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Building a small Lathe - Help needed from Mech. Engineers

Discussion in 'Hangout' started by PatchyBoy, Feb 28, 2013.

  1. PatchyBoy

    PatchyBoy Esperto

    I have a 1/4 HP AC motor, salvaged from a broken kitchen appliance lying around. I thought, I can put it to good use to build myself a small table top lathe to assist in my other hobby - wood working. I plan on being able to turn small spindles and miniature wooden pieces on this lathe. The size I am looking at turning would be a maximum of 50 mm diameter and 300 mm length.

    Questions to Mechanical Engineers on the forum:

    1. The motor is a single pole pair type (rated 180W), meaning I would get 3000 RPM synchronous speed, with very little torque. It does have a variable speed switch built into the circuit. Would this be enough for turning wood?
    2. I plan on having a 25 mm pulley on the motor spindle with a 50 mm pulley on the headstock, with a belt drive - thinking of a Hawkins pressure cooker gasket as the belt. Would that induce a lot of slippage? Any alternate suggestions for the belt? Or should I just go direct drive?
    3. Can I get away with using a threaded bolt for headstock / tail stock? I plan on using ball bearings.
    4. Should I make the tail stock dead centre or live centre? The thought of live centre stems from a low powered motor and a need for reduced friction.
    5. I am thinking of doing the whole thing, including the bed, head and tail stock modules, pulleys in MDF. Would that be heavy enough to resist vibrations? Of course I plan on clamping the Lathe to the table top when using it.
    6. I have some corian strips with me. Can they be used? How machinable and stable is corian?

    I know this is not the right forum to be asking these questions. I have already posted them in expert forums in the area of interest. Problem is, these forums are based overseas and they do not understand the constraints DIYers in India face :(. I mean we do not have a Lowes or a Homedepot store, where I can walk into and pick what I want. Here, I need to go to a hardware store and know exactly what to ask for.

    All help / inputs much appreciated and welcome.

    Thanks a lot in advance,


    PS: Unfortunately, though I aspired to be an engineer, I am not. Pardon my questions, if they come across as stupid.
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2013
    1 person likes this.

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