Wondered what you thought of this? http://www.floweringelbow.co.uk/proj...oples-rubbish/ - it is a step by step process of making your own lathe from recycled materials. Has anyone done anything similar. What are some of the drawbacks / advantages?
Any tips / comments would be very welcome.
Last edited by bongodrummer; 08-03-2010 at 06:04 AM.
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Wow, that's a good article. Wish I had seen it about 6 months ago, though I suspect what I paid for my lathe isn't much more than I would have spent building one. Good experience to build one, though, and if you use recycled parts, that much "friendlier" to the environment. I can always dig that.
I personally have not built one but I knew several people that have. Back in the mid 1980's, building a lathe was quite common for the 'large bowl' turners. As a matter fact, every home made lathe I knew of was strictly a bowl turning lathe with no bed. There was a craft college around Bellingham, Washington that developed a variable speed control system for them. I think it was based on DC motors, I cant remember for sure, it was a long time ago. Anyway, every home made lathe I knew of was excellent.
Consider the fact that a lathe is probably one of the oldest and simplest machines known to man. Basically, a modern lathe is nothing more than 2 pillow block bearings, a shaft and a motor. If you were to make the lathe of high quality components you will probably have a very good lathe. Make it with junk parts and you will have a junky lathe.
Many lathes I knew of used automotive/truck drive shaft steel, which I think was monel and mounted on steel rails on a solid concrete poured base. These were made for very large bowls, like in the 18 to 24" diameter category. The tool rests were usually made in a tripod configuration with a swing arm attaching it to the lathe.
I don't think Daren has built one, but he likes foot-powered lathes and has made posts regarding them with videos and pictures. One of the guys he started a thread about is British also I believe, and I also believe he became a member of our forum. I'll tip Daren off to this thread and see if he can give you some input. Welcome to the neighborhood.
Robin Wood is the member from the UK who does a lot of foot powered lathe stuff. He has posted some videos here, after I found one and posted it. His site (and youtube channel) are worth a look.
I looked through that link on building your own electric lathe, I have seen similar and later when I find time I (or anyone) may link them. Here is one I had handy. I think one could be built to do the job, like Tony said many guys build them out of necessity for larger turnings.