Woodturner 4000! - Bench Edge Lathe (DIY)

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Project by Dave Rutan posted 12-17-2014 02:36 AM 3480 views 1 time favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Apologies if I don’t use all the correct lathe terminology. I’m on a learning curve.

When I built my Sandmaster 3000 I purposely built the drill stand platform in such a way that it could easily double as the drive for a small lathe. Making this project has been in the back of my mind for some time, not because I itch to become a wood turner, but because I want to TRY woodturning. I also see myself turning a few tool handles. I know I could adapt my drill press to the job, but I think I’d have a harder time turning something on its side.

I made this lathe based on this video by Cosmas B on his YouTube channel. If you watch it and want a stand for your drill, he has a video for that too [link].

[Below] There are a few places where I diverged from Cosmas’ video. I used the idea of Jack Houweling to make a drive spur from a coupling nut. I threaded it onto a 3/8 inch bolt with the head cut off. A jam nut keeps it secure. [Jack's video on making a similar lathe is here]

The other improvement I made was to add a ‘live center’ to my tail stock. My dead center was boring into the stock while I was cutting it, causing the drive spur to come loose. I took a bearing from a scateboard wheel that salvaged from the roadside for just such a purpose. I ground down the dead center so the bearing would fit over it, leaving the point exposed. Since the bearing edge would stand proud, I epoxied a washer to it using JB Weld. The bearing sits loose on the shaft of the dead point, but sits well under tension. I can remove it if I want to back the center shaft out or replace the bearing.

The center shaft is held secure by a nut that bears against a second coupling nut that runs through the tail stock.

I also added a nice knob/crank on the center shaft.

This last photo shows how the lathe parts self align with the edge of the bench. There are angles fastened that keep the head and tail aligned. The parts get clamped in place as does the tool rest. Not a perfect world, but just about free for a toy/tool to learn on/play with.

-- Ni faru ion el ligno!

4 comments so far

View Oldtool's profile


2362 posts in 1611 days

#1 posted 12-17-2014 03:26 AM

Nice lathe, should produce a lot of tool handles.

-- "I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The point is to bring them the real facts." - Abraham Lincoln

View jakeprater's profile


91 posts in 1010 days

#2 posted 12-17-2014 03:35 AM

I bought the pieces to do the same build! Both cosmas and Jack have great videos, but I like your live center idea. I have some bearings laying around, so maybe it’s time to give this a whirl!
Great build, can’t wait to try it myself!

-- All this sawdust.......wait........ what happened to my board???

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

16801 posts in 2526 days

#3 posted 12-17-2014 03:37 AM

Nice project !! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!

Cheers, Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View Dave Rutan's profile

Dave Rutan

1368 posts in 1609 days

#4 posted 12-17-2014 01:52 PM

Nice lathe, should produce a lot of tool handles.

- Oldtool

And who knows what else… ;-)

-- Ni faru ion el ligno!

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