My dad just got a metal lathe. What are some cool things to make on it?

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As a starter project, I might suggest a rod with a captive ring! those things are really neat, and can boggle people for quite a while.

In the future, how about a cotton candy machine?! I've got plans for one up on the site here

Hope you have fun with your lathe!!

Bigbloosky (author)  T3h_Muffinator8 years ago
Can you explain the "rod with a captive ring" a little better? btw good ideas everybody thanks!
it is a rod that widens at both ends with a ring stuck in between, like seen here
captive rings.jpgmetal captive rings.jpg
Hello : I just bought a lathe this week and am a novice. I like your idea of the stuck ring. I was just wondering if you had any instruction? Thanks in advance for your response C
sorry for the late response, my computer was down. here are some instructions

I hoped that helped
Thank you fort your reply. I'll try and make one this week. Good timing with your reply I also just got my computer back online. Thanks again and have a great week
Ethan S4 years ago
I am 14 and Me and my brother (8yrs) are soon to inherit two. But they are old an you can't do anything really fancy because they are manually operated. What should I do?
Data6436 years ago
Lightsaber props. Check out the Slothfurnace for some great tutorials.
punkhead587 years ago
Ironically, I don't have a lathe, but I have many uses for one. It appears as though we are in opposite positions.

Personally, I would use it for turning large exterior threads, and for shaping knife handles. But I suppose that isn't very cool.
tomblik7 years ago
If you are in the mood for a little destruction, you could build a small cannon.  Actually , you could build a large one depending on the swing of the lathe and the length of the bed.  (skill being an important factor as well)
onrust7 years ago
d2j57 years ago
whats a lathe? i think...i'v seen one but probably never knew the name.
how about a chess set?
as long as its simple, because it would take alot of time for a detailed one. dont get me started on the horse either Revo
Dr.Bill8 years ago
steam engine. a small one that uses an electric coffee pot heater for fuel.
BoiseTyler8 years ago
There's a great site with lots of beginner lathe and mill plans called

Here's a screenshot of the site, and one of the beginner projects - a soft-faced hammer!

There are lots of other projects ranging from Beginner to Advanced. Hope that helps!
Projects In Metal Screenshot - Small.JPG100_0059.jpg
Redrockers8 years ago
you could make keyrings!
mikeasaurus8 years ago
A Frisbee of death
GnomeMaster8 years ago
i say the coolest thiong you will ever make on a metel lathe would be a lightsaber
Bike handle bar ends.
one of the first things I made on a lathe was a fake bullet. Used aluminium and brass. then just had to drill and tap the shell body, and have a proper size protrusion out of the bottom of "the bullet part" that you can run a die on. connect them together and poof. you have a bullet. The coolest thing I have ever made on a lathe is a miniature cannon. Thing works great and goes off like a gun!
djmachet8 years ago
First get used to centreing your tool so that you can work for long periods without chipping the tips - cut with a positive angle wherever possible ( not with the tip touching first... maybe will add image later to explain if you'd like) when you're used to the machine, work on screw threads and grooves - they're not that hard but have so many uses. Finally I'd say work on radiuses - you'll learn the fine hand skills that'll turn your work into an art. Hopefully you have some other machines available (bench grinder + bandsaw + oxytorch) for making home made lathe toolbits
jongscx8 years ago
Oooh.. toothpicks, chopsticks, barbecue skewers...
Rings! I make them all the time out of a nut (as in nuts and bolts) and they turn out just as good as ones in the store. Another cool thing is fake bullets
jeff-o8 years ago
Platters for a tesla turbine.
In dobro guitars, there is a cone that acts as a speaker of sorts. If you can spin them out of aluminum and sell them, you can make quite a pretty penny.
Putzer8 years ago
How about another lathe? Check out Dave Gingery's books.
Rocket housings and nozzles.
You could try making a candlestick or pen casing perhaps. Or cup/goblet, except you would have to bore out the center.