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Homemade Lathe?

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  • #16
    I like where Frank Ford is at on this.
    At this point in my development,
    I am interested in a lathe for its features
    more than its size. I like the Stepperhead
    lathe a lot. A real lot.
    My thoughts of building a lathe are inspired
    by the Rivett 608 lathe and the Porter Cable
    Carbo lathe. It will have 2 carriages, front
    and back, and ways on the top of the bed
    and the front and back of the bed.
    The controls for the front and rear carriages
    will be manual, and located at the front of
    the bed. Was thinking about a remote
    leadscrew drive for the tailstock, and a lock
    remotely engaged as well.
    Many details to think about and obsess over,
    but my lathe build will be based of cool features
    that I have seen on other lathes, all combined
    into one. Not the most sensible thing, but it
    will be an expression of me, and how I see the
    ultimate lathe.
    But if a little Craftsman lathe is your first lathe,
    you might want to get some more machining
    and design experience first. There is a fair amount
    of engineering involved to making your own lathe.
    Or at least a good one anyways. The subject of a
    spindle and its bearings is a whole course of study.
    Don't give up on your plan to build a lathe, but take
    some time to get some idea of what you want and
    the cutting forces involved to make something that
    cuts well and cuts straight. Maybe the plan is to
    build something and see how it works, and tweak
    the design based on what you learn along the way.
    For what it's worth, I think Dan Gelbart built the
    ultimate lathe, hands down.


    • #17
      a lot are looking at the project wrong. they think when done it is a full on production machine. you build it first the refine and rebuild.

      as far as ways turn ground and polished Thompson shafting works just fine. I used that for my deep hole drill and rifling machine.


      • #18
        IMHO & Not to be rude but the Craftsman 109 is the total bottom of the barrel, I'd sell it & upgrade to something with a gearbox, an Atlas, South Bend, Logan, etc & after learning how to use that & want to build your own you'll have learned what you want & don't want in a lathe.


        • #19
          I've made several lathes for woodworking and wax working (for investment casting), never made a metal working lathe.

          It's really easy to build a lathe that goes around and you can make wood chips with.
          It's somewhat time consuming to build a "good woodworking lathe".
          It was a PITA to build a precise wax turning lathe.

          The wax lathe was basically a metal working lathe but a lot lighter in construction. It also had some features to allow it to generate a very specific geometrically derived shape in the wax. Nowadays a CNC machine would do the job quick and easy but I built this dingus last century. Fortunately I had the help of a professional machinist to make the basic parts ... I can remember his words to me when he handed me the milled ways and cross table and pattern attachment... "Now it's your turn to do the scraping", and my hopeful response ... "Will that take long?"

          Stefang's latest video on scraping has a comment about using Dykem as the transfer agent during scraping instead of water based transfer agents. He said that you would end up looking like "Papa Smurf". I didn't end up totally blue... not totally...

          I would say it would be easy to make a bad large lathe.
          It would be a "learning challenge" to make a passable large lathe.
          It would be bragging rights to make a really good, precise, large lathe.


          • #20
            I built one of the Gingery-style lathes back when I had more time than I did money. It looked like a relatively simple project and I was already set up to make sand castings. It took a bit over 2 years to complete and what I ended up with was a machine that was not really all that useable. It was a learning experience to be sure, but I would recommend buying rather than building if you possibly can.