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"Look around you… can you fashion some sort of rudimentary lathe?"

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TonyG2
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"Look around you… can you fashion some sort of rudimentary lathe?"

#1

Post by TonyG2 »

And yes I am quoting from Galaxy Quest.

Being serious for a second, and this is not limited to 1/144, has anyone used a dremel tool as a "rudimentary lathe"? I have seen a few articles on the internet but most have a fairly complex jig fashioned whereas I am not looking for anything fancy. Just a lashed together means to turn either styrene blocks or wood to fashion cylinder/spindle shapes for droptanks or other similar shapes ranging from a basic shape to something akin to 30s era rockets (V2, Flash Gordon types, that sort of thing.

I can strap the dremel itself down to a sturdy plank using duct tape, and fashion a support that fits the dremel to the wood/plastic. Its the support for the other end that is eluding me. I have tried inserting a drill bit into the plastic or wood chunk and then supporting it on some brass tubing mounted on a block of wood of the correct hight again secured by duct tape but the drill bit is always too loose in the brass tube and wobbles alarmingly.

Any suggestions?

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Leo - zd
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Re: "Look around you… can you fashion some sort of rudimentary lathe?"

#2

Post by Leo - zd »

Ok
I used to made a drop tank for Catalina, for making tank barrels in 144 from styrene (but previously iserted inside medical needle for strengh).
Also foud it perfect for polishing transparent styrene suports for bosts, planes.
I work on the smallest speed.

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F_IV
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Re: "Look around you… can you fashion some sort of rudimentary lathe?"

#3

Post by F_IV »

I do a lot of improvised lathe turning on one of those jewellery or dental style pendant motors with a flexi shaft. They have a max speed of 1800rpm and I probably run it at around 900-1000 when shaping wheels, cowlings and whatnot. The Dremel that I have is incredibly dangerous for this however, as it runs at a screaming 35000rpm and is more like a high-speed router than a potential lathe.

If you can slow your Dremel right down you can definitely give it a try. I shape silver, brass, acrylic and styrene with my motor. If the piece is too large for the collet, I mount the material onto the end of a drill bit and turn it that way. Sometimes I will drill into the material and insert the drill bit into it. Other times if the piece I am turning is small, I will simply superglue it to the end.

It's important to try and get the piece of material as central as you can initially so it doesn't vibrate too much when it spins. Then gently take off the excess with a coarse file to get the piece circular and running smoothly. After that it is possible to use a combination of files, scrapers, scalpels, burs and dampened sandpaper to get the shapes you want.

Needless to say, you would be nuts to do this without eye protection. :geek:

For the really small stuff, I get a big blob of Blutack and stick a jewellers loupe to the end of the handpiece so that the thing I am turning is magnified. Here are a few shots of various bits. Spinners, engine cowls and crankcases, plus bombs etc.
IMG_8228.JPG
IMG_6651.JPG
IMG_8689.JPG
1C38210A-B38F-4367-9E43-58EDB98EA141.jpg
0FB547B1-DB5F-4806-B7B5-8C92BC4F0FAE.jpg

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TonyG2
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Re: "Look around you… can you fashion some sort of rudimentary lathe?"

#4

Post by TonyG2 »

Thanks

My Dremel is pretty controllable and even on max doesn't reach speeds that I could describe as screaming.

I have since had a suggestion of inserting the oposite/supporting end into a pin vice, strapped down to a board but keeping the fitting loose enough that it holds on place without generating a ton of friction. At least it shouldn't wobble about like the brass tub support.....

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F_IV
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Re: "Look around you… can you fashion some sort of rudimentary lathe?"

#5

Post by F_IV »

You could also avoid the friction by making a pointy centre from an old drill bit or bur and inserting that into the pin vise instead. The same sort of idea as these ones for metal lathes.
E21BC9AC-E539-4129-BFBE-E043CB24AB42.jpeg

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TonyG2
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Re: "Look around you… can you fashion some sort of rudimentary lathe?"

#6

Post by TonyG2 »

Thats a good idea. Will give it a try. Thanks

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