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Thread: Shop built bowl lathe

  1. #1
    Join Date
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    Shop built bowl lathe

    I'm still kicking around the idea of a shop built bowl lathe with a VFD & at least a 1 1/2 tp 2 HP 3 phase motor.

    Has anyone ever thought of purchasing the spindle from say Grizzly or Jet's 16 x 42 lathe to build their lathe around? The reason I ask this is the then you would have an industry standard shaft the has the proper 1-1/4" x 8 TPI RH MT#2 headstock spindle.

    I'd build it to use factory accessories i.e. Banjo, tool rest etc.
    "Forget the flat stuff slap something on the spinny thing and lets go, we're burning daylight" Bart Leetch
    "If it ain't round you may be a knuckle dragger""Turners drag their nuckles too, they just do it at a higher RPM"Bart

  2. #2
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    if you`re going to build a bowl lathe look into having a standard diameter shaft for industrial pillow blocks turned down and threaded......
    by watching e-bay you can find 1-3/4" - 2-1/2" shafts with pillow blocks for pennies on the dollar..........turn down the other end to accept a standard sized sheeve and you`re rockin`......i`d bet under 2 bills machine work included and you`d have the heart of a real lathe!
    [SIZE="1"] associated with several importers and manufacturers.[/SIZE]

  3. #3
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    I think you'd be better served with a hollow spindle shaft (for a knock out bar if you ever use a Morse taper device) and it should be hardened and instead of pillow blocks you should think about tapered roller bearings. With tapered bearings you wouldn't need a separate thrust bearing. As long as you're kicking ideas around, kick big.

  4. #4
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    The hollow spindle shaft also makes it easier to use a vacuum chuck, too. I wonder if a machine shop could fabricate one for you for less than a Jet or Grizzly shaft would cost.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

    workingwoods.com

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vaughn McMillan View Post
    The hollow spindle shaft also makes it easier to use a vacuum chuck, too. I wonder if a machine shop could fabricate one for you for less than a Jet or Grizzly shaft would cost.
    Probably not, but the right shop could make it much better for not a lot more. The taper would have to be ground, a simple lathe turned finish wouldn't work.

  6. #6
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    A friend in my woodturning club, who is also a machinist, has built his own lathes. One does large platters, and quite well, I might add. They sure won't win any beauty prizes, made up of welded and bolted angle iron and other 'stuff' he picks up at auctions. But, they do fine work and are expertly designed. I'll ask if he will allow some pictures to be taken and posted here.

  7. #7
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    I saw one at the AAW symposium in St. Paul whatever year that was. It was made from two 289 Ford motors. The block was the base, the heads made up the ways and that is about all I remember. I wish I had pictures.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by tod evans View Post
    if you`re going to build a bowl lathe look into having a standard diameter shaft for industrial pillow blocks turned down and threaded......
    Ditto what Tod said. Cheapest way is going to be to find as much existing as you can. Machine shop work is very slow and very expensive. And most don't want to fool with people walking off the street. If you find someone with a hobby shop in his basement then you might compete. But not in for profit shop.

    Quote Originally Posted by Vaughn McMillan View Post
    I wonder if a machine shop could fabricate one for you for less than a Jet or Grizzly shaft would cost.
    Not unless you know someone! I have spent literally millions of dollars with machine shops in my previous career. I don't know what the going rates are now but I would bet at least $100 an hour and probably more like $125 to $150. And cutting metal is slow. If you can buy one mass produced don't even waste your time asking a machine shop. One of kind is going to be considerably more than one mass produced.
    God grant me the senility to forget the people I never liked anyway,
    the good fortune to run into the ones I do,
    and the eyesight to tell the difference.


    Kudzu Craft Lightweight Skin on frame Kayaks.
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  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Grand Rapids, MI
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    Pillow blocks

    I went to a local machine shop with ideas of making modifications to my lathe. According to them there is no need for thrust bearings with pillow blocks, cuz the pressure created by the tool will never produce any detrimental lateral pressure on the bearings. I agree that a standard diameter shaft is in order, preferably in the 2" diameter range. It shouldn't cost too much to have an end threaded, but the reaming of the morse taper might be a different story. It depends if the shop has the proper tooling on hand.

    Anywho, I think 2 hp is going to be under powered. You didn't mention the diameter of bowl you want to turn, but last week I turned a 22" diameter hard maple bowl using a 2 hp motor farm duty motor driven lathe. It took about 5 hrs just to rough it out! If I had a 3hp motor I could have turned up the rpms a little and gotten the job done faster. As it is, I could easily slow the motor when cutting at the rim on such a large piece, and it didn't have the torque to allow heavy roughing cuts. With a 3 hp I probably could have cut that time down to 4 hours no problem.

    Hutch

    P.S. A mass produced shaft may not be hefty enough for serious bowl turning.

  10. #10
    If I recall correctly (I'll check and correct as necessary), in the September issue of Wood Turning Magazine (UK) there was an article on a certain turner. His main lathe is home made and will hold up to 300lbs of blank (700lbs of lead ballast). He uses a transmission from a riding lawn mower for his gear box. Main shaft and pillow blocks I believe were around 2 1/2" in diameter and around 2 1/2- 3 feet in length. Apparently custom made face plate(s) also.

    Here are a couple of pictures of a home built lathe I had come across on the web about a year ago. A donor head stock from another lathe provided the workings. Dang if I can't find the web site. I know I have it saved somewhere!



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