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Homemade bowl lathe plan?

  • RobinLiles
  • Topic Author

RobinLiles created the topic: Homemade bowl lathe plan?

I just posted a rough drawing in the tool gallery of the bowl lathe that I am planning on building and would like to know if those of you with more experience than I, think it will work or not. I still have not figured out a tool rest, but for now I am thinking of a free standing type. The weight should come in around 600-800 pounds after ballast are in. I hope to be able to turn up to 18"-20"with it.

  • Shadowcast

Shadowcast replied the topic: Re: Homemade bowl lathe plan?

Hi Robin,
I too am seriously considering building my own lathe, though I doubt I'll get round to it this year. My plans.. just jotted down at the mo, are to build around the traditional spindle lathe format, but with a much lower bed.. probably at least 14" below the spindle giving 28" turning capacity and the option of turning heavy sized spindles should I require it.
the problem I foresee is the headstock.. 28" girth of wet wood is going to be heavy! so I'll probably use part of a wheel axle off a car, also the motor I want will be a direct drive variable speed to eliminate the need of belts and give much better control.. I imagine I'll have to purchase one from new.. not cheap as it'll have to have a high torque to cope with the weight.. at least 2hp preferably 3hp. I'll also build in a heavy duty work steady to take some of the strain.
Hope your project goes well.. keep us updated will you?

  • Travlr7

Travlr7 replied the topic: Bowl Lathe

Evenin' Robin & Dave:

Building a lathe sounds interesting. I wish you both the best of luck, however, I have a question.

If, while the "Direct Drive" lathe is turning, you get a bad "Catch", there is nothing to slip and take some of the torque away. Wouldn't that be very dangerous for the operator, especially with a large chunk of wood?

Since I'm not a machinist, I'm just guessing here.

"Just one OLD man's opinion." :wink:
  • RobinLiles
  • Topic Author

RobinLiles replied the topic: Re: Homemade bowl lathe plan?

On the lathe I plan to use a belt preferably the twist lock type to help reduce vibration and to also help with tool catches. I also plan to use a step pulley.
  • Shadowcast

Shadowcast replied the topic: Re: Homemade bowl lathe plan?

Point taken Travlr, answer is I dunno if the direct drive is more dangerous, to my mind because you can turn at such a low speed say 30 - 50rpm then most of the danger is eliminated. Perhaps as an added safety measure it would be possible to add a footswitch?

  • Zach

Zach replied the topic: Re: Homemade bowl lathe plan?

I'm also planning on building a bowl lathe. I just went to get the metal last week. The problem I see with your plan is that compared to a lot of scrap metal, angle irons and I-beams aren't that heavy. I'd go out and see what you get for scrap by the pound.
I was able to find 6in. by 12in. square tube with 1/2in. walls that was much heavier than the large I-beams which had usually at most 1/4in. to 3/8in. walls. Seams half the point of making one out of big pieces of scrap steel is to add bulk without an extreme amount of ballast. And at 10-20 cents a pound, scrap iron isn't much more expensive than sand.
Also if you put the motor on the other side in your design, you can attach the toolrest to the bed of the lathe. If you are only looking for about 24in. of capacity, you can just have your headstock 12in. above the bed. And using heavy scrap steel, you can go as high as you want without loosing much rigidity.