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Building a Lathe, need some ideas.

by BigJon
posted 05-22-2017 01:58 PM


36 replies so far

View Nubsnstubs's profile

Nubsnstubs

1808 posts in 3010 days


#1 posted 05-22-2017 02:37 PM

I was going to build a 32” lathe just 2 years ago, but fell into a 20” Powermatic. So, my plan went out the window.

I would guess the material is all 6×6 tubing for the legs and headstock, and 8”channel for the ways. If it is 6×6, it doesn’t look like you have enough spread between bears to support the load you will encounter for the capacity you’re going for.

Where is REO when he’s needed? He’s much better at this than me…....... Jerry (in Tucson)

-- Jerry (in Tucson) www.woodturnerstools.com

View SignWave's profile

SignWave

472 posts in 4315 days


#2 posted 05-22-2017 03:07 PM

Some thoughts in no particular order, some of which are addressing your question and some of which are not…

If you could salvage a treadmill motor, you could get the HF lathe working again but with added variable speed drive. You seem to have the skill to make the mounting brackets for mounting one. Although the lathe is limited size for bowl diameter, it would work well for spindle work.

Have you looked inside the tailstock on your HF lathe? I just took mine apart, and it’s a pretty simple design. The only thing that I’d have an issue with is the female MT2, but other than that, it’s pretty straightforward. Should be pretty easy to duplicate the design, but larger. I’d probably buy (or salvage) the part with the taper and use steel tubing to hold it.

Having said all that, I suspect that spindle turning on a lathe with a 38” swing will be disappointing. That large a diameter puts the tool rest, headstock, and tailstock very far from the base support. You’d really have to over-engineer the base to be able to hold everything without getting vibrations and chatter that will be hard to remove from the workpiece. Anything is possible, but leverage is not on your side.

If you’re determined to make this work, then you should probably rethink the design of the base a bit. The way you show it in the photo, torsional stability may be an issue in the base. If you weld the rails to a pipe, like Robust and OneWay do, then it will resist torsional stress better. I don’t mean to say that you’ll have trouble holding the piece, but rather that vibrations may show up in your workpiece as chatter.

I look forward to watching your progress. I’d really like to see how this works out for you.

-- Barry, http://BarrysWorkshop.com/

View BigJon's profile

BigJon

52 posts in 3289 days


#3 posted 05-22-2017 03:33 PM

Thanks! All genuine concerns that im working through. Correct on the steel sizes. The ways will be spaced further apart and bridged internally.

All the tubing will be capped and filled with sand for a little more dampening.

Agreed it will not be spindle work friendly. Most likely will become a bowl lathe.

I don’t really have the space for another lathe and I am seriously thinking about fixing the HF and attaching to the big one as a swing away setup:) lol

Odds of me turning alot of 36 or so inch stuff is probably slim, mostly 18 to 12 I expect…but minus the VFD and odd and ends I will have no cost other than my welding rods and time. That said I have never touched a tool to anything over 24 and truly loved turning on that big hunk of wood.

Stay tuned as I venture into this for I am determined.

-- Im bleeding, go get my super glue and roll of black tape....

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BigJon

52 posts in 3289 days


#4 posted 05-22-2017 03:48 PM

As for the feet spacing. The 6×6 running adjacent from the ways is 36” wide. Feet will be 34”centered.

-- Im bleeding, go get my super glue and roll of black tape....

View Woodknack's profile

Woodknack

13585 posts in 3660 days


#5 posted 05-22-2017 04:09 PM

Rather then buy a lathe and chop it up, just buy the parts from Grizzly. Their parts are cheap and I’ve known of people who bought spindles or arbors from them for homemade machines.

-- Rick M, http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

View Wildwood's profile

Wildwood

2959 posts in 3415 days


#6 posted 05-22-2017 08:12 PM

Hard to find people to buy bowls much bigger than 12 to 14 inches. All about storing when not in use. So unless going to be turning tree stumps not sure need that much swing. You will need heavy lift capability just to mount the really big stuff.

James R. Johnson, turned pieces up to 48” in diameter on his home made lathe. That piece weight over 850 pounds. Ed Moulthrop also turned some pretty big pieces before he died, now his son and grandson turn on his homemade lathe. Think will find their pieces sell for lots of money.

http://dailytimes.com/image_5014953e-1ca8-11e3-adac-0019bb2963f4.html

http://moulthropstudios.com/ed_works.html

Ed Moulthrop’s grandson, now he’s grown and married!

https://www.google.com/search?site=&tbm=isch&source=hp&biw=1097&bih=550&q=jamesr.+johnson%27s+woodturnings&oq=jamesr.+johnson%27s+woodturnings&gs_l=img.3...3742.19479.0.19919.34.30.2.0.0.0.507.4581.0j16j2j1j1j1.21.0....0...1.1.64.img..11.6.1183...0j0i10k1.JBUVTmf--P4#tbm=isch&q=extra+large+wood+turnings+by+ed+moulthrop&imgrc=Eo-6yy6djTYK7M:&spf=1495483227771

-- Bill

View REO's profile

REO

929 posts in 3354 days


#7 posted 05-22-2017 09:28 PM

internal bracing may be inadequate even with the ways spread further apart. Ship and car channel would be a better choice. add a support of the 6” tube under the ways with spacers to the way channels to allow blowing the sawdust out between to stiffen the ways. Buy a tailstock from ebay and make a riser block. double up on the headstock vertical. make the spindle 1 1/2” -8 a common spindle thread as well. I know you will have to make bearing plates but it is worth it to run a bigger bearing (2”)Even with a 5 hp vfd to get slow woth power you will want mechanical reduction (jack shaft) and for running in the basement speeds use a chain drive for a final drive that wont slip. then design for running direct with a belt for higher speeds.

The doubling on this is for a different purpose. yours would need to extend at least 3/4 the way to the floor to help stabilize the column. The cog drive on the front is for an oval turning attachment it is bolted in place and doesn’t turn. the bearing is mounted inside the tube in this case. 8” square tube.

View Nubsnstubs's profile

Nubsnstubs

1808 posts in 3010 days


#8 posted 05-23-2017 12:14 AM


I was going to build a 32” lathe just 2 years ago, but fell into a 20” Powermatic. So, my plan went out the window.

I would guess the material is all 6×6 tubing for the legs and headstock, and 8”channel for the ways. If it is 6×6, it doesn t look like you have enough spread between bears to support the load you will encounter for the capacity you re going for.

Where is REO when he s needed? He s much better at this than me…....... Jerry (in Tucson)

- Nubsnstubs

Damn, I spent about 30 minutes typing and editing what you see above to make me sound intelligent, but after 10 1/2 hours, I go back and read the replies. Doesn’t look like I looked too intelligent. . I hope all you guys here are smart enough to be able to tell the difference between bears and bearings. Sorry about that.

Hey REO, I see you made it. Good advice. ........... Jerry (in Tucson)

-- Jerry (in Tucson) www.woodturnerstools.com

View Jack Lewis's profile

Jack Lewis

576 posts in 2358 days


#9 posted 05-23-2017 12:49 AM

I have and would suggest rethinking the Grizzly g0766 tail stock. Mine is difficult when trying to remove the live center and only has about 1 3/4 inch of travel because the MT doesn;t seat until the tail is out 1/4 to 1/2inch. It is also tight turning at the beginning and end of travel. Perhaps the g0800 tail stock is better. Consider turning outboard on something that big to reduce the requirements needed for spindle turning. Just MHO

-- "PLUMBER'S BUTT! Get over it, everybody has one"

View BigJon's profile

BigJon

52 posts in 3289 days


#10 posted 05-23-2017 11:40 AM



internal bracing may be inadequate even with the ways spread further apart. Ship and car channel would be a better choice. add a support of the 6” tube under the ways with spacers to the way channels to allow blowing the sawdust out between to stiffen the ways. Buy a tailstock from ebay and make a riser block. double up on the headstock vertical. make the spindle 1 1/2” -8 a common spindle thread as well. I know you will have to make bearing plates but it is worth it to run a bigger bearing (2”)Even with a 5 hp vfd to get slow woth power you will want mechanical reduction (jack shaft) and for running in the basement speeds use a chain drive for a final drive that wont slip. then design for running direct with a belt for higher speeds.

The doubling on this is for a different purpose. yours would need to extend at least 3/4 the way to the floor to help stabilize the column. The cog drive on the front is for an oval turning attachment it is bolted in place and doesn t turn. the bearing is mounted inside the tube in this case. 8” square tube.

- REO

Excellent points. Doubling up on the head stock length is a good idea. I am going to give the 1 7/16” bearings a shot. As they are labeled heavy duty on Applied’s website. Since what i have is free i will run them until they let go and search for some larger stuff in the mean time. i probably will get away from the flange bearings when i replace them and reconfigure for 2” pillow blocks.

Unfortunately I do not have enough “6 to put under my channel, right now. Looks like you have angle scabbed on the side? Whats the swing on that lathe?

I have considered making the lathe 2 speed and cutting the Spindle RPM in half using pulleys. My VFD and motor are both constant torque. With a 1800 RPM motor and 1:1 i should be able to run 35RPM at full torque….My calculations could be off but my Electrical Engineer in the family says its will work. I am skeptical.

For the most part I am going to continue the way I am going. Get it up and running and see what happens. The experience and knowledge i gain starting off a little light may help me in the future.

-- Im bleeding, go get my super glue and roll of black tape....

View REO's profile

REO

929 posts in 3354 days


#11 posted 05-23-2017 11:01 PM

That’s an 8” w beam for the front way and a 4” w beam in the rear. They are tied together in between. Here is a you tube vid on it.

Itll do stuff like this.

Inboard its 22” swing over the cross slide plate. out board ? depends on what I need.

View REO's profile

REO

929 posts in 3354 days


#12 posted 05-24-2017 02:34 AM

View Woodknack's profile

Woodknack

13585 posts in 3660 days


#13 posted 05-24-2017 04:56 AM

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REO

929 posts in 3354 days


#14 posted 05-24-2017 10:58 AM

Thanks Rick

View BigJon's profile

BigJon

52 posts in 3289 days


#15 posted 06-01-2017 04:41 PM

While waiting on odds and ends to arrive i went ahead and made my Banjo today. Base is 2 pieces of 2”X1” solid stock. Post is solid 2” with a 3.5” deep 1” diameter hole for the tool rest. I welded the 2 pieces of bar stock together and then machined them dead flat on both sides. Its beefy to say the least, however its well polished and glides easily across the bed of my mill. I wasn’t sure how tall to make to make it compared to spindle height, so i guessed and made it 3” below center. I will probably will end up making my own rests anyways so no biggie if the store bought ones wont work out… Off to a good start i think.

-- Im bleeding, go get my super glue and roll of black tape....

View Gilley23's profile

Gilley23

489 posts in 1662 days


#16 posted 06-01-2017 05:03 PM

Looking good, keep the pictures coming!

View Nubsnstubs's profile

Nubsnstubs

1808 posts in 3010 days


#17 posted 06-01-2017 05:10 PM

Jon, looks like you’re off to a good start on the banjo. If that’s a sample of your welding, I’m envious. You might want to think about drilling a cross hole at the bottom of the 1” hole to release any debris that might build up and cause tool rest issues in the future.

Since you are building your own banjo, and tool rests for a lathe that has a 38” swing, why are you sticking with a 1” post on the tool rest? It seems like that will be your weakest point turning something that large. You’re going to have at a very minimum of 14-16” tool rest top bar overhanging the post, and that seems like you’re setting yourself up for a lot of vibration. I’m not an real engineer, just a Combat Engineer from Army days, but your tool rest post at 1” seems somewhat wimpy.
This might be something to think about, and if I’m wrong, chastise me later. .................. Jerry (in Tucson)

If this banjo is not for the 38”, then you’re probably good to go…... ...........

-- Jerry (in Tucson) www.woodturnerstools.com

View Kaleb the Swede's profile

Kaleb the Swede

1986 posts in 3249 days


#18 posted 06-01-2017 05:28 PM

Well this is going to be interesting! Keep this coming. I’ve wanted to do this myself

-- Just trying to build something beautiful

View SignWave's profile

SignWave

472 posts in 4315 days


#19 posted 06-01-2017 05:34 PM

2” solid is certainly strong. Still, I think some gussets would help along the point where the post meets the base of the banjo.

-- Barry, http://BarrysWorkshop.com/

View BigJon's profile

BigJon

52 posts in 3289 days


#20 posted 06-01-2017 05:59 PM



2” solid is certainly strong. Still, I think some gussets would help along the point where the post meets the base of the banjo.

- SignWave

For vibration or flex? I’m treading on new ground and value all opinions. Gonna give it a go. Easier to add steel than take it away:)

-- Im bleeding, go get my super glue and roll of black tape....

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BigJon

52 posts in 3289 days


#21 posted 06-01-2017 06:06 PM



Jon, looks like you re off to a good start on the banjo. If that s a sample of your welding, I m envious. You might want to think about drilling a cross hole at the bottom of the 1” hole to release any debris that might build up and cause tool rest issues in the future.

Since you are building your own banjo, and tool rests for a lathe that has a 38” swing, why are you sticking with a 1” post on the tool rest? It seems like that will be your weakest point turning something that large. You re going to have at a very minimum of 14-16” tool rest top bar overhanging the post, and that seems like you re setting yourself up for a lot of vibration. I m not an real engineer, just a Combat Engineer from Army days, but your tool rest post at 1” seems somewhat wimpy.
This might be something to think about, and if I m wrong, chastise me later. .................. Jerry (in Tucson)

If this banjo is not for the 38”, then you re probably good to go…... ...........

- Nubsnstubs

Agreed the 1” may be a weak point. I’m shooting for a clean build erring on the side of weakness for now but including enough meat to go bigger if need be. I really don’t want a overbuilt “clanky” looking lathe lol. No offense to anyone who may have such a device:)

-- Im bleeding, go get my super glue and roll of black tape....

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BigJon

52 posts in 3289 days


#22 posted 06-01-2017 08:51 PM

Just for giggles and poops here is a side by side shot of the new banjo vs the dead for now HF.

Admins, this is shaping up to be a build thread, move as you see fit….

-- Im bleeding, go get my super glue and roll of black tape....

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BigJon

52 posts in 3289 days


#23 posted 06-01-2017 09:00 PM

...and for those that will ask, here is my current lathe setup. Will be rearranged greatly for the new one… Lol

-- Im bleeding, go get my super glue and roll of black tape....

View Nubsnstubs's profile

Nubsnstubs

1808 posts in 3010 days


#24 posted 06-01-2017 11:28 PM

Wow, Jon, that is a huge leap. Didn’t really consider what it actually looked like until the comparison. When someone says “jump”, do you normally ask “how high and how far”? In this case, you are making a big jump. I really do want to see this come to completion, and I surely hope you can feed that beast with large enough wood. Gitterdone, man.

Oh, btw, it’s stuff and grins where I come from…. ........ Jerry (in Tucson)

-- Jerry (in Tucson) www.woodturnerstools.com

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Planeman40

1559 posts in 4041 days


#25 posted 06-02-2017 03:30 PM

Having turned a 30” piece of work once in my life (a wood mold to vacuum form two Plexiglas hemispheres for a flying saucer used in a television ad) on a 12” 1940’s era Delta lathe (I used the outside part of the headstock), I must offer this advice. Be SURE to have that lathe you build weighted down or bolted to the floor as the unbalanced work will shake the lathe something fierce!

-- Always remember: It is a mathematical certainty that half the people in this country are below average in intelligence!

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BigJon

52 posts in 3289 days


#26 posted 07-11-2017 12:42 PM

Slow progress. Finished up my bearing mounting plates. Made from 6×6” x .75” steel. These will be the heart of my headstock. Bored out enough to accept 2” shaft if the need arises. Bolt pattern on the 1.4375” bearing housing is common on 2” flange bearings so upgrading in the future will be easier. Hope to start welding on the beast this weekend!

-- Im bleeding, go get my super glue and roll of black tape....

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BigJon

52 posts in 3289 days


#27 posted 08-05-2017 10:00 AM

Uh oh got out the torch marker!

-- Im bleeding, go get my super glue and roll of black tape....

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BigJon

52 posts in 3289 days


#28 posted 08-05-2017 10:09 AM

I made good progress yesterday. Everything came out pretty dang square. Ways are flush and square to the head post. Still have to mount spindle bearings and get spindle true to the bed. That’s going to be fun lol

I did get my cart in front of me a little. Decided to go with 30” swing instead of 36”. So now I have to cut down the banjo I already made:/

Overall I’m very pleased. It is stupid heavy and very Ridgid. Still have some more steel to add. And a ton of welding to do.

-- Im bleeding, go get my super glue and roll of black tape....

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BigJon

52 posts in 3289 days


#29 posted 10-02-2017 12:35 PM

Finally back at it. Got my spindle finished. Threaded 1.25 x 8tpi. Has a surprise at the end! See pics.

Went ahead and bored the rear of shaft to accept 2 double sealed cartridge bearings. This is where my vacuum system will tie into the spindle.

All is left is to mount the motor and hook up the VFD.

-- Im bleeding, go get my super glue and roll of black tape....

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BigJon

52 posts in 3289 days


#30 posted 12-28-2017 01:51 PM

Finally back onto this never ending project. After contemplating on it for some time I have went back to my original design of being a 38” swing lathe. Decided I would not be happy otherwise. Got the motor mounted/mocked up. 5hp is probably overkill but hey it was free. Lol

-- Im bleeding, go get my super glue and roll of black tape....

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BigJon

52 posts in 3289 days


#31 posted 12-28-2017 02:12 PM

-- Im bleeding, go get my super glue and roll of black tape....

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BigJon

52 posts in 3289 days


#32 posted 12-28-2017 02:21 PM

Still have lots of welding to do, grinding etc but I am a lot closer. I have my drive ready to hook up. That is a SN2 chuck i threw on there but will be getting most likely a strong hold chuck from OneWay. Hopefully there will not be to many design changes, but we will see once i start turning on it.

Have lots of face plates and vacuum chucks to make yet.

...and make it not look so ugly…. lol

-- Im bleeding, go get my super glue and roll of black tape....

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TheFridge

10863 posts in 2766 days


#33 posted 12-28-2017 03:00 PM

Keep it up. Looks awesome.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View REO's profile

REO

929 posts in 3354 days


#34 posted 12-28-2017 10:10 PM

See how it goes! looks great! put your banjo in the middle of your ways extended out as far as you will use it. us a dial indicator set up on the floor and see what kind of flex you get in the bed. up and down will be pretty good but tortionaly you may be surprised at how easily it will twist. This could give you a harmonic vibration at times. Might not be often enough to bother with but think about ways to stifen in the future if it dies become an issue. hats why many of the steel bed lathes are large section square or round tube with applied ways.

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Woodknack

13585 posts in 3660 days


#35 posted 12-28-2017 10:40 PM

Looking good Jon.

-- Rick M, http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

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Bluepine38

3393 posts in 4365 days


#36 posted 01-01-2018 01:36 AM

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