Hobbymat MD65

I′ve owned this lathe from new, bought around 1982.



  • Centre Height: 65 mm (2.6″)
  • Between Centres: 300 mm (12″)
  • Turning diameter over carriage: 62mm
  • Cross slide travel: 80mm
  • Headstock: MT2
  • Headstock bore: 12mm
  • Tailstock: MT1
  • Motor: 250W
  • Spindle Speeds: 250, 500, 1000 and 2000rpm

Price: you can pick up a Hobbymat MD65 lathe on ebay for between £300 and £450.

Have had this lathe for more than 25 years and it still does as good a job now as ever. For a 25 year old lathe it cleans up rather well and with careful care, adjustment and oil the results are still as good as when it was new.


Hobbymat MD65 (workshop background greyed out)
Hobbymat MD65 (workshop background greyed out)

md65-013The belt system on the back of the headstock is easy to access.

Note that there is no motor cut-out and so you can start the lathe by accident with your fingers around the belts and so make a habit of disconnecting the lathe from the mains before lifting the cover.

The 250W motor has ample toque for all of the spindle speeds that this machine has: 250, 500, 1000 and 2000rpm. Now and again it would be nice to be able to go down to 100rpm, but this machine is in it’s element at 1000rpm and 2000rpm.

Change Gears for Hobbymat MD65
Change Gears for Hobbymat MD65

The gears for thread cutting can be seen in the tray on the right, these are glass reinforced nylon gears and based on the fact that these are over 25 years old they are in quite good condition.


They do however collect a lot of dirt and debris over time and so it is best to brush them out and hoover them clean every so often. I run the gears dry and normally just have a set installed for fine powered traverse of the saddle.

change-gears-002In the image you can see the gear between the spindle pulley and the headstock. This is a small gear driving a much large intermediate gear set that is on a bearing that is adjusted up and down on the post and then finally engaged with the main headstock spindle gear by adjusting the position of the aluminium backplate that it is fitted to.

The intermediate gear reduction then drives in this case a larger black coloured gear that is fixed to the end of the leadscrew via a dog clutch. The handle for the dog clutch can just be seen disappearing out of the bottom of the image.

I have used this lathe over the years for model making and so it has to deal with metal, wood, gear cutting, thread cutting and a number of plastics. I will post pages on these subjects and the use of this lathe.



Further Reading:



I′ve used this lathe for over 25 years and it still as strong as when I first bought it. The on-off switch gave up some years ago and I replaced it with a switch from Maplins, otherwise it is perfect.

I actually think this is a better lathe than one of the Mini Lathes in various colours from China. You can buy a secondhand HobbyMat for under £500 as of 2012.

About Nigel 231 Articles
Have been making models since I was around 7 years old and using a lathe from the age of 11, a self taught engineer with a passion for making model engines.


  1. Hi Nigel, Thanks for sharing your knowledge, it’s really helpful
    I would love to add a variable speed motor to my Hobbymat but where to find a suitable motor to fit in place of the original, would you have any tips on this?

    • Hi, you could just use a single phase speed controller? Or you could mount a motor on the bench the other way round – ie the pulley is in the same location as the current motor, but the motor itself is pointing at the original motor. That way you could fit a bit larger 3 phase motor and a single to 3 phase controller – most inverters will run in both directions and so the fact the motor is the wrong way round won’t matter. You will have to construct a housing, but you could use MDF for this and just varnish it. Best regards, Nigel

    • dank u,ik denk! as demonteren, wassen in petrol,drogen, insmeren met lager vet, en terug monteren zonder spel,zal de oplossing zijn. Beste groeten.

  2. Beste, nergens vindt ik het smeren van de hoofd as, hoe dat moet?of die met olie draait of smeervet? weet u daar het antwoord op?

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