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Hobby lathe, metal turning.

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Hi ante,

Yes of course, I should have realised the motor choice would need to be known first ::).

I'm looking at two possibilities, a washing machine motor or a small benchtop drill press, a drill press would probably prove to be the most cost-effective, around $100 because it already has the mechanical speed adjustment as well as other useful bits.

Ok probably the only thing I really need to know at this stage, would be the motor type what would be the most suitable for this application, I understand that I will need some kind of feedback from the motor to the speed control, I won't need this degree of accuracy for now (the feedback) I just need the bare bone unit, for machining parts needed for my reactor.

Thanks ante :).

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  • 5 weeks later...

Hi Ante :),

Well I decided to go a similar path to this guy(http://www.backyardmetalcasting.com/index.html) I have worked in a foundry and I pretty much no the whole process, so it makes sense to me to make a small foundry, then go on to make the equipment that l will need .

A series inventor need some good equipment to get serious ;).

I have discovered a SmartDrive washing machine, I think it's electric motor would be ideal to use for a lathe. It's a 3-phase motor with a 42 pole stator and 36 magnets. Hopefully I can pick one up for the right price somewhere, I'm not sure on the Hp of these motors and I'm not sure on the Hp that I will need, as I have decided to make a decent size lathe :).

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Hi Ante, mixos,

I think I will just start building it to the scale that I want, then worry about the Hp that I'll need later 8).
Molten aluminium will bounce off of your skin it wont stick, but it is no fun when it goes into your boot, believe me I no :o.

Thanks for those plans mixos very very useful :).

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Hi Ante,

Thanks Ante, yes that's the same guy with the foundry, the link I posted above ;).

I have about 90 percent of the materials needed for the foundry. The ingredients needed for the refractory were very hard to find in my area. The heat will be on soon ;D, this project is bringing back bad memories, of working in the middle of summer in a foundry, hot hot hot :(.

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Hi Ante,

Beer cans are not a very good choice, about 70 percent is waste slag which is skimmed off the top of the molten metal. Cylinder heads are good, because you know that they are the type of aluminium that is use for casting, but the biggest problem is breaking them up into small pieces that will fit into the crucible.

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  • 7 months later...
  • 8 months later...


Having gone thru this receiently, I want to pass this on.

If you are considering constructing a part with .001" tolerances, or better, there are a couple machinist forums out there that have CRC lathe operators that will do work on the side, at reasonable prices.

I was considering building a metal lathe for some rifle barrel work.  I designed a new type of muzzle brake I wanted to attach to a 1903, 8mm Mauser.  I found a local guy thru a forum who cut the barrel down from 29" to 24", threaded the barrel end, and turned the brake blank's, all for less than $100.  The tolerances were .001, and if I wanted to pay for them, I could have had them down to .0005".

Doing a bunch of parts may warrant a lathe, but if only a few parts are needed, you can save money haveing them done professionally.

Just a thought!


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Sorry for being so nosey, seams like all the other guys know, no one asked, what is the “…hydrogen project, for the construction of the reactor chamber.” for, this could be dangerous stuff, right ?

Just for interest sake.


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Hi grandpa, Virus :)

The chances are I won't get it right the first time, or the second time, or the well I'm sure you can guess what comes next ;D.
Thanks for the info grandpa vary handy to know ;), there will be parts of my lathe that will need to be made on a lathe, so it sounds like the way to go to get it done on the cheap :D.

Virus, yes this can be very dangerous, this is where I started with the hydrogen project http://www.electronics-lab.com/forum/index.php?topic=1321.0

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See in what big letters I type, (eyes isn’t that good any more), please save me 10 page of reading, and tell me...

Again, sorry for being so nosey, what is the “…hydrogen project,” for ? ? ? ?

WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO WITH A “ hydrogen reactor chamber . . . “, WHAT IS THE END PURPOSES.

I, myself am very interested in alternative energies etc. Would it be for such an endeavor that you purpose this project ?



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  • 2 weeks later...
Guest 65ShelbyClone

I'm interested in how durable and accurate these mini lathes are. I imagine they're nice when you don't have a hangar to store everything in.

On the other hand, I've worked in a prototype machine sho and it is soooo nice to have access to a full sized Bridgeport mill or a Hardinge lahe(or a Haas 10hp CNC mill  ;)) plus all the tooling. Good machines are expensive, but good tooling and inpection equipment will kill you.

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