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Ever need to create something circular with wood, but can’t afford — or don’t have space for — a wood lathe?  If you’ve got $25 and a little bit of free table top, this drill-powered mini lathe might fill the bill.

It can accept up to a 24″ long workpiece between centers and offers 6” of spindle width capacity.  (Think ashtrays as opposed to salad bowls.)  It also comes complete with a tool rest and chip guard, but you’ll have to supply your own turning tools.  Stock is secured to the drill by a screw and plate assembly that attaches to either end of the workpiece, holding it firmly in place.

The manufacturer recommends a corded drill and we would have to agree; cordless models might not drive the torque you need, and running them continuously in this application would likely kill batteries quickly.

I’m sure many of you with “real” lathes will scoff at this, but hey — sometimes some is better than none.  And at $25 it might be worth a try.

Mini Lathe [Adjustable Clamp Co.]
Street Pricing [Froogle]

 

10 Responses to A Wood Lathe for Under $30?

  1. Michael says:

    I just ordered one I don’t have a “real” lathe. I’ll let you know more about it when it arrives.

    I’ll probably fix it up with a dedicated motor.

  2. James says:

    I’ve heard of people making simple lathes powered by drills, but this is the first time I’ve seen a commercially available one. It looks very interesting.

    ShopNotes 73 has an article on building a mini-lathe with a normal motor, in case anybody is interested in making their own.

  3. Rob says:

    I’m interested to know how this works. From one of the pictures I saw, there doesn’t seem to be a headstock spindle so I’m assuming that it uses the drill chuck in some way. I couldn’t find any more details to confirm if this was the case.

  4. John says:

    In the 1980s, in the UK Black&Decker used to produce a drill attachement for woodturning. This was a drill clamp. Drill clamp fitted with rotating point, a tool rest, a four prong drive and a small faceplate.
    Yes it did work, but – only small pieces. No hard woods like hornbeam. Keep your tools really, really sharp.
    Eventually burnt out a couple of drills, but does get you hooked.
    Problems included to adjust tailstock you needed to unclamp the tail slide it down your bench and reclamp. No use to get any pressure for holding the wood between centres. No lathe bed meant you could (by accident) not have the drive and tailstock in alignment.
    Nowadays I do look back at the lack of saftey warnings. Being hit in the face as a piece flys away from turning between centres is not as character building as one would wish.
    Even though this one looks better with the plastic guard, I would still recommend using a full face mask.

  5. Michael W. says:

    The mini lathe arrived today. I’ll assemble it tonight and try it out tomorrow in my shop.

    Rob, you’re correct. The drills chuck is used. The lathe has a headstock spindle that simply has a shaft that extends out the back (towards the drill).

    If I feel it’s safe enough I’ll probably end up setting this up for my kids. I’ll probably mount it to a chunk of oak to help cut down on vibration.

  6. andy says:

    where did you buy this as i want to give one a go

  7. Bruce says:

    Where can I purchase the Jorgenson Mini Lathe posted here on the site?? Jorgenson website does not have this lathe, do they still make and sell it?? WHERE CAN I PURCHASE IT???
    tHANKS

  8. Eliel kon says:

    Is this lathe still for sale somewhere ?
    I would like to buy one.
    Thank you, Eliel.

  9. Kirk says:

    Would love to find as well.

    • Beachcomber Bob says:

      Looks like the Adjustable Clamp Co have been absorbed into Pony Tools and no longer sell this item.

      If you’re in the U.S.A. then Grizzly.com sell their H2669 (available on Amazon too). Slightly different in that it doesn’t have the dedicated spindle and bearing in the headstock. Instead the neck of your power drill is clamped directly into the headstock ‘collar’ and utilises the drill’s own chuck to hold the work-piece or live centre

      If you’re in the U.K. or Europe, then Axminster.co.uk sell exactly the same thing badged as their TRT MC600.

      Who knows who originally made these, as I have one that’s about 25 years old and badged as ‘Richmond Tools’ (another company no longer findable on the ‘net)

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