By continuing to use this site, you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more
Forum sponsored by:
Forum sponsored by Allendale Jan 24th


All Topics | Latest Posts

Search for:  in Thread Title in  
Keith Gaunt05/04/2020 16:42:43
10 forum posts
6 photos


For my first project on the WM180 I decided after watching YouTube to have a go at turning new handles starting with the carriage handwheel. However the only metal I had available was a bit of rebar so that's what I used. My workflow was as below but I was a little uncomfortable with the last three steps which didn't seem quite right.

I wanted to ask if there is a more logical sequence to follow, and how should these tasks be approached. As it turned out (no pun intended) I was quite happy with the result, but as I said the method didn't seem quite right and was it more luck than judgement.

1) Remove deformities from surface

2) Drill 8mm hole through to take original screw and widen at end to accomodate screw caphead. this widening was made a little deeper so that the handle could be made longer than the original.

3) Chamfer edge of piece.

4) Knurl along length for handle.

5) Set required angle on compound slide and turn taper from knurling towards the chuck.

6) Measure required length of handle and part off.

Here are photos to help with the explanation, any advice on this or anything else to do with lathes would be much appreciated.

handle made from rebar.jpg

new handle fitted.jpg

SillyOldDuffer05/04/2020 17:14:02
5650 forum posts
1159 photos

Good result Keith, and exactly how I would have done it.

If you'd hit bother, I'd have said nasty things about turning rebar. Apart from the need to hack back to a smooth surface, the specification of the steel is unknown. Whatever grade of steel is in your particular example, it's structural, not meant to be machined. Using it is a bet, not a safe engineering choice.

The gamble paid off, but poor choice of metal can cause awful grief! I advise against beginners turning scrap because they can't tell if bad results are due to them, the lathe, tool-settings, or duff material. Easier to work with scrap after building experience with friendlier metals intended to be machined.

I had a bad experience early on - unknown to me all the scrap in my junk box was Awkwardcussium. For a while I thought my lathe was incapable of cutting metal. So much more straightforward when I defeated my mean streak and bought suitable Aluminium, Mild Steel and Brass from my local emporium.



Spurry05/04/2020 17:20:14
188 forum posts
62 photos

My method would be 1,3,4, then 2. But there is always another way to do anything....


Howard Lewis05/04/2020 17:34:04
3154 forum posts
2 photos

You have done well!

Rebar is usually horrid stuff to machine!

What's the secret? Speeds? Tooling?


Keith Gaunt05/04/2020 17:53:33
10 forum posts
6 photos

Thanks for that Dave, it just felt like i was going the wrong way with the taper, but then again it all feels a bit unnatural at the moment, got to think about every move.

Regarding your other point about the rebar, I've taken that on board and I'll wait until my assortment of other metal arrives before doing anything else. Watch some more YouTube.


Keith Gaunt05/04/2020 18:01:37
10 forum posts
6 photos

Hello Pete

Youv'e prompted me to try and make some soft shield things for the chuck jaws, although thinking about it I wouldn't have needed them even if I had done it your way, but thanks anyway it'll be something to do while waiting for stock to be delivered.


Bob Stevenson05/04/2020 18:05:47
386 forum posts
6 photos

Actually, if you want to do the best work you will never lose the "think about every move" scenario as it is vital to success!

I like my WM180 a lot but it's main downside is that chuck changes tend to be difficult and irritating due to the threaaded nuts method of chuck fixing,..... a feature of many Chinese, one tends to put on the 4-jaw and do the 4-jaw parts of several turning jobs before setting up the lathe for the next operation. This means that one tends to work of several items at teh same time which I often find annoying.

Bazyle05/04/2020 18:10:28
5145 forum posts
199 photos

Nice result. You left out last step - setting topslide back to parallel laugh

Neil Wyatt05/04/2020 18:49:45
17742 forum posts
698 photos
77 articles

Yep, nice result.

That said I always knurl before chamfering etc. because I get a crisper result that way round.


Spurry05/04/2020 18:54:59
188 forum posts
62 photos


The only reason I mentioned Another Way, was to drill the hole (therefore weakening the piece) after the knurling operation. I always find the knurling the tricky bit, so if it goes wrong, just start again, with the least amount of work.

You are doing very well for first efforts, I agree.


PS Next job, another handle for the cross slide?

Ian Skeldon 205/04/2020 19:05:00
478 forum posts
30 photos

Great result mate, I am with Neil I would taper and chamfer after knurling and possibly use a piece of leather to protect the knurled part if needed.

Jeff Dayman05/04/2020 19:24:33
1796 forum posts
45 photos

Well however you did it, it turned out well! Don't change too much about how you did things.

Nigel Graham 206/04/2020 00:56:53
589 forum posts

Very smart they are too, Keith.

I'd probably have followed the same sequence, but I do note the suggestion of knurling before drilling.

One thing not mentioned... don't use your best self-centring chucks for turning rough stock. It puts unfair, unequal stresses on the chuck. Use a 4-jaw independent chuck.

As for what Dave called Awkwardcussium... I expect we've all been there. In my case not long ago with some 18mm diameter supposedly-mild steel (well, it was rusty outside and silvery-grey inside) from a scrapped cable-drum tie-rod. I thought it is just plain old drawn EN3. Perhaps it is, but it proved as tough as old boots and would not yield a decent finish no matter what I did, and I had to find some better metal. Even so I do have one use for that Mild-Awk~, but requiring only facing, drilling and tapping the ends and simply cleaning and painting the surface.

Keith Gaunt06/04/2020 12:37:19
10 forum posts
6 photos

Thanks to all your responses, I've learned quite a bit from them and gained a lot of food for thought from each.

Stay safe.


All Topics | Latest Posts

Please login to post a reply.

Magazine Locator

Want the latest issue of Model Engineer or Model Engineers' Workshop? Use our magazine locator links to find your nearest stockist!

Find Model Engineer & Model Engineers' Workshop

Support Our Partners
Eccentric July 5 2018
Allendale Electronics
Eccentric Engineering
Subscription Offer

Latest "For Sale" Ads
Latest "Wanted" Ads
Get In Touch!

Do you want to contact the Model Engineer and Model Engineers' Workshop team?

You can contact us by phone, mail or email about the magazines including becoming a contributor, submitting reader's letters or making queries about articles. You can also get in touch about this website, advertising or other general issues.

Click THIS LINK for full contact details.

For subscription issues please see THIS LINK.

Digital Back Issues

Social Media online

'Like' us on Facebook
Follow us on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter
 Twitter Logo

Pin us on Pinterest