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Thread: Home made lathe

  1. #1
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    Home made lathe

    I was wondering if anyone has built a lathe from scatch? I am planning on using the plans found in a fine woodworking book for a lathe that is powered by foot and uses a bike gear and a chain. I am fasinated with human powered tools in todays industrial crazyness. I think that i have it all figured out and how to build it just need some ideas for the tail stock, one idea is to just buy an old lathe tailstock and make the head stock the same heights as it , but that just seems to simple. Any thoughts, ideas, or pics would be great.


  2. #2
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    RE: Home made lathe

    Welcome to the forum, Mike!

    I've got one in progress. It's not human-powered, it's being built for VS motor drive. All the same, I'm awfully interested in manually-driven machines, myself.

    Have you seen the FWW article on treadle lathes? That covers nearly aspect... the oldfolken used a wingbolt with a sharpened tip.

    The tailstock design needs to be appropriate to the remainder of the lathe, consistent with the headstock and compatible with the ways. It needs to be fairly sturdy, able to handle thrust as well as some considerable whipping (as in roughing out-of-round stock). Make it beefy so it'll take the abuse.

    Another, somewhat fancier, approach is to set a couple ball bearings into the tailstock and run a sharpened-tip bolt through them. A nut on each end allows you to adjust it & tighten it... a pair of nuts can be used at the headstock end of that bolt; you can "jam-tighten" them together to lock your tension.

    From there, you can get more & more complicated until you have a modern tailstock.

    On mine, the tailstock quill is lever-operated and locked in place with a split cotter.

    -- Tim --



    Wood eye
    or
    Wooden eye?
    :)


  3. #3
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    RE: Home made lathe

    so does my tailstock need to rotate or not when the wood is inbetween, say to make a spindle? I have seen some older lathes that just have a point on the end and do not spin, and then others that have an actual bit that has a point that spins, must be what you are talking about. I have found an old lathe on ebay so i might scavange for parts and then just customize the drive system for human power.

  4. #4
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    RE: Home made lathe

    A foot powered lathe is called a "treadle lathe" and can come in two varieties: a flywheel lathe and a spring-pole lathe. The latter uses a springy pole and has a twine or thong that wraps around the stock being turned. The cuts are executed on only the down stroke of the treadle. It works well if a bit inefficiently. The former is a bit more sophisticated. As we all remember from high school physics, a flywheel is nothing more than a device for storing energy. The linear motion of the user's step is converted to a rotational movement and the energy is stored in a massive flywheel. This allows a continuous cut on the stock, mitigates variation in spin rate, and allows face turning because the headstock is driven and not the piece being turned.

    Roy Underhill instructs on how to build a treadle lathe in one of his books. It's quite fascinating.

    Chris Moore
    West Palm Beach, FL

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    RE: Home made lathe

    Thank very much for the post with pics. It will help me design my parts. As to the post about kinds of lathes, i already know the diffence and i have a design that is neigher a pole lathe or a treadle lathe that is human powered. The design will utilize a gear that coasts so that the turning will always be turning in the same direction and then there is no wasted energy by the turner. Never say that there are two varieties becasue someone out there has thought out a very clever way to do it another way!

  6. #6
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    RE: Home made lathe

    The "center" (the pointed part) in the tailstock can be either a "live center" (which spins with the wood) or a "dead center" (which doesn't, but instead stays still but should be lubricated with wax or some such).

    In my earlier post, I referred to both - the dead center being the simple sharpened bolt driven through a wooden tailstock, and the live center being a sharpened bolt mounted in a pair of ball bearings.

    -- Tim --



    Wood eye
    or
    Wooden eye?
    :)


  7. #7
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    RE: Home made lathe

    I seen this lathe awhile ago it is from a turning club near me. The pic might help with your question. This pic are from Kawartha Woodturners. Here is a link to thier site for some more details. http://www.kawarthawoodturners.com/4436.html



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