Introduction: Drill Press to Potato Lathe Conversion: Using TinkerCad!

About: I am a combat robot builder, better known as Battlebots and work with 3D Printers and laser cutters.

The realms of mechanical engineering and potatoes have become one! As surprising as this instructable may seem, a potato lathe is a real, functional, and useful tool which can be created for almost no cost at all, and is a 100% original design.

This instructable will give a step-by-step guide on how to design your own 3D printed drill press to potato lathe adapter and lathe (in TinkerCAD), because while you can use the exact dimensions of the one I made, you may not have the exact same drill press or average size potato as I do.

Still wondering if it really works?? Check out the video (Next) and see for yourself.


• 3D Printer (optional). This Instructable is centered around creating a design and executing it by 3D printing it, but because I know not everyone has access to one, so I also included a "non-3D printed solution". I would highly recommend designing a project (in Tinkercad) before making it, even if it's not 3D Printed, it is very useful to "see" it beforehand.

• Access to TinkerCAD: make an account at:, a free, easy to use CAD program. (Its online! No downloading onto to computer needed.)

• WEN Drill Press

• Potatos

• Digital Calipers (or any measuring tool will really do)

Step 1: Design Adapter in TinkerCAD

The following steps will show how to design your drill press potato lathe adapter. Be sure to make your dimensions according to your drill press size, and as best fit to the size of potatoes your using!

Step 2: Create the Cylinder Which Will Be "Hollowed"

The approximate mean of 10 potatoes from one of my bags (of potatoes), is 2", therefore I am creating this cylinder 2" x 2".

Step 3: Height of Cylinder

You don't want your adapter to cover the whole potato! Create the height of your adapter so that it is proportional to the potato and only covers about 1/10 of it. This will minimize coverage, and maximize strength. I am leaving my height at the default 1".

Step 4: Create the Shape Which Will Hollow Out the Cylinder

Drag and drop a semi-circle and give it the same length and width as the cylinder.

Step 5: Height of the Half-Sphere

Make the height of the half-sphere about 75% of the height of the cylinder. This will give the cylinder a solid "bottom".

Step 6: Make the Hollowing Object...Hollow

As said by the title, make the half-sphere a "hole" in TinkerCAD.

Step 7: Flip the Half-Sphere

So that the hollow half-sphere can accurately work, flip it 180 degrees. The reason this half-sphere is needed is to hollow the sphere to an approximate shape that will cradle the top of the potato.

Step 8: Align the Half-Sphere and Cylinder

Align the two shapes in every axis but Z (height).

Step 9: Group

Group the solid object, and hole, in order to create the new, combined shape.

Pro Tip: A hole simply subtracts its geometry from the solid.

Step 10: Yet Another Shape

Drag and drop another cylinder and size the width and length up to .5" (if your drill press can "open" up that much). Since I prefer conserving as much filament as possible, I am making mine .25" for the Length and Width.

Step 11: Raise the Bar

Well, its more like raising the grouped cylinder...but it sounded much better in the title. Raise the grouped object (the combined two first shapes you made), to 1" in the "air" (Z axis).

Step 12: Align and Scale

Align the newly created cylinder, and extend its height so that it is equal height in the air, and touches the ground. For this, my total height of the new (red) cylinder was 2".

Step 13: The Cone Dome

While the "cone dome" is not exactly a rhyme, this cone will go on top of the red cylinder when scaled to the right size. For my model, the length, width, and height, is .25" in every direction.

Step 14: Move to the Top

What is the part exactly for? This part, when grouped, is the main adapter which will hold the potato. In a few steps, the attachment onto the potato will be demonstrated.

Step 15: (Optional) Bearing Base

This step is optional. Create the part in the picture, if wanted, so that the potato can spin more smoothly. It works by putting a bearing it the middle, large, hole - and using that inner ring of the bearing to help the potato spin. The 8 outer holes are for zip tying it to the "base" of the drill press.

Step 16: Printing!

Export your file as a .stl in Tinkercad, import into a slicer program, and print of any FDM 3D printer. Supports will be required.

Step 17: Printed Parts

I would recommend using linear supports, and PLA at 210 degrees to get a fast, strong, and successful print for this object.

Step 18: Drill Into the Potato

Drill into the potato 1". This MUST be drilled in the center, and you can use a shaft collar onto the drill bit in order to not overdrill. Use a drill bit half the size (diameter) of the red cylinder you made.

Step 19: Attach the Adapter to the Potato

Carefully press the adapter (the side with the point) onto the potato. Remember to not move the adapter around not to much, aside from pressing it in, because pressure is what holds in the adapter.

Step 20: Attach Onto Drill Press (Yes, a Potato Onto a Drill Press)

Use a chuck to open the drill press clamp and lock it in. The adapter should fit easily onto the drill press because the size is adjustable.

Step 21: Raise the Base of the Drill Press

Raise the base of the drill press so that gravity is not pulling down on the potato while it spins.

Step 22: It Works!

This is the first test!! And it works! It is slightly slow, but I sped that up after testing by lubricating the base of the drill press. After that, it works like a charm and spins at almost the max speed of the drill press with ease.

Step 23: Non-3D Printed Option

As shown in the photos above, you can use a thicker bolt with washers and a nut so that the potato becomes a sandwich between the washers. This will hold it in place.

Step 24: Non 3D Printed Option: Attaching to Drill Press

Attach to the drill press by clamping down the open end of the bolt.

Step 25: Non 3D Printed Potato Lather Adapter Test

The speed increase can be seen from the last video, due to the WD-40.

Step 26: Now for the Making...

Before anything, the potato needs to be carved into a balanced object. Using a pottery carving tool make it into a round object.

Step 27: Watch How to Makes It a Round Shape!

Use the tool shown to make it round.

Step 28: Uses for This

• Potato has great properties for painting. Unlock a new layer of abstract by dipping the potato grooves in paint, then roll it on paper for unique patterns

• Mass Peeling: Peel Potatoes with speed!

• Potato Photo-Friendly: Make your peeled potatoes actually round!

• Crafts, science experiments, sculpting, and more!

If you thought this instructable was entertaining, cool, and useful, please consider clicking the "vote" button under my instuctable for this contest.

Happy Potato Sculpting!

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