My Wood Lathe Project




A number of years ago (try 33 when I was an apprentice) I put together a little fabrication project in the form of a pedestal drill. Back then there were no cheap Chinese knockoffs and a small basic machine came in a reputable brand at a very reputable price. The fabrication was a very basic but robust machine consisting of a 19mm stainless steel shaft fitted into a housing running on roller bearings. Front bearing was a tapered thrust bearing. Shaft machined to 1/2 inch 20 tpi UNF to take a Sheffield 3/8 chuck. The travel was achieved by supporting the head on a frame that slid up and down on a machined two inch water pipe centre. Belt driven to an electric motor mounted at the rear on a swing plate. I was about to consign this monster (not the old Labrador but maybe the skanky Siamese cat) to the recycling depot (as I now also have a cheap chinese knockoff) when I thought hey with a little bit of modification and redesign I could probably build a reasonable wood lathe from the components of the old drill.

Step 1:

First stage of fabrication was to set up a base frame to carry the head stock, tool post and tail stock. Here is the base with the stripped down drill head mounted on the frame. Lathe bed is 50 X 25 X1500 mm rolled hollow section (2.6 mm). This is the only steel I have had to buy so far. The rest of the parts have come from cannibalising the drill and from scrap that I had around the place

Step 2:

Next stage was to fabricate a new tailstock using pirated parts from the slide mechanism of the drill. The 2 inch pipe is sliding through two welded and machined 2 inch female steam sockets. Makes a reasonable travel mechanism for the tail stock. The screw mechanism works the same as a standard tail stock and is fabricated from 16mm threaded rod as a lead screw, two 16mm nuts welded together to take the lead screw, two standard square flat construction washers mounted on 1/2 inch heavy gauge angle . Mounted on three heavy gauge galvanised post brackets ($5 each) Not the prettiest thing but it works and is robust

Step 3:

Tool post completed and electric motor swung into place. Test run and it works. Plywood faceplate made up from hole saw drive collet that is clamped into the drill head. Timber support frame procured from the local recycle shop at the Tip - $10

Step 4:

The finished project. (well almost). Here are the specifications. Head shaft. 19 mm OD. Thread size : 1/2 inch (12.5mm) 20 TPI UNF. Swing. 260 mm radius. Between centres. 1100 mm. Tail stock. MT2



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