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DIY Lathe #1: Introduction

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Blog entry by Marcel T posted 05-18-2008 02:24 AM 10594 reads 0 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of DIY Lathe series Part 2: The better base! »

Hello fellow Lumber Jocks! I’m starting a little blog series on my work-in-progress DIY lathe. In short, I want to build a lathe to turn a few pens, without spending ~$60 some on specifically pen turning materials and ~$200 on a lathe.

So, I want to try turning. I’ve always considered myself a handyman-esque person, and I had that urge to build! The tipping point was when I found a few blogs such as AfriGadget, StreetUse and Future Perfect. Their owners travel a lot, and they notice ingenuity, mostly on the streets of third world counties. They also highlight how things are different in different cultures/countries. Either way, the amount of ingenuity I saw inspired me to make my own lathe.

The first thing I think of is getting my dremel into my workbench/vice combo vertically. (Sorry, I forgot to take a picture :( ) Not the stablest of plans, but its enough to screw a wedge (yes, a wedge…hey, I had the ‘fever) 1×1cm tapering down to nothingness onto the screw mandrel, and sand that puppy. Oooh, I sand it good. It takes me a while, but I’m a proud new owner of a button. The next time I get my mini-hacksaw, and use that to rough out a cylinder, and then a chisel for finer work, but still a lot of sandpaper.

Click for details

But I wanted more. I take a board, a drill and some zipties. This is what I come up with.

Ta da! - Click for bigger image please

I make a few things (I even manage to turn Purpleheart!)

Click for details

It’s all very nice and fun, but it’s still not enough! The vibrations are horrible, and the dremel keeps sliding around. I want to turn some pens, damnit! So I make a list of what I need to make/get for to turn a pen. It goes something like this:

  • Lathe
    o Make a solid mount for my dremel
    o If extra support is needed, tailstock
  • Mandrel
    o 7mm rod for slimline kit
    o Nut to hold blanks tight
    o Mounting system to dremel
  • Blanks
    o Jig to drill straight holes without a drill press
    o Way to cut reasonable blanks
    o Milling system
  • Supplies
    o Pen kit

Now I have my to-do list and lathe plans have replaced dancing sugarplums, I’m off. I think about a pulley system, but I deem that to be to complicated. Maybe next time.

But there is one thing I have already learned – No matter how, when or where, turning is always a magical experience!

Here’s a sneak peak at a future post:

What could it be? - Click for a bigger image please

P.S – Is there any place that you know of that I can buy a slimline kit and bushings, without paying $6 for shipping?

P.P.S – Clicky on the images to enlarge them!

Cheers, ‘till next time,
Marcel



9 comments so far

View Frank's profile

Frank

40 posts in 2418 days


#1 posted 05-18-2008 05:07 AM

Well I have to say you are taking an interesting approach to turning. I have to wonder if you will be able to keep the axis of lined up well enough to turn a pen. Keep us posted on your progress.

Frank

-- Some rescue cats, some rescue dogs. I rescue tools. Feel free to send me any tools you cannot take care of or don’t want and I will foster them until I find a good home for them.

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27251 posts in 2577 days


#2 posted 05-18-2008 12:14 PM

This is certainly a novel approach to putting a lathe in your shop. It looks interesting.

I will be interested in seeing more of your turnings that you produce on the set-up.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View Marcel T's profile

Marcel T

146 posts in 2481 days


#3 posted 05-18-2008 12:48 PM

I don’t quite get what you mean, fmarabate. Do you mean getting the two halves to line up properly?
Thanks, Scott. I will be posting more turnings as I go on in my blog for sure.

Thanks to both of you again, I love getting feedback on what I do.

View WhiskeyWaters's profile

WhiskeyWaters

213 posts in 2561 days


#4 posted 05-18-2008 09:25 PM

Ever try building a foot-treadle lathe? I’m thinking a hacked sewing machine or such?

Whiskey

-- make it safe & keep the rubber side down.

View Marcel T's profile

Marcel T

146 posts in 2481 days


#5 posted 05-18-2008 09:57 PM

I haven’t tried one, no. I might have tried to make one, but space constraints suck. Thanks for the idea though :)

View Frank's profile

Frank

40 posts in 2418 days


#6 posted 05-19-2008 12:45 AM

Marcel,

Yes, I was talking about lining up what would be your headstock, your dremel tool, and the tail stock. (not sure what you are using) To turn something like a pen, or anything that would be between centers, the two must line up perfectly or what you are turning will not come out round. This is what the ways or lathe bed do, a least on the horizontal plane. You then have to make sure things are lined up in the vertical plane.

-- Some rescue cats, some rescue dogs. I rescue tools. Feel free to send me any tools you cannot take care of or don’t want and I will foster them until I find a good home for them.

View Marcel T's profile

Marcel T

146 posts in 2481 days


#7 posted 05-19-2008 01:53 PM

I think I will make a thing that holds the mandrel from the bottom, instead of the side. As for what I will do to make sure they line up, I’ll it like the rest of the project, make it up as I go along.

View John Gray's profile

John Gray

2370 posts in 2640 days


#8 posted 05-19-2008 04:03 PM

Interesting idea please keep us informed.

-- Only the Shadow knows....................

View Marcel T's profile

Marcel T

146 posts in 2481 days


#9 posted 05-19-2008 04:52 PM

Will do John!

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