreaded hole in riser block into the threaded foot hole in leg.

I really like the riser block design. It is simple and cost effect. I really don't understand whey more lathe manufactures don't go this way. The new Oneway adjustable legs are really expensive. Like twice the cost of the old non adjustable legs.

I see no reason why you could not add more riser blocks if you want to make the lathe taller. I would just make my own. Go to my local steel supplier and ask them to cut me some 3/16" wall thickness, 4" square hollow tub to length. Then drill some holes in them to line up with existing leg foot holes. My steel supplier has lots of scrap cut offs for cheap. You can get 4×4, or 2×4 or 4×6 square tub. 3/16" or 1/4" wall thickness.

The adjustable legs on the Robust lathes, etc are nice. But, lets face it. You probably are only going to adjust them once or twice. Adding or removing a riser block is simple and cost effect. Robust and PM are the same when it comes to changing leg heights. You have to jack up the lathe.

If you want more leg height adjustment in finer intervals then you can just crank the feet on the bottom of the legs in or out.

See "A Leg Riser Block" above for more measurement info.

Note: The distance between the feet on the bottom of legs is the same on model B and C. 21″ center to center.

Photo: Legs, Riser Blocks, and Feet Installed Legs, Riser Blocks, and Feet Installed

Ready to go. But, I decided that thus sucker was to heavy for me to turn up on my own. I would also need help installing the Headstock. So, why take a chance?

Time to find some friends.

Note: In this photo and previous photo I still have the nuts installed between the feet and bottom of leg (riser block). Eventually, I removed those to take the spindle height down to 45-1/8". Like my old B model at 45".

Photo: All Set Up and Ready To Go All Set Up and Ready To Go

It's a thing of great beauty!

Well, not really ready to go. I can’t plug it in and give it a go because the PM people DID NOT ship it with a power cord and plug. Err……!!! See "Main Power On/Off Switch" below.

See "A Leg Riser Block" above for spindle height measurement, etc.

Photo: Old PM 3520B Lathe for Reference Old PM 3520B Lathe for Reference

Here is a photo of my old model B lathe for reference.

Part 2: The Details and PM 3520C verses 3520B

Powermatic 3520C Lathe verses Powermatic 3520B Lathe

Photo: New PM 3520C Headstock New PM 3520C Headstock

Here is what the new headstock looks like.

It still has the same nice silver hand wheel.

Note: This photo was taken recently, after I installed my new shelf on top of the headstock. Ignore it for now. I will talk about it in a future blog append.

New and Old Headstocks Side by Side Photo: New and Old Headstocks Side by Side

I put 2 different photos together here in Photoshop. So things don't line up perfect. But, they are good enough.

The PM 3520C is on the left. The PM 3520B is on the right.

Basically they flipped the controls and belts from left to right.

They added a new spindle nose on the right of the model C (pointed to by red arrow) by removing the funny overhang on the left of the old model B (pointed to by blue arrow). I really like this. The new spindle nose makes it easier to turn things close to the headstock.

I also really like it because they did not change the distance between the in board and out board bearings. i.e. the distance between the green arrows on both headstocks is the same. Roughly 11.5". The bearings on model B and C appear to be the same great bearings.

Having a nice big bearing on the out board side, in addition to the in board side makes the spindle a lot more stable when you mount pieces on the lathe. It is what makes the PM lathes a lot better than the Jet, etc "look alikes". Often the "look alikes" use a smaller bearing on the out board side or no bearing at all!

The bearings on the PM lathes put them in the high end class, with Oneway, Robust, etc.

Note: In the photo, the "out board" side is on the left where the hand wheel mounts. The "in board" side is on the right.

The base of the new model C headstock is 10" wide. That is roughly 2" wider than the old headstock. This improves the stability of the headstock.

The model C is 15" tall. This is 1/4" taller than the old model B.

The distance from top of ways to center of spindle is the same 10-3/8" on model B and C.

Photo: New Control Box New Control Box

Photo of the new movable control box for on/off, direction and speed in the DOCKED position. Pointed to by red arrow.

The new model C uses on/off buttons. I am having a little trouble getting use to this. However, I still think it is an improvement over the model B that used a single red mushroom button that you had pull out for on and push in for off. The push in for off was probably better. However, pulling the old model B button out was really hard. It took like a team of strong men to pull that button out. That, is why I replaced it on my old model B with a nice twist switch. Visible in the previous photo.

The magnet on the back of the control box is good. Not to strong and not to weak. The entire back of the box is covered with a nice thin layer of soft foam that appears to be fairly tough. No photo of back because I already have to many photos in this blog entry.

Photo: Undocked Control Box Undocked Control Box

This photo shows the new movable control box removed from the dock.

The red arrow points to the nice dock. It is recessed so the docked control box does not stick out..

Note: A moveable control box is a nice safety improvement. However, I still feel, that for safety reasons, all lathes should be equipped with a second emergency off switch that lives on the tailstock end of the lathe. It is ALWAYS there when you reach for it in an emergency. Regardless of where the other control box may have gotten to during daily use.

Photo: The Belts and Pulleys The Belts and Pulleys

This is often one of the first things I look at on lathes. To many people pay to much attention to just the HP of a lathe. They fail to look at the belts, bearings, etc. If you JUST put a big engine in a VW Bug car then you still have just a VW Bug. Because the suspension, tires, etc can't handle all of the HP of a big engine.

The new model C has the same great belts and pulleys as the model B.

The BIG belts and pulleys is another thing that puts the PM lathes in the same high end class as Oneway, Robust, etc.

The PM lathes have great motors with belts and pulleys that are really up to the job.

Photo: New Spindle Lock Knob New Spindle Lock Knob

The new spindle lock knob is above the control box. Pointed to by red arrow.

It is big and easy to use. Just twist it to lock or unlock the spindle.

On both the model B and C, there is no micro switch attached to spindle lock that prevents you from turning on the lathe. I don't think this is a big problem. We all drive cars. You just got to known, when the light is red you don't pull out! You wait for the green. When the spindle is locked. Don't try to turn the lathe on!

Note: The old model B originally had a spindle lock that people did not like. Because you had to manually hold it in. I agree it was a pain. Eventually PM came out with a nice little fix. A sliding piece of metal that held it in. You can see it in the photo above of B and C headstocks side by side.

Photo: Spindle Lock Implementation Spindle Lock Implementation

This photo shows how the spindle lock is implement. The red arrow points to the round washer where the spindle lock pin engages.

No change here. Basically the same on model B and C.

I like what I see. The spindle lock has nothing to do with the indexing mechanism. It is a big robust spindle lock. So when you screw things on and off of the spindle you don't put any stress on the indexing mechanism.

Photo: Index Pin Index Pin

The red arrow in photo points the new model C index pin. The index is now implement like most other lathes. The index pin goes into holes in the pulley wheel. See next photo.

The index pin is held out by a spring. If you want to engage it you just push in. If you want it to stay engaged you have to thread the pin in.

Indexing on the old model B was a big mess. On the in board side, you had to screw a pin into holes you could not see. There was more than one hole for index pin … It was basically, totally useless. The new model C is a big improvement.

Note: Initially I had trouble getting the pin to thread into the hole. It just would not thread in there. Now, it seems to work. I am baffled. I think the threads in the cast iron headstock are not the best. This is the only manufacturing or shipping problem that I ran into with the new lathe.

Photo: Index Pin Implementation Index Pin Implementation

The red arrow in photo shows the index pin coming thru the headstock. See previous photo.

The blue arrow points to the holes that the index pin engages.

There are 48 holes. For me, this is WAY MORE holes than I need!

I generally only need 12 or less holes. More holes JUST leads to more mistakes. Trying to use every 4th hole to get 12 divisions. Always gets me all screwed up. I really prefer to use an after market external indexing wheel. I can then easily mark every other hole with a red magic marker, every 4th hole with a blue magic marker, etc.

Photo: New Digital Index Feature New Digital Index Feature

The model C comes with a new digital index feature. You activate it by pushing the "Index / Indice" button pointed to by blue arrow in photo.

When engaged the digital display (pointed to by red arrow in photo) shows the index number. 1 to 48. In photo it is showing index position 42. When you turn the spindle the index number changes.

I don't known of any other lathe that has this feature.

I am sure, some people are going to love it. It does not do much for me. If I could tell it, I want only 12 index positions and it took care of skipping to every 4th hole it would be of more interest to me.

Note: I tried several times, I just could not get a good photo here. In the real world the digital display that is hard to read in the photo is bright and easy to read.

Photo: Digital Index Implementation Digital Index Implementation

The big silver disk and black box pointed to by red and blue arrows in this photo are all new on the model C.

I think they have something to do with the new digital index function. On the old model B there is just a small laser and sensor that senses the actual spindle speed of the square spindle lock washer.

Behind the blue arrow in photo there is a black plastic box with wires and a circuit board. I am happy to see it is protected from the pulleys by a steel plate.

On top of the steel plate there is a laser and sensor that uses the hole in the silver disk to sense the actual spindle speed.

The model B and C lathes sense and display the ACTUAL spindle speed. If you hand rotate the spindle with the motor off the digital display shows your hand rotation rpm. This is a lot better than cheap lathes that do not show the actual speed. They just show you were the variable speed knob (dial) is set.

Photo: New VFD Enclosure New VFD Enclosure

Some people refer to the "Variable Frequency Drive" (VFD) as the "motor controller", etc

The VFD on the back of the model C headstock is now enclosed in a new fancy plastic box. My feelings about this are mixed. Will the VFD overheat when it does not get enough air flow? I am hoping PM knows what they are doing here.

The VFD on the back of the old model B headstock was not enclosed. This made securing the wiring a little more problematic and time consuming to manufacture?

New or foreign safety standards, etc may have led PM to add the enclosure. The PM web says "Fully enclosed VDF for increased user protection."

Note: A VFD allows you to get high torque out of a motor at low speeds by using a 3 Phase (rather than a Single Phase) motor. The VFD converts 220 volts Single Phase input power (standard household current) to 220 volt 3 Phase power for the motor. It varies the frequency of the 3 Phase power to control the motor speed.

The on/off, direction and speed, control box on the front of the lathe sends low voltage (typically 24 volts AC) control signals to the VFD on the back. So all high voltage wiring is limited to the back of the lathe. This is pretty much standard today on all high end lathes.

Photo: The VFD The VFD

Here is what the VFD looks like with the covers removed. I am an Electrical Engineer. So, you known, I just had to take that cover off.

Photo: VFD Model VFD Model

Here is the VFD model number in photo. It looks like it is a E series VFD at

The VFD is made by "Delta". I am not really sure, but I don't think this "Delta" company is the same as the old Delta Power Tools company. Or maybe it is spin off?

Delta VFDs are not as widely known as other brands because they do a lot of OEM stuff. However, they are known to be a good brand.

The VFD on my old PM 3520B was a Delta VFD. An older model. It works good. No problems!

Photo: Main Power On/Off Switch Main Power On/Off Switch

The Knob under the VFD on a silver background is the Main Power On/Off Switch. It is unconventional. But it is a nice high quality switch.

The old model B did not come with a main power switch. The VFD was always powered on if the lathe was plugged in. This was a huge over site in my not so humble opinion. I added my own on/off switch to the back of my model B. Thus, I am really glade to see the new switch on the model C.

On the other hand the PM people really irked me. No, that is not strong enough. They really, really, really pissed me off by not shipping the lathe with a power cord. I could not plug the lathe in when I was ready to show it to my friends who helped me set it up! I had to wait a day, go to the store again to get a cord and plug, … I was pissed!

I payed $4xxx.00 for this lathe. They could not afford to ship it with a $10 power cord? Come on?

We have standards in the USA. The lathe power plate says 230 volts, 10 amps, 1 phase, 60 hertz. i.e. for USA sale only. The manual says it should plug into a 20 amp circuit. In the US the standard plug is a NEMA 6-20 for 250 volts, 20 amps with ground. The lathe should come with this cord and plug!

Yes, there are some industrial places were they might use other plugs, or direct wire, but those places are 3 phase, etc. They ship this lathe with a single phase VFD, and plate says 1 phase … thus there is no excuse for not shipping a NEMA 6-20 cord and plug! If someone does not like that plug then they can cut if off!

To top it all off. There is ABSOLUTELY no place in the PM Manual they shipped with the lathe that shows how to wire up that switch!!! And it is a non standard switch! The manual says you should hire an electrician!

They want me to hire an electrician, wait for him to show, pay him $100 or more, … Because, they did not want to ship a $4xxx.00 lathe with a $10 power cord? Err…..!!!

I added the blue cord you see in photo and my own standard NEMA 6-20 plug from Home Depot. Note: The plug is NOT shown in photo.

Photo: Lathe Plate Lathe Plate

See photo for all the lathe plate information.

It correctly shows the lathe should be connected to a 1 phase, 220 volt power source.

Photo: Motor Plate Motor Plate

See photo for all the motor plate information.

I am glade to see here they are correctly showing the motor as a 3 phase motor. The VFD converts from 220 volts 1 phase to 220 volts 3 phase for the motor.

The motor on my old model B has been a great motor for 10 years. I think it is really a good old fashion 2 HP into a load. Rather than foreign crap where they falsely label motors as 2 HP when they can not deliver that under load.

The motor on my old model B is one of the lathes biggest selling points! It appears the motor on the new model C is the same motor. It looks the same and all the plate numbers, amps, HP, etc are the same.

However, it seems like the fan built into the new model C motor moves more air. This could be just my imagination. More air is a better thing. Better cooling. However, I have never had any problems with the model B over heating.

New and Old Tailstocks Side by Side Photo: New and Old Tailstocks Side by Side

The PM 3520C is on the left. The PM 3520B is on the right.

The model C tailstock is a huge improvement over the model B because it has Acme threads in the Quill (the part that screws in and out). It took like forever to crank the old mode B tailstock in or out. The new model C is faster.

The PM web site says the model C has a "anti-rotation" key. Well, the old model B also has one. The new one on the model C looks like it might be better. But, I never had any complaints about the old model B one.

They both have the same great hand wheel. They both have the same good quill locking mechanism (the black handle on top).

The model C has a new very nice silver locking handle.

They both have the same hidden compartment with door that some people love. I absolutely hate it when people hide things in there!

The model C tailstock is 53 lbs. The model B is 46 lbs. I personally could do with out the extra weight. The old one was already on the to heavy side when I wanted to remove it. However, on the plus side, the new one is not some light weight piece of junk.

The new model C quill is marked in both inches and millimeters. Good type size nice and dark but still sharp. Easy to read.

The new model C is obviously wider than the model B at the bottom. The model C is 9" wide at bottom. The model B is 7". At the top, where the quill goes thru they are both the same 8-1/4" wide. Both models are the same height. 13.25" to the top of the hand wheel.

The new model C sticks out more on the left. I am really not thrilled with this because it means I can't get the Banjo as close to the tailstock as I would like. More about this later.

However, it is nice to have a bigger tailstock base in contact with the bed. It makes the tailstock more stable.

Photo: Bottom of Tailstock Bottom of Tailstock

Here is what the bottom of the tailstock looks like. The model C and model B are very similar.

New and Old Banjos Side by Side Photo: New and Old Banjos Side by Side

Oneway 2407 banjo on left. PM 3520C is in the center. PM 3520B is on the right.

The new model C banjo is roughly the same size and weight as the old model B. The model C has a nice new silver handle. The model C features a new tool rest clamp. More about that later.

Both the model B and C have an offset tool rest post that I really DO NOT like! They are also to short.

Photo: Oneway Banjo Oneway Banjo

This photo shows why I do not like the PM banjos with a offset tool rest post.

I turn mostly bowls and hollow forms from green logs. In this photo I just finished facing off the end of a log so I can mount a face plate.

With my Oneway banjo in there I have to crank out the quill on the tailstock roughly 2". Blue arrow in photo. This is reasonable and safe.

If I had the PM banjo in there (see previous photo) then I would need to crank out the quill another 2" to get the offset tool rest post in the same space. That would extend the quill to roughly 4". Way to close to the max quill extension of 4-1/2". At 4" the quill is not secure enough for strength and safety because it is extended to far. When the quill gets to the end of the threads a 4-3/4" it just slides out. If I have to do this once and a while then ok. But, every day, no way!

In my not some humble opinion the Oneway banjo is still best of breed. Still way better than the model B or C PM banjo because it is not offset.

Photo: New Tool Rest Clamp for Photo New Tool Rest Clamp for Photo

The top of the new model C banjo features a new tool rest shaft clamp. It is huge improvement over the old model C. It holds the tool rest post, rock solid, even under heavy loads.

This photo shows the new design slid out so you can see what it looks like. The next photo shows it installed.

Photo: New Tool Rest Clamp Installed New Tool Rest Clamp Installed

The red arrow points to the jaws that actually clamp down on the tool rest post. It looks almost the same as a Oneway banjo when you look down the tool post hole.

The new PM design is as good as the Oneway tool rest clamp and probably a lot cheaper to manufacture.

Note: The old model B design really sucked! It was just a knob with a screw that screwed in or out. See photo above. It was like the one you find on most cheap lathes. It allowed the tool rest to move around or drop down while you were trying to turn. Extremely frustrating when you have to stop the lathe to fix the tool rest position.

Photo: Bottom of Banjo Bottom of Banjo

The bottom of new model C banjo looks the same as the old model B. Same good design on the bottom.

I really like the big black ROUND black washer (red arrow in photo) on the bottom of the PM model B and C headstock, tailstock and banjo. It is way better than the square washers used by most (all other?) lathe manufacturers.

Round washers DO NOT have any sharp corners that hang up when you slide things around on the lathe bed (ways). The PM round washer is big and beefy!

The square washers use by other lathe manufactures have sharp corners that hang up and prevent you from easily sliding the banjo around. I really hate how the square washer banjos start to stick after they have been used for a while. This seems to be aggravated by using washers that are NOT big and beefy. Over time they bend and distort? Eventually, you have to remove the square washer from the bottom and file off all the sharp edges. Then it still is not as good as the big beefy PM round washer.

Photo: Banjo To Low Banjo To Low

The banjo on the new model C is still way to low. Just like it was on the model B. This has not been fixed.

The banjos on PM lathes are roughly 1-1/2" lower than the banjos on all other lathes by all other manufactures. See red arrow in photo. PM tools rests are extra tall to compensate for this.

This is NOT a great feature. It means that if you purchase an after market tool rest from any other manufacture it will NOT work on a PM lathe. The tool rest post will be to short because the PM banjo is to low!

It is often necessary to purchase after market tool rests for shapes and lengths not offered by PM. Purchasing special rests with longer shafts, cost extra and limits your options.

Photo: New Model C Bed and Leg Holes New Model C Bed and Leg Holes

See next photo for old model B bed and leg holes.

Like I already said. After getting use to it. I like the shape of the new model C leg. It works better when you make your own shelf under the lathe.

However, some users may not be happy with the new screw hold pattern. The red arrows in this photo and next photo points to holes that are in the same location on model B and C lathes. They are 4" apart and 2-3/4" down from top of bed.

The blue arrows point to new holes on the model C. They do not exist on the model B. The model B only had one hole in the middle. See green arrow in next photo.

I think this means you CAN NOT mount the old model B bed extension #6294727B on a new model C lathe. Well, maybe you still can, but you can't use all 3 holes, just the top 2. Or you are going to have to drill your own center hole

You can get a new model C bed extension. PM # 1353002.

I think the old model B Tail Stock Swing Away #6294721 accessory will work on a model C. Because it only uses the top holes. The PM model C manual seems to imply that.

I don't want to be negative here! Lots of people have Tail Stock Swing Away. I do not known of any one who has a bed extension on a model B. You don't really need one because you can just slide the headstock down to where you need it for outboard turning. So the new model B hole pattern is probably not a big deal.

Note: The distance between the ways is the same on model B and C. 2-1/2" inches. The distance between the feet on the bottom of legs is also the same on model B and C. 21″ center to center. The feet are NOT shown in these photos.

Photo: Old Model B Bed and Leg Holes Old Model B Bed and Leg Holes

See discussion under previous photo.

The End

Like I already said above. I am big fan of the old PM model B and a long time owner. I think, after a month or so of use, I am going to also be a long time big fan of the new PM model C.

The only real thing I don’t like and can’t live with is the PM banjo. I am going to continue to use a Oneway banjo on my new model C lathe, like I did on my old model B.

9 thoughts on “Carl’s New Powermatic 3520C Lathe verses My Old Powermatic 3520B”

  1. Excellent ‘documentary’ of the assembly process and the showcase of the individual parts. Thanks, Carl! This is a great resource…

  2. Wow. Everything you ever wanted to know and more. Complete with excellent photos
    Thanks for taking the time to do this

  3. Carl thank you for this! (We met for the first time at Nutmeg on Monday night.) I think you’ve just convinced me to go for the new 3520C – unless you’re selling your old model B cheaply.

  4. Carl, thanks for taking the time to explain and illustrate the differences between the 2 lathes. I would think Powermatic would design a narrow banjo when they introduce a new model lathe. Stan Blanchard

  5. Carl … Many thanks for this detailed blog!

    My lathe is on a truck somewhere headed toward Wisconsin … thanks to your work, I know what to expect and will be better prepared.


  6. Thanks for the great pictorial review. My lathe hasn’t arrived yet so I haven’t had a chance to look at the non-standard wiring switch. Is there any chance you could post a picture of how to wire it? I’d like to avoid that $100 electrician visit.


    1. I am a bit reluctant to show a photo because I don’t want people who should not be messing with electric suing me.

      The non standard switch is made by Kedu it is a ZH-HD-1 made in China. Rated at 3.0hp, 240 volt, 20 amp.

      Here is a photo. It’s really hard to get a good photo.

      The black, white and green wires are from my power cord. I connected the white wire to #3 and the black wire to #1. Wire nutted the green wire to green ground leader. Note: Black and white, #1 verses #3 connection is really a don’t care because it is 220 volts, single phase.

      Powermatic 3520C Power Switch Wiring

Comments are closed.