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Sunday 24 July 2022

My First Metal Lathe

This weekend I got some time to use the lathe that I got for my birthday.

It's been about 40 years since I last used a metal turning lathe, so I've had a bit to learn. I found an excellent series of videos on YouTube that got me underway very quickly.

These tutorials by Blondihacks are concise, easy to understand and exactly what I needed to know.

Unboxing. There are lots of similar lathes all made in China.
Having read lots of reviews, I concluded that the lathes are pretty good but the state of what arrives can be a bit hit and miss. To avoid having a kit of parts, instead of a lathe, I decided to buy from a UK company that brands their own Chinese manufactured lathes, and most importantly checks them before  they ship and provides support.

I bought a Warco WM 180 lathe. It arrived in very good order, pretty much ready to use.

I built the bench that it sits on, over 10 years ago. The bench was intended for a lathe, but it's taken me this long to decide to buy one.

It comes with a basic tool post. To align the tools, it is necessary to pack them to the right height.

To pack under the lathe tools, I used short lengths of the metal strapping from the crate that the lathe arrived in. I found that tip while looking for what lathe to buy. 4 layers of metal strap, raised the tools to exactly the right height.
I bent the strap, so that it also brought the tool out to better line up with the set screws, that hold the tools in place.

To practice, I made a pair of presses to put the cups in to bike head tubes.

I've learnt a lot as I've gone along and I am pleased with the results of my first project using the metal turning lathe.