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Back in Plastics Month, we featured a simple shop-made plastics extruder built by Instructables user Random_Canadian. Now the arbitrary Canuck returns with this pint-sized metal lathe built with a 14″ piece of precision aluminum T-slot extrusion, and some characteristically resourceful salvage including an electric motor from a cordless weed trimmer, a variable speed switch from a cordless drill, and a tailstock center improvised from a countersink.

The tiny 3-jaw chuck is adjusted with an Allen wrench, and was hand-made by brazing three hex nuts onto a fender washer and running set screws into them. Impressive, clever work.

Sean Michael Ragan

Sean Michael Ragan

I am descended from 5,000 generations of tool-using primates. Also, I went to college and stuff. I am a long-time contributor to MAKE magazine and makezine.com. My work has also appeared in ReadyMade, c’t – Magazin für Computertechnik, and The Wall Street Journal.


  • http://rahere.livejournal.com/ Rahere

    The Austrian Unimat company has produced a wide range of interchangeable lathe parts taking a very similar approach for around 25 years – they can be reconfigured into drill press and milling configurations as well.

  • http://www.facebook.com/spiderwebby Charlie Webb

    Definitely another project for the “when i get a workshop(/shed)” list.