One for the road: micro lathe

This one’s for the mini hobbyist taking a wee break from the keyboard…

portable micro lathe Nanotray Max Meerman

I sometimes rescue motors from appliances, like this little 24V motor from when the old printer was replaced, and power supplies from equally vague recycling provenances. Putting two and two together, another woodturning micro lathe is born. This one is so small, it can be mounted right on to my desk, ready to whip up a miniature in my coffee break.

This portable lathe can be connected to any table, railing or whatever edge is available while on the road (and with the proliferation of laptops, most public places provide 120V AC for the power supply too).  It simply clamps on, courtesy of a 1/4″ bolt, and since the motor is ex printer, it is very quiet, emanating nothing but a gentle humming sound while spinning that wood, which powers from the plug of the laptop, so I don’t even have to bring along a power adapter!

portable micro lathe Nanotray Max Meerman

Finished turning a mini chair leg, spurtle, honey dipper or vase, the portable micro lathe clamp folds up to lock the chuck key in place for safe keeping. And the power supply cable can be re-attached to your laptop.


  1. Any chance you might put together detailed instructions on “how to” — we all have broken Printers that we haven’t yet decided how to recycle!

  2. Hi all,
    I have put a video in the next post, showing a bit how it works. You could put some dowel in a dremel or similar, and try shaping with a file as in the video. It takes practice, take your time, show what you made.
    As far as taking printers apart and soldering a power supply to a motor, they are all different, so take a cross-head screwdriver and take out every screw you see until you find some motors that you can take out. Careful with any springs and sharp pieces.

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