Treadle Lathe

Hi folks,
My latest project is to build a foot powered wood working lathe but there are a few points that I am having trouble with design wise and I would appreciate some advice.
I'm fairly good at working wood but I have very little experience working metal. There is, unfortunatly for me, two bits of the lathe that I think have to be fabricated in metal - the treadle mechanism and the head / tail stock.
I think I can probably muddle my way through a design for the head / tail stock (I was thinking of using a drill chuck or something similar) but the treadle mechanism has me stumped.
The current plan was to have something like this (excuse the bad art)
--B----| |-- --B----| |-- |A| | | -|D|-----| |-- -|D|-----| |-- | | | | |C| | | Z Z | | --E---------------F------ ------------------F------
That's a terrible drawing sorry :o)
A = Crank ~5cm B = Flywheel Axle C = Other Crank Bit ~30cm (Sorry don't know the correct names) D = Bearing (I hope) E = Another Bearing F = Treadle Plate (it's pivotted BTW) Z = Shows this bar is much longer than A
Can you buy this sort of set up? If so where as google has let me down. If not how would you go about producing this? I have considered butchering a couple of bicycle pedles but that feels like a really bad solution.
Many Thanks,
Graham
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==============Have you considered using an old Singer sewing machine foot treadle? You can usually find old sewing machine stands quite cheaply which incorporate a foot treadle. They usually drive the machine via a round leather belt. You might be able to cannibalise or copy.
Cic.
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On Thu, 27 Oct 2005 13:28:44 +0000, Cicero wrote:

Yeah, I have considered it but I'm not sure it would be up to the job. The flywheel I am hoping to turn with it is 80cm in diameter made from three (or more) sheets of ply. There is also the problem of expense unless someone has one going for free...
Graham
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In article <pan.2005.10.27.13.40.24.12656
snipped-for-privacy@crazysquirrel.removethisbit.com says...

Flywheel on a Singer treadle is only 30cm, there's not much room to expand it width-wise and none at all to increase the diameter, but you might be able to fix some lead or steel plate to the sides. You'd still have the problem that it drives from the outer rim, so is good for speed but not for torque.

Often available on eBay for a few quid if you can find one local to you.
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doozer presented the following explanation :

That might work as a drive, but not as a flywheel. To provide the flywheel action it needs weight, enough weight to keep it going once started until your next push on the treadle.
I have seen wood turning lathes where the method of drive is a bow of springy wood above, down to a rope around the wood being turned, then down to a foot treadle.
You pull the bow down to tension it, loop around your wood onto the hinged treadle. Put weight on the treadle with your foot and the wood turns, release and it rewinds due to the tension of the bow.
If your are going along the flywheel route, then you might find parts from a car scrap yard of some use. Brake disks for flywheel including bearings, then two flat bits of of steel to form a crank bolted or even better welded onto the disks.
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On Thu, 27 Oct 2005 21:06:41 +0100, Harry Bloomfield wrote:

What you describe is a variation on a pole lathe and has the problem of reciprocating motion (some people like it but I find it distracting). Having read about numerous other flywheel lathes built to similar designs I am confident that the flywheel will be sufficient. If it isn't I will add more weight by drilling holes near the rim and packing them with lead.
The amount of energy stored in a flywheel increases linearly with weight but exponetially (^2) with angular velocity. It is therefore much better to get it spinning fast than to make it heavy.
As for the crank - I have decided to go with a bike transmission and use the free wheeling mechanism. I think that should work and cuts down the amount I need to fabricate myself.
Thanks for the ideas,
Graham.
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doozer wrote:

Nit: You mean "quadratically", not "exponetially".

... but this is still true :-)
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On Fri, 28 Oct 2005 10:05:22 +0100, Martin Bonner

Of course subsidiary nit: Mass not weight. In fact, it is all down to the angular moment of inertia. If the flywheel is ply, perhaps nailing a roll of lead flashing around the periphery will give sufficient staying power. the further from the axis of rotation the mass is concentrated, the better. The flywheel may require a push to start treadle operation, but that should not present a problem on such a bare-bones machine.
John Schmitt
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On Thu, 27 Oct 2005 14:22:51 +0100, doozer

Have you thought about a spring pole lathe? Far simpler to make, although the action is intermittent. The idea might be 600 years (approx) old, (and I think rather more) but is still sound. It takes some skill, but then any wood-turning operation does.
http://www.historicgames.com/lathes/springpole.html
for a starter. The kilt is clearly an optional thing. Perhaps you could find an old leaf spring ply to suit. Many years ago I and a few other students built a crossbow with one. After we tested it and shot a bolt 3" into a brick wall the head of craft pointedly locked it into the display cabinet. Probably for the best, in retrospect.

You might have to bite the bullet and buy a morse taper centre. The other thing that occurs is a boring old plumb-bob. I think that should be OK for woodworking tolerances. if you include a peg on the headstock, you will only have to use a dowel, G-cramp mole grip or similar to force the workpiece to rotate.
John Schmitt
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On Thu, 27 Oct 2005 14:55:44 +0100, John Schmitt wrote:

Yep, in fact the project started out as a pole lathe since it is the simplest to build but I am not keen on the reciprocating motion (if reciprocating applies to things that spin as well as go backwards and forwards).
The kilt is appealing though ;o)
The closest I have found to what I intend to build is this
http://homepage.mac.com/estuary1/estuary/PhotoAlbum4.html
which is similar in most major respects. I think I can improve on the treadle system and the tensioner in particular.

I haven't given the head and tail stock as much though as I would have liked yet as I assumed (probably wrongly) that it wouldn't be that difficult to put something together. A morse taper may be the way forward though.
Graham
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On Thu, 27 Oct 2005 15:46:19 +0100, doozer

That is the case. However I have seen footage of one in action and it seems with a little practise, step down/tool in, step up/tool out becomes almost automatic.

For simplicity a dead-weight tensioner might be the answer.

Tilgear do not appear to have a webpage, but they have all sorts of goodies in the tooling line.
John Schmitt
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On Thu, 27 Oct 2005 15:46:19 +0100, doozer

Pole and treadle lathes are both crap. They're demanding of tools, timber and skill to use. Great fun, but they're a bad place to learn to turn, they can't produce at speed and they really limit you to spindle turning in green timber.
So I only bother with a pole lathe, _because_ of the intermitent action. If I'm doing this at all, I'm either doing something in a tent ful of hippies, or I'm doing repro where I want the characteristic finish of a reciprocating action. If I'm actually trying to get something _done_, then it's an electric lathe with a variable speed on the fly. I wouldn't bother with a treadle lathe for anythign bigger than pen or bobbin turning,
I'd love to have a go with a Great Wheel lathe (an apprentice cranks the handle)
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Could be fun -- at that end.
I know someone who did the cranking as an apprentice wheelwright. "Fifteen minutes is about the limit!", and he was a fit teenager at the time. This was turning wheel hubs for farm wagons, though, not a dainty turning by any stretch. And they would occasionally snag and jump out at one.
Thomas Prufer
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On Fri, 04 Nov 2005 07:59:19 +0100, Thomas Prufer

Elm presumably, which is tough going to turn however you do it.
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John Schmitt wrote:

Doesn't have to be intermittent if you incorporate a flywheel. Bike transmission could be good - you'd have a freewheel and gears for different diameter turnings
cheers
Jacob
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wrote:

If you can find it, the US magazine "Fine Woodworkig" had a design some years ago that used a bicycle chain from the treadle to drive a bicycle sprocket and gearbox coupled to the flywheel. The freewheel allows the treadle to return on the upstroke while the flywheel (and the work) carries on forward.
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says...

Why not just use the back half of a bike? Attach a pivoted footplate to the crank, and weight the wheel (lead pipe might be good for this - wrap it around the rim and secure with wire or zip ties) to make a flywheel. A 5-speed freewheel could be welded solid, one chain to the crank and another to the lathe spindle.
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On Thu, 27 Oct 2005 16:15:31 +0100, Norman Billingham wrote:

Now that is a good, no great, idea. I had thought about using a bike transmission because I liked the thought that I could have various power settings but I dismissed the idea because it would mean a) sitting down and pedaling while working and b) I couldn't see a way to move the pedals so that I could work on large objects. With a chain attached front and back to the tredle board looped over a freewheel it's problem solved. As you suggest I could even have a Derailer system in there for variable power. In fact thinking about it I might as well just fit a whole bike transmission system to the treadle board.
Thanks for that. If you have any more thoughts on this idea I would like to hear them
Graham
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doozer wrote:

From :-
http://p081.ezboard.com/fpaleoplanet69529frm45.showMessage?topicID .topic
There is a publication on this topic, with plans, "How to Make a Treadle-Operated Wood-Turning Lathe" by Bob Ingham, illustrated by Paul Smith - Intermediate Technologies Publications, copyright 1986. Based in the U.K. the ISBN is 0946688168
As the title suggests, it is for a treadle lathe, but it uses bicycle parts and I suspect you could adapt the design easily enough. The text DOES assume you will weld the parts together. I should think bolts could be substituted in some cases if that is not an option for you.
That said, Roy Underhill wrote an article in Popular Woodworking (Oct 2000) entitled "Lathe from a Loft" - about making a treadle lathe from cast off 2x lumber some students at the Institution of Higher Learning his daughter was attending through out. He has a video on the topic as well.
You have probably looked at this before but :- http://www.inthewoodshop.org/methods/trlathe.shtml#1
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doozer wrote:

one last suggestion: any (dead or unpowered) motor or (LP) turntable would do as a tailstock. Just file a point on the shaft/spindle.
A tail stock with more grip could be made a bit like gripper rod: lots of very short pointy bits for multiple gripping. Just knock the tailstock into the workpiece.
Its hard to know exactly what you want. I've used a wood lathe but there's so much scope for variation. Pole lathe, drill, all the way upto something more like an industrial metal lathe. Even cutting tools bring more options. And of course what you plan to make will determine best choice of head & tail.
One question: why manual power rather than drill?
NT
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