This section is from the book "The Boy Mechanic Vol. 2 1000 Things for Boys to Do", by Popular Mechanics Co.. Also available from Amazon: The Boy Mechanic, Vol2: 1000 Things for Boys to Do.
A strong, substantial lathe in which wood and light metal articles may be turned can be made by carefully following the description below and the detailed drawings of the parts.
The bed is made of two pieces of straight-grained, smooth, 2 by 4-in. hard wood, 5 ft. long. They are held apart at each end by blocks of wood 2 in. wide. The bed can, of course, be made longer or shorter if desired, but the above dimensions are very satisfactory. The frame of the headstock, Figs. 1 and 2, is made of hard wood. The two end pieces have the dimensions and shape shown. These are fastened with screws to the base.
The base has a slider, a strip of wood 1 in. thick and 10 in. long, wide enough to slide smoothly between the bed pieces, nailed to its bottom, 2 in.
from the rear end. Two 1/2 -in. holes are bored through the baseboard and slide. Two 1/2-in. bolts are run through these holes and through another slide and board which runs on the under side of the bed.
When the nuts on these bolts are tightened, the headstock is firmly clamped to the bed. A half-round, wedge-shaped piece is fastened with screws in the frame against the front end, to serve as a brace against any strain, and will also add to its appearance. The spindle is of tool steel or steel tubing, 3/4 in. in diameter and 14 in. long. Threads are cut on one end.
A hardened steel collar, 1/4 by 1 1/2in., is riveted on the spindle so it may turn against another collar of the same size on the headstock. Another collar is fastened with screws to the rear end piece, and a collar with a removable pin is fixed on the spindle. These should be fitted so as to revolve easily against each other and yet have no end play. The bearings are of brass tubing drilled for a spindle. These are inserted and wedged in the head-stock, 6 in. from the bed.
Ill: Fig 2
Ill: Fig 3
Ill: Section Through Fig 4
Care should be taken to see that they are in line. Small holes are drilled from the top for oil. The pulleys are 2 in. wide with the diameters given in the drawing. They are fastened to the spindle with a removable pin.
A good chuck for this lathe is made, as shown in Fig. 3, of a piece of shafting 11/2 in. in diameter and 2 1/2 in. long. A 1/2-in. hole is drilled through its center and one end reamed out and threaded to fit the threads on the end of the spindle. A setscrew is fitted over the 1/2-in. hole. A center for turning wood is also shown. Many centers, drills, etc., can be made of 1/2-in. tool steel.
The tailstock, Figs. 4 and 5, is built up of three pieces of hard wood, 2 in. thick, and one piece, 1 in. thick, shaped as shown. These are held together with four bolts, 7 1/2 in. long. It has sliders and is clamped to the bed in the same manner as the head-stock, but only one bolt is used. A handle is welded to the nut. This will make the clamping easy.
A piece of tubing, 2 in. long. is drilled for a 1/2-in. dead center and inserted for 1 1/2in. between the two upper pieces, as shown in Fig. 6. A hole for a 1/2-in. bolt is bored through the sections so as to allow the bolt to slide freely in the tubing. The top section is taken off and a place chiseled out just back of the tube for a 1/2-in. nut. A bolt, 7 in. long and threaded for 2 in. of its length, is turned into the nut and tubing. A handle or wheel is riveted on the end of the bolt. The center is made of tool steel, 1/2 in. in diameter, with a tapering point. Other centers can be made of 1/2-in. tool steel.
The tool rest, Figs. 7, 8 and 9, has a slide, 3/4 by 3 by 13 in., with a slot 1/2 by 6 in. The base of the rest is bolted on this slide so it can be adjusted. The rest is fastened on this base with screws. The height of the rest can be varied. It can be raised or lowered by inserting wedges between the slide and the rest base. The tool rest is clamped to the base the same as the tailstock.
The power for this lathe can be supplied by means of a countershaft, although a foot-power arrangement may be attached. - Contributed by E. E. Hulgan, Marion, Ind.