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Thread: Making plans to build a concrete bowl lathe - opinions welcome.

  1. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Norman View Post
    Thanks for the input!
    I'm still thinking of using pillow block bearings for the spindle. I'm not sure I like the idea of having the pulleys between the bearings. Having the pulleys outboard will make not only the fabrication much easier but changing the belt on the pulleys would be simple. I could also put a much bigger pulley on for real slow turning of big out of balance pieces.

    I was looking around the net and found a BIG home made bowl lathe. :
    http://www.proserpinewoodturners.com/The_Big_Bowl.html

    Now thats impressive!!!
    Wow thats big!

    I remember reading an article years ago about making a lathe from a front wheel drive axel for turning bowls
    (I wish I could find that article)

  2. #17
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
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    Chico, California
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    998
    Using the segmented belts would solve the belt problem. I have a '62 Volvo 4 speed tranny I'm thinking of putting on my faceplate lathe which includes a reverse too.

  3. #18
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
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    springfield mo
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    have forms will travel

    cast in some big steel protruding then grind to fit the headstock and ways and weld them on. i would use ss . i would make it bigger. i i i it relly sounds like fun. john t

  4. #19
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Plymouth, Wisconsin
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    248
    Mark, I had plans to build a concrete lathe as well until I found my old Oliver. A few of the things I learned in researching the project were interesting.

    Concrete is an excellent material in that it asborbs vibration very well, however, the mass needs to be directly connected to the spindle and the more mass you put around the spindle the better. My concept was to do have a sleeve made that was about 14" long machined to accept bearings on both ends with flat tabs on each end to bolt the bearing keepers on. The spindle goes through the sleeve with bearings on each end. Then simply pour the sleeve in your concrete headstock, such that each end was exposed. In this way any vibration goes from the spindle to the bearings to the sleeve to the concrete.

    Good luck and let us know how it goes.
    Trying to eliminate sandpaper - one curly shaving at a time.

  5. #20
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
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    Gods country: Mariposa CA
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    Thanks for the input Kim

    I just talked to a local machine shop.

    He can fabricate the spindle to my specs. 1-1/2 or 1-3/4" shaft with 1-1/4" x 8 threads on one end and a keyway for the bushed sheave on the other and 15" long.

    The steel bar stock will be $21 and an hour shop labor is $95.

    I just have to decide on wether to go with 1-1/2" or 1-3/4" stock.

  6. #21
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    torrance, Ca
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    bigger the better I assume.

  7. #22
    Mark,
    I kind of kicked this around also a couple of years ago, and have seen pictures of a few home built lathes using concrete. My then fiancee asked what was I doing, already having gone through 2 lathes within a year. Told her, and she replied for me to go find the one lathe I really wanted, then go buy it, and don't replace it for 10 years or so.
    A 3520B came home really soon and I love it. I want to turn, not make another compromising killer lathe. I would have done the headstock in steel, bolted to embedded steel reinforcement. Steel ways also seem the way to go.
    With that said, it is the little things that the Powermatic and Oneway lathes have that make using them a joy and seem effertless. Have not used other fine lathes so don't mean to criticize them. I design steel oilfield equipment for a living, and yes, a lathe is not that hard to build. But it IS hard to get all the nice little improvements and things that just feel and work right incorporated into that design. The Oneway and Powermatic lathes have been developed over decades of designs, development, and little improvements. Nobody's first, second, or third lathe will ever get the little good stuff. And that is what still thrills me about my Powermatic 3520B lathe.
    However, I do have an old long bed 12" Rockwell that is going to become a 1.5 hp variable speed pen lathe with a 16" long wood bed............
    Rich S.

  8. #23
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
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    Gods country: Mariposa CA
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    Some good points made Rick

    But what did the PM 3520 cost ya? over three grand I bet. and you are limmited to turning a 20 blank. Up the machine to a PM4224 and yer looking at 5 grand for a 24" blank.

    I want to turn big bowls from the trees here in the sierras. The trees get real big in these parts

    I figgure I can build this machine for about a grand if I shop wisely. I also greatly enjoy the designing and building of the machine. A big plus!!

    I've been doing some more research on building my bowl lathe. I found a guy on the net that built one for his dad and he took a hundred an forty pics to document his build.(sans the concrete)

    The critical part is the headstock that supports the spindle. His is overkill and I like it a lot! 2" dia shaft 18" long. The bearings are almost 3 hunnerd each

    The 1-3/4" bearings I plan on using will be a few $ less than the 2" ones he used.

    His album:
    http://www.ncwoodworker.net/pp/showg...058&ppuser=639

    Here is the components of his headstock assembly I plan to mimick just a hair smaller and cast in concrete.. He sandwiched a bunch of layers of plywood between the bearings.


    Looks like a fun project..If it works out as well as planned I could see myself producing em for commercial sale.

    Look forward to pics of the progress....as it progresses

  9. #24
    Have you thought about factoring in some way to make use of a coring attachment? It would seem like a shame to be able to turn such large bowls and have the bulk of them lying in piles on the floor. Since I got into coring I have MANY more roughed out bowls!!
    If at first you don't succeed, look in the trash for the instructions.





  10. #25
    That lathe with the plywood headstock is interesting...I'd think a nice big Parallam beam would do even better...too bad I just cut up the one I had into bowl blanks!

  11. #26
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
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    Holly Springs NC
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    Mark, it's just pure coincidence that in the picture, your headstock is resting on an advertisement for injury law, right?

  12. #27

    A plan you can start with...

    Mark
    I have been watching this thread develop and have posted earlier regarding the use of concrete. You are headed in the right direction, just allow me to steer you a little bit... I have a plan for a machine capable of 48" diameter that has most of the kinks worked out. My buddy is an engineer and he helped me with making sure the design would safely absorb the radial forces at play at this scale. We are still working on the tailstock, as it is currently the weak link. PM me and I will send you a scan of the working drawing. I hope this gets you a little further down the road with this build.

    Regards,
    Travis R. Nelson
    nelsonandsons@windstream.net

  13. #28
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
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    Gods country: Mariposa CA
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    Thanks Travis... I'll be contacting you...and thanks!

    Dave,
    Do you read or just look at the pics? j/k Its not my pic sittin on the phone book. But I do get the irony lol lol..

    Jim,
    I have seen the coring attachments and they do look interesting but I'm still working on wood bowl 101.

    I'm not real interested in a tailstock at this point but I will make provisions for adding one to the ways later. For now, a faceplate and a good chuck will fit the bill.

    I look forward to your input Travis. I have faith my design will develop and become a reality and any help is appreciated. The components are not cheap though so it may take a while and there is quite a bit of engineering envolved but that is my strong point.

    As promised, I will keep you all posted. I kinda like it here in the midst of the creek

  14. #29
    You've got mail...

  15. #30
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Plymouth, Wisconsin
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    248
    Here is the components of his headstock assembly I plan to mimick just a hair smaller and cast in concrete.. He sandwiched a bunch of layers of plywood between the bearings.


    [/quote]

    Mark; look at the picture above. One of the big mistakes that is made: The spindle does not protrude out past the bearing enough to get your tool rest, chisels and sanders in to work properly if the headstock is to large. Don't under estimate this.
    Trying to eliminate sandpaper - one curly shaving at a time.

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