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Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Perfect Turning, Lathe-free


A lot of people assume that, if you want to make a perfectly-round billiard (or other similar shapes), one must have a lathe. This is not true! With a little creativity in tools, it is possible to do a wide range of unusual tasks with even the most rudimentary machine, the drill press. Shown in this pic is a simple cutter that I used some years ago, which could quickly and easily shave a rough stummel into a perfectly round cylinder. The cutting tool could be moved in and out to any desired size, and the pilot bore insured that the bowl chamber would start perfectly centered to the exterior shape. It was essential to rough the shape to something close to the desired idea beforehand, however, because the cutter did not have the power to shave off heavy cuts. Also visible in this pic is the same long steel rod that I still use today. I simply insert this down the airhole during drilling, and keep two fingers on it as I drill. As soon as it begins to vibrate, I know that the bowl drill has reached the level of the airhole, and I never have to worry about drilling the bowl chamber too deep.