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post #1 of 18 Old 08-28-2011, 11:07 PM Thread Starter
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Question Human powered lathe ideas.

My idea is to make a portable human powered (read me) wood lathe to do demonstrations with at outdoor shows where electric is unavailable. I have seen the bicycle powered rigs but don't see how I could peddle and turn comfortably, besides I want control of the speed myself. So this has led me to start thinking about the old treadle sewing machines that were plentiful when I was young. The idea is to make a similar setup out of wood with a decent sized flywheel to overcome the drag from the turning tools.

Anybody ever see this done? I'm open to any and all suggestions as nothing has even hit paper yet, it's still just floating around in what is left of my grey matter right now. Portability will be essential, probably an integral seat, step pulleys, jack shafts, IDK, just throwing those out there. Sounds like a good winter project.

A wise man once told me, "Relax and enjoy life, cause you'll never get out of here alive." RIP Dad
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post #2 of 18 Old 08-28-2011, 11:35 PM
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Roy Underhill featured an episode on just this topic years ago. Check it out.

That bowl was perfect right up until that last cut...
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post #3 of 18 Old 08-29-2011, 05:10 AM
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Original lathes were pole lathes, using a springy sapling.
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post #4 of 18 Old 08-29-2011, 06:12 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks guys, That Roy Underhill show rings a bell, may have seen it but my memory is pretty foggy on that one. I have seen the spring pole lathes but I need something more compact. Found the following clips on Youtube, some good design ideas in each one. Almost time to hit the drawing board.





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post #5 of 18 Old 08-29-2011, 06:54 AM
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post #6 of 18 Old 08-29-2011, 07:41 AM
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I'd say one of the very most important aspects....irrespective somewhat on the particular "drive system"....is the flywheel.The one at colonial Wms-burg is 6' in diameter.Think large azz wagon wheel.

Yes,I know...it ain't portable.The point is that the larger it is the better it'll perform.So,the task in my pea brain ain't so much design,as it is figur'in out how to make the most of....."what's portable".Maybe a metal flywheel out of a junk car?Good luck,take pics...BW

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post #7 of 18 Old 08-29-2011, 10:23 AM
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I've been wanting to make one out of a singer sewing machine treadle. I have lathe sitting on the shelf that I plan use for this however I don't know where in the world I will store it.
I already have a spring pole lathe that I built and plan to convert it to treadle one of these days.
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post #8 of 18 Old 08-29-2011, 05:19 PM Thread Starter
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Wilwood, that's a great link, TY very much.


Quote:
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I'd say one of the very most important aspects....irrespective somewhat on the particular "drive system"....is the flywheel.
My thinking exactly BW, have in mind an iron plate from a weight lifting set embedded inside a three inch thick wooden wheel. I want to incorporate some modern technology for efficiency yet try to keep as much hidden as possible to maintain an authentic look. I may add a clutch mechanism so if I stop my feet the wheel can keep coasting. Trying not to over think it but don't want to miss anything that cannot be easily modified afterward.

John, love the video, I also make walking sticks and have wanted a shaving horse for a long time. I am a great fan of the drawknife and my favorite came from my grandfathers tool collection. After watching you work that lathe, I for sure would rather have a treadle.

A wise man once told me, "Relax and enjoy life, cause you'll never get out of here alive." RIP Dad
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post #9 of 18 Old 08-29-2011, 05:42 PM
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A pole lathe would be great for demonstrations .
Its' an eye catcher thats' sure to draw a crowd

Robin Wood , the pole turner in this video is a professional turner who uses nothing else . He is also a lathe historian , a consultant to archaeologists , museums and film makers .

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post #10 of 18 Old 08-29-2011, 06:30 PM
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Bisco.....I spent way too much time recently in the 'Burg.The flywheel is at the cabinet shop.Their lathe was rather.....oh,how you say...plain,the flywheel on the other hand was spot-on.

Also,on a somewhat side note,was a rather distinct difference between the '"cabinet" shop and the jointers or carpenter's shop's approach to,"a means to an end".Sure,this is a little "out there".........but it was very interesting;the very mild animosity between the two?Not that this has a whole lot to do with your post.

JMO,what one puts forth,be it period correct lathes,buildings,ect and,what one needs to do....in a get'R done spirit.....sometimes dosen't align.And as such,is the 64k question.

You have or are at a crossrds of sorts in my pea brain.Do you go after a pure,historically correct pce of equip....OR....go with an obvious,adaption that perhaps gets the point across better than the former?BW

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post #11 of 18 Old 08-29-2011, 06:57 PM
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My leg is tired just watching those vids! :)
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post #12 of 18 Old 08-29-2011, 07:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by b00kemdano View Post
My leg is tired just watching those vids! :)
Use your other leg
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post #13 of 18 Old 08-29-2011, 10:09 PM
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I would suggest the treadle lathe. Easy to set up and tear down. Or use an oak flywheel, with lead in the rims, evenly spaced of course.

Harrison, at your service!
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post #14 of 18 Old 08-29-2011, 10:56 PM Thread Starter
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Manuka, that is a very cool video and really shows how well a pole lathe can do in the right hands.

BW, when you say burgh to me I think Steeler country, had me confused for a moment there. LOL Been thinking about your automotive flywheel idea, thinner, larger and balanced. My circle cutter will go 24" right now, don't know if I need that big but at least I have the capability without building another jig. I have already passed the crossroads, this will be a hybrid design. I want to attract attention to my wares but I also want to have fun with it. Granted that big old pole sticking in the air would attract attention for sure, but a treadle would be so much smoother to operate.

H.A.S., balancing the flywheel will be of utmost importance to me. Don't need that much weight shaking everything apart including my teeth.

So far I am committing to a large heavy flywheel, have lots of 4x4 ash and rock maple that could be fashioned into a wheel that would hide the big hunk of metal inside.
A one way clutch to enable the wheel to coast if I stop pumping the treadle. Even have a crazy idea of lining the outside of the wheel with a sanding belt to be able to sharpen the tools.
Ball bearings and steel shafts with everything metal hidden as well as I can.
Step pulley setup, possibly made out of wood to accommodate a modern belt. Have to play around with that idea.
Still tossing around the seat idea, can't picture how exactly that would work out and may already have enough weight to keep the lathe stable.
Two piece unit for easier transport, top and bottom with a way to easily remove wheel to move it by itself.
The framework will most likely be the above mentioned ash or maple.

OK fire away, I need some Devils advocates, what am I missing or not seeing here.

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post #15 of 18 Old 08-30-2011, 07:10 AM
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Heres some 'Bay items,for study purposes.Which will time out so view'm while you can:

This is a pretty basic treadle,where the flywheel is within the footprint of machine,vs being off to the side.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/1877-Print-A...item45fc874364

Heres some shots of a remote flywheel location.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Antique-Engi...item35b1aefada

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post #16 of 18 Old 09-13-2011, 05:07 AM
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If the design of the tired, they rest for a bar

ball bearings and 6301 ball bearing,I want to know what is best
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post #17 of 18 Old 09-13-2011, 07:54 AM
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post #18 of 18 Old 09-14-2011, 05:57 AM Thread Starter
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That's a really cool article, thanks for the link, lots of good info there. That flywheel would be heavy enough for sure, but I really want to stay with the wood look.

Picked up an old Cman lathe the other day that will be cannibalized for headstock, tailstock and pulleys. Have this on my shop calendar for January, if I can wait that long.

A wise man once told me, "Relax and enjoy life, cause you'll never get out of here alive." RIP Dad
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