Monday, May 21, 2012

Router lathe: Full size test

Newly acquired shop space in the basement

After spending most of the weekend building a bench for the lathe, a table for the computer and a stand for the air filter,  I moved the lathe to its new home. Then I was finally ready to make a big cut as a road test, to test accuracy and speed. I found a 30" long oak 4x4 to use as a test. The lathe can actually handle up to 11" diameter, and about 36" in length, but I figured this was big enough to expose most major problems or weaknesses.

rounding the stock

Everything worked pretty much as expected -- at least the arduino/stepper motor part. No dropped steps -- the cutter followed the exact same path each cut. In my previous test, the pitch was off, but I'm pretty sure it was a loose coupler on the spindle.  I did find out that the tailstock is not aligned so the lathe cuts a pretty significant taper, and after 3+ hours of continual operation, my shop vac sounds like squirrels hid nuts in the motor. Once I deal with those issues, I'll start testing how fast and deep it can cut in a single pass.

3.5" x 2.5 threads per inch

Here's the arduino code:

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