LatheRider Anyone?

Been mulling this over for quite a while now. A job popped up that this would be just the ticket for. I haven’t used my LowRider for about a year, it was replaced by a giant Onsrud.
This is a 3/4 hp motor driving a belt to a pulley going through bearings to create a makeshift lathe.
The lowrider is mounted lengthwise along the lathe axis. Using only the X axis and Z axis to move the router over the workpiece. Of course, since the lowrider hasn’t been fired up in months, it doesn’t work. The screen came up as a garbled mess. The ribbon cables were really loose on the board. Tried a little contact enhancer but now I just have a blue screen. Do you guys think this is just a cable problem or something more?


Another awesome project Kenny!

The blue screen is usually related to the wires being swapped or rotated. A loose contact would be a good guess too. It shouldn’t really wear out.

What about just skipping the screen and attaching a computer to the USB? I’m not sure if you are set up for something like that. But it would at least let you test the Marlin board and then worry about the screen.

Have you thought about the CAM? A long time ago, Leo69 did a rotational axis that replaced the X and he managed to do things like etch a pattern on a log. This is the first constantly spinning lathe I’ve seen.

I’m also curious about the mechanical parts you’ve chosen. I don’t have a lathe or lathe tools. I would be pretty happy if I could make a machine like this work for me. It is pretty neat.

Very cool idea! I’d worry about the sideway force on the endmill. Usually when you are using a hand tool on the lathe, you have a very long handle and a solid edge to rest the tool against. When using a lr2 router on a lathe, I can’t figure out whether the spinning of the endmill is enough “counter force”. Just a thought, don’t want to be a party pooper!!

Thanks Jeffeb3! I didn’t think about the USB port. I have a Surface Pro I can try. I’ll have to go back down to the shop. (About 7 miles) I’ll get more pictures that show the spinning mechanism.
Turbinbjorn: I’ve done something similar to this in the past, just a box jig with brass bushings and hanger bolts threaded into the wood blank, spun with a drill chucked onto the hanger bolt!. I ran a router back and forth over the box to turn the blank round and then used an index wheel to route flutes around the blank for use on fireplace mantles. It worked a treat.


I don’t have first hand lathe experience, but I believe the reason for the huge leverage on lathe tools is that it can bite, and it won’t give in until you make a chip, or you get injured. The rotating bit should be taking smaller bites, and due to the angle, if it get stuck, the wood will move away from the tool, and the tool can just let go.

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You guys make completely sense. Yes, it’s the bite that is my fear. But as you are saying, since the endmill is spinning, it would just move “around”, rather than giving an awful kickback. On the other hand- making a proper lathe cnc with a fixed tool would demand a hefty fixture.

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If it takes too big a bite, the endmill will make that cool “ping” noise.


Made a little progress this weekend. I have video but don’t have time to process right now. jeffeb3, I need a little code to make the steppers stay on after a program runs. I was able to run the machine using the Surface but will have new cables for the screen today. I did succeed in turning the blank round and also succeeded in creating the “ping” sound!


The steppers should be on after it ends. Repetier host has a setting that disables motors after a print. Or look at the end of your gcode for an M84

I think Ryan’s next project should be a MPCNCL(athe). Then there could be a wiki how to use your 3d printer to make your Primo to machine alliminum parts for your V1 lathe to build your rocketship to make your…


Guy Fleegman: “Look around. See if you can form some sort of rudimentary lathe”

I have heard, anecdotally, that a metal lathe is the only machine that can make every part. Because you could attach a bit in the chuck and attach a workpiece to the tool holder.

Then again, with a cnc, you can make pretty round parts, theoretically.

I have heard this too, but you can also turn on a mill by holding the work in the spindle and setting up a cutting tool on the table. You can also mill round parts with a 4th axis/rotary table.

I may argue that a lathe makes a better mill than a mill makes a lathe, but both can be used interchangeably to some extent so I really never understood that saying fully.

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Pretty much. You only need the bearing wells to be accurate. Everything else can be eyeballed.


LatheRider First Test

Ran it manually using tablet. A little jerky but ok, until I fat fingered the Z too far and “Ping!”


You sir, are a brave man! :smiley:

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@kdcarnes I think your camera deserves a bravery award just for being in the line of fire… I don’t think you will get that past the health and safety police! Nice try though!

My Dad’s favorite saying was always “Can’t never did anything, I’ll try gets things done” (he’s 90 and still kickin’)
I really think this thing needs a larger router with a 1/2" bit to really work. Maybe aluminum rails with linear bearings and springs to take some of the weight off the steppers. I just don’t think I’ll have time to do all that in time for this project. This is what I have to build, two of these. It’s 8’ high. The largest piece to turn is 5" dia x 7" long. Has to be done by August.Decorative “Slat Wall”

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That is very fun. That is a huge chunk of wood too. We definitely need to get you some more precise CAM to let you adjust feedrates and get consistent z steps. It probably would be a good idea to get that big motor on a switch near where you were standing so you could turn that off too. Did the X feedrate seem too fast (or was that the video)? Was the finish any good on the part without the tear out?

Very true. But it does have a bit of survivor bias :slight_smile: (The people who follow similar advice and didn’t live to 90 don’t pass on that knowledge).

I received the new ribbon cables and that was indeed the problem. The screen is working correctly now. I have to fix some slop in the leadnuts, I’m going to change out the screws for through bolts. Also since the longest piece I have to cut is 7", I can shorten the rails of the LowRider to take out a lot of swing.

I was lowering the Z .05" per pass and slowed the X travel down as far as Repetier would go. I’m cutting oak just because it was laying around but the Designer said maple or poplar with a walnut stain. I don’t have enough turning experience to know which of the three would cut the best. Suggestions? I ordered a couple of round nose end mills to try. It will be slow going but I don’t really care if i get a good result. I have time to get it done. I don’t remember what rotational speed I ended up with, I calculated it when I bought the pulleys. I need one of those segmented belts to reduce vibration. I’m considering getting a small “real” lathe and put the LowRider on top of that. It would be a lot smoother and easier to change work pieces. I’ll have news on that very soon. I need to do a quick program and see how long it would take to cut this piece. Too much Fusion work to do.