Making Small Lathe

Hi everyone,

I am pretty new to arduino, electonics and programming. I am keen to make a mini lathe, just for little bits of woodturning. I have researched a bit but most topics seem to be about automatic lathes, but I'm keen to just have a simple manual lathe where I can use tools to do the shaping. The way i see it (please correct me if I am wrong), I will basically just need a good spin motor, and all the battery supplies and electronics suited to that spin motor.Can anyone lend advice on what type of motor and power I would need to get the lathe spinning at a decent enough speed so that I could lathe. I would make the main frame and structure all my self, but just need help with the elctronics side of things. I have read a bit about people using kitchen processors/blenders motors. Would this work at all?

Thanks all,


Kitchen blenders use universal motors (AC motors with brushes) and spin much too quickly with too little torque for a wood lathe. You don't need to be spinning anything at any more than 2K RPM, and most of your work will be around 500RPM.

Baseline I would use a 1/3 to 1/2 HP AC induction motor. Best place to scavenge one would be from an old furnace blower. Ideally though I'd look for a DC brush motor and buy a variable speed control for it; having the variable speed is so much nicer than playing with belts.

Hi, A lot of 'rock crawling' radio controlled models use what are called 'lathe motors' I assume these are motors that would have traditionally been used in hobby lathes. If you look around any RC Store focused on rock crawling, you will find lots of DC motors with detailed torque and rpm specs. They can also be powered through electronic speed controllers, you could get a motor and speed control for around 30 Usd. There are also 2 and three speed gear boxes designed to work with these, put that together with electronic speed control and you have a lot of flexibility to handle different materials.

Some well priced motors and specs here -

Just and idea,

Duane B