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Old 10-07-2017, 02:03 PM   #1 (permalink)
 
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I have not been on this wonderful website for a long time. Unfortunately serious back problems have prevented me from doing the one thing I have loved to do more than anything in the world ever: wood turning.

Since wood turning had been my real passion for almost 30 years, someone suggested that I pursue it with another twist. I can turn on a sit down lathe for maybe an hour a day and that has to be broken into segments

I thought perhaps I could design initial prototypes of small things like bottle stoppers, pens, duck calls, etc I could then make more of them on a CNC lathe.

I have been looking on the Internet just to get a sense of what they're like and how much one would cost. All I can find really are non-hobby CNC lathes. Most of these are at $30,000 plus. While I am willing to spend a good chunk of money on a CNC lathe ---I am not willing to spend that big chunk.

Does anyone have or know of a hobby CNC lathe that is affordable that I can put in my shop? It has to be able to hold small pieces of wood for making the kinds of things I mentioned before.

Any suggestions would be really appreciated.

I truly miss spending time on this site. All of you were always so kind and helpful.
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Old 10-07-2017, 02:53 PM   #2 (permalink)
 
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an interesting question. I am following this with interest.
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Old 10-07-2017, 02:56 PM   #3 (permalink)
 
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Carmen, small scale 4 axis CNC is not exactly a traditional cnc lathe, but many of the same functions.

4th axis can be either a small lathe or more commonly an rotary index that can hold a mandrel or an item to be rotated.

These are not cheap but $4-5,000 gets it going. There are some with Taig and Sherline gear who hang around here. (I have Taig lathes but not the mill)
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Old 10-07-2017, 03:26 PM   #4 (permalink)
 
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You might consider a metal lathe like the Grizzly G0602 for which there are conversion kits available. This is not ideal, but could work.

I've used a metal lathe for quite some time for my wood turning by replacing the tool post with a wood tool rest. It works well, but is a pain to keep clean and lubed....so much so that I invested in a dedicated wood lathe to avoid the hassle.

The learning curve is pretty steep for CNC but if you think that might be a route get Fusion 360 and try your hand at designing stuff.

I did a conversion of a G0704 mill to CNC and it has worked out nicely, but I can't imagine tackling that job with a bad back.

Another path to consider would be a CNC router with a 4th axis. If I found myself in your situation, I think that's a path I would research in detail.
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Old 10-07-2017, 03:58 PM   #5 (permalink)
 
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Like Ken said, look at the CNC's Taig lathes. And CNC Zone forum and some of the Taig forums. A jeweler friend uses a Sherline that he CNC'd to make watches, his claim the Sherline was the most accurate of the Taig and Sherline. I have 2 Taigs, neither with CNC, and they handle wood okay, but they are awful small.

The suppliers for pool cue makers are another source, they have all kinds of stuff based on the Taig, with longer lathe beds. These run basically using a "router" as a the cutter source.

Several years ago, someone I think called Liberty converted a Jet mini to CNC they sold either a kit or he completed lathe. But from memory I think that outfit closed the doors.
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Old 10-07-2017, 04:49 PM   #6 (permalink)
 
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If your able to, you can convert a G0602 metal lathe to cnc, probably around 3-3500.
Butt hen the accessories will add more to it.

Look at CNC4XR7 youtube channel he has videos of doing the conversion.
He built his own kit to convert it, but he does tell the kit he based it off.
https://www.youtube.com/user/CNC4XR7/videos
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Old 10-07-2017, 06:26 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Sherline offers a Cnc Lathe, as does Taig, Spectralite can sometimes be found on Ebay, its built using a Sherline lathe, If you find one make sure you get the software and controller.
Tormach has a product starting around $11k I believe
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Old 10-08-2017, 10:35 AM   #8 (permalink)
 
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Other than producing a high volume of products that look exactly alike in a shorter amount of time, I’m not sure a CNC lathe will save you that much work. The actual turning in my opinion is not the hardest part. You will still have to prepare stock, cut it, drill it, sand it, finish it, etc. all the CNC will be able to do is create the general shape.
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