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Access to Metal Lathe

Discussion in 'General Pinewood Derby Discussion' started by flockshot, Sep 22, 2022.

  1. flockshot

    flockshot Rail Runner

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    I have been granted access to a metal lathe to work on my wheels for this year. As exciting as this is for me, I am realizing that it opens up an entirely new learning curve.

    Cutting the wheel is pretty easy but holding the wheel in place on the lathe to cut it parallel to the bore presents its own set of challenges. Two steps forward, one step back.
     
  2. Hangtime

    Hangtime Pinewood Ninja

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    I’m not a pro. Still trying to figure it all out myself. But I’ll share some of what I’ve learned… I have one lathe that I use for wheels. Production shops have multiple machines. Trying to learn while using a machine that you might not have unlimited access to sounds unrealistic to me. Not saying it can’t be done, just trying to temper your expectations.


    You’re not wrong about the learning curve. Those who can do it well have spent lots of time and money perfecting their process. You can expect to ruin many wheels as you learn how to do it. You should plan on buying a few cutting tools, and you will probably want to make some work holding tooling. Dial and test indicators are also very useful.


    There has not been a lot of information posted on this topic, but if you search you will find some tips. The pros still watch this board. If you have specific questions, you will probably find people that can help. Good luck, enjoy the process.
     
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  3. flockshot

    flockshot Rail Runner

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    Folks are very forthcoming about what you need to do to be successful, but shy about just how they do it. This s good, because it is not realistic to have someone work for a long time perfecting a method and just give it to the world. Some things just need to be figured out. I have felt that way about my JIG JIG that holds John's jig for perfect drills, block after block, but since I only do scout cars, I may put out a thread article about the process. I have actually passed it on privately to a couple of guys here, and they seemed to like it.
     
  4. Hangtime

    Hangtime Pinewood Ninja

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    I don’t believe there are any real secrets to turning good wheels. I recently purchased 100 sets of wheels with the intention of ruining most of them as I improve my process. These are the basics…
    1. Know your machine
    2. Start with good wheels. Garbage in, garbage out.
    3. Use sharp tools
    4. Rigid setup
    5. Shallow cuts at medium speed.
    Search “lathe” over at npwdrl for more specific tooling and other info.
     
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  5. Reecedad

    Reecedad League Racer

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    I’d suggest cutting a pin first
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2022
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