Home made lathe - solid attempt

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Project by Boghog posted 07-07-2017 07:36 PM 2422 views 4 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch

So… I wanted a lathe, but did not want to buy one. Too cheap…
So what does a person do? Make your own.

I reviewed Matthias Wandel’s and Ryan Nodwell’s lathe designs on their respective YouTube channels and based on their approach I crafted my version in sketchup.

Initially, I designed it as a bench top version, and then shortly thereafter I added the stand to the design.
I used 5/8 threaded rod for my drive shaft, with two bearings in the head-stock. The banjo and tail-stock freely moved along a dovetailed channel, which also allowed it to clamp down. The drive pulley was made from three pieces of plywood that I used a homemade circle-cutting jig for my table saw. The motor is an old Craftsman table saw motor that ran at 3400 RPM, so I used the large drive pull to slow that down a bit. Below is an awesome pulley calculator if you need one.

I had to shim the tail-stock because I could not predict how much flex in the tail-stock would occur after tightening it down, so I used some folded paper to shim it back into alignment.

This was a fun build, and I learned a lot. It did technically work, as I rough turned a piece of mahogany. Shortly after getting it working, the motor burned out I suspect because I had too much side-load on the shaft since I did not offset any of the motor weight from the drive belt.

The sweet part is my wife HATED it. In addition, my monstrosity sat next to her vehicle in the garage for about a month until Father’s day showed up and she bought me a brand new Delta 46-460 with a stand…  In exchange for deconstructing my version. Oh the humanity of it all…

So…, I want a new 18” band saw… better start designing my own ;)

Referenced Links: These are great vids regardless – Matthias’ Lathe – Ryan’s Lathe

-- Justin Young, Kentucky

9 comments so far

View richardchaos's profile


583 posts in 1662 days

#1 posted 07-07-2017 08:44 PM

Can you change the speed?

-- “In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.” ― George Orwell

View Ben's profile


32 posts in 1909 days

#2 posted 07-07-2017 09:05 PM

Can I borrow the broken the one to put beside my wife’s car ?

-- Woodworking minus patience equals firewood

View Boghog's profile


34 posts in 1795 days

#3 posted 07-07-2017 09:53 PM

I changed speeds by having three different pulleys made on that jig i mentioned. That one in picture is a 9 or 10 inch wheel. Also made 6 and 4 inch wheels. They just swap out if I need to change speeds.

-- Justin Young, Kentucky

View Boghog's profile


34 posts in 1795 days

#4 posted 07-07-2017 09:55 PM

@Ben, that made me chuckle. Unfortunately, I upheld my end of the bargain. The homemade lathe no longer exists. Life goes on…

-- Justin Young, Kentucky

View NotaJock's profile


184 posts in 2381 days

#5 posted 07-08-2017 12:40 AM

The design, build and story are outstanding.
While looking at the build pics I was thinking that I bet your lathe probably turned as well as my old Shopsmith.
When I read your wifes response I cracked up.
She definately deserves a hug and taking out to dinner.
Congrats, you’re a lucky fellow.

-- Mike in SoCal, now East Texas

View Boghog's profile


34 posts in 1795 days

#6 posted 07-08-2017 01:25 AM

Thanks for the kind words.

I am very lucky.

-- Justin Young, Kentucky

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 4149 days

#7 posted 07-08-2017 11:44 AM

You did a nice job on this lathe.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View bushmaster's profile


4147 posts in 3565 days

#8 posted 07-08-2017 12:30 PM

interesting build and end result

-- Brian - Hazelton, British Columbia

View Boghog's profile


34 posts in 1795 days

#9 posted 07-08-2017 12:54 PM

Charles, Brian…

Thank you.

-- Justin Young, Kentucky

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