Firstly, this is NOT MY IDEA! It was published by Vik Olliver, Diamond Age Solutions Ltd. http://diamondage.co.nz. I have reproduced it here, assuming that it is public domain. However, I will be happy to remove it if the original author would like me to. His document says "Documentation released under the GFDL for free reproduction." I hope that extends to his pictures!
I am building a mrkimrobotics 1X2 reprap http://mrkimrobotics.com/ and http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:5773 from basic, locally sourced parts, and getting to the point were I need to create a hot end. I realised I needed a lathe for this, but don't have space or cash for a real one and all thingiverse lathes http://www.thingiverse.com/tag:lathe require some reprapped parts - but mine isn't built yet! Somehow I stumbled upon Vik's page and feel it deserves a wider audience.
I built mine using a Bosch hand drill with handle adapter clamped in a Black and Decker Workmate for one end, and the chuck from my drill press G-clamped to a small vice for the other. I have only been playing around with this so far, and haven't got this working quite well enough yet to make a hot end, but it has excellent potential.
Vik Olliver: "Why an 'Afghan Lathe'? Because I first saw this kind of technique being used by Afghan gunsmiths to produce counterfeit firearms with remarkable precision."
Full instructions at:
Blog post by Vik at:
As you can see the idea is quite old, but very effective none the less!
PDF (same as 1st link web page; referred to in above blog post) at:
I finally got around to drilling out a 55mm brass bolt for the hot end of my repstrap. With the tools I had, I couldn't quite get this to work like Vik's instructions, mainly because I didn't have a decent vice. Instead, I used a bench drill press and, for the second chuck, removed the chuck and drive shaft from an old hand power drill. This slotted into the drill press bed central hole and I drilled a wooden block to hold it underneath.
Couple of problems: The wooden block couldn't hold the second chuck still for very long, but this wasn't too much of a problem. The drill self-centred on the work, and I could hold it with my hand, or when the hole got very deep with some large grips, to keep it flat on the bed. The second problem was that my drill press chuck runs slightly eccentrically (about 0.5mm), and I occasionally took out the work to check it. Each time I put it back into the chuck, it wasn't always in the same place, so the hole then ran eccentrically. This caused a lot of binding on the drill before I worked out what was going on! Make sure the work goes back in the chuck in same place. Finally, though brass is pretty easy to work, sharp drills always help. I drilled it out at 3mm first (the smallest drill that would go all the way through), then 4mm.
I bought a cheap engineer's/bench drill vice (Â£11), drilled a hole in a wooden block slightly smaller than the 'tail stock' chuck, cut the wooden block length ways through the centre of the hole. This acts as a clamp to hold the tail stock chuck in the vice which is clamped to the drill table, it is adjustable in more directions than the drill table, and is generally a lot more secure and safer than holding the chuck by hand!