Smooth finish from a duplicator

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Forum topic by TTalma posted 02-20-2014 07:34 PM 1273 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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12 posts in 3201 days

02-20-2014 07:34 PM

I built a duplicator for my lathe. It uses a router to do the cutting. The final shape is quite good, but the surface is kind of fuzzy. How do I get a nice smooth finish. I’d like to do as little sanding as possible. This is in hard maple. Any advice?

-- There's only 10 types of people in this world. Those who know binary, and those who don't.

5 replies so far

View bullhead1's profile


228 posts in 2759 days

#1 posted 02-20-2014 08:05 PM

I don’t have a lathe or duplicator but I do have a cnc router. I thought I would just throw this out there though. When I do a project that I want to get a cleaner cut and finish (I’m also part of the I hate sanding club!), I will do the original cut and than do another pass just a hair deeper to clean it up. I don’t know if this possible with your setup or not. Good luck!

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5849 posts in 4095 days

#2 posted 02-20-2014 08:27 PM

Unless you spend a lot of money on a dedicated copy attachment then fuzzy it will be.The commercial machines use dedicated complicated cutter heads ,which give almost perfect results. And I have never met anyone who used a simpler or lets face it less expensive attachment get superb results .Usually they range usually according to design and hence price from poor .to acceptable,if you then are prepared to hand finish it off.That ranges from simple finish sanding down to getting the final shape correct with tools.They are really handy for getting lots of similar pieces churned out , without having to resort to a lot of hand measuring to get them all exactly the same, which is no easy fete, unless you’ve been turning for many years.
It is more of a piece of equipment, normally to get them all similar in size ,and shape as quickly in production work shops as lots of measuring which would otherwise be neccessary is something which can as said be really daunting for a beginner or even an experienced turner .If your getting good results re size and shape with your present method and the pieces are simply poorly cut and hairy then you might want to alter cutter speed and make sure you use sharp cutters.Best wishes and also do Have fun alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View TheDane's profile


5690 posts in 4173 days

#3 posted 02-21-2014 04:20 AM

Alistair is right … I have an acquaintance who is a professional in the repair and restoration business.

He got an order to reproduce over 100 spindles for a Victorian home under renovation, so he obviously needed to crank up his lathe (a Hegner with a duplicator). These were to be painted and installed in an interior staircase and balustrade, so he used poplar.

He could get close with the duplicator, but had to finish up each spindle with gouges and a skew. The main advantage was speed … he could get the billets down to shape much quicker and they were consistent in shape and size, but the details were not crisp.

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View bigblockyeti's profile


5976 posts in 2231 days

#4 posted 02-21-2014 05:05 AM

The sharper your bit, the better the surface finish will be. You can also use a bit with a higher helix angle if you can find the profile that matches your follower. If you can’t and don’t mind spending a ton of money, you could get a custom cutter made.

-- "Lack of effort will result in failure with amazing predictability" - Me

View TTalma's profile


12 posts in 3201 days

#5 posted 02-21-2014 03:03 PM

Thanks for the replies, I’m going to try taking a shallow cut for my last pass. I’ll have to look into using some sort of cutter. I’m looking for speed, If I slow my lathe way down (like 200 rpm) I get a better finish, but then it takes along time.

-- There's only 10 types of people in this world. Those who know binary, and those who don't.

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