Homebuilt Router Lathe

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Project by AlexHarris posted 11-12-2011 12:43 AM 7427 views 31 times favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Homebuilt Router Lathe
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Hey Lumber Jocks,

So I have been working on this project for a while, it is a homebuilt router lathe which I designed to act as a copier lathe attachment. This version is at the point where it is fully functioning but I still think a version 2 is required for it to be a truley useful machine.

In the video I also show a process for dyeing your woodturnings in this case a rather nice bud vase.

Enjoy! Also check out my WEBSITE for more!

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-- Alex -

15 comments so far

View darryl's profile


1795 posts in 3416 days

#1 posted 11-12-2011 12:55 AM

pretty cool.

View SASmith               's profile


1810 posts in 2077 days

#2 posted 11-12-2011 12:59 AM

Very clever.
Are the guides underneath the jig drawer slides?

Thanks for posting.

-- Scott Smith, Southern Illinois

View AlexHarris's profile


92 posts in 1726 days

#3 posted 11-12-2011 01:01 AM


Thats right, I will be posting a video next week going over how it is constructed as well as some other points if you are interested?

Thanks, Alex.

-- Alex -

View SASmith               's profile


1810 posts in 2077 days

#4 posted 11-12-2011 01:04 AM

I would be interested.

-- Scott Smith, Southern Illinois

View CumberlandCowboy's profile


13 posts in 1770 days

#5 posted 11-12-2011 01:18 AM

well done young man…...

View MShort's profile


1757 posts in 2508 days

#6 posted 11-12-2011 02:29 AM

Great Job Alex.

-- Mike, Missouri --- “A positive life can not happen with a negative mind.” ---

View Scott Oldre's profile

Scott Oldre

551 posts in 2521 days

#7 posted 11-12-2011 03:38 AM

As usual, very impressive and quite professional in your delivery in the video. You’ll go a long way, no doubt.

-- Scott, Irmo SC

View lanwater's profile


3105 posts in 2024 days

#8 posted 11-12-2011 07:17 AM

Very nice system.

Does it have any mechanism to controll the depth of the router cut so you don’t take too much of a plunge before reaching the template?

-- Abbas, Castro Valley, CA

View B13's profile


463 posts in 1783 days

#9 posted 11-12-2011 08:12 AM

Very Impressive!!! I would love to see the fallow up. thanks!

View a1Jim's profile


113832 posts in 2667 days

#10 posted 11-12-2011 08:46 AM

very well done so very innovative .

-- Custom furniture

View HalDougherty's profile


1820 posts in 2327 days

#11 posted 11-12-2011 04:04 PM

Great project. Also a very professional presentation. I use a router duplicator for carving gunstocks. You can see how it works in one of the first projects I did to explain how I carve stocks. To get a smooth finish I cut the stock in several passes. The first cut is to rough out the design using a large bit to remove a lot of wood with one pass. For roughing cuts the stylus that follows the pattern is set 1/4” higher than the cutter. For finish cuts, I use a round nose bit with the stylus set about the thickness of a penny higher than the cutter. (I set the depth by using a shim under the cutter on my duplicator) For fine detail a v-groove or lettering bit works great. The stylus that I use is machined to be exactly the same profile as the matching cutter. Having them made at a machine shop is expensive, so to test new cutters I make my own. A block of plastic or hard wax is attached to my drill press and I chuck up the cutter and drill a hole the length of the cutting surface. My router uses a stylus with a 1/2” shank, so I chuck up a 1/2” bolt from the hardware store. I use one with a long shank that has no threads and I cut off the bolt head. The drill press is used to lower the bit into the cavity the router bit just made and I fill the cavity with epoxy mixed with metal powder. Your stylus will be slightly bigger than your cutter. Unless you are making thousands of products, your home built stylus will be good enough. As creative as your project is, I’m sure you’ll find a good solution to making your own matching stylus that will fit your machine and the size bits you are using. Also to get from an out of round blank to a balanced turning blank, don’t turn on the lathe. Make each pass and take off a little from the corners and turn the blank just a slight amount each time. I’d use at least a 1/2” or 3/4” bit to remove a lot of wood to get the blank round. Whatever you do, be careful. I’ve not found a way to shield my router bit, so my mental rule is to never touch anything on the cutting side of my duplicator while the router is running. Thanks for sharing your router lathe project.

-- Hal, Tennessee

View AlexHarris's profile


92 posts in 1726 days

#12 posted 11-12-2011 04:56 PM


Hey thanks for all these great tips, I certainly have a long way to go and most likely I will be building a second version so I can apply everthing I have learnt.
Another guy mentioned using a ball nosed bit which I will certianly will do, it make so much sence when you think about how the blades on the bit are designed to cut.

Have a great day!

-- Alex -

View Rob Mammen's profile

Rob Mammen

64 posts in 1782 days

#13 posted 11-14-2011 05:22 AM

I am impressed with your router lathe jig, your work, and your presentation skills. You are a credit to woodworking. Keep up the good work.

-- Rob, You have failed if you have not tried.

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

14410 posts in 2195 days

#14 posted 12-09-2011 06:23 AM

Great lathe project and great tutorial on finishing!!

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

View bilbaggins's profile


99 posts in 1539 days

#15 posted 01-17-2012 12:30 AM

Excellent project, presentation and finishing info. Most generous Alex!!!

thank you


-- bilbaggins says: The best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago. The second best time is now. ~ Chinese proverb

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