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  • Sharing a lathe - with a woodworker

    While I enjoy both, I sure like to keep my metal working separate from my woodworking. Wood dust gets into crevices, and it holds moisture and causes rust.

    The 13" Jet lathe I currently borrow lots of time on is in a third friend's shop space, and he is one of those woodworkers. You know the type - he doesn't leave footprints in sawdust, his footprints *are* sawdust

    I have been keeping the lathe very clean, well lubed, and covered when not in use. But part of the bargain in keeping the lathe in his great shop space was his ability to use it for turning wood. So there are two immediate challenges:

    1. Rigging up a good tool rest
    2. Keeping the fine dust under control.

    Is anyone else using their lathe for dual-use?

    For the tool rest, one approach is to pull the CXA QCTP off and install something in the compound t-slot. It needs to be pretty stiff, and a lot of overhang may get springy. I think short tool rests on a wood lathes are kinda goofy - you should be able to turn the length of the work without having to stop and move a short tool rest around.

    An alternative would be to not use the carriage at all, and rig something to clamp to the rails. My impression is that height adjustment is not so important, but adjusting the distance for different diameters is critical.

    And the Dust.. It would probably help a little to try and rig a place for the dust collection system to get close on the backside of the lathe, though there may not be enough hose, and this is not a super powerful system. It would take some kind of long pickup adapter to cover the length of a typical chair spindle.

    Mostly, I think we need to figure out a cover (a safe one) for the carriage, apron, and leadscrew. Some heavy vinyl material that doesn't flap. The motor blower on this lathe also tends to suck air from the work area and blow it back up into the gearbox.

    The conversion from metal lathe to wood lathe needs to be fairly painless, or the goal will not have been met.

    Thanks for any tips!

  • #2
    This could be a challenge, as I would think the main issue is keeping the fine sawdust of the machine (larger ones and chunks can be picked up, fine dust stays airborn and goes everywhere). The big plus is fine sawdust takes less airflow to grab is, as opposed to larger ones where gravity wins. If the dust collection system is too week, too far away, or just too big a pain to deal with, I would hook up a big shop-vac and use that ***

    *** Depends on the shop (home, business etc) AND the Fire codes in place for the area. Here businesses that do wood working need a proper dust collection system with fire control systems, proper grounding, and in some cases spark detection and arresters.

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    • #3
      Dust collectors are hard to do on a wood lathe. The shavings and dust tend to come out the front of the cutter tool (thus landing on your chest and arms). It is difficult to arrange a collection port that doesn't interfere with the operator. I have a very nice dust collector system at home, but the lathe and drill press are two tools that mostly got left behind. I have a hood over the lathe for the tiniest dust particles, but the shavings go where they go and get cleaned up later.

      Sorry not much help.

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      • #4
        Given that you have access to a metal lathe, why not make a wood lathe for your friend? There's not much to them, they don't need anywhere near the accuracy of a metal lathe and you could probably make him one with more capacity than the metal lathe. Plus, no carriage, drip tray etc getting in his way.

        Ian
        All of the gear, no idea...

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        • #5
          I don't do much wood turning, but I do enough to keep my lathe more-or-less ready for it all the time. I use 1/6" thick soft neoprene sheeting to shroud the ways, compound, etc., and it stays on pretty much all the time. To keep the rubber sheets in place, I glue some sticks on the back side. The sticks have small magnets imbedded in them, so the rubber sheets literally clip in place, and travel with the carriage, or stay put when I blast air or clean up with vacuum. The neoprene is heavy and limp so unless I were to snag it with a rotating chuck, I doubt it would ever float up or be a hazard. (Naturally I check for safety before starting up.)
          Cheers,

          Frank Ford
          HomeShopTech

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Frank Ford View Post
            I don't do much wood turning, but I do enough to keep my lathe more-or-less ready for it all the time. I use 1/6" thick soft neoprene sheeting to shroud the ways, compound, etc., and it stays on pretty much all the time.
            That is a good tip. What do you use for a tool rest?

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Ian B View Post
              Given that you have access to a metal lathe, why not make a wood lathe for your friend?
              Space. This lathe already takes up quite a bit of prime machine space.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Glug View Post
                That is a good tip. What do you use for a tool rest?
                I have two - a snazzy little one I made that simply replaces the tool post and bolts to the compound T-nut:

                [img]toolrest02.jpg[/img]

                The other is a simple 1/2" square bar with a slight angle milled in the top. I keep it in a quick change tool holder and drop it in place for a quick freehand tool rest. One cool thing hardly ever discussed is that you can easily turn curvy shapes in brass or aluminum using regular wood turning technique.

                It's easy to readjust the tool rest either by swiveling it, or cranking carriage, cross slide and compound handles.
                Cheers,

                Frank Ford
                HomeShopTech

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                • #9
                  Some of that tubular foam pipe insulation might be good to protect the lead screw. You could cut it into several different sized sections to allow for carriage position and it'll take all of 10 seconds to install/remove. I'd also seriously consider getting a second chuck reserved for wood only. Doesn't need to be a great one since few woodworkers are looking to maintain .001 tolerances.

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