By day, I’m a mild-mannered software engineer, living in Bristol, UK.

In November 2011, I acquired (borrowed!) a small metalworking hobby lathe, and quickly realized there was quite a bit to this metal turning lark. I’ve turned wood before, but metal is a whole different bucket of swarf.

This blog, then, is to document my gradual exploration of this new toy, and hopefully my development of some metal turning skills.

The lathe is a “Clarke CL300M”, as supplied by Machine Mart in the UK. After a bit of background reading, I’ve established that this is a Chinese-made “mini-lathe”, sold under various different brand names around the world. The Clarke badged version appears to be made by Sieg in Shanghai, but there are a variety of superficially very similar lathes made by other Chinese factories, as I learned from Paul Hayward’s website  along with mini-lathe.com – both these sites are recommended reading if you’re planning to buy, or are just starting out with one of these.

Read more about mini-lathes here, and on the above sites.

Here’s a brief overview of “my” mini-lathe

As I make discoveries, mistakes or “things”, I’ll post updates.

I’m aware that there are people who, when faced with an obstacle which may be overcome by buying a shiny expensive officially-sanctioned gadget, will always recommend that. I should warn such people that I am by nature both a serious cheapskate and strongly averse to replacing anything which can instead be fixed with, say, duct tape, and similarly reluctant to buy anything which I could readily make from, for example, something I’ve found in a skip.

5 Responses to About

  1. Mike Cox says:

    Thank you. Your gear calculator is brilliant.

  2. Andrew Clapp says:

    Your calculator is just the ticket when you’ve got a Mac and obscure threads to cut -9.45 and 9.64 tpi . Flexible as well as I could substitute many of your gears for the ones with my ancient lathe. And it worked. Thanks.

  3. Joe says:

    Carl, I just can’t get over your gear calculator. It is so good! Got me going on my old Winfield for which there is so little info.
    My workshop is built into a container though and so wifi is a bit tricky! Is there an offline version anywhere? I have printed off the ones I most often need!

    Huge thanks for sharing – a lovely thing to do.


    • lathenovice says:

      A chap ported it as a phone app – if you drop down the links menu and hover over “gear calculator” you should get a link to “Gadjet’s Android version” – that’ll run on a phone, if that’s any use?

      Alternatively, it’s just Javascript, you don’t need to be on line for it to work, just download the page and you should be able to run it locally.

      Glad you’re finding it useful!

      – Carl

  4. Joe says:

    Hahaa!! It just gets better! The app is superb.


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