HF sheet metal lathe - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum

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post #1 of 7 Old 08-09-2009, 12:29 PM Thread Starter
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HF sheet metal lathe

I read several reviews that the HF sheet metal lathe was useless, but when I saw it on sale for $85 about a year ago I bit. When I put the first piece of wood in the lathe and tightened up the tailstock, the headstock headed north and the tailstock went south and the sheet metal base bent into an upside down U

Not giving up so easily I removed the sheet metal base and made a heavy wood base of 2x6's ripped into two inch widths alternating the growth rings up and down and gluing it together into a stiff upside down U shape and screwed the lathe to it. To stiffen the headstock, I bolted flat bar steel inside the top of the housing and outside the top of the housing and carried the bar back to a flying buttress of glued 2x6's. To stiffen the tailstock I tap a close fitting block directly behind the tailstock so when it is tightened it does not deform the two square tubes. There was no vibration at all off the headstock but I was getting vibration at the tailstock. I cured that by tightening a ratchet tie down around the top of the tailstock and under the base. Bottom line. If you are on a budget and don't want to turn bowls(the speed is too fast for that) you can make a serviceable lathe for occasional chair legs or other spindles. I made the chair on the left on the lathe and is a copy of the chair on the right which was mine as a kid. You can't give one chair to two grandkids as we all know.
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post #2 of 7 Old 08-20-2009, 11:22 PM
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Nice chair. Sooo, the fancy tools do not a woodworker make, eh?
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post #3 of 7 Old 08-21-2009, 11:37 AM Thread Starter
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fancy tools

Thank you for the compliment on the chair. I believe there is too much emphasis on fancy tools by hobby woodworkers. I also think most hobby woodworkers learn by reading woodworking mags, and the mags are supported by the fancy tool ads and so the articles feature the fancy tools. Old time craftsmen did beautiful work with simple hand tools but they also had the advantage of being able to learn from each other directly as there were so many more of them years ago.
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post #4 of 7 Old 08-21-2009, 11:53 AM
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Nice enhancements to the lathe.
Pat yourself on the back.
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post #5 of 7 Old 08-21-2009, 04:08 PM
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I kept saving my pennies and grabbed the HF #34706 (Jet 1236 clone). I've never seen anyone try so hard to make the #45276 work well. Congrats.

No the tools do not make a woodworker, but having the tools work right helps...

Kind of wonder if you can slow that lathe down with different pulleys.

Interested in my woodworking, workshop and whatnot? See http://daves-workshop.blogspot.com, want to see my other interests such as hunting, fishing, off roading, and camping? See http://wildersport-outdoors.blogspot.com
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post #6 of 7 Old 08-22-2009, 12:47 PM Thread Starter
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slowing the lathe

I was thinking about different pulley combos to slow the lathe but the other day I was browsing the Harbor Freight site and I saw they have a router speed controller for 20 bucks. They say it will work with any universal motor that draws up to 15 amps. I am going to get one and try it. I need it anyway for my 2HP Makita router that has no speed control and spins at 23k RPM. Some large diameter router bits are red lined by their mfgr at lower than 23k.
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post #7 of 7 Old 08-22-2009, 03:44 PM
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Zircon, that might be a good economical fix. Although good tools are of benefit I believe that top of the line tools do not a craftsman make. Have seen some very primative rigs turn out quality work in the right hands.
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