Clamp-On CNC for Taig Lathe

Published 2016-02-20.

The Taig Lathe is an inexpensive small bench lathe. These 3D printed parts allow a stepper motor to drive the cross slide, compound slide, or vertical slide, enabling CNC control and thread cutting. No modifications to the lathe are needed, and the adapter can be installed or removed in minutes.

To hold the stepper motor, a clamp mounts on the outside of the axis bearing housing. The stepper motor is mounted on a plate which bolts on the clamp, while a coupler engages the knob on the handwheel. There is a small amount of play between the coupler and handwheel, but this results in very little backlash, due to the fine pitch of the leadscrews.

For each axis, the following parts are required:

Currently, I don't have an easy way to add a leadscrew to the Taig lathe. I suspect that 3D-printed parts would not work, as they would need to bear the cutting forces. As a work-around, the compound slide can be used as a z-axis for short threads.

A 0-80 thread cut with the clamp-on cnc, using the compound slide as the z-axis.