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Thread: DIY bowl turning lathe

  1. #1

    DIY bowl turning lathe

    Hello wood turners, I'm planning to build a diy bowl turning style lathe. It will be similar to the one I've found online:

    1953105642.jpg

    I have scavenged most of the steel structure around the Island in Hong Kong where I live, I bought a spindle for a saw from China (15usd) and now I bought from my friend some kind of flour grinder equipped with 1.5kw - 2hp motor(40usd). The motor has speed of 1400rpm so seems perfect for this project. I need to buy the pulley block for the motor, v belt and I should be ready to put it all together soon. The plan is to make it just equipped with diy face plate that I will weld to the screw nut I have with the spindle as its M25 and I cant find any accessories. I intend to turn mostly stool seats for now so it should be fine. I'm thinking to position the spindle perpendicular toI would greatly appreciate any advice how to improve the the lathe, what might go wrong and especially how to build an arm with tool rest by myself. If everything goes as planned I should get a serious lathe for 30% of price of the cheapest poor quality lathe I can order form China. Please find more photos below:
    402610846.jpg980613560.jpg230299567.jpgspin.jpg

    Regards,
    Filip

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Atikokan, Rainy River district, Ontario
    Posts
    3,309
    Quote Originally Posted by Filip Winiewicz View Post
    Hello wood turners, I'm planning to build a diy bowl turning style lathe. It will be similar to the one I've found online:

    1953105642.jpg

    I have scavenged most of the steel structure around the Island in Hong Kong where I live, I bought a spindle for a saw from China (15usd) and now I bought from my friend some kind of flour grinder equipped with 1.5kw - 2hp motor(40usd). The motor has speed of 1400rpm so seems perfect for this project. I need to buy the pulley block for the motor, v belt and I should be ready to put it all together soon. The plan is to make it just equipped with diy face plate that I will weld to the screw nut I have with the spindle as its M25 and I cant find any accessories. I intend to turn mostly stool seats for now so it should be fine. I'm thinking to position the spindle perpendicular toI would greatly appreciate any advice how to improve the the lathe, what might go wrong and especially how to build an arm with tool rest by myself. If everything goes as planned I should get a serious lathe for 30% of price of the cheapest poor quality lathe I can order form China. Please find more photos below:
    402610846.jpg980613560.jpg230299567.jpgspin.jpg

    Regards,
    Filip
    If you can find a sleeve that fits the 25mm thread on your shaft with a standard 3MM outside thread, you can find all kinds of accessories for wood turning.

    Home build lathes are started often enough, but really usable ones that are finished are very rare.

    http://www.ncwoodworker.net/pp/showgallery.php?cat=1058


    Have fun and take care

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Location
    Brentwood, TN
    Posts
    485
    My first take on the pictured lathe was "reverse the motor housing to opposite side of the stand. That would help keep shavings off of it, and help to counterbalance the weight and momentum of bowl turning. Also bake the motor base on a pivot to allow for easy belt changes, and tensioning. My 2 cents.
    Maker of Fine Kindling, and small metal chips on the floor.
    Embellishments to the Stars - or wannabees.

  4. #4
    Also, by reversing the motor you can move the motor up higher and have a shorter V-belt. A long belt will flutter and vibrate. Have some sort of pivot arrangement on the motor base so tht the belt can be easily tensioned.
    Bill

  5. #5
    That's my bowl lathe you have pictured. I've made a few upgrades to the lathe, a new banjo and 18" bed. I've also upgraded to a variable speed 3 phase motor with a VFD. The motor is on a pivot, makes belt changes easy with no belt flutter or vibration. I haven't had a problem with the motor location.

    One comment regarding the "H" beam post, I started with an "H" beam and had some wobble with out of balance bowl blanks, I welded plates to both sides of the "H" beam, that solved the wobble problem.

    The bowl lathe still gets continuous use. See my web page for more details http://www.winburn.com/BowlLathe.asp

    sawmill posting http://www.sawmillcreek.org/showthre...ade-bowl-lathe
    Last edited by Dale Winburn; 11-15-2017 at 11:32 AM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Shenandoah Valley, Va.
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    Dale, I recognized your home built lathe immediately on the OP’s post. Having seen it at your place in person, and then seeing the first rate turnings you produce, I almost posted some thoughts, but decided that you had all the details and could certainly help with the questions much better than I ever could, so was hoping you would see the thread and respond.

    Folks...Dale’s skills and work are the real deal! Any advice he gives is worth a 5th & 6th consideration, much less a 2nd or 3rd!
    Remember, in a moments time, everything can change!

    Vision - not just seeing what is, but seeing what can be!

    For information on my website, click on my profile or avatar


  7. #7
    Lathes are surprisingly easy to build. Especially lathes for bowls, etc where a long bed and a tailstock aren't needed.

    Back in the day I seemed to come into contact with a lot of woodturners and metal spinners. In my business I had machinery to help these guys build custom lathes. Back then there weren't the variety of lathes to turn large diameter pieces that are available today so building one was sometimes the only option.

    I can think of at least four that we were involved with to some degree. Two were unconventional in design. One of those was based on a surplus horizontal milling machine (a 2 ton metal cutting machine). Old milling machines are an easy conversion and can be had for less than scrap price, but usually not a DIY to move because of their weight.

    The other odd one used an engine block from a car as the headstock. Everything was removed except the crankshaft which became the spindle. An adaptor plate on the flywheel mount area was for mounting the workpiece. This lathe could handle 6 foot diameter for metal spinning and wood for the spinning forms.

    The others were more conventional construction with threaded spindle and pillow block bearings. On these the only difficulty for the machinery-challenged builder was finding someone to thread the spindle nose.

    I'd guess with access to a scrap yard/surplus and careful shopping for parts, motors and so on a decent lathe could be built for 25% of the retail for Jet and Grizzly types.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Toronto, CA
    Posts
    287
    I'm also in the process of building a real bowl lathe. (although very different design)
    So have been doing a lot of research.

    One suggestion I was given (off Practical Machinist) for a headstock spindle is to source a Setco spindle, off eBay.
    These are extremely high precision units, very common in industry and constantly being sold off, used.

    Interesting idea. Prices are about $300 to $$$$. But shipping to Canada is too expensive.
    Just an idea.

    This is the type of spindle you'll find in a VB36
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by Olaf Vogel; 11-18-2017 at 12:11 PM.

  9. #9
    Hello, thank you for all your advice.

    @Leo Van Der Loo: Thank you for the link, very interesting project although I don't understand why to build such a massive box as a base for the lathe? As the accessory with sleeve do you mean the browning bushing? Is it possible to buy a chuck mounted like this? or a sleeve with just a thread that would fit on top of mine m25? I see what you mean about the projects being started and not finished. I did some welding this weekend and I think hopefully one or two more weekend and the lathe might be done.

    @Mark Greenbaum: Wouldn't the motor stand in the way if I move it to the other side? I'm not sure if I understood you correctly but it might be in the place where I will stand, right?
    @Bill Boehme: Hi, I'm planning to do a pivot mount, my friend suggested that also. I will do it dis mountable, the lathe will have to stand outdoor and with Hong Kong humidity it wouldn't survive long.

    @Hi Dale, nice to hear from you. I got to your website from the lathe photo on pinterest or something. I'm also making 18" banjo as you suggested. I've read also that you turned your beam into a pipe. I could find a right size pipe. I'm going to position the beam other direction than you did hoping it will wobble less, also I'm not going to turn so heavy pieces I guess.

    By the way. It hope it won't be considered a sin by more orthodox wood turners, but what do you guys think about turning the rough shape with power tools? I have this arbortech turboplane: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ugznwt0O5j8 and I think it might be a quick way to get the basic shape and will save some time on sharpening the roughing gauge. I did turn some face plates out of steel on my bench grinder with regular disc and it wasn't as unsafe as it might sound.

    Regards,
    Filip

  10. #10
    The turboplane will be very helpful to remove lumps and projections from odd shaped pieces but I doubt you will use it much once a blank is semi-round.

    Keep working on the lathe, you will likely make additional improvements. Making tools is almost as much fun as turning wood.
    _______________________________________
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