Reviews on the PM-1130V Lathe

My team is preparing to buy a new lathe. The Precision Matthews PM-1130V seems to have a good balance of cost, power, and space usage, plus I’m personally familiar with the brand from having used one of their milling machines. Has anyone personally used this model, and what are your thoughts on it, if so?


While we don’t have this exact lathe, we do have one that’s very similar that we’ve used for a number of years. We’ve been pretty happy with it, but one thing I would watch out for is low-quality Tailstock assemblies. Ours does not hold a center to save its life and it seemed to be the type of issue that could be common with cheaper lathes.

We’ve had ours for about 2 years and love it. Haven’t had to do any modifications too it and very minimal maintenance in that time. Coming with DRO, tailstock lock, quick change tool post and other quality of life features is a big advantage compared to the other lathes in this price range.


I have used one of the larger PM lathes (PM-1236 I think) and they are ok machines. The ways are not really hardened (impact on the longevity of the machine) and aligning the tail stock has been never ending gurney. But for FRC type jobs these lathes will get the job done, just don’t expect much “Precision” out of the lathe at least not without a good bit of setup.

I’ve got their 11x27 in a crate waiting for setup/commissioning, after we got a 14x40 through the school that’s honestly too big for FRC students (eg not approachable for new users). DRO installed from the factory is :100: for quality of life. Except for being wired for 208-240 single phase electricity that we struggled to get set up - no other issues on the 14x40 since we’re really only doing light work. The 14x40 barely notices aluminum or plastic being cut. I’d expect the same from the 11x30/11x27 ranges.

We generally work to the 0.010"-0.005" tolerance range on our custom parts, so haven’t noticed any machine-tied precision issues.

IIRC 971 also has a 11"-ish PM lathe that they love, and are able to do 971-quality component work on.

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I’ve had an 11x27VF for ~7-8 years now for my home shop. Mostly happy with it and feel I’ve gotten a good value out of it. Ended up purchasing a Grizzly 10x22 for FRC3005 trying to save ~$1000-$1500, and I really wish I hadn’t and we had sprung for the slightly larger PM model.


  • Came default with a quick change toolpost. Tool holders are relatively cheap, and being able to quickly change tools between ops as well as align them to center without shimming is nice.
  • Not something I do a ton of on the manual lathe, since I have a CNC as well, but the PM has a separate threading bar, so wear over time on your main power drive doesn’t directly translate to thread accuracy. I’ll counter-point myself and Frank’s comment about hardened ways though on both that, the lifetime of the lathes wear services probably have more to do with not abusing them than anything with the total number of hours/year you’ll see in an FRC shop.
  • Fit/finish is… adequate. Better than the Grizzly.
  • VFD is nice. Way nicer than manual change gears to get a correct speed range.
  • 90% of what I’d do in FRC is 1/2" hex or smaller diameter, 99% is probably 1.25" or smaller. The PM lathes have a significantly larger thru bore though than the smaller Grizzly though, and that 9% of the time that stock would pass thru on the PM lathe and not the Grizzly was annoying :wink:


  • It’s not a floor standing lathe. It doesn’t take much to get it chattering and dancing with heavier cuts or higher RPMs. However, in an FRC environment, I like that while its not 100% safe to be careless around, there is a decent chance you stall the lathe before you cause too much damage, especially at lower speeds where you also have lower torque on the VFD output. For my next lathe, I want something 5HP+ and 14x40+. In a school environment, I like the 11" swing.
  • Overall accuracy is again… adequate? The 3 jaw chuck was soso on concentricity, maybe 0.001-0.002" TIR. I had to disassemble and reassemble jaws once to flip from inner to outer grip (noting the scribe marks) and it went back together at >0.005" TIR. Probably some trash in there, probably something I could fix. My higher dollar 3 jaw chucks on the CNC lathe hold <0.001" TIR on the range. The right answer is hold it in a collet, or 4 jaw and indicate, but we all do it :wink:

Long story short, happy with the PM lathe, think it is a good fit for FRC.

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Did have, liked a lot, has since moved along to a new home. Have two larger import lathes in the new space.