I've been wanting to build a lathe for a long time now and am starting to get some ideas going about which direction I intend on going about it. I like the idea of a small lathe but understand some of the pitfalls associated with going small, so I'm going to try and resist going too small.
After looking around quite a bit and checking out many home builds here and on youtube I've kind of settled on the idea of doing a concrete style build. I think it will offer the most solid machine that I can create with the limited resources that I have at my disposal.
The most difficult choices I'm faced with at the moment are concerning the ways and head/tailstock bearing arrangements. The first thing that come to mind is the ease of building of the arrangements involved. Then there is the aspects of rigidity and precision I'm hoping to achieve with the finished machine.
As far as ways go, I've been tossing around the idea of going with an angle iron filled with concrete sort of arrangement. There is also the idea of going with round stock as well but I'm more drawn to the angle iron arrangement. Also note that the idea of concrete is something that I use relatively loosely. I'm considering an epoxy aggregate arrangement as well for some of the pieces.
Next up on my mind is bearing arrangement for the headstock. I'm considering two possibilities at the moment which include tapered roller bearings and then poured babbit bearings. I'm looking to keep run out at a minimum. I'm thinking the poured bearings may be the ticket to keeping things the tightest.
I'd like to hear thoughts and comments from others on the matter of building up a lathe.