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Finger Top on a Lathe

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This instructable will show you how to make a top that spins on the tip of your finger. I used a shopsmith 10er that I got off craiglist but this can be done with any lathe that has either a faceplate or a chuck. This is an easy rewarding project that can be accomplished in under half an hour.

You can see a video of this finger top here redirectingat.com/

I'm no expert turner but hopefully I show enough setup and a couple tricks to make setup and turning easier. This is one of my first projects and I have no training on a lathe so feel free to make corrections to any of my steps.

 
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Step 1: Tools and Materials

Picture of Tools and Materials
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The main and most obvious tool is the lathe, you'll also need a couple different chisels for the lathe, a faceplate for the lathe, a hot glue gun with glue sticks, and a saw.

As far as wood goes you will need a small piece of a close grained hardwood. I am no expert in wood types so I just go around picking up different types and playing with them until I find one I like. I dont know what type I used it was just a 2" log I found on the ground. As chipf mentioned in a comment make sure the wood isnt green, meaning its dried for an extended period. Green wood will shrink and warp as it drys making something that was circular when you turned it change shape over time.

*You'll also need a scrap piece of larger diameter wood atleast the size of your faceplate. You screw your faceplate onto this and glue your piece to the other side.

*note
If you have a chuck then you dont need to do this, you can just chuck your piece of wood.



hosseinkh2 years ago
But very little trouble. Was great
chipf4 years ago
Be careful using logs especially if they are green. When they dry the piece will more than likely distort and many times crack. Also I have been turning for 20 some odd years. Use double stick tape instead of hot glue it is a little more safer and reliable. Good instructable .
Jor2daje (author)  chipf4 years ago
Thanks for the double sided tape idea, Ill have to try it. As far as the wood goes that log had been drying for around 3 years so I think its done drying, or its dry enough to turn but I definitely will add something about green wood to the instructable.

Thanks
sense you are parting it off anyways and you are gluing to a scrap piece of wood I would just use regular wood glue. Double faced tape for turning can be kind of expensive (or maybe I am cheap).
Jor2daje (author)  sssssbooom4 years ago
I would you regular wood glue but it takes alot longer to dry and both surfaces have to be perfectly straight, with hot glue you can fill in slight imperfections, and it dries very quickly.
The instructable was pretty good. I like the spinning top too, never seen a finger tip one before.
I don't understand why you'd glue anything though. Why don't you just screw into the lump you're intending to turn, especially as you part it off anyway?

1 Roll has lasted me for 5 years. It cost me $4 to me that is a good investment.

Hmmm, at my local wood craft it is $20.99 for double faced turning tape 1" x 36 yards. http://www.woodcraft.com/Product/2000390/3903/Double-Faced-Tape--1-x-36-yds.aspx

What kind of tape are you using? I might be interested in buying some.
buckmcf4 years ago
Great work, I love the fact you used such a great tool as a Shop Smith 10ER, I purchased one a few years ago and love every minute that I use it.
Looks fun! I've never seen one of these until this instructable.

Looks professional.
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