Hobbymat MD65 Lathe

The Hobbymat MD65 lathe was made by VEB Prazisionsdrehmaschinen in the 1980’s and distinguished by the bright colour paint and the D-section bed.

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.


I′ve used this Hobbymat MD65 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.

Further Reading:

turned and polished bulb

Machining and Polishing a Perspex Light Bulb – with the hobbymat running at 1000rpm I use lots of cutting oil and ever increasing abrasive grit numbers to gradually smooth and then polish the perspex.

37 thoughts on “Hobbymat MD65 Lathe”

  1. Does anyone know what center I need for de tailstock of the MD 65.
    And are there some tips for the mounting of the chise. The position of the chisel holder is not in the middle of the center.
    Thanks in advance

    • I’m sure the tailstock is MT1

      Chisel? Do you mean lathe tool and how this is mounted in the toolpost? I use 6mm or 1/4″ tool bits and adjust the tool to height using metal shims (old feeler gauges work well as shims).

  2. My Hobbymat was out of true on long bars and it was because the weight of the motor hanging off one side twists the bed. I fitted an adjustable foot under the motor and that sorted the problem.

      • Not easily – the lathe is in between corner and fridge freezer. I turned the lathe upside down and drilled and tapped M8 into the the bottom of the yellow casting 1″ from the back of the lathe, at the centre of the motor’s mass. I then took some 2″ diameter brass to spread the load on the (presumed soft) kitchen top, drilled and tapped it axially M8, and screwed in a piece of M8 studding with Araldite to lock it. Once cured, M8 nut and washer were added, and studding screwed into lathe. Foot height was adjusted until lathe machined true, then locked off with M8 nut onto washer onto yellow casting.

        The whole thing could have been done more simply by putting a toolmaker’s cone underneath the casting.

  3. Ik heb de kogellagers vervangen met conische rollagers maar ik heb problemen met de Franse documentatie van deze MD65 draaibank om deze draaibank weer compleet te kunnen monteren door die Franse taal hoe kan ik dit oplossen is dit ergens te koop in het Nederlands of Engels

  4. Hi,
    I have a Hobbymat MD65 which has been fine but hasn’t been used for a couple of years. When I tried to use it the other day, I couldn’t turn the lead screw by hand, though it works fine on the power feed. Any ideas?

    • Hi John, If the leadscrew moves with the power feed and not by hand it sounds like the dog clutch is not fully disengaging. Or it is over tight: 1. might be something stuck in the guard – I normally use lots of engine oil on the leadscrew 2. the handwheel might have been overtightened, loosen the lock nut and rotate it back a bit. You might get too much slack at first, but you can at least check it’s not that. 3. nut in the carriage might be too tight, cannot remember if there is an adjustment – will have to have a look. Best regards, Nigel

      • Thanks Nigel, I think that you are right, the dog clutch won’t disengage, in fact it seems to be jammed solid now and the engage/disengage handle won’t move at all. It also looks like the lead screw has shifted to the right – there is a gap of about 5 mm between the locking ring and the hand wheel at the right hand end. Any thoughts?

        • Hi John, the handle lifts to disengage, but must admit that the handle on my Hobbymat appears to be locked too. I will have to take it apart and have a look. There is a bolt underneath that locks the handle onto the pin that is cantilevered from the main lathe base casting. Best regards, Nigel

    • Hi Jannie, There appear to be a few variations on the lathe design and so not surprised. You could just use a straight shank taper in a chuck if you want to turn between centres.
      Best regards, Nigel

  5. Hallo iedereen, ik heb deze draaibank gekregen van mijn vader (de versie voor houtdraaien, MD 120).

    Hoe wordt de kop aan de aandrijfzijde vervangen? Er is een ondiepe uitsparing in de kop. Moet dit met een haaksleutel? Dergelijke sleutel komt niet voor in het instructieboekje.

    Zoals de zaken er nu voorstaan kan er enkel tussen de centers gedraaid worden.

    Dank u.

    Opa Pettson

  6. Hi Nigel,
    My late dad gave me a Hobbymat MD65 which I look forward to working with.
    I haven’t used a lathe in some time but here goes.
    My issue at the moment is I am unable to swap the Tailstock Chuck with a Centre Spindle.
    All I have achieved so far is to remove the Chuck Head from it’s tapered shaft which is still stuck on the shaft that moves in & out of the Tailstock.
    Any help will be appreciated.

    • Hi Dave,
      The Hobbymat is a really good lathe. I imagine the taper has had some oil or moisture on it and has rusted in place. If you wind the tailstock fully back the taper gets pushed out. It might be necessary to use some penetrating oil left for some time and then try winding it back again. I must admit that I haven’t taken the tailstock apart to see exactly what’s what, but will have a look. I also have a manual somewhere.
      Best regards, Nigel

      • Hello, I have the exact lathe but have not been able to locate a manual anywhere.. what are the chances of getting a scan if you find yours?

    • Hello, it appears that there is a manual for the MD65 available on lathes.co.uk the other way is to contact the company that makes the new version of this lathe (SU300 Masterturn) and see if they could send you a copy. Best regards, Nigel

  7. hello my dear,
    thank you for your sharing about information of hobby mat md65 machine.i need your help more than this . i want to made some gears of my machine but i dont have free body map of that . of course you had put some information in your site but that is not enough to made it . that is nice of you that send me its information.i mean change gear . for example 60 , 40 , 100t gears.

  8. Ive had an MD65 for about 25 years now and love it, never let me down. It’s going to my new workshop soon and I’m wondering how people mount there’s? Bolted to a bench, free standing or on its own stand and if so, what make?

    • Hi Paul, my MD65 is bolted to a piece of old kitchen worktop. It’s slightly out though when machining long parallel bars and I think this is down to the worktop slightly twisting the base…best regards, Nigel

  9. Bonjour
    Pourriez vous me donner le prix du tour HOBBYMAT MD 65 et le prix d’un plateau a mors pour le MD 150 merci

  10. 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.

  11. 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?

    • @znidarsic eduard

      Ik heb de lagers van de spil van een MD65 ingevet met kogellagervet op lithium basis (bv. Facom groen vet). Een heel verschil qua geluid, ze stonden zo goed als droog. Wel even wat werk om alles te demonteren en de spil kwam er niet so makkelijk uit.

      • “I greased the spindle bearings of an MD65 with lithium-based ball bearing grease (eg Facom green grease). A lot of difference in sound, they were almost dry. Some work to disassemble everything and the spindle did not come out that easy.”, Thanks David, must admit that I’ve never checked the bearings, always assumed they are sealed for life, Best regards, Nigel


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