Prototype 3

The articles dated July 4 2007 are theoretical articles I wrote before I actually began work on the new lathe. When I came to the point of making the base for Prototype 3 I did not follow my original plan. As often happens, I get ideas as I work. I decided to do the welding myself on the base (my first welding job) and went from 2" square steel tube to 1.5" tube. The end result bears no resemblance to the drawings in the article listed below. Having said that, I am pretty sure that if you follow the plans in the article below, the result will be perfectly adequate.

Furthermore, when I inspected the "heavy duty" workbench from Enco in person (actually I was at a Sears store and they sell an identical workbench) I felt it was not adequate. I ended up making a bench out of redwood. It gave me an excuse to by a biscuit joiner, something I always thought would be fun. 

On the left you can see the cabinet and lathe. On the right you see the computer and CNC controller 

In the foreground you can see the stepper motor and the pulley that drives the lead screw of the cross slide.

In the background you can see my dustpan and brush. The shop stays a lot cleaner since I can tidy up while the lathe does its thing.

In the foreground is the left cross slide. You can see the two stepper motors and the orange belts that drive the X and Y lead screw axes.

This is a closeup of the computer screen showing the digital readout. I am using Mach 3 software. You can use Mach 3 tor free, but the free version only allows you to write 1000 lines of code, plenty for my simple programs!

The code used in most CNC machines is called G Code. I'm still learning it.

I made the lathe head from aluminum plate. I found the tachometer online. It's called the "Tachulator." It reads a black and white target on the shaft and calculates the speed.

I control the motor speed with a variable speed controller. It converts one phase power to three phase power. The motor is one horsepower. The useful speed range is about 120 RPM to 1100 RPM.

A boring operation... but not as "boring" as when I had to turn crank handles endlessly!

4 Jul 2007 Cross Slides

Cross slides, also known as milling tables and xy cross tables, are an essential part of the rim lathe as it is currently conceived. Since creating my first prototype, I have actively searched for the best possible cross slide. This article is an overview of the results of my research.

4 Jul 2007 The Base

The base for Prototype 3 will be made of 2" welded square steel tube as in Prototype 2. The design has been simplified and requires fewer welds. The new modular design makes the base easier to ship and also facilitates the proper mounting for a variety of lathe heads.