Introduction: Mini 4 Jaw Chuck Wood Lathe

Picture of Mini 4 Jaw Chuck Wood Lathe

making a mini lathe had been an idea in my mind for a long time until i saw someone's. and then i made this by aluminium alloy sections and aluminium plate. but i didn't take too many pictures for all the steps because sometimes i forgot.
this lathe can be extended when you add some module. it can be a table saw, a grinder... and it will help you do many things only if you have ideas.

list of materials:
AL alloy sections length 3060: 650mm*2; 1560: 200mm*2; 3030: 650mm*2 40mm*2 100mm*1
AL plate: 120mm*100mm*10mm*2, 120mm*20mm*10mm*4
motor 220V/250w RPM forget
4 jaw chuck: Φ65mm screw thread M14*1
drill chuck: B16 joint
bearing with base Φ20mm *4
spindle: Φ20mm, one has screw thread M14*1 on the both ends, another has a B16 joint for drill chuck
motor belt: Φ6mm Polyurethane
sliding table 50mm*150mm*30mm
some screws...

Step 1: The Material

Picture of The Material

fix the rails, after rails are for the electric motor
fixed them on the epoxy plate.

Step 2: Other Parts

Picture of Other Parts

some hand working

Step 3: Continue Hand Working

Picture of Continue Hand Working

a skill: when you use a hand saw, you can put a mirror on the opposite side, then you will never deviate.

Step 4: The Last Assemble

Picture of The Last Assemble

the drills and files were my grandfather's, they are mine now.
i fixed the dead center of lathe on a slide way.


Altino Moura (author)2015-03-27

Good Job!!!! Great project!!!

crazypj (author)2013-09-15

What a great idea with the mirror, in all the years I've been working it's the first time I've ever heard of it

zacker (author)2013-06-03

lol great idea with putting a mirror on the other side of the cut to watch the saw and make sure it stays on line..

steelsun (author)zacker2013-06-03

This skill was copy from a carpenter near my school when i was a child.

zacker (author)steelsun2013-07-01

well thanks for including it in this.

hohum (author)2013-06-02


Are the AL extrusions 80/20 stock??

zacker (author)hohum2013-06-03

Yeah... what's that stuff called? is there a "Common" name for it? Id like to look into getting some. Is it just "Aluminum Extrusion"?

AJMansfield (author)zacker2013-06-03

I think its just aluminum T-slot framing, like the stuff listed here: Even if its not, you could do the exact same thing with T-slot framing, and then it would be compatible with T-slot stuff.

zacker (author)AJMansfield2013-06-03

cool. I did go to the link that steelsun provided to the ebay seller.. lotsa cool stuff.
I am wondering if this stuff would be strong enough to use as a frame for a small, benchtop mill?

AJMansfield (author)zacker2013-06-04

It most definitely would be strong enough, assuming you use the proper fastening hardware with it. If it isn't strong enough for a larger one than that, you could just use double-extrusion framing.

steelsun (author)hohum2013-06-03

I think the AL extrusions have different standards in different places. They have different spare parts, joints, links, but i think they are similar, so you can choose the kind that you can get easily and cheap.

hohum (author)hohum2013-06-02

I was gonna ask about the steady rest,, i see the piece in front on the black hinge, brilliant design

steelsun (author)hohum2013-06-03

the knife rest was linked with a hinge, if i don't want to use the knife rest i can turn it down.

Buick455 (author)2013-06-04

Ok, the only parts I'm still a little unsure about are the spindles, pulleys & chucks. Could you post links to those parts or part numbers? Ty for posting a parts list Steelsun :)

Carlos Marmo (author)2013-06-03


jacklongphoto (author)2013-06-03

What I mean as "large" is not length, but width. They have many sizes available in metric, 20mm up to 45mm.
I get all of my stock there.

steelsun (author)jacklongphoto2013-06-03

The extrusion which i use is 30 series

jacklongphoto (author)2013-06-03

I get my extrusion materials here :
I don't get stock as large as shown, but they do have it available.

steelsun (author)jacklongphoto2013-06-03

You can ask the shop, Maybe they can cut as you want.

SparkyOR (author)2013-06-02

Excellent. A little more info on the headstock and tailstock would be good, & of course parts list and sources would be helpful also. You have 90% of a Taig style metal lathe.

steelsun (author)SparkyOR2013-06-03

I have post the list of materials on the page. and these materials were bought from shops near my home and online shop. and they really cost large of my time for looking for.

zacker (author)SparkyOR2013-06-03

lol I was thinking the same thing... I bet one could also adapt a mini milling machine from this. Hmmmmm....

shazni (author)2013-06-02

Please.... While you add the rest of the details would you also add the HP of the motor? I have a sewing machine motor... Will that help? Or would an angle grinder motor work?
Currently I have fixed up my angle grinder so that I can sand , grind and cut while it's fixed up... I'm in the process of adding a part where I can use it as a Wood lathe.

steelsun (author)shazni2013-06-03

i don't think the sewing machine motor is a good choice. most of the sewing machine motors have too much noise and it will be hot with a long time running. a grinder motor is ok.

chuckyd (author)2013-06-02

1. Great concept for making a mini lathe, using modular parts.
2. The tailstock needs to be more easily adjustable. Can you interchange various tail pieces?
3. The rest needs to be adjustable in the vertical range.
4. The motor should be out of range for debris and shavings flying off the stock, even if it hangs off the end of the rail. You should not have to reach across moving parts to turn it on/off or to adjust speed.
5.. Learning to use the shift key for capitalizing will greatly improve your communication skills.

steelsun (author)chuckyd2013-06-03

thanks for suggestions. i fixed the tailstock on a sliding board, maybe it's not easy to adjust, but the main chuck part can be moved easily with motor.

zacker (author)2013-06-03

Awesome Job on the lathe. I bet its as good as any store bought lathe out there.

steve000 (author)2013-06-03

Very cool. Most is available on ebay too :) Thanks heaps

matthewvenn (author)2013-06-03

Nice! Didn't know you could get all those cool bits to join the extrusion together.

steve000 (author)2013-06-02

Nice project!.
I know you put some stuff in the comments but perhaps a parts list with details of where you got it from, sizes etc would be useful on the first page.
Currently its like a "how to build a car, Here is a pile of parts, here is car built, good luck"

Hopefully I can make my own soon.

steelsun (author)steve0002013-06-02

it's ok i will put a list asap.

steve000 (author)steelsun2013-06-02

Awesome!!! I'll look out for it

steelsun (author)steve0002013-06-03

i have post the list. leave comment if have problem

tjk1939 (author)2013-06-02

Well that makes more sense now, the prices I found online were more than I would pay for a tabletop lathe here in the USA. Very ingenious build, I would do it myself if it wasn't for the price of materials.

twotower (author)2013-06-02

Love the idea and would like to build it! However, I did not find your instructable very helpful. I am a pretty smart and crafty person, and I would not know where to start if I wanted to build your design. So yes, a detailed parts list would be very helpful. In your tutorial please include step by step assembly instructions with close up photos of every process. Thanks for your contribution!

steelsun (author)twotower2013-06-02

yeah i think i will put a list of the material with measure on the 1st page

tjk1939 (author)2013-06-02

I will add to my last post. I found a place to purchase extrusions, WW Grainger, however the cost is prohibitive. By the time you got done you could buy a couple of tabletop wood lathes complete. Great project if you have lots of time and money.

steelsun (author)tjk19392013-06-02

hi thanks. why i made this lathe, because i don't have enough space to put a huge lathe and some good micro lathes are expensive. and also this lathe i can give it some additional parts let it be a table saw, actually it cost me not too much, lol.

tjk1939 (author)2013-06-02

Great project! You mention the numbers of the extrusions, may I ask where you purchased them? Great pics, I think I can figure out the rest of the stuff, and or improvise to my specifics. This is another get around to it project for me.

steelsun (author)tjk19392013-06-02

hi, i'm living in china now, so all the materials were bought from local shop and online shop. i think the extrusions are easy to got.

davg63 (author)2013-06-02

what a great build. Where or how did you get the spindle? That is the only thing keeping me from making my lathe. Thanks for your inspiration!

steelsun (author)davg632013-06-02

oh, the spindle was custom made with metalwork lathe by a friend, it has screw thread with both ends for install the chuck.

onemoroni1 (author)2013-06-02

I like your project. I came out well.

blueaxe (author)2013-06-02

Pretty awesome lathe, excellent photographs! I especially liked the shot of all the tools scattered and the chuck in the foreground, very artistic. Great job figuring everything out. As a project it is bang-on! As an "Instructable"? Not so much. :/

MrOddjob (author)2013-05-26

Joen is spot on about the points he makes. Am I right in assuming that this is a 'Build it yourself kit'? If so then we need to know it's name and where to get it. Is the motor included in the kit or do you supply your own...etc?

steelsun (author)MrOddjob2013-05-26

hi MrOddjob, it's not a kit, all the materials were bought from diffrent shops. the rails was made by aluminium alloy sections(standard 3060, 1560, 3030), the motor was an old motor and then added switch and case.

yellowcatt (author)steelsun2013-06-02

Very good work.
I think that your design is good enough for you to sell as a kit.

MrOddjob (author)steelsun2013-05-27

Hi Steelsun, thanks for the extra information. That project looks so good I thought it was a kit, I apologise for that. However it is an absolutely brilliant piece of work, thanks for sharing it with us.

steelsun (author)MrOddjob2013-05-27

ur welcome. because im not good at english so i cant explain too much in the step-to-step. but you can leave ur message about what u want to know here and i will reply then.

phillipnolan (author)2013-06-02

OK -- extrusions, will you list the model numbers or names of the extrusions? Will you also list the model numbers and names of the bearings and pillow blocks?


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