Intern’s Corner: Hammer (machining) time!

Craft & Design
Intern’s Corner: Hammer (machining) time!

MAKE: Intern's Corner
Every other week, MAKE’s awesome interns tell about the projects they’re building in the Make: Labs, the trouble they’ve gotten into, and what they’ll make next.

By Eric Chu, engineering intern

Hammers have been used for millions of years, evolving from a primitive stone tool to the combinations of metals, woods, and plastics commonly seen today. Here’s my version in solid steel.

Hammer opener.jpg

I made this steel hammer in my beginner’s manual machining class, for the class final. This is no ordinary hammer. It’s roughly twice the weight and size of a normal hammer, so it has lots of power behind it when swung! I made it using a manual lathe and utilizing most of the lathe’s tools. Check out my results:

The hammer is actually made of 2 parts: the head and the handle.


The head has both a pointed end and a flat end:

Flat head.jpg

The only section that wasn’t turned in the lathe was the threading in the head. This was hand-tapped:

Threads head.jpg

I used the lathe’s power feed and threading dial to cut the handle threads:


To make the diamond-pattern knurl on the handle, I used a knurling tool (similar to this one) that was mounted to the tool post. The tool straddles around the workpiece and slowly presses out the diamond pattern as the part turns. I was surprised by how grippy the knurls turned out!

Knurl meets taper.jpg

Both ends of the handle were center drilled to be held by the tailstock for turning between centers. The threaded end was cut shorter and thus has no center hole after the knurling is done.


I was able to gain lots of lathe turning experience from this fun final project. I learned how to taper, drill, thread, and knurl on the lathe. One mistake I made was clamping down the 4-jaw chuck onto the head too tight, thus making the small dents around the head. I have to be more gentle next time!

14 thoughts on “Intern’s Corner: Hammer (machining) time!

  1. peter says:

    …reason why they make the “handle” of a hammer from wood.

  2. Anonymous says:

    And the center of percussion?

  3. jimofoz says:

    Looks pretty good. But it seems like the head could use a little heat treatment to protect from dings.

    One of my first projects on a lathe was similar only I put a “ball peen” type face instead of a pointed face on mine. Did you have a special use in mind for the pointed end?

  4. EGort says:

    Nice work, especially because it was done manually!

    I suggest tapping the center hole and putting in an eye bolt to hang it by.

    Kudos for a fine final project. I give you an A+

  5. Neil says:

    You’ll probably want to consider adding a way to keep the head from turning after you’ve used it to hit things a few times.

    1. Anonymous says:

      You should add a pin hole to keep it from unthreading

  6. chris says:

    I love to learn basic machining soon.



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