Most people have a piece of equipment without which they consider their workshop or bench to be incomplete. For some, it is an oscilloscope, for others a bandsaw, but for many metalworkers, it is a lathe. Lathes are expensive if you are seeking a good one, quite cheap if you don’t mind a bad one, and sometimes even free if you can deal with a good one that’s very old and needs six burly friends and a forklift truck to move.
There is another way to acquire a lathe, and it’s one that [Sek Austria] demonstrates in the video below the break: build your own. It’s a fascinating demonstration of how machine tools evolved with each successive generation made by the last at every increasing precision. He achieves good-enough construction from a welded steel frame with little more than hand tools, and though his result is by no means a perfect lathe it does allow him to achieve the next level of machining precision. Off the shelf come a set of optical guide rails and linear bearings along with a chuck and tool holder, but the rest is all his. And the washing machine motor driving it is a touch of pure class, even though he is embarrassed enough to cover it with a glove for filming. Sometimes in our community, we adopt the sledgehammer to crack a nut methodology, using CNC or similar techniques to fabricate things that can be made more speedily with less accomplished methods. We couldn’t help wincing at his hammering in the vice to create the lead screw nut bracket, though.
Thanks [Xavier] for the tip.