View Full Version : plans sought for ball turning lathe attachment

Alistair Hosie
05-23-2006, 12:49 PM
I would like to see plans of a decent ball turning device to be installed in a lathe .I want this as a project to do myself .I was impressed with the ones shown recently especialy the simple one but does anyone have any decent ones with even a simple plan that I could print and take with me thanks in advance Alistair

05-23-2006, 12:59 PM
Here's the one I copied. http://www.bedair.org/Ball/ball.html It has free .pdf plans as well.

Bill Pace
05-23-2006, 01:51 PM
I had looked at several ball turner versions and when I saw Steve Bedairs version, decided that was the one I liked best. I built it and it turned out very nice, ---not overly difficult to construct, with a functional result.

05-23-2006, 02:29 PM
I made one like the Steve Bedairs version and it turned out just fine. Another one I found and plan on building is at this web site: http://homepage3.nifty.com/amigos/index-e.html It's the number 33 project and he calles it a "Round Cutting Tool" Taka look there are drawings.

05-23-2006, 02:36 PM
Hi Alistair,

This should be one of the simplest projects to build, although rigidity is the watch word. You need a very robust pivot at the bottom, and a large stable toolholder.

That's the whole design. You move the tool in and out to set the radius of the ball. Then you rotate the toolholder about the pivot to make the cut. (You have to turn the lathe on :D)

05-23-2006, 03:04 PM
Not sure if I did the link right, but I also copied Steve Bedair's design with a few modifications:


This was my first machining project and it turned out very well so it must not be too difficult to do.

Cadwiz in La

Tin Falcon
05-23-2006, 03:04 PM
Alistair: Greetings this is a subject that has virtualy been beat to death over the years. Seems like there are 27 variation of the ball turing tool kinda like the QC tool holder. Anyway here is another link to a classic design have fun.
BTW this is a project that is has been on my to do list for some time.
Tin Falcon

05-23-2006, 06:17 PM
This is my current project too!
I'm watching with interest & appreciation.
As a relative latecomer to machining for my own purposes I've only been looking seriously for the last year or so to get my home shop together.
I have to say that as with any subject you can't stop teaching the basics because your pupils have got them down pat, there'll be another bunch of newbies along any minute ;-)
I'd like to thank all you old hands for your patience in answering questions each time they come up and I'd like you to encourage you to continue doing so, you are helping more people than you know,
Thanks Guys!

05-24-2006, 10:27 AM
Jerry Howell has inexpensive ($11) plans for a pretty decent dovetailed ball/radius turning tool:


I built one and modified it for a 12x36 Craftsman lathe, but need to modify it for the Clausing lathe I have now. That's not a high priority as the only thing it was ever used for was to turn the ball on the handle for the turner itself <g>.


Shuswap Pat
05-24-2006, 02:43 PM
I just built one, that uses a small boring head to adjust the tool, and the diameter of the ball. It works slick, for balls up to about 2" dia. I will try and find the link, and post it.
I have used ones in the past to make 8 1/2" 4340 balls for a Letourneu Log Loader, and 5" 316 stainless balls for difusion washers in pulp mills.


05-24-2006, 02:55 PM
Here's another neat design utilizing a dovetail feature:


I have not built one, but It looks like a very good design. You should be able to get copies of the drawings.

Alistair Hosie
05-24-2006, 03:41 PM
I think with my lathes topslide I will need one that fits in my quick change toolholder .what about this one for design on ebay.Alistair

05-24-2006, 04:04 PM
FWIW here's the radius turning attachment I made long ago. It was inspired by the commercially made Holdridge unit. (Actually, just pictures in a catalog.) Same principle as the Jay Tuckerwood design in Tin Falcon's post. It works well enough that I probably won't replace it with another design, but I've seen several much more elegant designs on this forum.


Shuswap Pat
05-24-2006, 04:36 PM
Have a look at these two links. There are some good ideas here.



Alistair Hosie
05-25-2006, 07:28 AM
hey guys someone put me out of my misery I have been tring to fathem how to fit the round base types to my lathe I can understand the toolpost models easily but my topslide does not have slots just a bolt through the tool holder any ideas it does not seem to show this in the plans unless I have missed it thanks guys Alistair

05-25-2006, 08:25 AM
the top slide is removed for a ball cutter.
it goes on to where the top slide swivels .

you make one that goes onto the tool post and the max capacity of it will be something like a half inch ball !!!

all the best.mark

Alistair Hosie
05-25-2006, 09:02 AM
thanks Mark. gotya Alistair

05-25-2006, 05:09 PM
In additon to the unit that replaces the compound I mad this one that fits the boring tool holder


05-28-2006, 01:21 PM
You can turn a ball by loosening the top slide and turning it,with the tool set at the right distance from the work centerline.

Tin Falcon
05-28-2006, 04:25 PM
Allistair : was checking through the stacks of old magazines. The Aug/Sept 2001 Machinist Workshop had a ball turingtool plans similar to the other link I posted. this one is a little heavier duty and is designed for a QC tool holder. It will do a 3" diameter in 304 stainless. The design was by mike hoff. The folks at villiagepress should be able to provide some sort of copy, reprint or back issue.

06-01-2006, 12:12 PM
This post is to work around the date stamp problem and will throw the post off the top of the list.