The last time I needed beads I had to find someone to turn them for me. Well thanks to LJ’s daKremer and David William Bethune blogs on bead makers I was able to make them myself. I used the beads on the ends of necklace hooks for my Regifted Jewelry Box. I don’t have a motor hanging around but I do have a drill press. A unused paint can served as the container. A plywood disk with treaded rod shaft would spin in the paint can. I made the disk so it would just fit into the can opening. I lined the can with three layers of cardboard. That took up just enough space under the lip of the can for the disk to spin. I stapled a 60 grit pad to the disk and lined the walls of the can with 150 grit. (thats as course as I had). A hole in the top of the can lid keeps everything from flying out. I used 1/4” x 1/4” peruvian walnut blocks. Predrill a hole about 3/16” deep in the center.
Picture shows the rig. Only thing missing is the bubble gum and spit.
I ran the pieces about 1 1/2 hours. The disk is not balanced so I had to run the motor at 1100 rpm to keep the shanking down. If I do this again I’ll cut a round disk with a router and have a bottom plate with a bushing so the shaft can have something to ride in to help at high rpms.
Pleased with the size and shape of the beads I covered the disk with cloth, removed the sandpaper wall and replaced it with poster board. I oiled the beads and after they dried awhile I rubbed some wax on the beads and ran them for another hour. They came out pretty good. I will at some point make a proper bead machine. Thanks for lookikng.
-- Dan, Naperville IL, I.G.N.