When I bought my house and had the pleasure to have a room for my workshop I thought it was time to buy a wood lathe.
I also started to carve wood and enjoyed both hobbies.
Later I discovered soap stone which can be worked on with the same tools as wood. I found that I could probably also try to turn soap stone and made a trial in the wokshop.
Catastrophy.... Days after I still had this baby powder everywhere in the workshop and of course on the machinery as well. I decided to have a look at a smaller lathe which I could easily transport to the garden for that purpose. I could not decide myself for a midi lathe from the market; they all have a rather small spindle which I find too weak for the purpose.
By chance I found 2 cast iron casings of a wood lathe manufacturer which went bankrupt 25 years ago. They were pretty rusty but their shape was rather pleasing and I bought them. Now I had to make something out of them and that is how I started to make myself a large wood lathe including copying device with which I can flute, wind and facet. This has been the start of my metal engineering hobby and I started learning turning and milling metal at that occasion.
It took me the whole year 1999 to end the project and I must say that I enjoyed it and the wood lathe works extremely well.
In Switzerland and in Europe in general our power net is either single phase 220VAC or 3-phase 380VAC.
The housing at the left of the lathe includes a 380VAC 3-phase frequency converter to vary the motor speed from 100 to 1800RPM, a 12VDC-20A regulated power supply for the motorized copying device, a home made electronic counter (out of a kit) to measure the RPM of the lathe and a number of relays for safety and remote controlling of the motor parameters because I was using it for my drill/mill and my lathe as well. As I never work on 2 or 3 machines at a time, I do not need a frequency converter for every one (in the meantime I did!!!)
Power drive of copying device
Table clock in European beechwood
The clock movement is radio controlled driven from the low frequency transmitter DCF77 in Mainz, Germany