Author Options:

Does anyone know of a compound slide for a metal lathe which is also capable of precise ball turning? Answered

I have recently become interested in machining metal, and I am now looking at lathes to buy. However, the lathe I want does not come with a compound slide, which I consider to be a necessity for the types of things I want to make. Another necessity is a ball turner. Is there a compound slide with ball turning capability? If possible, I would like it to be able to cut convex and concave and also to use a small winding handle to control it's angle (like it uses to control cutting depth and position).

I have considered making my own, as I know I am unlikely to find something that exact, but milling isn't an option - I don't have access to a mill or the knowledge of how to use one.

I am willing to accept a quote for a custom made one, although my budget is limited (I'm 15).

4 Replies

Dark Solar (author)2010-11-29

There are some minor modifications you can make to any lathe that will allow for convex and concave machining  --all of which can be done using the lathe, some mild rod stock, dial caliper and a center punch.  I'm looking for the illustration now; if no luck finding, I'll post a sketch of the apparatus.

Further, the modifications you make to turn concavities can afterwards be used to make the accessories necessary to turn balls.  Again, if I can't find the proper illustration, I'll post a sketch.

Have to agree with Steve--the compound cross-slide is the heart of a metal-lathe.  Finding a manual unit without one is a good indication that someone likely did something awful to the machine and is looking to sell their mistake to someone else.

Select as Best AnswerUndo Best Answer

Dark Solar (author)Dark Solar2010-11-29

Incidentally, at the site rickharris mentioned there's a very good example of one way to go about doing what you're after but, without a way to mill, it would likely be out of range for someone just getting set up.  Nice accessory though...I'm a little jealous.

Select as Best AnswerUndo Best Answer

steveastrouk (author)2010-10-02

A lathe without a compound top slide, unless its a CNC isn't worth buying.

In 30 years of turning, I've never needed to turn balls.


Select as Best AnswerUndo Best Answer

rickharris (author)2010-10-02

You need to be here  to improve your knowledge - there is quite a bit to metal working in general and ball turning in particular - idt depends on how big and what you want them for -

This subject is well covered including how to make to necessary tools on that site.

Select as Best AnswerUndo Best Answer