Project idea: Lathe

I have a few Dremel tools laying around, and based on some thread about varying rotary tool mounts for the X-Carve, I’m wondering how a similar “mount” would be able to be created, adapted, or otherwise repurposed to get a solid mount set up and used sideways to make a DIY lathe.

Not sure if this would be a good idea for an under $100 project, or the tip jar stuff…but figured I’d create a generic thread here for general discussion.

What would I use it for? Right now, the very basic use would be to rotate bentwood rings to be sanded/polished and presuming the lateral force on the tool wouldn’t be too much, some basic carving for inlays.

So let’s get a discussion going. Can it be done? How would you do it? Any brave soul got a couple of pieces of scrap wood laying around and use the CAD files to cut something that could be mounted sideways? I still have to build a table before I start putting the serious work of rails on my machine, so it’ll be at least a few days before I’m even doing basic carving - so for now, testing this all out is a little beyond my X-Carve knowledge.

This give me some visual ideas with no clue how to make it work from a programming aspect.

  1. Dremel or spindle mounted so the bit is parallel to the wasteboard.

  2. An apparatus to hold a work piece in a horizontal orientation above the waste board and rotate it at a given speed or perhaps with rotational indexing.

  3. The Dremel or spindle moves in x and y axis guiding the cutter with the z axis staying in one position. this would be acting as a lathe. If the z axis is incorporated as well, then one would have a 4 axis machine!

this sounds like a cool idea if your plan is to use it as a cnc lathe. the only thing im opposed to is the dremel, its way too high in rpm and way too low in torque, for the money one costs your better off buying a small motor and controller, not that hard to set up and wire with a bit of help from google. it doesnt need to spin fast at all, especially since the router is doing all the cutting and not a chisel. and the faster the speed the more unstable it can get (my wood lathe through a few peices at me in the past).

and if you want to get really crazy, invest in another stepper and controller and youll have a true 4 axis. not only could you do round stuff, but 3D because you can control the movement of the stepper with the right sofware.

Heh. Neat ideas…

I’m just too cheap to go buy even a Harbor Freight lathe at ~$200 and wanted something to spin some rings to sand or lightly carve a line for some stone inlay.

I can definitely see me using the x-carve framework to attach to a $200 Harbor Freight Lathe… have already looked into the lathe.

Everything one would need is right there - except the mounts - which are easily made on the X-carve. The software will have to be adapted, but it doesn’t look to complex - remember, with a lathe, there are really only 2 axes: Y and Z. X remains constant (there is a geeky math joke in there somewhere…).

I am still waiting for my X-carve to arrive, but once it does, I will be purchasing the HF $200 wood lathe. I am hoping I am not the “Lead man” on the X-carve “Lathe project,” but if no one come in with a project, I could see me posting plans by Christmas (which means I might get around to it by summer 2019).

My wife wants all the spindles on the front porch replaced… since the lumber is $40 and to have them custom cut (our homeowners’ assn. requires they be replaced with exact copies, NOT the ones Lowe’s carries) is $2000, she has given me a pretty good budget to work with!

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Check out think-woodworks on YouTube. The guys name is Izzy Swan(he’s actually on the forums here. Did the first fold up table). He makes random tools out of wood including crazy things like making spindles on a tablesaw. He also has created several router copying mechanisms that you could use to make legs fairly quickly compared to using the cnc.

Rings can be milled out on the machine and then you can basically just rig a small tension fit jig to a electric drill, Dremel or drill press to use as a lathe to polish, sand and create grooves for inlays.

Rotary is possible on an XC (Thou I’ve have done it on a S02)

I’ve done a couple test cuts with it, but I need to change the endplates so they are slightly shorter. And I need to get a piece of 2040 so I can attach the tailstock in line with the rotary.

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@ymilord I am interested in giving this a try. Where did you source the rotary axis and chuck from?

Amazon (But you can find them on ebay too)

The Idea I’m working on in my head involves using some “maker slides” (basically just the “Gantry”) and this:

I hope to be able to attach INSIDE the lathe’s base “rails” to move along the y-axis and have an acme screw run from by a stepper from below as the Z-axis… May also use the router instead of just a lathe knife to get a better finish.

It is still in the “Redneck Engineering” folder of my head, though… (so anyone who wants to run with this idea - GO FOR IT!!)