What tool would be best to power a pen lathe?

Ive been working on building a lathe for a couple months. My first idea was a spring pole lathe but for several reason that did not work. What cheap tool would be best to power a small pen lathe. Ive been looking around and have seen several people use drills. Is there a better option. I will probably order it from harbor freight .

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An air tool will kill your pocketbook on longterm use, compressed air is NOT cheap. I'd use a rechargeable drill.
imthatguy1125 (author)  steveastrouk7 years ago
Ok would this motor work.
Its certainly powerful enough, it might need a belt reduction to make it usable though. You'll also need to add some electronic speed control, although pens are usually pretty small diameters. Electronics though can make the speed constant despite the load you are putting on the shaft.
imthatguy1125 (author)  steveastrouk7 years ago
Thanks, Ill try the pulley speed control and if that fails, Ill order the electronic speed control. Do you have a reccomendation for a good one. I dont have much experience with anything more than wiring a few LEDs with electronic.
I suspect Ebay again is as good a place as any really, though you can find simple "PWM DC motor drive" circuits all over.

Velleman do a kit for such a thing, which I think is available in the USA.

rickharris7 years ago
To be honest I would look around for a low price pen lathe made for the job if that is all you want to make - Mind you can make small things on bigger laths AND make bigger things.

By the time you have built up your lathe and got it rigid enough to do serious work you may as well have bought a Chinese one for $200 or so from harbour freight.

Kiteman7 years ago
If a "pen lathe" is for shaping wood into writing implements, then maybe a Dremel-type tool would be best?

Small, easy to mount any way up, and variable speed.

imthatguy1125 (author)  Kiteman7 years ago
Yes it is for turning pens, but I think a dremal would have way too much RPM.
You can turn them down, although I'm not sure how far.

imthatguy1125 (author)  Kiteman7 years ago
Most crank out at minimum about 14,000 RPM, I just found this, looks like it might work.