Building a lathe from scratch (continued)

Drive center

I used an angle grinder on the end of the spinning shaft to make the point I ground earlier perfectly centered.

Now I need something to spin whatever I am turning.

The best solution would probably be to just weld some cut off nails to the sides of the shaft near the end to make prongs to turn the stock. That requires a welder. I have a welder, but I don't want this project to be dependent on having a welder.

The next idea was to just cut a thread onto the end of the shaft using my tap and die set and then screw a "coupler nut" onto the end and grind some prongs into that. But that requires having a thread cutting die of the right size. Again not something everyone has.

Instead, I made a wooden sleeve to go on the end of the shaft.

I drilled a hole through the shaft to attach the sleeve with a pin.

The sleeve also gets a hole drilled through it.

Two screws through the sleeve will form the prongs for turning the stock.

I cut the screws off on both ends with an angle grinder, but with about 6 mm protruding on one side. I then sharpened the protruding ends to form prongs to grab the wood with.

Then driving the sleeve onto the end of the shaft. It's a tight fit, so it needs to be driven on with a hammer.

Holes lined up.

Then driving a nail through the holes.

Tailstock shaft

Using an angle grinder on the spinning shaft was a good method to get the cone round and centered on the drive shaft. I decided to do the same for the tailstock shaft. So I made some temporary pulleys (just two plywood disks tightly fitting on the shaft) and spun the shaft with a motor while using an angle grinder on the end.

I smoothed the cone on a belt sander, then used fine sand paper on a sanding block.

Finally a minute on the buffing wheel. I was happy with the result.

The headstock and tailstock have a bit of play, so the shafts can be misaligned by quite a bit. But vertically they align.

But the main headstock bearing had a bit of play in it. To tighten it up, I sanded away part of the bearing block to make the two halves come closer together.

Now mounting some stock in the lathe...

... and spinning it up. All I need now is a tool rest.

Tool rest

The tool rest will consist of three pieces of wood. One on the bed that can be clamped in various positions, a block of wood clamped to that with a big screw, and a piece of plywood against that to provide the actual tool rest.

I cut a long slot in the base of the tool rest with a jigsaw.

I also drilled a hole in the end, counter-bored so that the head of a carriage bolt can sit below the surface.

I cut a profile on the top edge of the plywood for the tool rest to accommodate an angled strip of sheet metal. This strip came out of the edge of some Ikea shelving.

Adding a beveled edge to give more clearance for the tool and hands.

I then drilled mounting holes in the sheet metal edge. I center punched the hole locations in the metal, drilled screw holes, and added a countersink for the screw head using a larger drill bit.

I then transferred the hole locations with an awl, drilled pilot holes, and then screwed it on with some 1/2" long #5 screws.

I cut away part of the sides of the tool rest with a bandsaw to make it less bulky, then screwed it to the block.

The block attaches to the base of the tool rest with a 5/16" carriage bolt.

The tool rest is attached to the bed much like the head and tail stock is. I'm using a wrench to tighten the nut.

Finally ready to do some wood turning.

I started by turning a cylindrical section, then sanding it just to make sure I could do that.

Then a little more complicated, just to play around with it. Here sanding the contours.

First test passed. Now I just need to turn something more complicated. Also I still need to make a faceplate and experiment with making a chuck for it, but that will involve further experiments.

After using it for a small project, I made several improvements.

See also:

Pekka Svinhufvud's
segmented bowl turning