Very cheap homemade lathe

RussPrince

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I'm rather proud of this as I think it came out really well. It's a shaft lathe that cost me under $100 in parts total, $50 of which was for some custom delrin collets.

I bought an $18 drill from harbor freight and removed the handle. Cutting the handle off parallel with the drill body allowed it to sit on the bench flat and level.


Next, I made a collar out of 1/2 inch plywood that fits just around the neck of the drill.



For a steady rest I made a similar piece to the drill mount and inserted a sealed bearing with a 5/8 ID.


Here are the collets I purchased from cachin33 on ebay. He custom made them for me all with a 5/8 outer diameter to work with my 5/8 inch inner diameter bearing. $50


Here's shots of the tip being held in place. One side more for working on the shaft, the other for tip work.



The butt end of the shaft is held by a universal grip. It's made out of a replacement rubber made for the bottom of canes. $5


This is the variable speed controller from Harbor Freight. These cost $20. Works perfect for brushed tools like this drill. I modified it slightly to disable the "full speed" setting on the switch. I don't want to hit that on accident...


Here's a final shot of the whole thing. It's very steady. For fun I even turned down an old shaft I had about a mill to see if I could. It came out perfect. And now I can finally do my own tips correctly! Good stuff.
 
Last edited:

RBC

Deceased
I'm rather proud of this as I think it came out really well. It's a shaft lathe that cost me under $100 in parts total, $50 of which was for some custom delrin collets.

I bought an $18 drill from harbor freight and removed the handle. Cutting the handle off parallel with the drill body allowed it to sit on the bench flat and level.


Next, I made a collar out of 1/2 inch plywood that fits just around the nect of the drill.



For a steady rest I made a similar piece to the drill mount and inserted a sealed bearing with a 5/8 ID.


Here are the collets I purchased from cachin33 on ebay. He custom made them for me all with a 5/8 outer diameter to work with my 5/8 inch inner diameter bearing. $50


Here's shots of the tip being held in place. One side more for working on the shaft, the other for tip work.



The butt end of the shaft is held by a universal grip. It's made out of a replacement rubber made for the bottom of canes. $5


This is the variable speed controller from Harbor Freight. These cost $20. Works perfect for brushed tools like this drill. I modified it slightly to disable the "full speed" setting on the switch. I don't want to hit that on accident...


Here's a final shot of the whole thing. It's very steady. For fun I even turned down an old shaft I had about a mill to see if I could. It came out perfect. And now I can finally do my own tips correctly! Good stuff.

I can still remember when I used to carry a Makita cordless in my car. I traveled for work and would take it into a pool room and do tips right there on the spot. I would just slip the battery in and out to turn it on and off.

It will tell you it was a long time ago, but I'm just not going to say how long! lol

Royce
 

RussPrince

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I can still remember when I used to carry a Makita cordless in my car. I traveled for work and would take it into a pool room and do tips right there on the spot. I would just slip the battery in and out to turn it on and off.

It will tell you it was a long time ago, but I'm just not going to say how long! lol

Royce

Very cool. How did you have your setup? Was it something similar to what i have? It would be nice to have a decent 3 jaw chuck as my steady rest, but the single bearing seemed like the easiest/cheapest way to go.
 

RussPrince

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Oh by the way Royce,

I just got an OB shaft 3 weeks ago and LOVE it. I'm definately a predator convert. :thumbup:
 

Dirtbmw20

Lee Casto
Silver Member
Very ingenious set up. Looks nice. Whst are you going to use as a tool post and how are you gonna mount it ??

Lee Casto
 

RussPrince

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Thank you. For now I wasn't planning on using one. When I do a tip I just manually trim off as much as I can and then in the lathe I use sandpaper glued to a hard flat piece of fiberglass (like an overglorified nail file) to sand the tip down to the level of the ferrule at a very slight angle. I make sure the ferrule and tip are even with 600 grit, then 1000 and then buff it out and apply some tip touch to the side of the tip. Seems to come out reasonably well. MUCH better then I was doing it 100% by hand with no lathe at all lol.
 

iusedtoberich

AzB Gold Member
Gold Member
Silver Member
Very nice!

Did you have any trouble with the soft inner layers of the plywood compressing under the C clamp? If you end up remaking any pieces, perhaps Birch hardwood would be a better option.

You should consider making a platform to hold a bare utility knife against to shear the sides of the tip to the ferrule diameter, and shape the front of the tip to the desired radius. Once you get the technique down, it really is a joy to use a utility knife blade to cut the tip, instead of an abrasive which grinds the tip.

Good job and good luck:)
 

Onecrazyplayer

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Got to say

I have seen just about everything ! But you just did it now. Great job a lot of steady hand work to get a good flat surface? How did you fix that issue? But really great job.
 

RussPrince

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Very nice!

Did you have any trouble with the soft inner layers of the plywood compressing under the C clamp? If you end up remaking any pieces, perhaps Birch hardwood would be a better option.

You should consider making a platform to hold a bare utility knife against to shear the sides of the tip to the ferrule diameter, and shape the front of the tip to the desired radius. Once you get the technique down, it really is a joy to use a utility knife blade to cut the tip, instead of an abrasive which grinds the tip.

Good job and good luck:)
Yes you're right. I just happened to have some small plywood pieces that were the perfect thickness lying around so that's what I used. Plywood is definitely not the wood to have used here as you can even see the cracks from the screws on the piece holding the drill.

I don't need a lot of pressure on the steady rest or the drill mount to keep them in place so so far they have been holding up.

I'm sure I would love to use blades to properly cut the tips. Do you know of a good reference for that? The shaft is spinning towards me which I assume is the correct direction to cut the tip with a blade. But I'm not sure the angle of the blade to the tip as it spins. I can see if it's not done right the blade could dig right into the blade and probably cause some damage.
 

ArizonaPete

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Very nice!

Did you have any trouble with the soft inner layers of the plywood compressing under the C clamp? If you end up remaking any pieces, perhaps Birch hardwood would be a better option.

You should consider making a platform to hold a bare utility knife against to shear the sides of the tip to the ferrule diameter, and shape the front of the tip to the desired radius. Once you get the technique down, it really is a joy to use a utility knife blade to cut the tip, instead of an abrasive which grinds the tip.

Good job and good luck:)

I had a similar setup about 3 years ago before I ran across a Harbor Freight metal lathe in a garage sale for $100. I used a can with a smooth bottom as a platform and used a utility knive blade to trim the edge of the tip and then to shape it to a dime diameter. Worked really well.
 

Ernie eyocues

Ernie Omori
Silver Member
I hate to pile on but that is a clever solution. I would like to see your future
generations of this design. Like most inventors you'll do some modification
and make it better. Once again, a clever economical tool.
thanks for sharing, Ernie
 
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