A few days ago it jumped back into my head that I would love to learn how to use a wood lathe. I have seen plenty of examples of great craftsmanship using these tools and the principal is infinitely simple (yet the mastering of the technique I’m told takes almost more than a lifetime). So I’m considering taking a dive into it along with all the other junk going on. Considering that I don’t have a lot of money I’m weary about shelling out hundreds (if not thousands) for a new tool.
So I searched around a bit and found a couple of examples of home made jobs. What really interested me where the manual powered ones. Most, like this example, had a large fly wheel attached to a foot powered board at the bottom. The idea is that they would get the momentum built up in the wheel so that the craftsman could work without exerting much force. Freakin’ great, right?
So, now that begs the question for me: What about other tools? (My wife, the environmentalist, will love this part.) When it comes to large bench or floor type power tools, what do they all have in common (other than a motor)? Answer: They hall use some sort of spinning action to create the motion need to make the cut(s) or mill work.
Therefore, can’t we apply this same technique from the manual lathe to almost any power tool? I can imagine the table saw or even a planer/sander being fairly easy to rig for this sort of thing considering the spinning action goes perpendicular to the ground. Just build a frame to support the wheel and you could belt drive to your tool. What I want to figure out, though, would be doing a drill press.
With a drill press, the spinning action is parallel to the ground rather than perpendicular. Because of that, either we would need a fly wheel situated in the same manner or some gearing system (easily enough done with modern techniques) to angle the motion. Another issue that would present itself with this would be the reversing the motion of the chuck. Without really doing a lot of studying of the design for the lathe I’m assuming that it is set up to be best used working in one particular direction. So, a gear box would work for that as well, but one could also attempt to simply reverse the belt drive (flip the belt on one pulley) to solve that problem.
At this point I feel like I’m rambling on about this. However, I would love to give this a try with a few tool examples. Heck, I bet if I look around hard enough I will find where someone else thought of it first. Still, if my wife’s predictions of peak oil come true, then having a man powered way of completing wood projects is available it might keep a few woodworkers in a job.
-- He said wood...http://hickbyassociation.blogspot.com/