Woodturning With a Drill Press

Woodturning With a Drill Press

  • Using very few materials and common hand  tools you can turn your drill press  into a small lathe for wood and plastic.

  • Three examples of increasing difficulty are described here in some detail, a bottle stopper, a tool handle and  a cylindrical piece. These examples serve to illustrate different  methods of work , useful to anybody willing to try this modification.. .

  • I also show several other  things I made in the past  that  may give you ideas for your own projects.

Step 1: The Set Up

The idea of turning a drill press into a small lathe is not new. The setups that you may find in the internet  include

  • The work of the instructables contributor Tool Using Animal (https://www.instructables.com/id/Drill-Press-Lathe/)
  •  A few youtube videos. 
  • A commercial product under the name of Vertilathe

These setups are similar in principle. Specifically the commercial product gave me the idea to go ahead and make a simple setup out of wood as a first try, more than 5 years ago. It turned out that it works well and I did not have to modify it for the simple projects I am doing. This is what I am presenting here. It consists of a unique block that contains the two basic components of the lathe, the tool rest and the live centre.

The tool rest

This is a vertical block of wood 12 cm x 5cm x 1.5cm firmly screwed and glued on the basis. It serves to slide the tool up and down along the edge of the working piece. Furthermore it protects your hand from getting to close to the turning piece. The length depends upon the available space you have in the drill press. In retrospect I should have made this a few centimeters longer.

The live centre

This allows the working piece to rotate around a stable axis. It consists of a short axis with a conical shape usually mounted on a ball-bearing. I made mine in the simplest possible way and it proved enough. It is made out of a screw free to rotate in its hole, supported by double nuts and washers.

Final Result:

A Final Word

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