THE “SIDEWINDER” LATHE PROJECT
Call me irrational, illogical and a spendthrift, if you will. But I’ve concluded that one can never have too many treadle driven lathes. After all, God saw fit to give us two feet, so… Over the next month or so, I’ll be working on a “sidewinder” style, continuous rotation lathe. This is a curious configuration, with the wheel sitting parallel to the lathe bed, that offers a number of distinct advantages and challenges.
The advantages of this design are; the wheel diameter is only limited by the number of pulleys that are required to create the appropriate reeving path. The larger diameter wheel can generate much higher spindle speeds with fewer treadle strokes. The crank link will be in the center of the treadle. This will allow me to build a trapezoidal treadle which will be both stronger and lighter than a “side load” treadle (type seen on most treadle lathes). The actual depth of the lathe will be much narrower than one with the wheel perpendicular to the lathe bed, therefore saving valuable floor space.
I’ve only seen two partial photographs of this style lathe. If anyone out there has any information that they could share with me, I’d certainly appreciate it. Stay tuned. We’ll doubtlessly uncover some arcane information about gear ratios, reeving, pulleys, bearings and rope splicing. Should be fun.