The most important machine in use in the modern machine or wood-working shop is the lathe. The uses to which this wonderful machine can be put would be too numerous to describe, but there is hardly a mechanical operation in which the turning lathe does not figure. For this reason every amateur mechanic and wood-worker who has a workshop, no matter how small, is anxious to possess a lathe of some sort. A good and substantial homemade lathe, which is suitable for woodturning and light metal work, may be constructed from pipe and pipe fittings as shown in the accompanying sketch.
Illustration: Fig. 1-Details of Lathe
The bed of this lathe is made of a piece of 1-in. pipe, about 30 in. long. It can be made longer or shorter, but if it is made much longer, a larger size of pipe should be used. The headstock is made of two tees, joined by a standard long nipple as shown in Fig. 1. All the joints should be screwed up tight and then fastened with 3/16-in. pins to keep from turning. The ends of the bed are fixed to the baseboard by means of elbows, nipples and flanges arranged as shown. The two bearings in the headstock are of brass. The spindle hole should be drilled and reamed after they are screwed in place in the tee. The spindle should be of steel and long enough to reach through the bearing and pulley and have enough end left for the center point. The point should extend about 1-1/2 in. out from the collar. The collar can be turned or shrunk on the spindle as desired. The end of the spindle should be threaded to receive a chuck.
The tailstock is also made of two tees joined by a nipple. The lower tee should be bored out for a sliding fit on the bed pipe. The upper one should be tapped with a machine tap for the spindle which is threaded to fit it. The spindle has a handle fitted at one end and has the other end bored out for the tail stock center. Both the tail stock and the headstock centerpoints should be hardened. A clamp for holding the tail stock spindle is made of a piece of strap iron, bent and drilled as shown. It is held together by means of a small machine screw and a knurled nut. The tee should have a slot cut in it about one-half its length and it should also have one bead filed away so that the clamp will fit tightly over it.
The hand rest is made from a tapering elbow, a tee and a forging. The forging can be made by a blacksmith at a small expense. Both the lower tees of the handrest and the tailstock should be provided with screw clamps to hold in place.
The pulley is made of hardwood pieces, 3/4 or 1 in. thick as desired. It is fastened to the spindle by means of a screw, as shown in Fig. 2, or a key can be used as well.
Care must be taken to get the tailstock center vertically over the bed, else taper turning will result. To do this, a straight line should be scratched on the top of the bed pipe, and when the tail stock is set exactly vertical, a corresponding line made on this. This will save a great deal of time and trouble and possibly some errors.
Illustration: Fig. 4-Chuck
The two designs of chucks shown in Figs. 3 and 4 are very easy to make, and will answer for a great variety of work.
As the details are clearly shown and the general dimensions given on the accompanying sketches, it should not be a difficult matter for the young mechanic to construct this machine. --Contributed by W. M. Held, Laporte, Indiana.