Free Hand and Ball Turning Tool

A free hand and ball turning tool designed to work on the Warco WM240B lathe. I’ve done some free hand turning before and although it was ok, I used a wood working technique and this is a bit dangerous with metal. With the need to turn the curve on the smokebox door of the Burrell traction engine I also need a ball turner.

The basic idea was to bolt a 1/4″ mild steel plate to the cross-slide with the top-slide removed and then make a cast iron tool holder. The tool holder could then be moved on the plate and hence react the turning forces.

basic freehand turning system

This is quite an easy make and most of the build and my reasoning is covered in the video.

Some more still images to just show the design and some of the features.

tool holder and radius arm

The ruler zero is aligned with the centre of the brass button. The 8mm projection on the bottom of the button just drops into a hole in the plate. Thus allowing it to rotate.

The radius can be set on the ruler and then the tool holder locked to the ruler.

I might need to add a fine adjustment to this to allow me to make fine cuts and accurately turn a radius. But let’s see how it goes.

freehand turning toolholder

The completed free hand and ball turning tool. Made for the Warco WM240B, but as a design I think this would be easy to adapt for any lathe

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