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Budget Bowl Lathe Answered

I salvaged an AC motor from an old water pump I found on the side of the road and want to use it to make a simple lathe for turning green wood bowls and cups.  I was thinking about using a floor flange as the face plate, a nipple for the shaft and pillow bearing blocks to support it.  This assembly would be driven by a v belt and controlled by the speed controller from a jig saw.  I attached pictures of the components and a simple cad drawing of the assembly.
Do you think this would be functional? Any recommendations?



2 years ago

i like the concept but the jigsaw speed control will probably not work with your motor i recommend a router speed controller that is rated up to 15amps like this one (https://www.harborfreight.com/router-speed-control...

also the direction the lathe turns could unwind the threading of the floor flange *very dangerous*.On a standard lathe the motor turns counter clock wise towards the tool rest to make sure this doesn't happen.

for reference a lathe turns between 250-4000 rpm. Most carving is done in the 250-1000 range while sanding and finishing is done at the higher rpms.


2 years ago

if you can find a belt driven blower from a furnace, you have shaft, blocks, pulleys, etc.


Reply 2 years ago

I'd like to know how effective a floor flange is for this. Will it jam in place under the torque of turning? Or is there more torque in everyday tightening? RegardleSs, a couple options: use a pipe die to put pipe threads on a steel shaft, (may need to b annealed) Or weld a pipe nipple to the shaft. Or turn the pipe in a machine lathe to fit the bearing (if it doesn't leave the wall too thin).


2 years ago

This rely may be too late.. but here it is. This should work as a concept. However, pipe nipples are not sized to fit typical pillow block bearing sizes. Get a solid steel shaft in the size you need to fit bearings - maybe about 3/4 inch. A steel face plate will need to be built to attach to the end of the shaft. Perhaps a shaft spacer collar can be welded to a plate will holes to attach the wood block.

McMaster Carr is a god internet source for parts and materials.