Bow lathes are a fairly old an simple contraption. A bow is used to rotate a block of wood back and forth while tools can be used to shape it, just like a modern lathe. Despite the fact that the wood is oscillating instead of spinning in one direction, the results are very smooth.
Watch as this street vendor shows his skills with the bow lathe. I find it quite impressive how well he uses his foot. You can tell he’s been doing this for a very long time. I was also pleasantly surprised when that ring popped free, I wasn’t expecting it.
[Chris] found inspiration in an antique flywheel he found. He decided he was going to construct something with it and began rounding up parts. The flywheel, along with some old sewing machine parts becomes a treadle powered lathe.
There’s something so very cathartic about seeing all the wood chiseled and sawed away. That pile of sawdust just means you’re getting things done!
Meet [Quetico Chris]. He’s a master woodworker who likes to find his own alternatives to using power tools. Most recently, he was inspired by a fly-wheel from an old factory. He used it to build this foot powered wood lathe.
It works something like a foot powered sewing machine. There’s a lever for your foot which converts the downward force from your foot into a rotating force which drives the work piece. The mechanics of the lathe are pretty common, but we think the build techniques he uses are anything but. The video after the break shows each step [Chris] went through when crafting the human-power tool. His approach was to use wood as often as possible which includes foregoing modern fasteners for older joinery. He uses mortise and tenon, wood pinning, doweling, and a lot of puzzle-like tricks to get the job done.
We lack the skill and tools to replicate this kind of craftsmanship. We’re going to stick to letting a laser cutter form our wood connections.
Continue reading “Foot-powered lathe is a tour de force of joinery techniques”
[Sir Keyboard Commando] just emerged from his machine shop to show off the 1/6th scale model of a Civil War mortar which he recently finished fabricating. It started with some bar stock that measured four inches in diameter and accepts steel balls the size of golf balls as ammunition.
The bore diameter is 1.725″ which gives just a bit of clearance for the 1.685″ golf ball specs. Each of the steel balls weighs in at just over 11 ounces. You get a really good look at the finished mortar in this test-fire video. It’s quite small but [Sir Keyboard Commando] reports that the full assembled unit still weighs in at a whopping forty pounds.
This certainly isn’t an improvised weapon, but we’re quite surprised to see it being test fired. We’d bet it turns some heads that the local firing range.
Want to try your luck drilling out a PCB with this mouth-powered drill? [Cheng Guo] shows off one of his many mouth-powered tools above. It’s a tiny drill which spins with the opening and closing of your jaw. The concept may seem a bit silly, but his ability to fabricate these machines is fantastic.
The clip after the break starts off with the drilling demo seen above. From there he shows off several different tools. One is a molding machine that uses your breathing to spin a mold, thereby forcing the material inside to conform to its shape. There’s also a wood lathe. You hold the cutting tool in the your mouth and spin the mechanism with a bow and string setup. If you’re good at sucking, his vacuum former is right up your alley. Just heat up the plastic stock in the microwave and suck with all your might. Finally he shows off an extruder. We’re not quite sure how that one works.
Continue reading “Mouth-powered tools that will make your dentist cringe”
One day, we hope, we’ll be as awesome as [Keith Holaman]. He makes humongous wooden balls with a chainsaw, crane, and a truck-mounted lathe.
[Keith] got his start making wooden balls on a small lathe at home. For some reason he always wanted to make a bigger wooden ball, but his equipment at the time couldn’t handle this size in [Keith]’s imagination.
To make his gigantic wooden balls, [Keith] skulks around his local forest looking for downed trees and stumps. After getting these huge logs home, he roughs out the sphere with a chainsaw, mounts a chuck on the log with huge bolts, and attached it to a diesel motor.
Because the logs are so huge, he can’t turn the log very fast. to remove a whole lot of wood very quickly, [Keith] spins his tool head at a few thousand RPM.
There aren’t many build details or even an indication of how big these wooden balls are. We’d guess they’re easily over a meter in diameter. If anyone knows where we can see these balls in person, drop a note in the comments.
A couple of years ago, [macona] picked up a 1943 Monarch 10EE lathe. This monstrous machine is not only an amazing piece of engineering but an awesome work of art; not only can this lathe manufacture parts with exacting precision, it’s also a wonderful piece of machine age design.
The Monarch 10EE lathe was extremely high-tech for its time, and the War Dept Detroit Ordinance District tag on the cooling pump bears this machines lineage: this lathe was most likely used to make very precise military equipment such as the Norden bombsight.
After 60 years of faithful service, [macona]’s lathe picked up several coats of paint in different colors and generally fell into a state of disrepair. [macona] spent a great deal of time overhauling this lathe by replacing a bent feed rod, troubleshooting the motor problems, and eventually replacing the whole motor with a modern AC brushless servo. You can check out the improvement the AC servo made in a video after the break.
Of course no post about a rebuilt lathe would be complete without a few beauty shots. We’re extremely thankful for [macona] for not only restoring this machine, but also for sharing it with us. Thanks to [macona]’s restoration, this machine will hopefully be around for another 60 years.
Continue reading “Turning a 1942 lathe into a functional piece of art”