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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).


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.

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.

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.


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.