3D-Printed Lathe

3D Printing & Imaging

EZ Lathe
If you’d like to try your hand at turning on a lathe, but don’t want to shell out for a machine, how about printing your own EZLathe? Paul writes:

So I’ve built a complete mini lathe system I’m calling the EZLathe… Fully 3D Printable except a small motor, and a couple pieces of cheap electronics. And able to do small wood turning jobs, or small pieces of pretty much anything.

He designed it in Sketchup and printed it on his Up! 3D printer. The design is still in process, but he’s released the files on his site and intends to create additional documentation soon.

Add a few stepper motors and a controller, and before you know it you’ve got a nifty little CNC lathe.

[Via Makerblock]

Skill Builder: Understanding the Lathe

10 thoughts on “3D-Printed Lathe

  1. Vance Bass says:

    Cool! I wonder if you could print it in bronze or stainless and get the accuracy and rigidity to work metal?

    1. Anonymous says:

      http://Shapeways.com/ or http://Ponoko.com/ would be able to tell you more. That would be an excellent extension for the design.

    2. Anonymous says:

      Or, for a lot less money (metal printing is wicked expensive) you could just, you know, buy a “real” lathe.

      This is a perfectly valid way to test and demonstrate the ability of the machine to make precise mechanical parts, but a lot of the 3D printed stuff shown here is either chindogu or Johnson’s old line that when we see a dog walk on his hind legs, we marvel not at how well he walks, but that he can walk at all. To try and turn this into a real tool seems kind of silly to me.

      This is not to say that “walk in to Harbor Freight and buy a Chinese-made lathe” is the only reasonable answer. If you want to make your own lathe, for the sake of doing so, you can buy Dave Gingery’s book series “How to build a metal shop from scrap” that walks you through building a charcoal furnace to melt aluminum, using that to build a a basic lathe, using that to make a shaper, using that to make a drill press, etc.

      At the other end, if you’re trying to come up with a design that could help remote villages in Africa build tools that they can use to repair cars, water pumps, etc., there are a number of design patterns out there based on scrap materials, car parts, and very simple construction techniques that require few advanced tools or materials.

      Likewise, 3d printing is *really* useful for all sorts of prototyping, even if the parts don’t fully work, just to test the basic design and make sure everything fits. There is a place for everything :)

  2. Anonymous says:

    The next step, though, would be to try to standardise design elements with other designs like RepRap in things like nut housings. I also notice he’s not using a half-nut design to close up on, increasing wear rates on threaded rods not really designed for that kind of use. Lead screws aren’t that much more expensive, given the huge savings being made, and might be worth it in the long run.

  3. Pete Brown says:

    I like this, but why do people say stuff is fully 3d-printed, then show a ton of extremely important structural elements that are *not* 3d printed.

    I still think it’s cool, but we’re cheapening the terms around self-replicating and fully 3d printing. The abstract mentioned the electronics, but I see a number of bolts, steel bar, screws, threaded rod etc. plus you have the electronics, some belts that aren’t shown, and more. By weight, it’s probably only 1/4 printed :)

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