Hack a power drill into a mini metal lathe with precision speed control.

I used a couple of broken power tools for the drive components in this mini lathe.

It features a powerful motor and small size.

The speed control hack is shown in step 5.

The video shows a functional speed test of the lathe. There is a vibration from the motor coupling which is quite evident as the speed increases.


I have added another video in the more tweaks step.

I am starting to think that I need a laser etcher to make a micrometer tool holder for the next round of tweaks.

Step 1: Materials

There are some specialized items needed for this Instructable.

The base materials are from Bosch Rexroth. The extruded aluminum base, t-nuts, inside brackets, end caps are all Bosch Rexroth. The extruded member is 45X90 and 14 inches long.

The support blocks are from VXB.COM Part number WH12A

The Skate bearings are form VXB.COM Part Number 608ZZ. Yes I know that these are not taper bearings (ideal choice) but they do work for this application.

The flex motor couplings and rubber spider are from PrincessAuto.com

I used a 12V DC motor from a Black and Decker cordless weed trimmer

I used a variable speed switch from a Milwaukee 18V Li-Ion cordless drill

The rest of the materials are presented as needed in the instructions.
<p>Hi, I've added your project to <em style="">&quot;</em><em style="">The Ultimate Collection of DIY Workshop Tools</em><em style="">&quot; </em>Collection</p><p>Here is the link If you are interested:</p><p><a href="https://www.instructables.com/id/The-Ultimate-Collection-of-DIY-Workshop-Tools/">https://www.instructables.com/id/The-Ultimate-Colle...</a></p>
<p>AMAZING TALENTS! Cheers</p>
<p>I have a Sherline headstock with motor and the column for the Sherline mill... but no way to mount the headstock to the column and nothing to mount the column to. Now turn it into a mill. Ready, Set.... GO! </p><p>lol</p>
<p>what if you welded/brazed a rod of the same size as the drive shaft of the motar? then you would have vibration less operation and have a better look to it </p>
<p>I was thinking of threading the shaft and using something like a rod coupling to extend the shaft. or using this lathe to machine a new shaft... actually if you look hard enough and I was that important to have less viabrations, im sure there are other motors with longer shafts out there or maybe instead of direct drive you can use a gear box or just make a gear drive like they have on the little mini bench top lathes. This is a great project as it is though. </p>
I was thinking about welding the rod on wile the motor is spinning around at about 5 RPM doing very quick heat ups as to not damage the motors interior. If the shaft is spinning around, it is more likely to be flush with the end of the shaft. You will have to sand the new shaft down to size if you solder it to.
<p>what if you centered the shaft on the late and bored a hole in the direct center, then did the same to a new piece of shaft material, then threaded the hole and used a stud to hold both ends together with about 1/16th of an inch spacing between them, then weld the two together and true it up in the lathe when finished? lol Or just find a motor with a longer shaft? lol </p>
<p>That is an interesting idea... I'm not sure but the heat from that operation could possibly damage the sintered bushings of motor windings. Since I first published this there are motor couplings now available that offer a balanced operation. try SPD-SI website.</p>
<p>this is an excellent idea! Now get to work on making a DIY Compound Cross Slide Table for a DIY milling machine.. lol </p>
<p>Whatever anyone tells you, THIS PAGE here, is something a mechanical engineer and designer would be proud of! Congrats on your epic tool rest!</p>
<p>Thanks. Sometimes ideas come into my head fully formed and all I have to do is assemble the parts. This was definitely one of those moments.</p>
<p>That is awesome</p>
<p>do you have any pictures of the stuff you made with the lathe? </p><p>How would you compare it to commecial min lathes?</p>
<p>Just a note to let you know I have added this to the collection: Cordless Drills Hacking for Other Uses !</p><p>&gt;&gt; <a href="https://www.instructables.com/id/Cordless-Drills-Hacking-for-Other-Uses/" rel="nofollow">https://www.instructables.com/id/Cordless-Drills-Hacking-for-Other-Uses/</a></p><p>Take a look at a bunch of project involving odd uses of drills.</p><p>and for even more drill info</p><p>&gt;&gt; <a href="https://www.instructables.com/id/Cordless-Drills-A-Collection-of-Collections/" rel="nofollow">https://www.instructables.com/id/Cordless-Drills-A-Collection-of-Collections/</a></p>
<p>Just a note to let you know I have added this to the collection: Cordless Drills Hacking for Other Uses !</p><p>&gt;&gt; <a href="https://www.instructables.com/id/Cordless-Drills-Hacking-for-Other-Uses/" rel="nofollow">https://www.instructables.com/id/Cordless-Drills-Hacking-for-Other-Uses/</a></p><p>Take a look at a bunch of project involving odd uses of drills.</p><p>and for even more drill info</p><p>&gt;&gt; <a href="https://www.instructables.com/id/Cordless-Drills-A-Collection-of-Collections/" rel="nofollow">https://www.instructables.com/id/Cordless-Drills-A-Collection-of-Collections/</a></p>
<p>I was thinking that maybe if you attach the assembly to a sandwich made of a solid wood+(not-so-thin-layer-of) rubber+wood it would reduce the vibration.</p>
<p>Fantastic, congrats. You gave me many ideas. </p>
<p>You can add some sandpaper at the bottom and it'll be two tools in one. c;</p>
<p>very clever! Proud to be Canadian! :)</p>
<p>fantastic instructions. im a 54 year old woman, with a brain and i could follow and make this, really good</p>
Awesome work! I like the speed controller rig. Have been thinking of how to add drill attachment to my Taig lathe, you've inspired me!
Looks like you have a very useful tool there.
Don't want to sound like a commercial, but a company called Misumi (full disclosure, I work there) sells a ton of mechanical components (shafts, bushings, bearings, bearings in housings, metal plates, brackets, etc.). They have a catalog that specializes in parts used for assembly automation. But, what makes them probably most useful for the Makers out there is that there are no minimum order quantities (you can order one of anything in the catalog, including springs washers, screws, bolts, and nuts) and you can order everything online with a credit card (they deal directly with the end customer). I only mention this because I saw many components that can be purchased directly from the catalog (bearings in housings, motor mounting bracket, extrusions, hardware for the extrusions). Plus many of the components are &quot;configurable&quot; (with the extrusions, for example, you purchase them in 0.5mm increments in length anywhere from 50mm to 4000mm), which means that you don't have to modify them when you receive them (the motor mounting bracket, for example, would come with all of the holes in the correct locations already).<br><br>Again, I didn't want this to sound like an ad, but I think that this catalog would be very useful for many of the Makers our there.
i like the way he says that he doesnt want to look like a advertisor but stil advertiser neverless its still very useful, i mean im 16 yrs old and even i understand it all. so thx for the nice non- advertisement.
i have to disagree on that, I see advertisers all the time and i can tell for sure when i spot one, he never mentions prices or why they're product is better not even a single link to a webpage or email, i really think he did it on good faith, actually i didn't knew about misumi and it help me cause i always struggling to find parts like those... just my two cents...
also McMastercarr has a huge variety of parts. I was going to order from there, but then I cancled my 10W Laser cutter. At 16 i can't get to well of a paying job to satisfy the projected cost of $1500.
I always wonder why no one ever mentions Grainger (grainger.com). They sell all sort of odds and ends. If you're lucky enough to live near an outlet, they almost all have a &quot;will call&quot; window where you can pickup your order and avoid shipping charges. <br> <br>For extrusions, I also prefer the Bosch-Rexroth brand. Especially the heavy duty styles (45h, for example).
I use grainger as well, but mainly for larger orders. My father works at a factory and can do the order through them and get two discounts in the process.
Nowadays, if you're 16 and can get any job at all, it's a miracle!
Not quite... I'm trying to get a job in the Information Technology and other outdoor labor forces (landscapeing, Excavating - which i did last summer, and anything else). And my dignity refuses to work in a large chain store or fast food area.
Ahh, dignity! I have forgotten what that felt like! :)
Nothing even slightly wrong with presenting this information, given your disclosure, and the perfect topicality for this project - more so given your specific examples. <br> <br>For my part, I'm very glad that you did, as I can see that, at some future date, i may well have use for what they sell.
Cool, I was thinking of making one of these mini lathes using a linear guide from Misumi. I was checking their site and the linear guide (not sure if need heavy duty or not) &quot;may&quot; make a decent lathe bed and also the carriage part both???
Misumi makes very nice parts, and they're accommodative to hobbyists. I've ordered from them a number of times and haven't been disappointed yet.
Thank you, just signed up at MiSumi.
We use Misumi parts at work in our designs. Very High Quality parts.
Thanks, looks very useful!
What are the limits to what you can work on with your lathe? Aside from the obvious size limits of course.
I have machined aluminum and copper. I have not tried steel as of yet.
Have you tried steel yet?
This is seriously cool.<br><br>The first thing I thought as soon as I saw it though was this :<br><br>Hmmm... so theres something I can do with that old tile cutter I got from the local dump for $5 - I was thinking of dismantling it to use parts on bicycles / art projects... and it just so happens I have an old drill laying about - now, just to make the time to do it... maybe next winter (southern hemisphere).<br><br>Seriously - look at a tile cutter, then look at the lathe... ready made?<br><br>This picture is from the first result on google image search and is a Husqvarna TC470 - credit where it's due and all
Wow - no kidding. What an imaginative hack! Make sure you take pictures so you can post an instructable.
Hey, just found this instructable, lemme first say this is some GREAT stuff! I've always wanted a mini lathe, never realized how easy it really was. Anyways, I'm wondering how the finish on the part is after taking it out of the chuck, it looks as it the allen screws would scratch the surface, and with even my little amount of experience in this field, they have done the same for my pieces. Do you have an alternative that might correct this?
You could use shims to prevent marking. (Very thin pieces of metal, like paper thin, or up to 1mm thick), which would absorb the scratching, but still provide enough clamping so as to not allow the work to spin in the chuck, which produces terrible marks. <br><br>If you use aluminum shims, they can be a bit thicker, but provide good grip. Try any machine shop for some scrap to use as shims, or buy a small sheet of very thin steel or aluminum to cut up and use. One tip for using shims though, is to have one shim per chuck jaw, don't try to use one piece and wrap it all the way around. It can make it sit unevenly in the chuck, and not spin true, and use the same thickness at each chuck jaw. <br><br>I hope this helps.
Very innovative.<br><br><br>haven't read all of the comments except for the one that mentioned plastic screws.<br><br>Why not just use brass screws?<br><br>I had an occasion where steel screws were riding in a groove in a mild steel shaft and creating an slight burr on the groove edge. This burr created havoc with the aluminum component that slid over the groove. I simply replaced the steel screws with brass ones and problem solved. I have seen very little wear on the replacement brass screws and even if I did the replacement of two crews was much cheaper than the replacement of the piece of steel.<br><br>This situation, I might add, was a component of a $27,000 power chair that my wife requires to make her life less restrictive.<br><br><br>Again, a nice piece of work!
i use brass shims for just about anything that i do not what marked up or try useing a brass button on the end of the screws <br>
Thanks. I am working on a new design that should give better clamping without the marking.
as long as your pieces will hold up to it...<br>try brazing tiny ball bearings to the dimple in the end of your set-screws ;-)<br><br>Another thought...<br>Since this is a TINY lathe, and parts don't need a ton of clamping force, even at high speed, epoxy/glue nylon puck onto the end of the set-screw. or even use plastic screws!<br><br>Or, pay-to-play, using y ideas... that I now see aren't nearly as novel as I first thought.<br>http://www.lexingtonsetscrews.com/<br>
I know I'm a little late to the party, but why not &quot;decouple&quot; the motor entirely, set it on it's own stand behind the lathe and run the lathe with a belt ( I know that's how a lot of factory lathe are made -- probably for a reason). Keeps all the motor vibration away from the lathe and eliminates having to align the motor shaft with the lathe center.

About This Instructable




Bio: Bit of a background in various electrical and mechanical fields, obscure sense of humour and typically willing to help...
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