What is a good quality lathe to make 12" - 16" solid ball

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Forum topic by Chipbert posted 01-03-2013 12:45 PM 1465 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Chipbert's profile


1 post in 2205 days

01-03-2013 12:45 PM

Topic tags/keywords: lathe

Hey guys and gals, I’m new to the forum, just stumbled across the website actually. I am hoping to pick your brains on a purchase that I need to make…
What is a good quality lathe to make 12” – 16” solid ball. Price is not necessarily a deal breaker, this will be used more as an investment in furniture building.



5 replies so far

View tamboti's profile


207 posts in 3376 days

#1 posted 01-03-2013 06:51 PM

Chipbert Hi a few questions first 1 have you turned before 2 solid piece of wood or laminated. 3 do you have jig for turning balls and if so can it adjust to the sizes you mentioned. If answer is yes to all a JET 1642 or its bigger brother. If no find a club or association near you and join, turners are very accommodating and help each othe where they can. If you intend to make furniture components you may have to consider a copy lathe. A light industrial or a heavy duty industrial Regards Tamboti

-- Africa is not for sissies

View Wildwood's profile


2523 posts in 2369 days

#2 posted 01-03-2013 08:22 PM

To turn spheres or balls that size need a 20” lathe like PM3520B. On a 12” lathe talking about turning a ball less than 8 or 9 inches at best, due lathe bed ways, tool rest base, or sphere jig clearance. Same holds true for 16” lathe.

You measure lathe swing from top of lathe bed ways to center of lathe spindle, so on 12 inch lathe 6”, 8 on 16”, and 10 on 20” lathe. Tool rest bases vary from lathe to lathe but also factors into actual swing your lathe has.

-- Bill

View SASmith               's profile


1850 posts in 3222 days

#3 posted 01-03-2013 10:43 PM

I think it could be done without a lathe.
Here are some other ways.

I think something like this followed up with a sander setup similar to this would work with the size of ball you want to make.

I just thought I would pass this along to give you more options.

-- Scott Smith, Southern Illinois

View Wildwood's profile


2523 posts in 2369 days

#4 posted 01-04-2013 12:45 PM

Who knew, electric drill lathe, homemade jig, template, and wood chisel all it takes to make big 12” to 16” diameter balls..

I have sure wasted a lot of time money on lathes, chucks, turning tools, and wood trying to make my balls.

I am unanimous in my opinion someone needs to search for turning wood spheres information.

-- Bill

View Wildwood's profile


2523 posts in 2369 days

#5 posted 01-04-2013 08:32 PM

While many roads lead to Rome and really does not matter whether you run or walk to get there this a woodturning thread. Question about lathe size required to turn desired diameter balls been answered.

Procedures or other tools and equipment use to make a ball not talked about yet. Because no matter method used takes lot of wood to make one acceptable ball.

-- Bill

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