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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
What to do? Build one!

Wanted to get into making pens and small turnings, but didn't really have the moola to step out and buy a lathe. What I did have was a shop full of junk, so over the past few weeks while not working on wife's pie safe (http://www.woodworkingtalk.com/f13/had-my-doubts-first-52967/), I whipped together this little pen lathe. Emphasis was on cheap, and looks didn't matter. It just had to work.

Base to center of spindle is just under 5", and about 15" between centers. Still have a few small parts to make, but the pen turning portion is done. Have tons of build pictures, but haven't posted them - can do if there is enough interest, other wise don't want to clutter up the site. Shown on the lathe is the start of my 1st pen, black walnut.
 

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Pain in the A$$
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That's pretty awesome. I'll bet that's just as good if not better than my lil Grizzly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
600, 1025, 1650, and 2275 RPM. 1750 RPM 1/4 HP motor.
 

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Alchymist is a very smart man. Well done it is so refreshing to see how ingenious some of the members on this forum are. Well done a super build. Regards Tambotie
 

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The New Guy
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I've been considering building a larger lathe. I for one vote for build pics. Yours certainly seems to work well. Nice job.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
So far, works pretty good. Will post some build pic tomorrow, if company is gone. Here's the 4 pens done so far. L-R black walnut for the wife, pine, (done mostly by my 11 yr old grandson), and 2 of pecan wood.
 

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No $$$, no lathe, what to do

Very nice pens:thumbsup:. Would like to see some build pictures of your lathe and more information about it. Those are some big blocks of aluminum on the headstock and tailstock. Do you use bearings or bushings?

Ray
 

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Master firewood maker
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Of course there is interest! post the build pics please!
 

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Cowboy up and do just it
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It looks real good.

I wish I had one. :)

Sent from my iPhone using Wood Forum
 

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Job well done on the lathe and pens.

No criticism intended:

I don't understand no$$! With all those expensive toys, metal lathe, mill, and the aluminum that went in to making the lathe. I would love to have a metal lathe and mill that you used. I would go wild making turning tools. I would think you could have turned the pens on the metal lathe using the metal lathe tool rest.

Well one thing for sure you can now turn some more pens and sell them to buy a wood lathe.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Job well done on the lathe and pens.

No criticism intended:

I don't understand no$$! With all those expensive toys, metal lathe, mill, and the aluminum that went in to making the lathe. I would love to have a metal lathe and mill that you used. I would go wild making turning tools. I would think you could have turned the pens on the metal lathe using the metal lathe tool rest.

Well one thing for sure you can now turn some more pens and sell them to buy a wood lathe.
The no $$ - retired, fixed income, like to keep the bill paid. Occasionally there are a few discretionary $$, shared with the wife, who has her desires also. Youngest daughter just got married.

As to the machines and materials, the lathe was picked up for free about 5 years ago, and a small investment to get it to working condition. The mill was new about 7 years ago when I was working.

The drill press was picked up for $75 off Craigslist. The aluminum and brass, etc, is a 20 year accumulation of "stuff", and I scrap stuff out for materials. The C channel that made the base was taken from a piece of salvaged machinery, free.

Metal lathes can be and occasionally are used for limited wood turning, but is not the best practice. Most parts of a metal lathe are covered with oil, and you can imagine what a mess oil and sawdust make.
 

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:thumbsup:
The no $$ - retired, fixed income, like to keep the bill paid. Occasionally there are a few discretionary $$, shared with the wife, who has her desires also. Youngest daughter just got married.

As to the machines and materials, the lathe was picked up for free about 5 years ago, and a small investment to get it to working condition. The mill was new about 7 years ago when I was working.

The drill press was picked up for $75 off Craigslist. The aluminum and brass, etc, is a 20 year accumulation of "stuff", and I scrap stuff out for materials. The C channel that made the base was taken from a piece of salvaged machinery, free.

Metal lathes can be and occasionally are used for limited wood turning, but is not the best practice. Most parts of a metal lathe are covered with oil, and you can imagine what a mess oil and sawdust make.

I feel your pain as I am retired too and on fixed income. I have an understanding wife as far as expenses. She is a retired teacher. What I do to support my hobbies is make gun and fishing rod racks, pens, S&P mills and game calls which I sell at gun shows. I have also done work for my son who has a business and sometimes he has work that matches my skills. When I purchase a new tool I sell the old one to recoup some of the cost.

It's just that when I saw your mill I said how lucky you are to have one. Years ago I use to make some of my wood working tools, such as a band saw which lasted 30 years and than I gave it to my other son. He will not part with it. I wanted to give him a newer one but said know. When I made the band saw I was lucky because I could go in on Saturday at my employer and use the shop equipment, but that is another story.

Great to see you making tool, again wish I had that equipment. It is a pain when you have the skill set and have to have a machine shop make it for you.

Keep up the good work:thumbsup:
 

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Master firewood maker
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not comparing or anything, just wondering .... i remember seeing an old article someone posted where the plans called for using some connecting rods from an engine. for a much less skilled hack like myself who does not have any lathe at all, metal or wood, would something along those lines be an undertaking with more likelihood of success?
 

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not comparing or anything, just wondering .... i remember seeing an old article someone posted where the plans called for using some connecting rods from an engine. for a much less skilled hack like myself who does not have any lathe at all, metal or wood, would something along those lines be an undertaking with more likelihood of success?
You may want to check out old articles from Popular Science and/or Popular Mechanics, that is where I got the plans for my band saw. The frame was made from 2" pipe. Now when I say old the articles were from the 30's or 40's. My dad kept those old magazines back than. I remember his TS also was home made, the table top was plywood as well as the box supporting the table. I don't remember much about the mechanisms. He also had a old metal lathe, but my mother and sister sold everything, that is another story. You would still need some access to machinery to make the parts.

You may want to check out junk yards in your area they may have old lathes or parts of lathes, you never know.
 
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