Sunday, May 6, 2012

Router Lathe: Rails and carriage

Here's the Sketchup model I used to work out the mechanics. The lathe bed is the angled piece with the t-slot on the right. The two rails on the left are 1.5" x 3" aluminum rails from a discarded telecom equipment rack. The big angle pieces on the bottom are the base of the same rack.

The assembly in the upper left is the feed carriage. The whole unit runs on skateboard bearings by a 1/2"-13 feed screw (not shown in the model, but visible below). On top of that is a z-axis-like router carriage that slides on 1/2" rails, driven by a 1/4"-20 screw to move the router in and out. Stepper motors will rotate the lathe spindle (not shown), and the 1/2"-13 feed screws. The router's depth of cut will be manual, for now at least.

After I got it all assembled, I discovered the angle I used for the base wasn't square, so I have to shim everything that attaches. Re-using the aluminum network rack seemed like such a good idea, but I've made a series of compromises in strength, wear and accuracy, in order to use it. Once I get everything figured out, I may rebuild the rails using something better suited.


  1. Are you still using the 1/4x20 screw for the Z- axis?

  2. No, the rebuilt z axis now has the same 1/2 x 5tpi acme rod as the crossfeed.


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