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Project by TreeGuy posted 03-05-2009 04:28 PM 2468 views 4 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch

My homemade lathe. Looks a little rough but everything turns very true and and very stable. I can put a 200lb chunk on it and get very little vibration. Once balanced it turns great. 1.5 hp motor 180rpm up to 2000 or better, I usualy never go more than 1200. 16” from bed to spindle so I could turn a 32” piece if I wanted(don’t want to just yet)

Total cost $36 for bearings and $40 for varios pulleys, and my time and electricity to weld it all together

-- Bryan, Cleveland OH

13 comments so far

View interpim's profile


1170 posts in 3425 days

#1 posted 03-05-2009 04:33 PM

That’s one heck of a pile of shavings… looks like a winner though. Good job on the lathe.

-- San Diego, CA

View Julian's profile


880 posts in 3492 days

#2 posted 03-05-2009 04:37 PM

Very cool project! I ‘ve always wanted to try my hand at welding.

-- Julian, Park Forest, IL

View TreeGuy's profile


39 posts in 3338 days

#3 posted 03-05-2009 04:44 PM

Thanks for the comments. I typicaly fill the garbage can in the picture after 2 -3 bowls. That adds up

-- Bryan, Cleveland OH

View MauBow's profile


55 posts in 3413 days

#4 posted 03-05-2009 04:52 PM

TreeGuy, do you have any other pics of the lathe? Maybe some closer shots of the pulleys and headstock. Looks simple but solid, just my kind of thing!

-- If it wasn't for misplacing things, my shop would never get cleaned up.

View John Stegall's profile

John Stegall

500 posts in 3483 days

#5 posted 03-05-2009 05:43 PM

I second the request for more pix and info on the lathe. I am getting ready to build one and at first I was going to build one from wood that was posted years ago in FWW, but yours would be more substantial. I think I have had 4, maybe 5 lathes (counting my SS 500). I think you learn each time you have one that some features you like and others you could do without.
Anything you would do differently?

-- jstegall

View TreeGuy's profile


39 posts in 3338 days

#6 posted 03-05-2009 05:50 PM

I would use a large piece of box steel for the headstock support rather than two heavy posts. I would also use heavier I beams or H beams for the bed. You will nottice that I had to brace the headstock towers to reduce vibration. If you are going to build one for large progects I would also suggest using 1.5 or 1.25” shaft and have a local machinist turn one end to 1” 8tpi. If I get bored maybe I will make another one.

-- Bryan, Cleveland OH

View renewedbydesign's profile


9 posts in 3474 days

#7 posted 03-05-2009 06:09 PM

Great Job.

Although, as one who strives to use every inch of wood to prevent wasting any. I’m curious if you empty that garbage can of shaving’s into the garden beds, or scatter around the trees on your property… Or maybe you could otherwise make it available for others to use. Perhaps it could be used for fresh shavings in bird cages or dog kennels or outdoor pet bedding ? ? ?

Just a thought… you know, one mans garbage being another mans ground cover, pet bedding and all that.

Happy Turning

-- Renewed By Design is a registered ™ Designs are Copyright Protected © / All Rights Reserved ®

View woodyoda's profile


117 posts in 3424 days

#8 posted 03-05-2009 06:38 PM

Is there such a thing as an air lathe? one that works off compressed air….I’ve been thinking about that, would there be any advantages to that? Since you made your own lathe, I thought you might know…................yoda

View TreeGuy's profile


39 posts in 3338 days

#9 posted 03-05-2009 08:05 PM

I use the wood shavings in my garden, just let them compost for a year or so and throw them in before winter and let them ferment through the winter.

An air powered lathe would require one heck of an air compressor and would be very loud. I don’t think you would develop the smooth torque needed

-- Bryan, Cleveland OH

View TreeGuy's profile


39 posts in 3338 days

#10 posted 03-06-2009 03:33 PM

More picture were just posted for those that asked.

-- Bryan, Cleveland OH

View TheHarr's profile


116 posts in 3506 days

#11 posted 03-07-2009 04:08 PM

Treeguy, I’m impressed. Show me your shop and the junk you have lying around and your work-in-progress projects.

Good Stuff,

-- The wood is good.

View peruturner's profile


317 posts in 3329 days

#12 posted 03-22-2009 04:35 PM

Great lathe I always make my own, taking bits and things from other lathes,in my mind pict the best from each ,legs like the sorbys lathe open head stock, so I can do many things tom it,like pulleys,belts,etc,check my web, in shop seccion and tell me how you could improve my lathe,love the pullies set up,my lathe goes from 350 to 1700 by change of the head stock pulley 10” well if I could get me a variable speed gizmo it would be great no?,do not hesitate in Email me thanks Eduardo
great job and if it does the job for you ,no need for a stubby,one way etc,lol

View jeh412's profile


129 posts in 3342 days

#13 posted 03-22-2009 04:56 PM

Great job on the lathe! It’s always interesting to see what creative minds can fabricate.

I compost some of my wood chips and the rest go to a friend who fosters cats and dogs for a rescue group. She uses fine shavings for cat litter and everything else for bedding. Once in a while I offer some extras on Craigslist. Never takes more than a day or two to get rid of all of them and usually start a waiting list for more.

-- John, co-owner Sawdust 'n Stitches

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