Metalworking Projects


Various metalworking projects and tools I’ve made.


A ball turning tool for the lathe. The castings and instructions are available from Metal Lathe Accessories in Pennsylvania. Castings are very high quality and have features that make them easy to machine.

This was a great project for me, my first significant job with cast iron (what a sooty mess!) and a challenge to work to a few tenths on the fit for the rotary journal bearing. The old South Bend still performs, and it’s better than I am.

A little depth gage. Small brass parts offset by nicely blued steel. About 4 inches long. From the Machinist’s Bedside Reader.

I use Brownells Oxpho Blue. Works great on clean steel.

Die holder for the lathe, from the Machinist’s Bedside Reader. The knurled handle slides and spins on a shaft, so you can do power threading and simply let go when you need to stop. Handles are there for manual operation.

Knurling tool, from the Machinist’s Bedside Reader. A great mill and lathe project. Also had some brazing and heat treating.

here’s an upgrade for the lathe that adds a roller thrust bearing to the outside of the spindle. Replaces the simple washer that SBL supplies. A nice exercise in threading, among other things.

Here is a YouTube video showing my first little engine project, an air-powered motor.

Now this is a proper steam engine. Ever since I was a little kid I wanted a model steam engine! This took about 250 hours to make, about 63 parts, all from barstock. Here are a couple of YouTube videos showing it running and also showing how the valve timing works.