Turning a ball on the lathe

Turning a ball on the lathe

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I’m really not into lathe
projects very much, but having just built one, I
figured I should try it out. My goal is to turn this
blank into a sphere. OK, I think that’s all the
material I can easily remove on the bandsaw, so time to
check up on the lathe. Oh good, no flying bits. One thing I’m liking about
this lathe is I got a very low moment of inertia on
the head stock, here, which mean if I dip it to get
caught in the work piece, it just stops instead
of flying out. The thing that is not
ideal about this is this shaft is just a
smooth shaft in here, and if you’re not very
careful, this might get loose and slip back, at
which point your work piece would come flying out. I made this little guide for
the radius I wanna turn to. So, this needs to get
down a little bit more. Now that I’ve got this
radius, in theory all I need is this radius, and
I’ll have a sphere. Another good way to check
if it’s round, is to have a perfectly round
opening, and that should feel flush on there,
regardless of where it is. I’m pretty confident the shape
is right now, so I’ll proceed to sand it. It looks like it’s perfectly
round, but if I check it with my guide, it does in fact have a flat spot, right here.

100 thoughts on “Turning a ball on the lathe”

  1. This is awesome. Even though I'm a little disappointed because I was expecting the pantorouter to be involved on some level. 😉

  2. saw a neat trick recently where you print a circle on a piece of paper and use the shadow of the work piece to conform to that circle drawing get it pretty close to spherical without the guide.

  3. I'm not a wood worker at all but would love to be and I love watching your videos. One question/comment. If you put a durable sanding strip inside the 1/2 circle guide you are using and got the sphere to where it just fit into the outer part of the guide, wouldn't it sand it down perfectly?

  4. If you made a cup center to fit the head-stock and tail-stock points, then you could keep re-positioning the wood to make it more spherical. Nice work!

  5. Matthias, I never expected you to refer to the headstock moment of inertia, which is a dimensional characteristic rather than an indicator of angular momentum. But that faux pas gave me this opportunity to say I look forward to all your posts and am humbled by your creativity.

  6. matthias vc é um jenio parabens e muito obrigado por compartilhar suas ideias pois tornear uma esfera na mão
    não é pra qualquer um abraços……….ramos……

  7. What if you glue a sand paper on the inside of the guide and then use it as a tool with Steve Garrison's idea?

  8. очень красиво получается! Матиас, а когда сделаете Ваши ролики понятными для русскоязычных?

  9. Very nice job.
    I can't believe someone would question your ability or knowledge. How many projects have these trolls completed and posted videos of on YouTube? Not nearly as many as you, I bet.

  10. I have an idea that might fix the problem with the tail stock: drill a shallow hole in the end of the shaft, place a single ball bearing there, and have another piece of wood bear against that by fixing it to the tail-stock frame. Then figure out a method to prevent the bearing falling out when the apparatus is not under load.

  11. I use a small wooden cup I turned to check the roundness of my spheres, very impressed with what you managed to do with that lathe. Turning is too much fun.

  12. If you thread the right end of the tailstock shaft and put a nut ahead of the right side support the tail can be easily tightened. Drill the shaft and place a smaller center shaft inside against a bearing ball to have a live center.
    Mike (o!/o)

  13. Thanks for another great video.
    I have a suggestion for another test with your joint testing apparatice. Steve Ramsey showed in his video about everybody's favourate joinery (pocket holes) how he kind of seals the endgrain of buut joints by smeering a lot of glue in it. I would be very interested, if this method makes butt joints stronger.

  14. That's why turners will use a cutter on a pivot for ball turning. Nice job over all! If you get the details hashed out, I wouldn't mind a set of drawings to make one of my own!

  15. If you put directly under the assumed center of the ball to be cut, a pivot point attached to your cutting of the ball and swing it in an arc. you will have a true sphere. and you can stretch the radius arm to make any size ball.

  16. Did you have vacuum dust extraction below the lathe? I could see the airflow when you were sanding the ball.
    For metal and perspex, I use a ball turning tool that pivots the cutter in a perfect arc as I advance the cut. I think you could probably make something like that for your lathe, to get a perfect sphere. An extension of that concept could be used to cut parabolic curves. Or possibly using a template to cut more complex shapes repeatably.

  17. Thank you for the video, I especially appreciate the way you speed up the long work segments in order to allow more time to explain the procedural segments

  18. May I make a suggestion for lathe related projects, one would be some handles for tools like files, chisels and such, the other idea is conical friction discs for experimenting with wooden constant velocity transmissions.

  19. There is nothing more uplifting than someone with such skill and passion showing the imperfections in their creations. You make awesome videos, you're a wonderful teacher and I hope you keep the videos coming.

  20. if you have a foot switch that disengages the machine upon release, that would help with the safety aspect.

  21. Love the idea just rplace some wood for steel an for sure use some ballbearings and you wil have a nice lathe withoit no problems your clever enough to work that out

  22. I'm not sure if you will read this but I love the videos. Have been watching every single one. I would love to see you tackle a small model V8 engine out of wood. Designing the block. crankshaft. Pistons. Camshafts. Etc. I think it would be a fun challenging project.

  23. Hi Matthias. Here is a link to FB page that stole this video and submitted as its own giving you no credit nor links to original video https://www.facebook.com/woodworkingloves/ (posted 12th august)

  24. Watching this whilst listening to People Will Always Need Coal from Public Service Broadcasting was a surprisingly good experience

  25. As one just beginning lathe work and wanting to make spheres, i found this video superb in its simplicity and clarity. Thank you, Matthias.
    Chip Scialfa
    Calgary, CANADA

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