Lucky me and after some months looking for a cheap mini lathe I found in an online second hand page something that I though it was worth it to check. I got an unfinished, forgot mini metal lathe project that I could bring back to life. The total price was around 50€ and I have to drive two hours to collect it, I think it was worth it.

The mini lathe status was a bit bad, some surface rust, but It has all the pieces that I need, because I had at home a cheap Chinese 4th axis assembly that I was planning to use as chuck.

Here you can see the original look and the pieces included :

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After disassemble everything and using some cleaning tools like: round wire brush, sand paper, scotch brite brush wheels and acetone, the machine return back to life and it looked like a mimi metal lathe. Also the 4th axis chuck was installed temporally, if you check the pictures a wood block and few shims were used to bring the proper height to it.

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Using the computer and controlling box for my CNC machine, I was able to configure the Stepper motor in the 4th axis like an spindle, the speed was good but the torque at high speed was quite bad. Therefore, another solution must be found to improve the lathe spindle ;).

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Also another problem was the stability of the spindle and chuck assembly, using the wood block it was not a good option, so I though to use two blocks of aluminum that will give the needed stability. Also I used an old Spindle motor from my CNC machine, the motor was a Chinese 0.4 KW DC motor, a DC power supply and a DC motor speed controller ( found on Flybay ) to power the motor.

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Spindle motor and chuck
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Aluminum blocks supporting the Spindle/chuck assembly
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Power supply and motor speed controller

 

So far the lathe it is working good, future steps are to convert it to a CNC lathe machine, so I could run Threads and cool profiles. Here you can see some results obtained with the mini lathe. These are tube ends for my portable dipole antenna assembly, soon @freakyattic.com

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Keep tuned for future changes!!

 

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  • Project Type Mini Metal Lathe Rebuild
  • Project Start Year 2015
  • Skills Needed Pasion for CNC/Lathe, Electronics, General Construction and Patiente