Following a recent visit with Harriet to install a house front for her friend Flo I had the chance to play with a Proxxon DB250 mini lathe. It was so much fun, and so useful for turning miniatures that I had to have one of my own. Having bought it with a matching set of Proxxon chisels I decided to make a box case for it to have a self contained workstation.
Just to be awkward, and only using off cuts, I hinged together two pieces of 18mm birch plywood as a starting point. One piece is the base while the other is the front of the case. I decided to make the hinge inside a 45⁰ mitre joint so that the boards could open flat on the bench.
But when closed there is no lip, step , or rebate visible.
Also the hinge knuckle does not interfere with the base board lying flat on the bench.
The lathe was test fitted so that I could work out how much of the boards would need to be cut away. The base is too deep, and the front too high. I was able to cut that away on the table saw.
Due to it being a busy day I forgot to take photographs of the case being built. I decided that the 18mm plywood was going to be too heavy and so I cut the front off and replaced most of it with 6mm birch plywood. The sides and the top were also made from 6mm birch plywood off cuts.
In the image below you can see a small strip of wood on the front of the lid, that is to stop the front panel falling open, and a couple of catches, one at each end, to hold the lid shut.
With the case opened you can see that the lid has an overhang behind the hinge knuckles that allows it to be propped open with a slight lean backwards. The front panel, now thinner, is a keeps the lathe at a good working distance from the edge of the bench. All the lathe tools are mounted inside the case and are secure when the case is closed.
I made a shelf with holes in for the range of six collets, the drive centre, and the face plate. There is also a little slot for the centre finder. Everything has been fitted in such a way that closing the lid retains then in their places.
The chisels had to be mounted at 45⁰ on a rail as they were too long to fit upright. They are also retained by the case front when the lid is closed, as are the two collet spanners.
The final part was a carry handle. I would like to buy a nice low profile strap handle, or form a curved handle from laminated wood, but for now a plastic handle from an old ‘Lidl Parkside’ tool case will do for the time being.
I am now looking forward to being able to take the mini lathe workstation on holiday next week to do some miniature turning in Wales.
After an hour of use the speed controller began to stutter at slow speed. That was a concern, but after leaving it a while it stopped stuttering. I suspected that maybe there wasn’t enough ventilation to cool the motor and controller inside the workstation case. I have added ventilation holes into the case where the vents are in the lathe case.
I made the holes at the back of the case as a row of 25mm round holes. The outside edges all got a 2mm radius round over, and a strip of expanded metal mesh was hot glued to the inside.
The hole in the end panel of the case needed to be rectangular so I drilled four 15mm holes to radius the corners before cutting out the middle. Again the edges all got a 2mm radius and expanded metal mesh was glued inside.
Hopefully that will help.
If there is still an issue I will see if it is a fault that needs return and replacement. If it is just an over heating issue then I can add a laptop computer cooling fan.