Drill Press Lathe

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Introduction: Drill Press Lathe

About: Working my dream job in the Telecom industry, so chances are, i'll never have time to respond to comments or messages, nothing personal.

I think any wood worker will eventually gravitate towards wood turning. However wood lathes (good ones anyways) are expensive, this is my variant based on the ones from Grizzly, Vertilathe and Eccentric cubicle.




Step 1: Make a Live Center

The only thing you really need to do to create a lathe from your drill press is make a live center, and that's just a piece that holds the wood and rotates freely. Here's what I did.

I ripped apart an old battery drill, a cheap skil drill from the thrift store for a dollar, Out of the pieces you should be able to save a chuck with shaft and a thrust bushing.

Now bolt a scrap of hardwood to your drill press table and bore a hole through the wood slightly smaller than the shaft of the drill chuck. For example, the chuck shaft was slightly over 5/16th of an inch so I bored a 5/16ths inch hole. Here i'm using a scrap of Mahogany.


Step 2: Making a Great Fit

To ensure a good fit between the shaft of the chuck and the block of hardwood, we're going to use the shaft to burnish the wood to size. Use a hex shaft screw driver bit and chuck it into the drill press, now attach the chuck we're using as a center and with the drill press running slowly, very slowly feed the shaft of the chuck into the hole we bored into the hardwood.


Step 3: Almost Done

Now that you have the hole in the hardwood sized, pull out the chuck and slip the thrust bearing into place, add a couple of drops of light oil and you should find the live center turns very freely, Chuck a couple of countersinks to hold the work place and your are ready to start turning.


Step 4: Turning

Because we don't yet have a tool rest we won't be using proper turning tools for shaping, instead we'll be using shurform blades and wood rasps.

Use a mallet to knock the drive countersink into the work piece and then slip the piece between the chucks and lift the table so the work piece is securely held. Turn the piece by hand a couple of times to make sure it's centered. Now take a deep breath and turn the drill press on at medium speed.

Provided the wood did not fly out you can start rounding it with the shurform blade, once it's round, shaping can be done with the rasps.


and yes I really want real lathe now.



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    68 Discussions

    Just remember drills and drill press bearings are not meant for side force. Lathes have thrust bearings. It will work but light cuts and not too often.

    0
    user
    seedoo

    2 years ago

    plus couple home made attachments its really wood turning lathe

    0
    user
    seedoo

    2 years ago

    plus couple home made attachments its really wood turning lathe

    0
    user
    seedoo

    2 years ago

    plus couple home made attachments its really wood turning lathe

    0
    user
    seedoo

    2 years ago

    why not to laid down drill press to work horizontally

    0
    user
    seedoo

    2 years ago

    why not to laid down drill press to work horizontally

    0
    user
    seedoo

    2 years ago

    why not to laid down drill press to work horizontally

    fantastic idea!

    Grat idea!... tks for show your way...

    had a question, what is the thrust bearing?

    I just noticed this and thought of your instructable:
    http://www.pennstateind.com/store/DPLATHE.html

    There's nothing like a home-made tool to make you appreciate the real thing! I had an identical experience.

    I guess if you wanted to turn something larger you could always turn the drill press base around and clamp it to your workbench with the head hanging over the end of the table. Then hot glue your live center to the floor and you are ready to go.

    if you have a cordless drill you can cut pieces of wood quarter inch square then by carefull drilling from either end (if your patient and luck enough to not drill out the side) it happens too! with a long drill bit you can drill through and brfore you drill it out. de chuck it and carve cut and rasp the quarter inch stock to octogon pencil shape. now re chuch and use 80 100 and 120 paper to make you a pencil. finall grasp the pencil and reverse your bit out. now if you fill this with graphite you will be in the business of pencil making with small to no investment necessary. really a cordless drill you can makes beads for your girl friend to sell at market she will hang them from her ears and around her neck for free advertising . pens you can get your bic and make a walnut version sell it for small profit and buy a used lathe on craigs list for fifty bucks.

    I am absolutely not procrastinating any more.  I have the night off and I am building this TODAY. 

    To also simplify turning, cut the corners off the square stock to make an octagon.  It won't stand nearly the chance of catching on a tool and will work into a round much much faster.

    So simple and so amazing!!.

    Thank you. Your creation rocks!!!!

    I just noticed this instructable, and I like it!

    Here's an instructable of mine using a similar trick to make soldering iron tips:
    https://www.instructables.com/id/Soldering-iron-tips-from-6-AWG-copper-wire/

    Finally, for those commenters still consternated and trembling in fear of putting a "side load" on your spindle, I think that's why TUA put a chuck on the bottom, to help push back against the cutting tool. Also perhaps you could try balancing the forces by holding something blunt on the other side of the cutting tool. I frequently do this. I haven't killed the bearings on my little drill press yet. Knock on steel.

    coppertips-16-forces.png