The Gingery Lathe
A long, long time ago, in a city far, far away ......
I guess that sounds a bit like star wars or something. Maybe I should change the tone of this page. To be serious though, I started my hobby wanting to learn how to make molds to pour miniatures from lead or pewter and then the hobby started to change shape and from from there. At one point I wanted to try out some plastic injection molding. I found a book on the subject from Lindsay Books. (They have a bunch of books on a bunch of subjects, you should check them out if you have never been to their website. If they ask who sent you, just tell them it was one of those mad scientist people. They will understand. You can find them at www.lindsaybks.com) As I read this book written by Gingery, I noticed that the molds were machined with a lathe and made from aluminum. So I hit a major stumbling block. I had neither a lathe nor a way to cast aluminum. So I started looking around on the Internet and was pricing lathes. It took no time to discover that it was out of my reach. My hobby had to support itself and it didn't have a lathe in its budget. Right when I was ready to give up on the idea of plastic injection I stumbled on Lionel Oliver's site at www.backyardmetalcasting.com and what I found there kept me in awe for over an hour. Here I found a guy that was casting metal and building a home made lathe. And best of all, he was doing it on my kind of budget. I ordered his booklet entitled build a flowerpot crucible furnace. All I can say about the book was that it caused my hobby to take a sharp turn to a territory that I had never explored. And it just keeps getting better. If you have never cast metal and want to try it, go to Lionel's site, get his little book and build one. I have had mine for a few years now and it still serves me well. You can cast metal cheaply without much outlay of cash by building this furnace and it is an excellent start for a beginner. (I need to stop, or you will think that Lionel is paying me to advertise his book).
Once I built the furnace and discovered that I could actually melt metal with it, I was hooked. I mean, if I can do it anyone can. Next I ordered Gingery's book on building a lathe. This book is part of the seven book series on building a metal shop from scrap. You can get these from Lindsay's Books. Well I started the Lathe project and had cast the bed and feet when I was given a lathe by a friend of mine. As a result the project lathe has set on the shelf slowly decaying away. I put all of my effort on rebuilding and buying tooling for the Craftsman 10921270 lathe that was given to me. Next I bought the rest of the books in the series. Then I noticed something. Each book builds on the skills you learn and develop from the previous book. Not having any machining skills, I was lost. So one day I decided I was going to build the Gingery lathe and learn what all this machining business was about.
Another thing that I like about how Lionel done his site, was that he broke the construction of the lathe into different sections and posted them that way. Well Lionel, if you ever read this, remember that imitation is the best form of flattery. I am going to break my experience into sections as well.
To get started just follow the links below. I hope you enjoy it but most of all, I hope that it encourages you to try to make one for yourself. Or if not a lathe, anything at all that makes you enjoy your time spent on your hobby. Happy Metal Casting!!!