3D printed manual mini Lathe

Small and basic 3D printed lathe for small projects.

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Another small 3D printed machine I designed and built for making. It is a simple design to make and build and allows you make when you finish building it. Fun for everyone!

3D printed manual lathe.

The idea behind building 3D printed machines is a simple concept. It provides the maker the ability to make a usable machine quickly and inexpensively from common and readily available parts, Printing the main structural components, and assembling everything into a functioning machine.

This concept also allows the maker to build the machine and its capacities to make use of materials that are desired to be worked. This lathe is easily scaled in length to accommodate longer stock if desired by simple using longer guide rails and a longer leadscrew, while everything else remains the same. Being inexpensive, the machines can be duplicated and a user can make several, each for specific purposes if desired.

I decided to go back to basics and make a lathe version that was as simple and basic as possible. While all of my machines thus far have used joystick or mouse to control, this one is just simply handwheel cranked.
I used the same brushless DC motor as the others, but shrank the case down a bit and redesigned the axis for handwheel motion as shown. I also made a new spindle and motor that uses a 775 standard DC motor that is even more inexpensive and easy to source.
I took pictures of the main assemblies before assembling for clarity.
The nice thing about these designs is that they can be made longer by increasing the length of the leadscrews and guide rails. I made this one nice and compact for smaller work.
With some different adapters this can handle wood up to 2 inches square.
This as well as all my other machines was printed in ABS.

Note the very low metal content-a few pieces of threaded rod and some nuts. The center on the tailstock is a short brass rod with a ground conical tip.

Nice super simple design and operation. My growing collection of 3D printed machines can be found on my profile page.

  • 1 × 775 spindle motor see project log for more info and source
  • 1 × Speed control 12 volt input see project log for more info and source
  • 4 × 4/40 m/f standoffs 1/2 inch long to mount speed controller
  • 4 × 4/40 screw 1/4 inch long to mount speed control
  • 1 × set printed parts-see files section for STLs
  • 1 × leadscrew-10/24 threaded rod 135mm long X axis leadscrew
  • 1 × 1/4 20 threaded rod 70mm long Y axis feed screw
  • 1 × 1/4 20 threaded rod 80mm long for tailstock feed screw
  • 2 × Acorn nut 1/4 20 for Tailstock and Y axis feedscrew
  • 1 × 10/24 acorn nut for A axis feedscrew

View all 21 components

  • Lathe accessories

    castvee83 days ago 0 comments

    Here are a few simple and easily made accessories to make the lathe more versatile.

    This is a mandrel chuck adapter:

    This allows drilling operations. It retails for about 4$(chuck) and can hold drills to 9/32.

    This is a faceplate:

    This allows spindle mounting of small short blocks for turning:

    This is a simple clamping chuck.

    This can be used for mounting plastics and other materials in the lathe for turning and cutoffs.

    These accessories are all 3D printed.

  • Motor and speed control information

    castvee83 days ago 0 comments

    Here are the links for the motor and speed controller used on the lathe:

    This link is for the motor:

    Here is the speed controller:


    I made sure to select components for the lathe that were "off the shelf" and easily sourced from many vendors.

    I also was very careful to select these parts for the low price and high quality. These are the heart of the lathe and the only electrical components used in the machine.

  • Adding a DRO(tracking the axis)

    castvee803/11/2017 at 15:33 0 comments

    I added a photo interrupter sensor to the manual drives so they can be tracked. The photo shows the TTL DRO I designed for my other machines reading the sensor from the axis. I like the TTL DRO as it uses a VFD display which has high visibility and easy to read in any light level. I also have a arduino/LCD version.
    The optical wheel has just one slit to count a single rotation of the handwheel, but more can be added for any desired resolution.
    This make it easier to repeat parts and operations done on the lathe.

    another look:

  • Headstock and spindle parts

    castvee803/07/2017 at 19:59 0 comments

    The motor shown is the 775 with the printed mandrel attached. The speed controller and the motor are common on Ebay for about 3$ and 7$ respectively.

  • Z axis components

    castvee803/06/2017 at 22:24 0 comments

    Here is a photo showing all the components for the x axis.

  • Y axis and toolholder components

    castvee803/06/2017 at 03:50 0 comments

    These are the components which make up the Y axis and toolholder for the mini lathe:

  • Tailstock components

    castvee803/06/2017 at 03:49 0 comments

    Here are the components needed for the tailstock assembly.

  • New spindle motor for the lathe

    castvee803/04/2017 at 00:40 0 comments

    3D printed mini lathe-New spindle motor assembly.

    I made a whole new spindle assembly for the min lathe using a 775 DC motor. Normally on these machines I had been using brushless DC motors(the type normally found in older laser printers), but they can be more costly and harder to find and buy reasonably thus making these machine harder to reproduce for the average user.
    I selected the large 775 motor as it has massive torque and infinite variable speed using an inexpensive off the shelf speed controller(Ebay 4$).
    The motor has been fully enclosed in printed parts and rigidly mounted to the base for machine mounting.
    It is directly interchangeable with a common footprint so either motor can be used on the lathe.
    The new motor has more torque, higher RPMs and is cheaper(8-10$) as well as being readily available from many sources.
    The arbor adapter can still hold all the same accessories as the original.
    The second photo shows the old version motor for reference.

    New motor mounted on the lathe:

    top view:

    Back side:

    Another look:

    The 775 motor

  • Testing the new manual lathe

    castvee803/02/2017 at 01:28 0 comments

    Turning a part on the new manual lathe. Works great and fun to crank the knobs once in a while......I will be back on my joystick operated ones next week though........

  • Mini manual lathe components

    castvee802/28/2017 at 22:11 0 comments

    Bits and pieces.

    Motor assembly

    Motor front:

    Motor back:

    Motor stock adapter:


    Tailstock crank:

    Y axis crossfeed and toolholder:

    Crossfeed crank:

    X axis feed:

    Crossfeed mounted on z axis:

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