Help with the lathe


I need to create two simple pieces in bronze in the big lathe. They are part of a buoy we are hoping to send to the North Pole. One is basically a cone and the other one is more like two cone sections together. I have used a lathe last time 25 years ago so I was hoping if there is a course I could attend or someone who could introduce me to the machine. Any help is greatly appreciated!



I might be able to help. I don’t show up there a lot but I’ll check in this weekend and see if I can make sense of the machine.

Sorry, but that is not quite how it works. The lathe is easily the most dangerous machine in the lab, and experimentation is strongly discouraged. If ganzuul is an experienced lathe operator then ok, otherwise no. This simply to prevent injury to people and damage to property.

The best idea is to come on a Tuesday and just ask for help. There usually are several people around who can help and instruct in operating the lathe.

I program, set up and run CNC lathes from drawing to finished part as my day job and a few times a month work with manual lathes of the same size. Got a diploma as a machinist too. :slight_smile:

Then it is OK. Our lathe is a fully manual TOS with no automation whatsoever. The things one needs to be careful about are the clutch/brake (to make the chuck stop and stay stopped) and power feeds that have no safeties whatever. So just be careful not to ram the tool against anything. But you know this already.

Brutal but just. Looking forward to meeting the old girl! :grin:

Hello Ganzuul,

Thanks for your help! Please let me know when it would work for you and I can come by the hacklab.



I think, previously there was activity in the lab during the weekends, usually after 12, and a bot would tell in IRC if someone was there… Not seeing anybody there though.

I’d like to see the machine so I’ll know if I need to borrow any tools from work beforehand, so if there is no activity during the weekend that will have to be Tuesday like Kremmen said.

Tuesday would work for me, any time after 13:00. I am having some trouble getting hold of the bronze, it seems to be more complicated than expected. I continue working on it but any tips are appreciated



Does it have to be bronze or will brass do? I might be able to help depending on how large a piece you actually need.

Are you certain it is bronze you want? Brass is much more common. Whats the outer diameter and length you need? We might have the stock as scrap.


Thanks for your comments.

It should be bronze or stainless steel 316L according to the ship designer who has been helping me, as this is meant to spend years in the sea. Of course it could be possible to make a draft in brass to make sure all is ok and test the machines.

The current diameter of the larger part is 216mm but I was told I might need to shrink it to 200mm due to availability. Small changes are not a problem as this point. The smaller piece’s larger diameter is 144mm according to current plans.

Thanks for the help!


That’s quite a bit bigger than what we work with. How long are the parts? There might be issues with lifting it and getting it secured in the chuck if it weights too much.

Hi axelote,

Apparently I just missed you. Heard that the parts are a ballast and counterpoise for the buoy you mentioned.

Seems that the cross-slide on the lathe is a bit sticky, but it does have a serviceable section in the middle. I can donate some used tool inserts from work if I find suitable ones.

You might be able to find stock like what you need for scrap price at Niemen Romukauppa (, or possibly get the whole thing made at Hellmanin Konepaja ( since this would be a small job for them. Not sure if Hellman accepts walk-ins, but you wouldn’t be the first to try. The price shouldn’t be terrible so if they quote you in the hundreds it means they don’t have time. English could be tricky at these places. Young people usually speak it quite well, if you can find them…

All the best,


Thanks for the tips. I did notice when visiting hacklab that my plans were a bit more complicated than I had understood. I will check if the people at Hellmanin can do it, that would be best.

Thanks a lot for the help!