How to build your own lathe


[bongodrummer] wanted to use a lathe to make some gifts for his family. Instead of buying one, he decided to make one and recycle some parts in the process. More info after the break.

[bongodrummer] scavenged a motor from a washing machine which is a great choice because these motors are capable of generating plenty of torque. To control the speed of the lathe he developed his own pulse width modulation controller. All of the parts were then mounted to some heavy steel plates and an enclosure was built around the belt-driven assembly. In keeping with his recycling goals, the tool rest was fabricated from tubing reclaimed from a junked bicycle frame.

This lathe is not a CNC machine, but judging from the wooden bowl he turned out we’d say this project is a huge success.



  1. supershwa says:

    Washing machine hacks :P

    Well done, and a great tool to produce

  2. polymath says:

    this is great! one less tool I have to buy! and one more weekend lost over a work bench to a project that will only feed my insomnia.

  3. Skitchin says:

    Wooden bowl? I don’t even see where you pack your…oh, right, food.

  4. mars says:

    The only problem with that build is getting the center *just right*.

    Very cool though.

  5. chris says:

    Could of just bought a used one off craigslist for $100 and save himself tons of time and $.

    Nice looking bowl though.

  6. Mike Szczys says:

    @chris: Yep, he could have. But he didn’t, and I like the bowl he created more so because he also created the lathe.

  7. max_sharpe says:

    chris really this is hackaday,if everyone could just buy something off craislist we wouldnt need this site.secondly how many times have you seen a lathe on craiglist for 100 dollars?I look daily the lowest ive seen is 500 for a pile of rusty junk.

  8. TheKhakinator says:

    I love this. Reminds me of when we needed to make a sprocket because we couldn’t find one in the pitch to match the chain we had, so we attached our piece of steel to a power drill to spin it up and attacked it with a grinder. Worked awesome. Two man job though.

  9. PUNiSH3R says:

    Gingery. Google it.

  10. strider_mt2k says:

    A clue for chris over there, please?

  11. JB says:

    yes chris, get a clue. it is also “could have” or “could’ve”. there is no “could of” :P

  12. Brady says:

    Nice! A Lathe out of a washing machine. I bet that would make a great discussion over at with all of the professional and hobby lathers! :P

  13. derek says:

    in Youngstown Ohio, Star supply had one a weekish ago for 125 and it was pretty nice! Awesome, Makes me consider making one!

  14. Great idea! The wheels in my head are turning right now.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 96,695 other followers