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Thread: sphere cutting jig

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
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    greensboro nc
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    186

    sphere cutting jig

    I have been wanting a sphere cutting jig to turn round balls,,i have checked different ones and needless to say none of them are made for the weekend woodturner,,,,price wise,,but I have thought about trying to build one,,does anyone have any info on building one,,,thank you

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    Schenectady, NY
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    There was a plan for a home built 1 in a magazine some time back. Sadly I don't remember when or which mag. Not much help-sorry. I may have saved it in the shop so can look when I get home. There should be versions available through Google searching or Youtube. I don't think they are terribly complicated-the pivot point location is important though.
    Happy and Safe Turning, Don


    Woodturners make the world go ROUND!

  3. I've been thinking of building one, too. Just like you, I can't justify spending a lot of money buying one as I'm a weekend woodturner, too. There are several Youtube videos that show home made jigs, some made from wood and some from metal, and all in various levels of complexity. We should be able to make a simple wood jig.

  4. #4
    I thought about making one. Can't be too difficult. a pivot point in the center of the bed with a retractable cutter on bar that swings left and right.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
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    TX, NM or on the road
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    I made one like this. https://www.woodworkersinstitute.com...e-turning-jig/
    Just follow the picture tutorial.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
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    Palm Springs, CA
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    I made this one after watching a video or seeing pictures of a ball ornament being glued up to be turned. I can't find the specific one at this time however it may have been from David Reed Smith? Anyway, this was someone else's idea and it was pretty easy to build. I didn't use any plans but scaled it to fit my lathe. It works quite well and I was surprised how rigid it is being constructed only from Baltic Birch ply.

    Sphere Jig.jpg

    Sphere Jig 2.jpg

    Sphere Jig 3.jpg

    Sphere on Vacuum Chuck.jpg

    Sphere being roughed.jpg

    Getting a good sliding fit (not loose) on the dado grooves in the sides is important for stability and minimizing chatter.
    Last edited by Dick Mahany; 12-20-2018 at 5:00 PM. Reason: Added comment.
    Dick Mahany.

  7. #7
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    Jul 2008
    Location
    Atikokan, Rainy River district, Ontario
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    Jean Michael (RIP several years ago) had plans on the web for several jigs, very nicely done, when he passed away his turners club kept his site up, so no need to copy anything, but then they stopped keeping it up .

    Anyway I do have two pictures of his jig, probably enough to make one for your lathe, the main thing is to have the rotating center and tool set exactly at center, hope this helps.

    Jean Michael ball turning setup.jpg Jean Michael ball turning jig large pic.jpg
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

    Have fun and take care

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    Schenectady, NY
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marvin Hasenak View Post
    I made one like this. https://www.woodworkersinstitute.com...e-turning-jig/
    Just follow the picture tutorial.
    Thanks Marvin-that is the exact one I was trying to remember. I did manage to find it in my shop. I've been wanting to build one as well. In all my spare time.
    Happy and Safe Turning, Don


    Woodturners make the world go ROUND!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
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    greensboro nc
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    Leo that is one that I like...lol..simple jig for a simple mind..going to start work on it tomorrow

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    Schenectady, NY
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    That's a very nice piece of work Dick. The ball is great as well.
    Happy and Safe Turning, Don


    Woodturners make the world go ROUND!

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Location
    Sparta Tn
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    324
    You don't need a jig. Just use this method. I have used several of the top jigs when testing them but I still use this method because I just can't justify the money and it's so easy to turn one.
    http://montgomerycountywoodturners.o...MMV-sphere.pdf

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    E TN, near Knoxville
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    Jeff,

    I have the Vermec sphere jig but it is in fact not cheap, about $300US. (I had it in my hands a couple of days after it was shipped.) Here is a picture that shows some design features you might consider. Their design uses ball bearings for rotation, and the screw adjustment makes it very easy to make tiny, precise changes. It is also massively heavy for its size which eliminates vibration.

    vermec_sphere_jig.jpg vermec_cutter.jpg

    The cutter on it is much like those on the Hunter tools - gives a clean cut, never needs sharpening. If making one, I'd consider use a Hunter, perhaps the Viceroy. The cutter on that one (and some others) is angled down a little. Square shank, it would be easy to hold in a jig.

    Hunter_Viceroy.jpg

    JKJ

  13. #13
    I agree with John I built one of aluminum but eventually bought the Vermec. One thing you might consider is the ability to rotate the cutter head to allow you to get closer to both ends.
    Pete


    * It's better to be a lion for a day than a sheep for life - Sister Elizabeth Kenny *
    I think this equates nicely to wood turning as well . . . . .

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Location
    Sparta Tn
    Posts
    324
    If you make your own buy one of Mike Hunters smaller cutter tips. The #1 is what most of the sphere jigs are using. The better sphere jigs let you rotate the cutter left and right for a more bevel rubbing cut and really clean spheres that need little sanding.

  15. #15
    Just curious... Why are almost all the sphere cutting jigs made to cut such small spheres? It seem like an awful waste of lathe capacity. A 20 inch lathe should be able to cut about a 16 inch sphere...

    why think so small?

    clint

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