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Homemade metal lathe.



itsmecord
11-07-2009, 10:39 PM
I was just wondering if anybody here had built there own lathe ? I am thinking that I would use a lathe ALOT but cant seem to find one.I was needing some lathe work done the other day,and could not find anyone local.I ended up calling to a town about and hour away and was quoted $135 to get a 1" long 1.5" dia. shaft welded to a 4"dia. 3/8 plate,then trued on a lathe.The quote was with me supplying the materials.I could have welded it but the guy insisted that for them to do what i needed that they weld it themselves.

Gadget
11-08-2009, 06:41 AM
I built the "Gingery" 7X12" metal lathe years ago. It worked surprisingly well. You will need an aluminum furnace to make your castings though. You can get the Gingery books including foundry books from Lindsay Press at David J Gingery Publishing (http://www.lindsaybks.com/dgjp/index.html)

Dan

KHK
11-08-2009, 08:33 AM
There are Lots of used lathes on the market at low prices. I would look into that first. I have had my lathe for 40 years, it is a great investment.

torqueman
11-09-2009, 08:17 PM
I have one of those little 7x12 mini lathes. It won't do deep cuts or do big pieces but they are fairly inexpensive on sale. I've had mine for nearly 10 years and had the first problem this last week. The lead screw locked up due to the maintenance guy not greasing the bushing on it often enough. I would fire him but he is me. :)

itsmecord
11-09-2009, 08:53 PM
Yea,I really think I would use one alot.Any one have a harbor freight unit ? I know some things I have gotten from there I would have payed 100 times what I did and other things I could have better used the money to wipe with.

HerbD
11-09-2009, 09:19 PM
Hi itsmecord,

I have a 7 x 14 lathe, not HF (7 x 12) but very similar. Although I would like a larger gunsmith's lathe, it is amazing what you can do with the small ones - on small projects. It is part of the reason I got a TIG welder, to make bigger things out of small machined things. It has served me well.

Of course it depends on what you want to turn on the lathe. There are several forums on Yahoo that cover small lathes and some of the precision things people have done with them. For me it has been a matter of space mostly. The 7 x 14 lathe and the X2 mill fit nicely on my garage workbench and with them I have made all sorts of useful items that fit within the work envelope of these machines.

Be aware that tooling typically costs as much or more than the basic machine.

Let us know what you eventually go for and/or what you plan to turn on the lathe.

HerbD 8-)

itsmecord
11-10-2009, 01:23 AM
I am unsure what direction I will go.I don't have the coin to drop on a lathe because all the money my wife and I can save is going to starting an upholstery business after we return from college.As far as what I want to use the lathe for I dont really have any one thing in mind so much as I would like to when that thought comes into my head "if only I had that part" then I could just go whip it up and be done.I am really leaning toward building my own.There is a book out there that gives a step by step on building a foundry and then a lathe,chop saw,and some other things I believe,and I would really like to get my hands on it and do some heavy reading.

matteh99
11-10-2009, 09:30 AM
What you need to do is convince one of your friends that they need a metal lathe. Then after they buy it go over to their place and use it :)

Eric

bhardy501
11-10-2009, 03:48 PM
I bought a Grizzly 11x24 belt drive lathe. It was around $1700.00 plus delivery. It is a great little lathe, doe s a very good job and will hold close tolerances. Check out www.grizzlyindustrial.com (http://www.grizzlyindustrial.com). They have a wide assortment of lathes and mills.

Gadget
11-10-2009, 05:52 PM
I built the foundry and lathe I think your are referring to. I may still have some patterns around for the lathe if you want them. Also, feel free to contact me with any build questions you may have. It is a real fun project.

itsmecord
11-10-2009, 06:29 PM
gadget to be honest I don't know what I am referring LOL.While cruising around the net I found a couple of guys that have built lathes off of plans from a book both mentioned the same name and that there were a few project in said book....I just dont remember the name. If you don't mind sharing your plans and it's not to much trouble I would rather go that rout.

Gadget
11-10-2009, 06:32 PM
I built the Gingery lathe from his book. I posted the link to the book site earlier in this thread. Gingery also has the charcoal aluminum furnace plans and uses the furnace to make the castings for the lathe. It really was a fun project and the lathe was surprisingly accurate. I don't have all the patterns anymore but will look to see what I do have. Pattern making is fun too.

torqueman
11-10-2009, 07:05 PM
One thing I will mention is if I had it to do over again I think I would spend a little more and get one of the combo lathe/mills like the g0516 that grizzly has. Like I said these small machines are not perfect but I have been using mine for many years and really enjoy it. Check out some of the mini running engines some of these guys have done. They are pretty impressive.

itsmecord
11-11-2009, 07:54 PM
sorry gadget I completely overlooked you link but that's it !! I guess I need to get my hands on that book and see what I can come up with !
If you had to guess what would you say it cost you from start to finish building the furnace and the lathe ?

Gadget
11-11-2009, 08:04 PM
sorry gadget I completely overlooked you link but that's it !! I guess I need to get my hands on that book and see what I can come up with !
If you had to guess what would you say it cost you from start to finish building the furnace and the lathe ?

Wow, that was over 20 years ago. I am still using the original furnace though. I started out with electric, then changed it to propane, and now am using waste motor oil. Seems to me the refractory was around 50 bucks, the rest was just sheet metal and an old oven heating element.
For the lathe, the most expensive parts are the cold rolled steel. Probably under a hundred for the lathe not counting the motor (one I had laying around).
The Gingery books are pretty cheap. The patterns are made mostly of wood bits small enough to use scraps. The bed ways uses CRS 3X16"?x1/4 (going from memory). That is the biggest expense. The bearings are just bronze bushings.
I'm betting you will build the lathe and furnace for less than the cost of the lathe at HF
For my money it was much more value for the buck building the furnace and lathe. Lots of fun for each project. Gingery also has plans for a horizontal mill and shaper. I always wanted to build the shaper but could never figure out what to do with one so it never happened. Maybe when I retire.....
Dan

itsmecord
11-11-2009, 08:18 PM
Well I think for me the best thing to do would be build it all myself from the book.
I like to do things like this myself as I always feel a great since of accomplishment.

Gadget
11-11-2009, 08:41 PM
That was the biggest advantage for me too. Knowing you built a working metal lathe is something you can't put a price on.
Keep me posted on you progress and don't hesitate to ask any questions you may have about either the lathe build or the furnace. Post lots of photos too, I'm sure others would like to see the progress.
I had some photos of the lathe at one time, I will see if I can find them and post them.
Dan

itsmecord
11-11-2009, 09:05 PM
I will more than likely wait untill after I return from college (9-12 months) But I will surely post photo's when I get started.

Gadget
11-22-2009, 03:43 PM
I just started building the Gingery horizontal mill. I made the pattern for the bed this weekend. I have to sand it and paint it but the construction is done. I will be pouring in a week or two. I think Torqueman and I will be building our own. I will do the castings for both. I'll post some photos when I pour the bed.
Dan

itsmecord
11-22-2009, 05:57 PM
sweet,college fail through so I guess I need to get started building my stuff. Would aluminum wheels work ? I have a LOT of crappy,ugly,bent aluminum wheels.

Gadget
11-22-2009, 06:34 PM
Aluminum wheels are a great source of metal. Make sure they are not magnesium though.

torqueman
11-22-2009, 07:08 PM
Gee Gadget you went right home and started on it. LOL Don't get too far ahead I need tires for my car first.

Gadget
11-22-2009, 07:10 PM
Gee Gadget you went right home and started on it. LOL Don't get too far ahead I need tires for my car first.

You need to change your oil too, I need fuel for my furnace. Don't worry about me getting too far ahead, I will pour two of each casting and you can proceed when you are ready.

KHK
11-22-2009, 10:49 PM
Aluminum wheels are a great source of metal. Make sure they are not magnesium though.

How do you tell the difference?

Gadget
11-23-2009, 06:00 AM
I guess you could do some scrapings and put a torch to them, if they flash they are probably magnesium.

vault
11-23-2009, 10:36 AM
It amazes me a hobbiest can build thier own lathe. I wish I did not know this..add this to my list of things to do.

matteh99
11-23-2009, 10:43 AM
I find the idea of making a precise tool with less precise ones interesting. It is easy to go the other way. It would be interesting to start with sticks and rocks and see how far you could advance only using what you had done before.

Eric

Bikespot
11-29-2009, 01:04 PM
Find a used one on craigslist or something. That would be the best way to go. I have seen some of them pretty cheap depending on the size.

torqueman
11-29-2009, 03:31 PM
Well I am looking forward to the mill Gadget and I are working on. I had something this weekend that was too large for the milling attachment on my mini lathe.

Gadget I have some used oil for you.

itsmecord
12-20-2009, 05:48 PM
Any updates on the mill ?

Gadget
12-20-2009, 06:01 PM
Any updates on the mill ?

So far I have cast the bed for TM and myself and worked on patterns for the mounting bases today. I have to fillet the corners and sand and paint the patterns. Hopefully I will be ready to pour them over the holidays.
I have also hand scraped the bed to true flat (or as good as I can get it) so it is ready for the bases and bed ways. No photos since the work done is kind of invisible. Even if you see it you won't be able to tell what was done.
I'll post some photos when I have the bases and ways mounted.

itsmecord
12-20-2009, 06:53 PM
sounds good, caint wait !