Large Homemade Lathes???? - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 14 Old 03-31-2010, 05:26 AM Thread Starter
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Large Homemade Lathes????

Hey there every one hows it going? I havent been on this site very long but I like what I see so far looks like everything to do with wood working is covered! I have turning all kinds of projects on my lathe for a while now I really like the larger items like post and spindles ect.

I came accross this video on youtube....

For my job I work in a custom metal and machine shop and can get al my steel at cost and could build everything for a new wood lathe like in this video. I would love a lathe that would do any size up to huge like 10 or 12 feet. My question is what kinda motor would i need for this a larger motor? I have no clue doing the metal work is is no problem its just the motor holding me back this is something I always wanted to look into do any help would be great thanks

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post #2 of 14 Old 03-31-2010, 06:54 AM
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My first thought is a Cummings Diesel. Seriously, that's one Honkin Big [email protected]@ lathe! No idea on HP requirements. There should be some way to calculate that, though.
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post #3 of 14 Old 03-31-2010, 01:16 PM Thread Starter
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hahahah thanks....the motor doesn't look huge but im sure its not as easy as buying a normal lathe and just making it longer

thanks guys
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post #4 of 14 Old 04-04-2010, 06:05 PM
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Since you will be turning large things slower, just rig it up with a good set of step pulleys so you can work in the motors power range. I would hazard a guess of about 5hp would be enough. I have 2 hp on my lathe and turn 20" diameter pieces that are short. In the lower gear range it would turn a piece 20"' by 36" pretty easily.
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post #5 of 14 Old 04-18-2010, 09:52 AM
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Big Bowls, check this site out.


"Just because your not bleeding, don't mean your turning safely"..
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post #6 of 14 Old 04-20-2010, 04:53 AM Thread Starter
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that bowl is crazy!!! Be something to see being done thats for sure
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post #7 of 14 Old 05-02-2010, 01:26 PM
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Why don't you just send that guy a question on YouTube email/messenger. Im sure he'd tell ya what kind of motor he is using.

I think I would hook up a dust collection hose on that deal to catch those shavings.

Very cool, I like how the cutter runs on that worm drive idependantly.

Last edited by Colt W. Knight; 05-02-2010 at 01:31 PM.
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post #8 of 14 Old 05-22-2010, 04:45 PM
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you can get a 3-7 hp 3phase motor for a reasonable price used and use a VFD to convert single phase to the 3ph

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post #9 of 14 Old 06-01-2010, 12:49 PM
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I have seen where someone needed to turn 4 bed posts at 6'. He came out from the wall and up from the floor at the right distance and attached his tail stock. His lathe was screwed to the floor so it worked out well. For a short run this could work.
I had a small lathe with a 24" bed and needed to turn a cane. The rails were 2" square tubing. I used maple to make an extension of the rails, and it worked great.
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post #10 of 14 Old 06-18-2010, 10:29 AM
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building your own large lathe - resources???

If memory serves me correctly I had posted soemthign about large lathes not so long time ago but a search has shown nothing. So thought I would respond here to continue.

Not being in a position to purchase a $3,000 - 5,000 lathe and interested in turning larger wood projects, would be interested in building a large lathe.

What are the resources for shafts with #3 morse tapers? What terminology should I use on a search engine for shafts, pulleys, motors, pillow block bearings, etc.

Some one mentions 3 phase motors with variable speed controllers. Is this how it is done on the big lathes?

How to make a heavy duty tailstock?
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post #11 of 14 Old 06-18-2010, 11:54 AM
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OH, wait a minute ............Yep!.............That's what he said!

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post #12 of 14 Old 01-15-2018, 04:22 PM
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Look around the web. I saw a couple of large lathes and they used a couple of 6 HP Honda engines. One was geared down to turn the material between spindles and the other was mounted on a carrier that traveled on a track from one end to the other. It had a cutter on it to chew off the outer layers of wood. It was basically for making logs for cabins, no taper. But the same holds true for making other long spindle shapes. You could even take off the carrier once the wood is trued up so no more eccentricity exists and put on a guide so you could use a chisel to do decorative touches. With that sort of setup you could do very long articles and make tons of sawdust. :-)
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post #13 of 14 Old 01-15-2018, 06:39 PM
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Different for spindles than for bowls. There is a video arounde somewhere of a segmented bowl about 7 ft in diameter that is mounted to a rear tractor wheel and the tractor is jacked up on blocks, The tractor engine turns the wheel which has the bowl blank mounted. A fellow in my club made a large lathe. He jokes that the face plate weighs 300 pounds.

As for spindle work, I have seen a few lathes made using large I-beams as the beds. As for power to drive the thing, perhaps a small car engine and manual transmission. use the clutch to start it moving. Then an old fashioned leather belt and pully to transfer to the head stock.

There's many a baler or other farm machine that runs off an old car or truck diesel in Amish land.

Last edited by holtzdreher; 01-15-2018 at 07:03 PM.
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post #14 of 14 Old 01-15-2018, 07:44 PM
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I realize this is an old thread, and I am posting a link to an even older web page from the Wayback Machine describing a MOAL, Mother of all Lathes, that was built by Tom Plamann:

He was active in a forum I participated in years ago, can't find anything on him lately, his site is no longer live as far as I can see.

Wise men speak because they have something to say; fools because they have to say something -Plato

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