Tuesday, December 4, 2018

If I only had a lathe....

I was looking into buying a Taig lathe  to do some hobby related machining but by the time I priced out all  the bits needed to actually do anything, it cost significantly more than what I had in my budget - at least for now.

Instead, I wound up buying a Dremel tool, which I have been wanting for awhile, and an assortment of wood steel and brass bits to build one of these: Fonly Lathe

Loosely based off a watchmaker's lathe, the design has been successfully used for making 2mm/foot scale model railroad parts. I made a whole series of beginner errors starting with buying a stainless steel bed plate thinking it would be easy to drill (Hahahahaha......). That was followed by some fun drilling holes in the brass block for the tool holder. I'd always used a pin vise on relatively thin stock with no real problems so I wasn't expecting the bigger drill bit to  grab the brass as badly as it did. If I had a drill press, it would have gone much quicker and straighter. In then end I wound up with this:

It looks pretty crude but everything is solid. The block on the right is the tool holder.  I got this far then ran into a period of frustration because I couldn't get the damn thing to cut. I was able to do a little shaping of brass and wood with hand held files but I couldn't get the hang of making and setting up the cutting tools.

Much research and Youtubing followed and finally I made a leap in progress.


The wood jars and most of the brass was shaped with files. The aluminium stock is a 1/8" dia roofing nail and the pin on the end was turned down by hand using my new tool. I haven't measured it but the penny should give you an idea of how small it is (I got the calipers out this morning - it's 0.3mm - not bad for free hand).

I'm pretty chuffed.

Having made it this far, I have a few lathe bits to make over and I want to make a taper slide for turning gun barrels.

1 comment:

kmfrye said...

I swear by my Dremel - but I haven't gone as far as you've done. Very interesting.