View Full Version : Compound rest power feed?

07-29-2011, 01:23 PM
Anyone ever make a power feed for their compound rest? I think some of the larger lathes have that feature do any of the older US made lathes in the 13-14" swing size have that feature? If you have a home brew setup can I see it?

I make a lot of UHMW rollers with a large V in them and after about 30 of them it would be nice to have power feed the finish would be smoother also. I make 50 of these every 5-6 weeks. I have thought about trying to rig up some sort of power drill motor.


07-29-2011, 01:33 PM
I have thought about that very thing. Happen to have a new variable speed motor that goes with one of those Suburban punch grinders. I have thought about sticking it on the compound of my 16" lathe with a couple of rare earth magnets. Then,just use a vacuum cleaner type belt to wrap around the motor pulley,and around the wide dial on the compound. I added a knurled head screw to lock my dial rather than the friction dials that new lathes use,so it would work fine. You might check with Surplus Sales for gear head small D.C. motors and controls. The Suburban motor costs over $800.00. I got it cheap at a used machinery place.

In the 19th.C.,ornamental turning lathes used an "overhead" to drive the cross feed and compound from a belt coming up from the lathe. Cumbersome to us,but could be done easily enough with a few angle irons and steel rods,and some pillow block bearings.

Alistair Hosie
07-29-2011, 01:54 PM
Would it be a great help or not? I figured may having power to the crosslide would be ebough.Alistair

07-29-2011, 01:59 PM
I recently had to make a number of rollers (look like big fat pulleys 6" x 12") in aluminum. I found that I could take an old mechanics "speed handle" with an hex bit to match my compound handle on the end, and that gave me a very nice smooth control that produced a nice finish. The strain on the small screw is negligable due to the torque multiplication of the compound feed screw.

If that isn't enough, then a temporary drive could be fashoned with a similar "quick coupler", as long as the feed direction is always in (or perhaps some loc-tite?). Then it could be easily removed to get it out of the way when not needed.

07-29-2011, 02:14 PM
Having power feed to the compound would make smoother finishes when turning tapers,and help with the tedium of slowly turning the handle. I have spent hundreds of hours slowly turning handles,and keeping my body in the same posture. When I got my first power feed,it was one I made with a Bodine gearhead motor,and a worm drive for my then Burke #4 mill. It was a BIG relief!

07-29-2011, 02:35 PM
I agree with no reservations. I would never give up the power X on my mill, or the long/cross on my lathe. I would like to also some day put power on my Y and Z of the mill, the benefit would be welcomed. But the same for my compound is WAY down my list.

I was just saying that the solution described would, in most cases, get the operator where they want (or need) to be without all the extra work and clutter of mounting a variable power feed on the compound. My approach provided a great finish easily and ergonomically achieved without purchase of any additional supplies or addition of yet another project on the long list of projects I'll never get finished.

07-29-2011, 02:38 PM
Just thinking out loud but I was thinking of using a 12 volt cordless power drill for the motor. I have a dewalt that has 3 speeds and is reverseable. I could see gutting the body and making up a housing and running from a small belt a spring loaded togle or or potentiometer for control with a switch for reversing. I may start looking for a donor drill to see what I can come up with. I also like the idea of the clutch so you can set up a stop.


Alistair Hosie
07-29-2011, 02:40 PM
I have heard of that being done Mike. Alistair

07-29-2011, 02:58 PM
no extra work to clip on a motor with rare Earth magnets,and slip on a belt.

But,I've had the motor for 10 years,and haven't gotten around to making the power feed yet :) Not that high on my priority list,I guess.

07-29-2011, 03:16 PM
I have used a drill for power feed on both the compound and the cross slide. In the case of the lathe I was doing it on, a 7x12 POS, There was a SHCS in the handle that secured it. So I took a piece of allen key and stuck that in the drill and ran it from there. Screw never came loose.