Cleaning up Lathe Handwheels and robo dollys

I’m going to start this post with a warning. Spinning machinery has the extreme potential to remove limbs and fingers. Be EXTREMELY careful when operating lathes, drill presses and other workshop equipment. I don’t want to be responsible for any damage you may do to your self whilst replicating the below. Do so in any form at your own risk.

This last weekend I managed to finish spraying final coats and touch-ups on several lathe parts and so decided that it was finally time to re-approach the hand wheels. Originally when I had started stripping the paint off with the sandblaster I’d hit the outside of the wheel in several places by accident which then dulled the finish on the wheel. As a stop gap measure, until I could work out what to do about this I sprayed the whole thing with a primer to stop any rusting. I figured that any attempt to re-polish the wheel would use some form of abrasive and so I may as well remove the primer at that point anyway.

After searching around the internet for a while I came across this website , the results that this guy has with some of his restorations is beyond belief and the end result he achieved with his hand wheels was pretty much what I was after so I decided to copy / modify the process.

Seeing as the restoration of the lathe has resulted in the disassembly of the lathe there was no lathe to turn the lathe parts on… so I had to resort to the wheel mounted on a section of M8 threaded rod mounted in a drill press.

1 (Resized)

Once I had confirmed it was mounted securely and wasn’t turning off center I flicked it on and started with 400 grit wet and dry sandpaper, moving through 800, 1000 and 2000 before finishing off with 00 and 0000 synthetic steel wool.

The wheel just after the paint removed,

3 (Resized)

and then whilst polishing with the 0000 nylon wool.

4 (Resized)

Note in the above photo the drill is turning in a clockwise direction and is pulling pad away from me and out of my hand. I believe this to be the safer side to be doing this on, if your hand slips it’s not as likely to get caught in the spokes of the hand wheel which will definitely result in fingers getting torn off.

After being cleaned up the wheel was masked and then had the first top coat applied. One more coat in a week followed by any touch-ups a week later should finish this off.

9 (Resized)

Whilst in painting mode I also put two more light coats of etch primer on the lawnmower deck and then the first top coat. I’ve only got it as it was ex the top coat but I’ll grab a couple of pics of it with the blue top coat on tonight and post them up.

7 (Resized)

That’s it paint and photo wise. Here are some videos of the first moving tests I’ve done on the camera dolly. A  model servo should hopefully arrive this week which means I can print the remaining parts to finish off the pan section of it before moving onto the tilt part.





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