how to make a ball on the lathe? - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 11 Old 03-16-2011, 10:15 AM Thread Starter
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how to make a ball on the lathe?

is there any simple easy plans or easy ways to turn a perfect ball on the lathe?
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post #2 of 11 Old 03-16-2011, 10:34 AM
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Here's one way


Here's the way I have seen most often:

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #3 of 11 Old 03-16-2011, 10:49 AM
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Simple? No. Easy? No. Lots and lots and lots and then even more practice.

That bowl was perfect right up until that last cut...
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post #4 of 11 Old 03-16-2011, 11:49 AM
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Simple and easy. Mount a blank between centers. Turn as close to a ball shape as you can leaving small tenons on each end. Remove the blank and cut the tenons off.
Now make yourself some cup centers for the headstock and tailstock. For the headstock it's fairly easy. Just use a waste block and turn a depression to form a sort of bowl. This will be about 1/3 to 1/4 the diameter of the ball. for the tailstock you need something similar but you need to make it fit the live center some way or another. If your live center isn't threaded just make it fit over the moveable part of the center.
Now mount the ball between these cup centers. The pressure from the tailstock quill will hold the ball between then. Put the ball in there so the tenons you cut off face you and will be spinning perpendicular to the bed.
When you turn the lathe on you will see a shadow created by the out of round portion. Turn this off. If your new at turning just use the skew on it's side or use a flat nose scraper. You only need to take a little off over the center. Think of this as the second Axis. The first axis was when it was turned between centers.
rotate the ball to a 3rd axis which will create another shadow. Turn away this shadow and your ball should be perfect. It never is so you will probably have to rotate the ball to another axis and do it again. Expect your first ball to get a lot smaller until you get it round. After a few you can get mighty close in 3 rotations.
To check for roundness while your turning any portion you can use a ring. I use piece of PVC pipe about 1/4 wide and 1 1/2" in diameter. lay the ring on the ball. You can easily see light through the low places. Turn away the high points. Usually a combination of the ring and watching for the shadow will get your ball pretty darn round.
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post #5 of 11 Old 03-16-2011, 12:27 PM
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Here are a couple how-to webpages I found that might be of some help.

http://www.woodturningonline.com/Tur...s/spheres.html

I want to die quietly in my sleep like my grandfather, not screaming in terror like the passengers of his car.
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post #6 of 11 Old 03-16-2011, 01:48 PM
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I made a jig similar one shown in You tube video out of wood from book by either David Spingett or Ray Hopper. Also a hand held one using a hole saw with teeth ground off, kind of a scrapper. Neither approach worked for me.


So did what John outlined. I needed lots of sandpaper too.
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post #7 of 11 Old 03-17-2011, 05:16 AM
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Two points interested me;
1) Clamping wood to a saw to stop it flexing. Good idea.
2) Absolutely wicked rasp, would love one of those. How to get one?
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post #8 of 11 Old 03-17-2011, 08:33 AM Thread Starter
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well i was wondering why you couldnt use a carbide tip tool for a metal lathe and mount in on a heavy wood tool made for the tool rest similar to the 2nd video?
tools similar to this?
http://www.amazon.com/Anytime-Tools-SMALL-LATHE-CARBIDE/dp/B000N24PNI/ref=sr_1_9?ie=UTF8&s=hi&qid=1300364876&sr=8-9
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post #9 of 11 Old 03-17-2011, 09:19 AM
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You can but metal lathe tool don't cut very clean. I have a carbide tool for a duplicator and it cuts cleaner. You can easily build a ball making machine out of wood. Use the 3/16 or 1/4" HSS metal cutting bits. It's not hard to do. I haven't built one but saw Mark StLeger demonstrate one once. If you were going to make a bunch of spheres that had to be the same size I would build one.
For one off sizes like I do my method (not mine but the one I learned) is very quick. It does a little practice to make it quick but when I do the demo for the club it only takes about 30 minutes and that includes talking about it and showing all the cuts.
I think the trick is not to take the shadow down more than it has to. You want to just barely make it round each time you rotate the axis.
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post #10 of 11 Old 03-17-2011, 11:24 AM
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John Lucas - do you have any pictures or video of your method? Your description is helpful but I suspect some visual references would be a great addition.

jlc
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post #11 of 11 Old 03-17-2011, 04:36 PM
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I can't seem to save the PDF I just found. Do a google search for turning a ball out of wood and it should come up. It has a pretty good description with drawings and some photos.
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