CNC & Machining Woodworking
A Foot-Powered Lathe

Youtube user QueticoChris recently acquired an old cast-iron flywheel, and it got him to thinking. Why not use it as a power-plant for a wood lathe? You see, Chris is quite passionate about old-style woodworking techniques and uses hand tools whenever possible. Keeping in this tradition, Chris used the flywheel to build a wood lathe that’s powered by a foot treadle.

Other than having a machinist cut a groove in the flywheel to fit a pulley, he exclusively used hand tools and wood to craft the apparatus that fit the lathe. Every part is friction fit and held together tightly by wooden pegs. It’s really a marvel of vintage engineering, and as you can see at the end of the video, his contraption works gorgeously. Chris manages to pump out quite a nice handle for a large chisel in need of one. I’m excited to see more projects from this maker.


In addition to being an online editor for MAKE Magazine, Michael Colombo works in fabrication, electronics, sound design, music production and performance (Yes. All that.) In the past he has also been a childrens' educator and entertainer, and holds a Masters degree from NYU's Interactive Telecommunications Program.

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