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Vic12/10/2021 11:46:28
3089 forum posts
16 photos

For the Wood Lathe.

I’m thinking of making something similar. The one in the video seems to be made from steel but I’ve seen another very similar design apparently made from alloy.
I have dovetail cutters but I’m not sure it’s worth the effort cutting them? Neither design has a gib strip, I suppose because the unit only makes small movements. Would a gib improve the design? I’d appreciate any thoughts on this before I start the design process. I’m sure some of you will bring up issues I haven’t considered and this has been extremely helpful in the past. TIA.

Ian Parkin12/10/2021 12:05:00
1035 forum posts
243 photos

I have the one thats in your first link sold by boffin guy on eBay

its great works well and I wouldn’t think making one any better is going to make it better to use…it does the job out of the box. And at the price he sells them for I wouldn’t go to the trouble of starting to make a copy.

if you want a ball turning jig rather than making a ball turning jig that is

Paul Lousick12/10/2021 12:05:14
2077 forum posts
727 photos

Hi Vic,

It;s normally called a ball turner and there are lots of articles and designs on metal work forums, youtube, etc.

(and the previous post to this one)

Michael Gilligan12/10/2021 12:09:25
20289 forum posts
1064 photos

You may get some inspiration from this alternative design, Vic : **LINK**


Vic12/10/2021 16:10:19
3089 forum posts
16 photos

Thanks folks. I’ve actually got two ball turners already, one for the metal lathe and one similar to the one Michael linked for my wood lathe.
The reason I’m interested in the type in my original post is that they look to be much easier to set up and can be fitted to a standard wood lathe Banjo.

Having used a ball turner there are however a couple of small things I don’t like which I think I can easily improve upon.

Sam Stones12/10/2021 19:59:39
880 forum posts
326 photos


FWIW - I have a faint idea that this one was described in Model Engineer many years ago, perhaps in the 60's. A round cutter (e.g. a piece of broken drill bit) is inserted into the left hand end and pokes out as per the illustrations in the links above.

Other than making a couple of stainless steel handles (for a six-way turret and a rear tool post, oh and an aluminium ball on the end of the handle which I carelessly cropped off in the photograph), I hardly ever used it.

Capacity? About 50 mm max.

spherical turning attachment.jpg

One extravagance was the bronze body, a left-over from another job.

The bronze body was made to be clamped in the normal (ML7) tool post.

I seem to recall making the lead screw with a 40 tpi thread. It allowed very fine adjustment.


Sam smile d

Edited By Sam Stones on 12/10/2021 20:01:28

Vic12/10/2021 20:03:30
3089 forum posts
16 photos

Thanks. I did see that one during a search. I’ll be using a round carbide insert for the cutter as it works so well on my other jig. I’m looking to turn wooden spheres up to about 250mm diameter.

Paul Lousick12/10/2021 22:06:47
2077 forum posts
727 photos


It looks like an earlier version of the ball turners that use a boring head. (Possibly where the designer got the idea)

ball turners.jpg

Sam Stones12/10/2021 22:45:25
880 forum posts
326 photos

Yes Paul, very similar.

As my memory mist clears slightly, I feel sure it was described with drawings in ME. That would have to be pre '72.

When I made it I'm not sure. Late 60's or early 70's. It went out with my ML7 and most other stuff in '07.



From a still chilly Melbourne.

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