LaymarCrafts Woodturning Hints & Tips

Mini Lathe Modifications and Additions.
I have one of the Mini Lathes, mine being the Axminster version which is generally the same as many others from the major suppliers.

This little Lathe is finding more and more uses in the Workshop especially for Turning those smaller items such as Light Pulls, Bottle Stoppers, Keyrings and Mushrooms etc.

A Lathe of this Size and Price is never going to have all the Features associated with a Larger Lathe but certain facilities I have become use to, made me think about how I could incorporate them on the Mini Lathe.

Here I detail how I made a facility to Lock the Spindle, re-arranged the Stop / Start Switch to the left of the Lathe and a Stop to prevent the Tailstock or Banjo from falling off the end of the Lathe.

Re-Positioning the On / Off Switch.

As I am right handed I found it very awkward to operate the On / Off Buttons which were located on the right of the Lathe, as my Left Hand is for the most part free this is the obvious Hand to use to operate the Lathe Switch with.

On the Axminster Lathe the Switch Box is mounted on a Metal Bracket that if reversed and inverted is capable of being fixed at the opposite end of the Lathe.

You will need to dismantle the Switch Box [Disconnect from the Power Supply before carrying out any Work] which is easier than it sounds and disconnect the Electrical Cable, do not forget to make a note of where the 3 Wires go.

You then need to offer the Bracket up to the Lathe and mark off the two fixing holes, then drill and tap the holes to suit an M6 ["] Screw.

Before you complete the changeover you will have to remove the access cover which gives you access to the Drive Belt as this will not be accessible after the Switch is fitted, this however will not restrict access to the Drive Belt when you need to change Speeds, nor will it impair the performance or running of the Lathe.

You now have to redirect the Electrical Cable and clamp as necessary, and with the Bracket now in place you can re-assemble the Switch Box.

Spindle Lock.

One of my dislikes are Chucks that require two hands to operate whether it be with Tommy Bars or "C" Spanners, but the choice of Small Chucks for these Lathes are limited and therefore I was stuck with the Tommy Bar Option.

This meant I had to find a solution that would allow me to operate the Chuck with one hand.

The obvious method would be some form of Spindle Lock based around the Hole already provided in the Spindle Collar.

The solution is shown in the picture to the right and below, a simple bracket is screwed to the top of the Headstock using two M6 Screws, this allows a Tommy Bar to be inserted through the bush and into the hole in the Spindle Collar.

The Bracket is made from a piece of 20mm x 6mm Mild Steel 100mm long [see sketch] into this I have Silver Soldered a Brass Bush drilled out to suit the Tommy Bar that I had also made, although you could use the Bar that comes with the Lathe.

Details of the Bracket with the Bush Silver Soldered into it at one end, Drilled to suit the Tommy Bar which I also made and shown below, with this modification I can now operate the Chuck with just one Tommy Bar or as I prefer a "C" Spanner..


Lathe Bed [Ways] Stop.

I often use the Lathe without the Tailstock in place and I found that I would often move the Banjo along the Lathe only to have it come off and land in the Shavings, this was annoying to say the least so I made a simple stop, using one of the existing Bed Extension fixing holes.

All you require is a piece of Steel, Plastic or Wood, a piece Rubber Hose for protection, a Spacer so the Hose does not bind onto the Lathe Bed [Ways] and a suitable Thumb Screw.

In place as shown the Stop will prevent both the Tailstock or the Banjo from coming off, by loosening the Thumb Screw the stop will automatically swing down and allow you to either replace or remove the Tailstock and Banjo as you wish.

Other Modifications:

The Tailstock when not in use and off of the Lathe is hung on a Bracket made from a piece of Screwed Rod covered with some Rubber Hose that will fit into the Tailstock Barrel.

I also added a Baffle Plate to protect the Belt and Pulleys from any Debris from Turning , there is a gap below the Headstock and above the Motor that allows any Shavings, Grit, Waxes etc. to get into the Drive End of the Lathe which could eventually damage or wear the Pulleys/Belt, I took the Headstock off and filled in the gap with a piece of Steel Plate which I fixed with Epoxy.

I have also made a smaller Tool Rest which is 100mm [4"] long this allows me to get in close when turning small items with the Tailstock in use, something not always possible with the 150mm [6"] Rest supplied with the Lathe.

Made from a 100mm x 40mm piece of 8mm Mild Steel Silver Soldered to a piece of Mild Steel Bar to a diameter to suit the Banjo, simple to make and you can make them any size to suit all your requirements.


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Last update 23 June 2008
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