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Homemade Cue Lathe Done Dirt Cheap

Homemade Cue Lathe Done Dirt Cheap

Well, I wouldn't exactly call it a lathe. Pool cue "shaft turner" would be a better way to describe it. But I did make it dirt cheap. $3.99 is what I invested in it (I had to purchase some crutch tips from the drugstore). Here is how I built it (keep in mind I had all material already on hand except for the crutch tips): Materials consisted of a hand drill, the drill's plastic carrying case, a 3' length of 2x4x6" (I believe a 2x4x12" would have worked better); a 6" piece of 1x6", a crutch tip, a 3" machine screw (1/4") with a lock nut and some 2" self-tapping wood screws.

Photos posted below the instructions below.

To build:

  • With a cutting wheel, hacksaw, or whatever, cut out part of the hand drills carrying case enough to expose the chuck (be sure to allow some extra room on the sides.
  • Cut out a notch for the electrical cord to go through.
  • Drill some good sized vent holes in the case where the cooling vents on the drill line up so the drill motor won't overheat.
  • With self-tapping screws, screw the case down onto one end of the 2x6" (2x12" is better) with the chuck pointing to the other end of the plank.
  • Put the drill inside the case, close and latch the lid and measure the height that the center of the chuck is from the bottom of the plank.
  • With self-tapping screws, attach the 1x6" board onto the far end of the plank with the center of the chuck pointing directly to the center of the 1x6".
  • Take a 3/4" hole saw and drill a hole through the center of the 1x6" at the same height the chuck was from the plank. File and sand this hole until it is very smooth.
  • Drill a hole through the center of the crutch tip and run the machine screw through the tip to where it is coming out of the bottom of the tip and run the lock nut down the screw until snug.
  • Put the machine screw/crutch tip into chuck tightly and put the drill into the case.
  • Lock the trigger down put the power cord in the notch, make sure the drill is not in reverse, close lid and latch it shut.
  • Put some blue painters tape around your cue shaft (tip end) at the point where it will be making contact with the hole saw hole and run the shaft through the hole.
  • Take the non tip end and twist it into the crutch tip, plug in and go to work on that tip!

I just made this thing yesterday so I don't know how useful it's gonna be, but it sure works darn good for sanding/shaping tips and cleaning up a ferrule. No damage at all to the shaft. In fact, the painters tape didn't even show any wear on it. It's gonna come in mighty handy come re-tipping time!

And all for the cost ($3.99) of a pair of crutch tips!

Homemade Cue Lathe Done Dirt Cheap

Replies & Comments

  1. ManiacBHQ on 2/21/2007 11:23:53 AM

    If you want to spend a few bucks more and improve it just a touch you can put a bearing in your block of wood to keep from marring shaft when you get a shaft that is slightly crooked. The tape won't keep that from happening.

    You really need collets to protect the shaft. You can make collets out of plastic hose easily. I'm assuming that you may end up with other peoples shafts in there, different sizes and such.

  2. ManiacManiac on 2/21/2007 6:00:14 PM

    Actually, I hold the shaft between the fingers of my hands, off the wood, while I'm cleaning the ferrule or sanding down a tip. The painters tape has yet to show any wear on it from this procedure.

    I'm not so sure I will ever put anyone else's shaft in there, but you never know.

    I have been thinking of different ways to make some kind of a collet for the hole in the 1x6". Hose, that sounds like a good idea. I will still use a thin layer of tape even with the use of a collet.

  3. ManiacBHQ on 2/21/2007 6:09:10 PM

    You won't need tape if you get some of the soft clear plastic hose from the plumbing section of your typical hardware store.

    Unless the tape is exactly perfect, not centering the shaft, you can end up eggshaping your ferrules & tips.

    I could make you some collets out of delrin. That's what all my collets are made of. The delrin collet would fit inside of the bearing to spin freely without letting the delrin rub the shaft.

    I hope i'm making sense here.

    So, you need a bearing that has an inside diameter of (example: 1.000 ") with the collets turned to fit inside that.

    Various sizes for the shaft to go thru starting at say 12mm, 12.25mm,12.50mm,12.75mm to 13mm.

  4. ManiacBillyJack on 2/25/2007 12:43:40 PM

    Here's my version of a homemade pool cue spinner. The drill motor is bolted through the tapped hole in the side to a hardwood board with a ½ inch slot routed along the center line.

    My tail stock shown is a made of aluminum angle attached to a piece of channel that fits the slot.  Some plastic ball bearings are bolted through slotted holes for adjustable support at the tip end.  I have a few joint pins in common sizes for the chuck, plus some adapters made from dowel stubs glued to crutch tips. It spins nice and smooth once you adjust the height at the tip end. I've done shaft seal and polish work, tips, and even a re-taper. With a different tail stock I've even done a couple wrap jobs.

    So far, investment in hardware is just over $20.  I have no aspirations of being a real cue repairman, but I enjoy the convenience this provides for tipping, tinkering and maintenance.

    Future upgrades planned include a foot switch, as well as a spring-loaded loop over the top of the ferrule with another bearing, and maybe even an adjustable tool rest for trimming new tips or mushrooms. I hope its a thought-starter for anyone desiring to do their own minor work.

    Just get yourself a couple junk cues to learn with before you bolt down a good shaft. I've used some old 2 piece Dufferin cues as learning cues. I've gotta keep watching for more, though. Someone always seems to make me an offer I cant refuse on my refurbished ones.

  5. ManiacManiac on 2/26/2007 10:55:27 AM

    Nice work there Billy Jack! I've got to install me an adjustable set of plastic bearings, like the ones you are utilizing, to the back of my "cue spinner".

  6. ManiacBillyJack on 2/26/2007 10:40:39 PM

    I picked up a bunch of 1/4" I.D. bearings at an aircraft surplus store in Florida while on vacation for $2 each. If you can't find a deal like that, try some plastic sliding door rollers from the hardware store. If you spin them only on an un-threaded portion of the bolt and keep them lubed, they should last for a while. You'll just have to keep the speed down.

    My bearings are open, so they need cleaned of sanding dust periodically. I think I'm going to swap them for some sealed metal ones. I'll glue some thin rubber or plastic around the O.D. to keep from marring the shaft or ferrule.

    I just enjoy the work I can turn out with my cheapo cue spinner. It's a breeze to keep up your pool equipment when maintenance it's easy and fast.

    And, with my weak game, I need all the help I can get from good equipment.

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Homemade Cue Lathe Done Dirt Cheap

  • Title: Homemade Cue Lathe Done Dirt Cheap
  • Author:
  • Published: 2/19/2007 5:53:55 PM