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What I Did At The Weekend


Well-Known Member
It's so much easier to bung together a lathe from a few bits than it is to make any kind of drilling machine! I started making a drilling machine a few years ago, hit major problems, the main one being that for the life of me I could not make the quill straight. You have to understand, at this point, that the only means I had at my disposal was hand cut pieces of wood, and I ain't that good a wood-worker! So it was close, but not good enough. Making guides for a square-ish section quill was equally problematic.

Then I hit on the idea of using a piece of plastic waste pipe for the quill, since I already have a piece I found in a skip years ago and kept in case it was useful. Far straighter and more even than anything I can make.

So I spent the weekend making bearing casings, spacers, holes for it to slide up and down in, and putting it all together. The chuck and it's mandrel came from my dad's old power drill - I think it's as old as I am - it was a two speed gold coloured B&D. The spindle came from an old printer, the flexible coupling I made out of a flat aluminium bar that came from a fax machine, the bearings are the only part I actually bought! Oh there's a big flat washer on top to act as a dust cover - came from a bed base... The bearings are the only part I've had to buy.

I made the bearing casings by cutting out (from some plywood) the middles using a forstner bit, and the outsides using a hole saw. Since the outsides were a little large, I made a lathe using a 1/4hp motor I got for 99p off eBay, cut some pulleys using the biggest hole saw, used an old flat/ridged drive belt that came from the car, used a spindle and some bushes from a very old printer (they don't have bushes any more), mounted in the chassis from an old money counting machine. Used the chuck and it's previous set of bearing casings with half the flexible coupling attached to make the headstock (backwards way, the chuck gripping the spindle), was able to make a faceplate (more bits of wood) to attach to that. I discovered that using a lathe, drilling a hole is self centring! I held the drill bit in the chuck from my first (extinct) battery drill, held in my hand. No tailstock needed. Wow, that was quite a revelation. So I got a nice hole to centre my casings on (with bearings inserted to make it accurate to the bearing, not some random artefact of the wood) so I could true them up and reduce down to the correct size (though they turned out to be pretty true anyway. Also made some spacers. I clamped a bit of wood to the bench leg, sat the motor on it and tied it to the leg with a bit of wire.

The mandrel has a pin through it which engaged the original drive gear. I finally decided to grind it down so the thrust bearing could side past and sit behind the chuck. I also found a longish piece of hardwood (possibly beech) (which came from an old divan bed base) which I had previously bored through the middle to make the first attempt at this thing. I was able to fit that onto the lathe spindle - first made a mandrel to go inside and turn it down so it fits inside the pipe, and true the ends. That way I have a nice firm stack of wood to brace the pipe walls, and the thrust from the thrust bearing is transferred up the whole lot. It all press fits into the pipe - no need for screws, clips, pins or any of that nonsense! One of the casings was actually a bit too tight at first and made the pipe bulge, had to file slightly...

I was inspired by engine piston rings to make sliding holes with wire circles in them. The wire is the copper plated steel core from some old Virgin cable I saved. So two turns of that in a hole in a bit of plywood, top and bottom, slides up and down lovely, with no noticeable play.

The motor came from the old money counting machine. It gets very hot, and is quite powerful, but not enough for this. Also the belt tends to slip. Obviously need one with a bit more grunt. I have one from an old food processor I can try. Not induction type like this one, unfortunately, but more powerful than this one. It says 500w on it somewhere. Don't know the power rating of this one, no label. Other motor does however make speed control possible.

Still need a mechanism to make the quill go up and down. I tried to use a friction wheel for the first version. It partially worked, but was basically a rubbish design. Going to do a cantilever for this.

In between times, I bought a stand for the power drill. So the big question in my mind was, is it still worth making this drilling machine? Well, now I've tried drilling a couple of test holes with my partly built, under-powered machine, I can say yes! Absolutely worth it! So smooth and quiet and nice to use. Not like the nasty power drill. Vicious thing.

I'm calling it "Wobbly Susan" for now because the frame is made from steel racking, and it wobbles quite badly. Susan because, well, you have a lazy susan don't you? So why not a wobbly one... At some point it's going to have to be changed to Rigid Susan - doesn't sound so nice! Maybe just Sue.



Well-Known Member
That's what I do with the old Drive Belt in the back of my car; a lathe. :D


Well-Known Member
OK, so what I did THIS weekend...

I made press brake! Yay! Some bits of steel racking, two 4 inch hinges, few rivets. Did a test bend on a piece of copper - lovely straight bend, very happy :D :D :D Just need to fit a handle to it and some kind of base, and something to give a bit more rigidity. Now I can make nice steel cases for my projects :joyful:. Shame I haven't figured out an easy way to make straight, even slotted vents yet.

Also, during the week, I made a nice cantilever lifter/presser for the drilling machine. Not got room now for the motor in it's original position. Alternative one needs to keep the big reducing pulley it's got, so I have a whole assembly to mount, and two more pulleys to make/source. OTOH, it does mean the motor can be placed closer to the spindle.
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Sujo Mathew

New Member
I spent my last weekend very interesting. I woke up at 8 o clock. I had breakfast, then I went to my grandmother. I helped her for gardening around 2 pm I took my lunch.
After that I walked with my friend. I saw my old teacher and we talked a lot. After that I came back to my home and I took a short sleep. And after that I played games on PC. Around 8 pm I took my dinner. I watched TV with my family about 12 pm I slept. It was a wonderful day!:)

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