View Full Version : Slow progress on latest project

G.A. Ewen
02-09-2004, 01:15 AM
A couple of months ago I started to build a small lathe from stock materials. Circumstances of late have cut into my shop time so I'm not as far along as I would like. Up till now I have just been making one part after another so I went out to the shop tonight and loosely assembled what I have so far. There is a lot more to do but I'm happy with the outcome so far.


02-09-2004, 05:03 AM
what's the swing gonna be on that thing?

G.A. Ewen
02-09-2004, 09:31 AM
Like the lathe-mill-drill combo machines it has a swing that is larger than is generally practical for its size. As it is now it has a 10" swing over the bed rail. If it works good I will leave it that way, if not, I can easily cut it down to 5". That is a 4" chuck on it in the photo. It has 10" between centers and the tailstock spindle has 2 1/2" of travel.

BTW, when I started this project I asked for opinions from the members on spindle bearings. I really appreciate all of the input that I got. The spindle housing on this machine is easily removed from the headstock so I intend to make at least three more with some of your suggestions. When I get it up and running I will be able to compare the different kinds of bearings on the same machine, an experiment that I am looking forward to.

[This message has been edited by G.A. Ewen (edited 02-09-2004).]

02-09-2004, 02:07 PM
I started work last night on my latest project, a low profile small rotary table.

02-09-2004, 09:12 PM
Looking good,are you going all the way with a quickchange?

G.A. Ewen
02-10-2004, 12:04 AM
Not on this one. I'm just going to make up a set of change gears if it works well enough to warrant it.

02-10-2004, 12:13 AM
Cool...what's the base made out of?

G.A. Ewen
02-10-2004, 12:49 AM
The base is 6" chanel iron. The headstock, carrage and tailstock are 2-1/2" hitch tubing. The bed shaft is 1-1/4" superior shaft and the guide rod is 1-1/4" keystock.

Alistair Hosie
02-10-2004, 01:13 AM
The only thing I would be concerned about is flexing,you may have to beef it up a bit to stop this but looks nice nothing which cannot be overcome should it become problematic good luck Alistair

02-10-2004, 03:29 AM
Why it's HERESY and it's BLASHEMEY. Why if people start to do this! Then WHAT will be next? We must NIP IT IN THE BUD! To allow it would be to disrupt the social ORDER! Not only can it not work, but also the gods would NOT LET IT WORK!
If man were meant to fly HE WOULD HAVE WINGS!
NO MAN can build his OWN LATHE!

You will probably fall off of the edge of the earth or some monster will eat you.

(I tried to think what was said when locomotives went like 50 mph and people thought humans couldn’t survive it; but I came up short.)

This would make a great thread though. Please quote someone who told you that you could not make something work or that you could not fix some impossibly broken thing. Or even better, if you have solved one of human kinds insolvable problems like how to weigh the sun, I’d love to hear about it.

02-10-2004, 06:49 AM
Needs Mass to dampen harmonics.

Looks good. Looks Like it would be great spinning metal.


G.A. Ewen
02-10-2004, 11:29 AM
I have thought about the possibility of harmonic vibration with its all steel construction but until I get it up and running I'll never know.
This project is an experiment in more ways than one. If I do have a problem with harmonic vibration I'll try filling the headstock with lead shot.

To be honest I don't understand how mass effects machinery one way or another (I'm not saying that it doesn't, just that I don't understand how it does). A Taig or Sherline has very little mass (what I call a back pocket lathe http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif ) yet fellows who own them say they work great.

If experience is the best teacher then I should learn something from this project. http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//smile.gif

02-10-2004, 12:31 PM
You know, I've been wondering, why dont they cast lathe beds out of all steel? My southbend is a mixture of steel and grey iron.
Your lathe looks good. Im wondering how you set up the square stock to ride on the lower square stock. I mean the gibbs and other things you did to ensure precision.

G.A. Ewen
02-10-2004, 01:26 PM
For gibbs on the bed shaft I am using the same kind of bushings as I used on the collet chuck. There will be bronse bolts with lock nuts on both sides of the carriage and tailstock to run along the guide rail.

The bed design came from the EXE lathe.

02-10-2004, 08:17 PM
George, the question burning in my mind is "When do you ever sleep"? I'm amazed. It seems like you're cranking out a new project every day.

G.A. Ewen
02-10-2004, 11:20 PM
I sleep 5 or 6 hours at night an a couple in the afternoon due to a tricky ticker. I just don't watch the "T"ime "V"aster. http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif

02-11-2004, 03:22 AM
Oh sure, just because I watch Quality Canadian TV shows (nothing on CBC, of course) you still get more done than me - wait, maybe its because I take more naps with my cat than I really should... http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif

Alistair Hosie
02-11-2004, 09:36 PM
G A don't stop experimenting this is a worthwhile project.
If you hit problems half the fun it working it out.
I am impressed with your efforts .
This does not look bad .
As I said I feel it may start to flex.
I don't have a lot of experience with machining lathes but have done a fair few hours on woodworking lathes.
The problem is that a piece put on the lathe which is basically true will pose less problems than a cumbersome out of true piece. Even if its small it will try to cause the lathe to wander.This can be overcome by beefing up the lathe and it's bench fixings, and the bench structure itself, will play a roll.
I am still impressed and if you find vibration is excessive look at these points to strenghthen it these should help .Alistair p s very good luck I am proud of you for trying this it is impportant we try these things.
As I have said many times when my machine shop gets built I intend one day to make a rose engine or an ornamental lathe ,it has been a dream of mine for a few years to do this,and should I never get it right it will still be fun trying.Alistair

G.A. Ewen
02-12-2004, 12:20 AM
Thanks for the encouragement. I get a great deal of satisfaction from my little experiments and the challenges that go with them. Some work out fine, others don't. I am rarely disappointed when the don't, I just recycle the parts and start again or on something else. As long as I am making chips I'm content.

Alistair Hosie
02-12-2004, 12:26 AM
I still think it will be fine in the end.