Microphone holders, especially American ones, tend to have a 5/8″ 27tpi (turns per inch) thread. I have no idea where to buy a tap or die to cut that. Threadcutting on the lathe, though, looked like a good exercise. I reckoned I could do the M12 threads I wanted, too. In fact, I may never have to buy another tap or die! I read up on how to do it, went to the lathe to practice, and hit a slight snag…

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Short ‘n’ simple

An oft-cited design flaw in these mini-lathes is the way that the hollow spindle ends inside the gear cover. Any swarf which trundles along inside the spindle will drop down into the (nylon) change gears, whereupon bad things ensue. Various folk have addressed this with nicely made spindle extensions, like this one, and I fully intend to do likewise. Meanwhile, however, there’s a very quick and easy interim fix. I can recommend something like Lagunilla’s 2002 temperanillo, on half-price offer from Somerfield – entirely acceptable wine, easy on the palate and easier again on the wallet, and the cork fits just perfectly in the end of the spindle.

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Making a stand

bench for mini-lathe (thumbnail)

After the tedium of de-rusting lathe ancilliaries, I was keen to play with my new toy as soon as possible. To this end I plonked it on the only available surface which seemed kind-of suitable, a cheap copy of the “leading brand” folding trestle-type workbench-cum-woodworking-vice, of the sort favoured by D.I.Y.-ers on a budget. However, it wasn’t long before I was mentally designing, then building, something more purpose-made.

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It started like this:

I have a friend, Austin, who Makes Things. Tricycles, principally. He has an extensive workshop featuring, among other stuff, a lathe. I have another friend, Ben, who’s into video and film-making, and he’s always after bits and bobs of “grip equipment” to facilitate such follies as shooting video on a digital stills camera. For non-film-people, “grip equipment” is stuff generally used for supporting or moving things when making films – tripods, microphone and lamp stands, dollies, stuff like that.

I also have a big mouth…

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Adventures with a mini-lathe

In November 2011, someone very kindly lent me a Clarke CL300M, a small benchtop metal-working lathe, generally known as a “mini-lathe”. This blog is to document my experiences as I get to know it and, hopefully, develop some machine-shop skills. From lathe novice to… we’ll see!

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Hello world!

Despite being a lifelong geek and a software guy by trade, I’ve largely avoided blogging. Until now. See the “about” page for an introduction, while I figure out how to use wordpress…

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