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A radius turning tool lets you make ball shapes or radiused ends on your metal turnings. With the tool you can make convex curves up to 3/4″ in diameter in brass, aluminum steel, or plastic — you just mount the jig on your lathe’s tool post and swing the handle, which rotates the cutting tool in an arc.

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With a quick search, I could find two versions of this tool: one from Micro Mark and one from the Little Machine shop. The Micro-Mark version, which runs $50, is made of blackened steel and includes the high-speed steel cutter.

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The Little Machine shop version costs $90 and is completely machined from solid metal, not stamped, cast, or pressed, by OMW corp in the U.S.┬áThe frame on the Little Machine Shop version is machined from a high-strength aluminum alloy, the handle is tool steel, and the hardened pins pivot in bronze bearings.┬áThis care to detail is probably the reason it’s twice as expensive as the Micro-Mark version.

Radius Turning Tool [Micro-Mark]
Radius Turning Tool [Little Machine Shop]

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3 Responses to Radius Turning Tool

  1. Dave P says:

    You can turn the tool around and make light concave cuts too. You know, 90 bucks ain’t that bad for one of these. The “big-boy” Holdridge version costs over a thousand dollars.

  2. Dave P says:

    I’ll also point out that the Little Machine Shop version is a substantially stronger design–it has filletted corners instead of the sharp 90-degree corners on the Micro-mark. Cracks propagate in sharp corners–I can imagine that a good chuck crash or loose part might scrap the Micro-Mark version.

  3. Robert says:

    You can also make your own tool. This web page has free plans for one that will a mini-lathe and a video showing it in operation.

    http://www.machinistblog.com/free-plans-ball-turning-tool-post-for-the-7x-mini-lathe/

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