Lathe Training - Questions


I have been working on preparing the lathe training, and just need to sort out a couple of small things before training can start.

To help me with the preparations I would appreciate it if anyone who would like lathe training could reply with the following:

  • How much experience you have using a lathe
  • What you would like to do - this can be techniques or general descriptions of projects
  • Any questions you have about the lathe, its capabilities, and limitations.


Sadly zero in the past 2

I’d eventually like to turn a personalised pair of chopsticks, but I’m not sure when.

Is it possible to turn non-cylindrical things? (e.g. chopsticks taper, and my ideal sticks would be slightly flat)




I would like to get some training on the lathe please.

Answers to your questions:

  • How much experience you have using a lathe
    Sadly not any…It’s always been something I have seen others do.
  • What you would like to do - this can be techniques or general
    descriptions of projects
    I’m not sure yet…hopefully inspiration will strike. A turners cube
    perhaps…Or a Piccolo or tin Whistle!
  • Any questions you have about the lathe, its capabilities, and
    What is the maximum material size the chuck can hold? Is it possible to
    cut threads easily? Does our lathe still run backwards?

Thank you for arranging the training etc.


None - never operated one before. However, have done a lot of other general metalwork, and have been watching lathe videos on youtube for a while.

Just play around and learn to use the machine, initially. I was thinking of maybe making a chess set as a practice project.

Not really - I saw the machine in person yesterday so I think I have a general idea of its range in terms of work sizes. I’m happy to just find out what’s what as we go.

How much experience you have using a lathe

I’ve used the one in the space a bit, and watched quite a lot of youtube videos on it, but not a lot of hands on experience

What you would like to do - this can be techniques or general descriptions of projects

Nothing in mind at the moment, although I may have one or two things to use if for in the future

Any questions you have about the lathe, its capabilities, and limitations.

I was wondering about cutting threads, but I suspect that might not be possible currently, because the gears are imperial instead of metric. I don’t think there’s a quick change gear box on the one we have, although I did spot possibly a change of one gear to another via a couple of leavers.

Many Thanks

Hi Greg
I would like lathe train.
I have no experience.
I would like to know how to cut thread. into copper I forgot the third question.

I’m interested in some lathe training-

  • Experience: I was shown how to use it when it was first donated, and have turned quite a few pieces on it.
  • I’d like to learn more about indicating and alignment of the lathe parts (i’ve largely been going with ‘this feels right’, and more information on workholding. I’d also like to know how to use it in horizontal milling mode, and how to properly use the knurling attachment :slight_smile:


Hi Greg - very interested in getting trained up here.

Experience - zero hands-on experience, just a lot of watching YouTube videos.

Projects - probably a few decorative items and/or components, at least to start with. At some point I’m sure I’ll want to do a saber hilt.


  • The wiki page for the lathe has a warning that it’s ‘for metalwork only’ - is that a policy? I’m more likely to want to turn wood or plastics than metal, though I may step up to alu or brass at some point.
  • Am I right in thinking it’s a machine lathe (i.e. can drive the carriage), or is it manual feed only?
  • Does the lathe fall under the lone working policy?


What’s the lone working policy? I haven’t heard that one before.

Wood’s a no go for the metal lathe unfortunately, it’s because it has a tendency to mix with the oil and be quite abrasive.
Metal and plastics (not sure if it’s all plastics or just certain ones, Greg should know) should be okay.

@Riot - as I understand it some of the more dangerous tools have a “not to be used if you’re alone in the space” policy attached. Not entirely sure of that though,or which tools, but given that I’ve heard lathes described as “the single tool in the shop that most wants to kill you” it seemed a safe bet.

@garlicbread - ah, poop. That’s unfortunate.

Fundamentally the lone working policy is if you are the only person in
the space don’t use any of the tools marked “this is bloody dangerous”.

I really thought it was on the “rules” page of the site but it appears
not - we need to fix that.


I think we need a “this is bloody dangerous” label on the lathe because they can be dangerous

For example

  • leaving the chuck key in by accident and having it propel itself across the room when switching it on
  • having it run forward in one speed, then switching it into reverse suddenly can cause the head to unscrew itself / drop off and skate across the floor (one of my father’s stories)
  • having loose hair or clothes wrap around spinning parts (lots of horror stories on youtube)

From what I understand there are plans afoot to make it safer with estops etc though

Many Thanks

It should already have one. I suspect if it doesn’t that’s an error
caused by us moving rather than a deliberate choice.

garlicbread wrote:

Thanks to everyone who replied - I have answered some of the questions below

  • Taper turning is possible, however making a flat would be harder
  • According to the manual the largest part the machine can accommodate is 7 inches in diameter and 20 inches long.
  • There are 2 ways of making threads - standard threads can be made with taps or dies as appropriate - there is a die holder and taps can be held in the tailstock chuck. Specialist threads can be cut using a special cutting tool - these can be metric or imperial.
  • The lathe should only be used with metals and plastics (Acetal, acrylic, nylon, PTFE, etc.) Wood should not be turned on the metal lathe - if someone wants to start a pledge for a wood lathe, please do.
  • The carriage can be driven under power, but the cross slide is not equipped with power feed.
  • The lathe is covered by the lone working policy, and will be outfitted with an appropriate label before training commences.
  • The lathe has been rewired so that the labels on the switch correspond to the rotation of the chuck.

I expect training to commence shortly - please await an announcement here and on telegram.


1 Like

I do have a metal lathe in bits in the small garage that could be used for turning wood if you want.
There’s a good chance it’ll be thrown out unless it finds a home (although at the moment it seems to be safe / not going anywhere)
The main problem is finding the room to put it some place.

Many Thanks