Installation and evualation of PM1236 lathe

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May 10, 2017
I bought the lathe about a year ago with the preferred package, installed DRO, and optional cast iron stands and it has taken me about a year to get it set up and working. I had to put it on hold due to some medical problems but in the past month or so I have gotten it in its final resting place, leveled up, and making chips. I installed 8 cap screws in the original bolt holes in the stands with adjustment nuts for leveling when I first got it, leveled it up to within a few thousands and let it sit until last month. That may have had a bearing on the good results I had with the final leveling, alignment checks, and test cuts shown below. I removed those screws and fabricated four pieces of 1/2" x 2-1/2" flat bar about 7" longer than the stands were deep. I then drilled and tapped holes to match the hold down bolt pattern in the stands, drilled and tapped holes for jack screws and drilled another hole for hold down anchors if needed. I cut 8 pieces of 1/4" x 2" x 2" flat bar for leveling pads and drilled dimples in them for the jack screws to fit in for leveling. After getting the lathe in place and leveled up I decided it did not need anchor bolts and just left it sitting on the leveling pads. I first leveled the machine length ways with a precision level, then leveled it across the ways and checked it with the level sitting on the cross feed for the length of the bed. I got it leveled to within .003"both ways and called it good. I then checked the machine using "rollies dads method" which is similar to checking coupling alignment on an industrial pump if you are familiar with millwright work. That check was close enough that I could see no difference on the dial indicator readings on the OD or the face mounted on a shaft about 20 inches long (chucked up in the 3 jaw chuck}and reading on the tail stock shaft that was extended about 3 inches and locked in place. In other words it had zero runout from the chuck to the tail stock. Pretty close in my opinion. I put a piece of 1" cold roll about 9 or 10 inches long in the three jaw chuck and took a test cut. My micrometer showedDSCN1104.JPG zero difference on a six inch cut with about 8 inches of stick out from the chuck. Is that good or what? My leveling procedure was as follows. I started with the two inside pieces I had fabricated and bolted to the stands and leveled the machine length ways and across and then set up indicators on the floor and tightened the two outside pieces until the indicator showed movement, in other words I lightly loaded the outer two mounting pads adjustment screws after initial leveling with the inside pads. The machine needed no other adjustment at all to accomplish the zero taper cuts I made after final assembly and leveling. I can't say enough about the quality of the machine I received other than the original Chinese motor started giving problems when I started setting the machine up last month. Matt lived up to his reputation of good customer service and quickly warranted the motor and gave me the choice of upgrading to a USA made motor for an additional cost which I did. From my experience I would suggest upgrading to the better motor for anyone considering the lathe to eliminate having to deal with the motor change. I attached a picture of what I did for the adjustment of the stands for review. I just had the steel on hand and decided to make my own rather than buy the factory made adjustment stands because of the cost and it also increased the footprint of the stands to make it more stable without anchor bolts. The machine runs very quiet with absolutely no vibration, the automatic feed works perfect and the finish of the cut is excellent. Like I said I would recommend the PM1236 to anyone trying to decide which Asian lathe to buy. I hope this helps if someone is consideringDSCN1104.JPG which brand lathe to buy.


Apr 30, 2015
If I was going to buy an Asian machine I would buy it from Matt for sure
His service after the sale is unmatched
ps Only wish they had more Taiwan made machines, but he says he's working on it


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H-M Supporter - Gold Member ($25)
Feb 9, 2016
Very nice. Thanks for the write up. My 1236 should arrive tomorrow. Looking forward to it, especially since it was purchased in March, lol. (No issue from PM, I've just not been home to accept)
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