Micro-Sized Miniature Lathe

22,020

126

45

About: Travelling since 2013. I'm currently in Australia for some reason. --- I’m Calvin Drews, and I love to learn, experiment, invent, create, repair, and generally just do things myself. A sort of modern jack o...
This is a tiny lathe I made last weekend. The motor is from a small hand vacuum motor and is directly attached to the chuck. It won't work with wood, but foam composite from a sign making shop works great.

The power supply is from an old mini radio TV. I believe it's 12 volts and .85 amps. The case is made from scrap Plexiglas, which I get for free from the same shop I get the sign composite from. The fancy on-off switch was attached to the motor when I got it.

Everything is stuck together with JB weld and Loctite super glue ( I swear by this stuff).

This whole project cost me nothing but time, a bit of solder, JB weld, and Loctite. All-in-all about $1.00 worth of bought materials.

It turns very fast. Great for making small wine glass shapes, chess pieces, and barrel shapes from foam composite.

I hope you enjoy the video and slides!

Centering

Finishing up


EDIT This project was so easy, I've decided to make an 'ible for this... I will be using a tape player motor because those are easy to get and will work better than anything of the same size.

Share

    Recommendations

    • First Time Author

      First Time Author
    • Big and Small Contest

      Big and Small Contest
    • Toys Contest

      Toys Contest

    45 Discussions

    0
    None
    clusterflopnepheron

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    No actually, the tutorial on Youtube is for another type wood lathe with a much larger sewing machine motor, not this micro lathe.

    0
    None
    omnibot

    8 years ago on Introduction

    That's pretty cool. I've been considering a similar idea but with a cordless drill-motor, the motorcontrol is promising and the gearing should give more torque.

    0
    None
    nepheronimthatguy1125

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

     It depends on the torque. Power it up, and see how much force it takes to stop the shaft from spinning. Try it!

    0
    None
    nepheronimthatguy1125

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Hmmm...

    Sounds like the foam is not anchored on the shaft properly. If it wobbles, then the foam is able to move. Your foam may be too long or not secured to the motor shaft enough.

    0
    None
    imthatguy1125nepheron

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

     Well it was hot glued on and I was using blue insulation foam, I tried florist foam but it was soft and rotting, thats probally because it was 2 years old, the insulation foam stops the motor so I need a stronger motor, I might just buy a cheap drill off ebay though 

    0
    None
    imthatguy1125nepheron

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

     tried it, works better but the foam had tiny holes in it(they were there before I tested it) Ill post some pics later

    0
    None
    lieuwe

    9 years ago on Introduction

    i built one, but i couldn't get it to stay on there, so i used hot glue, works like a charm, but how do you get your foam so smooth? when i stop turning it has holes all over the place, might be my foam tho...

    2 replies
    0
    None
    nepheronlieuwe

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Ok, rough foam is cuased by using a sharp tool. Are you using some kind of knife or blade? Foams gets smooth when the material is ground away. The very best tool that I have found for making smooth foam is a tiny flathead screwdriver.

    Cutting tools will only lead to a "pocked" surface.
    Blunt headed tools result in a smooth surface!

    0
    None
    lieuwenepheron

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

     i used the exact same flathead as you, could it be the turning direction? does it have to turn towards you or away from you? and getting the foam into a cylinder takes a long time... i might experiment with hot screwdrivers sometime soon...