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Monday, August 18, 2014

Lathe Duplicator class with Tom Walden

So I took Tom Walden's lathe duplicator class in St Louis. Fun class, but too little time to play. He had 8 lathes set up, each with a pattern that creates items like vases, goblet, table pedestal etc. We had 8 lathes, but 14 people signed up for the class, and 4 hours to rotate among each of the lathes. Needless to say, I didn't get around to all of the lathes, but I got a "taste" of duplicating on a lathe.

 If you ever take Tom's class, he'll tell you to bring a camera and snap away so you remember what you did in class. So here are my pics. This is a close-up of one of the lathe set ups. That brass sticking out at 6 o'clock is the "duplicator". It's basically a pattern, and you move the cutter (at 3 o'clock) like a typewriter back and forth while the lathe holds a piece of wood, acrylic, metal rod etc, in place and spins at high rpm. The pattern/duplicator controls your movement and the notches allow you to go in and out, thus creating the notches, grooves etc.

Pretty darn clever. This is different from the FREE HAND lathe classes offered at the IGMA Guild school.

See the vase at left? That's what that pattern created.

 If you're interested in this kind of activity, you need a lathe with a duplicator attachment which holds the brass template in place. Anker is no longer in existence, but his lathes still work great if you can get your hand on one on ebay or in estate sales. Tom says $300 is a good price for this oldie, but goodie. The Taig lathe recommended at Guild School will run you $600-1000.

 This pic shows how the cutter is set with 2 stoppers at both ends that limit your movement with the cutter, but in coordination with the template.

 One of the set ups involved using a Dremel tool to finish up the template. Cannot remember which one though.

 Here's a sampling of the brass templates you can buy from Tom or Pete Boorum to create various miniature items. Pete bought all the templates from Anker. Anker has passed BTW. Templates are pretty affordable, averaging $12 each.

Turning on a lathe is a lot of fun! Tom didn't even bother to clamp any of the lathes to the table, and there really was not much issue in vibration and the lathes moving off the table. You will generate a lot of sawdust, so be prepared to vacuum. 

It takes a bit of practice to get used to the movement of the cutter in relation to the brass template, but once you get the hang of it, it's a lot of fun. Easier than free hand turning in my opinion.

My recommendation? Take the class if you ever get a chance.

1 comment:

  1. Stumbled on your posting today - I have an Anker lathe/duplicator that I purchased from him in the early 80's. While I no longer do miniatures, I did make many wooden goblets, spindles and vases when I was very active in the hobby. I have moved on to other things but still find myself pulling out my mini lathe and making finials and other parts for things. It's a great tool. I needed a replacement spur drive and Pete Boorum was kind enough to point me to a replacement made for a Taig lathe that fits this one. The lathe still works great after all these years, and I made my own templates out of brass stock for custom turnings. It's easy to make them using metal grinding bits in a dremel. Bonnie Gibson