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River,  this could be a worth while heads up.  For $20, it is hard to go bad, even if it does not work out.  Almost seems like the link should be to Harbor Freight.

There is not all that much on a model that requires a lathe.  This may do  for windlass drums, capstan spindles. 

The following would probably not work out: Cannons would need to be wood, and belaying pins made of wood. ( Boy, wouldn't doing that about a hundred times be a load of fun?)  There is no tool holder or micro adjustment.  Rigging a duplicator looks impractical if wood is the choice.  The sharp tools vs motor power is a clue that this is right at the edge of useful.  I am betting that brass is right out.

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A very small lathe.  From reviews it's not big enough to turn a pen.  Also, do some research on them before buying as there are some negative reviews out on the web.

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Keith, I agree.  I did not notice what was checked for the $20 bit.   $70  is a different category.  Still,  for someone who does not intend to turn metal to make tools, but still thinks that a lathe is important to have for wood model parts and does not have money to burn,  this may scratch that itch enough to save them from spending big bucks on a precision lathe and finding out that it is little more than a paper weight.

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That's $20 worth of my time.  And that looks like an extrusion of standard dimensions that I might be able to find i a longer length.  And if I couldn't, I suppose a carefully dressed piece of wood or baltic birch ply would be adequate.

 

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7 hours ago, KeithAug said:

I think it is $70 - still cheap - but not if its a waste of money.

 

Sneaky they are.  I didn't notice that the $20 was for the cutters.

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The Chinese have been flooding ebay et al. with these thingies in various configurations for some time now.
A couple of observations on the 'designs' (not really designs, but put together from commercially available parts).

 

- there is no separate bearing for the spindle; this can be ok, if the motor has ball-bearings (some Chines motors are available with such); however, motor bearings are for radial loads, not for axial loads, as occur during turning; one should have an axial bearing too.

 

- the motor is uncovered and the collector might get covered quickly in dust ...

 

- they use a drill-chuck on the spindle end, which is a no-no; drill-chucks are not designed for axial loads, as they occur during turning; one might think of replacing the chuck with an ES collet-holder; much safer and more precise.

 

- There is no tool-rest for the gravers; one should configure a T-rest, as commonly used on wood- or watchmakers lathes.

 

In summary, these thingies might be ok for back-room workshops in China, India or such places, but could be significantly improved with little expenditure.

 

I think, for less than 100 EUR/USD/GBP one could configure a much better tool with parts easily available from ebay et al.

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