View Full Version : Duplicator

03-11-2005, 06:27 PM
Well here goes nutin. Here are some photos of my duplicator and accessories. I know that I made it out of aluminum and used my machine shop trade but you can do just as good a job with hardwoods, table saw, dado blade, and drill press as long as you take your time and plan. There are a few things that are important in the design and I will mention them as I go. Hopefully you can use the photo's to help build your own. There are many ways to make a duplicator and mine is not an end all but I think this design is very simple and fairly inexpensive and best of all it works. I looked at several design's and incorporated all the things I liked about them into mine. Here goes. Paul

03-11-2005, 06:30 PM
The duplicator

03-11-2005, 06:31 PM
The mounting plate. I am sure you could use Corian, formica countertop, butcherblock, anything flat and stable should work good. A piece of aluminum that size at 1/2 inch thick should run you around 50 bucks. To me that is the way to go.

03-11-2005, 06:33 PM
Sideview showing tool follower up against template

03-11-2005, 06:34 PM
Template mounted on template holder. You have lots of adjustments. Plus you can always move the mounting plate if you want to make larger plugs. When you drill the template to mount on your template holder use a universal distance for all templates. The holes can be a little sloppy because you will tighten them down. First set the template on the holder without any holes drilled yet. Take a look at where the template is in relationship to the stock you are going to turn and the spur center and tail stock. Smaller plugs might be mounted on the holder in a different place as a larger ones. Then mark the template and then drill the mounting holes. This might seem confusing but once you drill one in the wrong place you will see what I mean. Not all the templates will be drilled in the same location. You want to have most of the templates to be in the somewhat same location in relationship to the stock you are about to turn, so you do not have to move the whole duplicator base as much.

03-11-2005, 06:36 PM
Template mounted on holder. Templates are made of maple.

03-11-2005, 06:37 PM
Tool holder. This is the most important part of the duplicator.

03-11-2005, 06:38 PM
Another view. If you are making the holder out of some light stock you might want to drill some holes in the bottomn and fill them with lead to add weight to the holder. The heavier the tool holder the better. You will get less chattering of the tool with the extra weight. It does take some getting used too, to get the so called feel of the holder. You can't just jam the tool bit into the wood or it will grab it. The tool bit is being moved by hand and you need a strong and steady hand to keep from ripping the piece out of the lathe.

03-11-2005, 06:41 PM
Bottom of tool holder. I used a piece of plastic to keep from having aluminum on aluminum which would gall up after a while. You need to use materials that will allow the holder to slide on the plate, yet not wear down. I also put 45 degree angles on the front of the holder for clearance so you can get closer to the work piece.

03-11-2005, 06:48 PM
Here is one of the critical things when you make the holder. You need to have the tool bit point, or cutting edge, to be in line up and down with the follower point. To say it another way you need to have the follower point and the tool point to be the same distance in from the same edge, say side to side not up and down. Up and down is very important also but side to side is too. That way when you apply the tool to the piece and move it back and forth they will be in unison. You will see what I mean when you turn your first piece.

03-11-2005, 06:51 PM
That is a phenominal piece of work:claps: :claps: :claps: :claps: :claps:

03-11-2005, 06:54 PM
Here is probably the most critical aspect of the holder. The cutting tool and the follower point must be the same distance out from the holder, up and down. You can do this with a square. Push the follower and the tool out till the are both the same. You will need to make it so the tool bit and the follower are both adjustable, in and out, then lock them in place. When you make your tool holder you must make it so the cutting tool is on center. You need to mount your plate first. Then get a measurement from the bottom of the plate to the centerline of the lathe. I did this by measureing up to the tailstock center's point. Then compensate for the size tool you are going to use. That is why I made the tool holder's tool groove at an angle so you can adjust the tool out and it goes up too so you can get it centered. You lock in the cutting tool on center and then you bring out the follower point to the same distance and lock.

03-11-2005, 07:00 PM
Here are the tool bits I use. They are lathe tools. I use both carbid and high speed steel, tool steel. They are 60 degree pointed tools that I sharpen to my own specs. A small radius on the tip will give a much better finish than a sharp point. They are much cheaper than the ones sold in the woodworking cataloges. The carbide tool requires a special grinding wheel but the high speed steel can be sharpened with a normal grinding wheel. When it gets dull just stone the edge man.

03-11-2005, 07:05 PM
Template's are easily made by just scanning a plug you want to copy. Print out the picture. Cut along the edge. Lay the photo on your template material. Trace the picture. Cut out on bandsaw. Sand and smooth. Drill the mounting holes and you are ready to go. Fishingbumwannabe,aka Fred, told me about this method. I am also thinking about sealing the surface the tool rides on so it does not wear. I think you would have to make a real lot of plugs for it to wear though because you are really only touching the template with the follower on the final pass over the wood.

03-11-2005, 07:07 PM
Here is the picture laid on the template material. That is an old Hawg Hunter canal plug I am going to copy. As you first start the turning process make the plug diameter larger than the finished size. Then start moving the template away until you get to the final finished size. I use a dial calipers and measure as I go. Sometimes I need to move just one side sometimes both sides of template. That is where the two sided adjustments come into play. Make sure you sneek up on it or you will be undersize and need to start again. Once you get the final size just tighten everything down and have at it.

03-11-2005, 07:11 PM
Here are some of my assorted templates. You can also make a plug free hand on the lathe and then scan it and make up a template to produce copies of your own creation. You will probably make some changes as you use the duplicator. I have made several so far. I am sure you are sick of seeing Frank Zappa by now so that is it. If you need any more details just ask. Go for it. Paul

03-11-2005, 07:28 PM
Now thats a beautiful piece of machine work. Nice job and enjoy.

03-11-2005, 07:41 PM
Paul,awesome stuff.Thank you.:btu:
How are you attaching the base plate to the lathe base?

03-11-2005, 08:11 PM
sick- you need some handlebar grips for that :D

03-11-2005, 08:31 PM
I fabricated some T nuts using aluminum and some large flat head screws to be flush with the plate. They go under the lathe bed just like the T nuts for the tailstock and other lathe bolt on stuff. You can probably use any material that can be tapped so you can bolt the plate down. To bad you don't know anybody in the machine trade:D . Hopefully others will chime in on how they got around this problem . Paul

03-11-2005, 08:32 PM

03-11-2005, 08:33 PM
"If you only knew someone in the machine business" :D

Would tapping the lathe base and using those allen wrench screws under each side of the lathe under the what cha call it spinner? and tailstock work,or be in the way?

03-11-2005, 09:07 PM

Nice job PM

03-12-2005, 08:27 AM
that's one of the nicest machines i've seen, super job! btw- i miss frank:(

03-12-2005, 08:40 AM
Nice Job MoonUnit:D

Young Salt
03-12-2005, 08:42 AM
Great Job PM!!!!
When the carbide tools fail, do they chip or is it just some wear on the edge? how much life are you getting out of them?

I've got a vega - was too lazy to make a duplicator myself- and have been thinking about making my own tool holder for the 35 degree cabride inserts. i know vega sells them - but they are about $80 :eek:

I make my templates just about the same way, except i cut the paper very rough, then spray adhesive and stick the paper to the template, then i cut it out on the bandsaw.....makes it a bit easier to tell which one is which once you get a bunch of them.

03-12-2005, 11:32 AM
Youngsalt to be honest with you I have not used any of the carbide tools yet. I have just used the high speed tool so far and it holds up well. You do have to stone the edge a little as it does get dull, but you can do a lot of plugs before it happens. I found wood like mahogany, cherry, rock maple to dull out the HSS tool quicker. I cannot see the carbide chipping unless you bang it up against something. It will probably wear a little on the cutting edge, thus it will need to be touched up periodicly, but should stand up to wood with no problem for a long time. The quality of the carbide also makes a difference too. I machine very hard stainless and they do eventually melt or chip but that is caused usually by me going to fast with the feed and rpm's or a coolant issue. I cannot see any wood we would use being hard enough to cause the tool to fail. I would definately make my own insert tool holder for your Vega. 80 bucks is highway robbery. You should be able to make a holder and then just buy an insert through your work to use in it. Then you do not need to sharpen them just index them in the holder or throw them out and use another insert. Got to be cheaper than 80 bucks. I just write on the template the name of the plug. Paul

03-12-2005, 12:38 PM
Hey Paul, pm'd ya. :btu: :thanks:

03-12-2005, 01:08 PM
I have edited some of the text because I thought of a lot of stuff as I read back thru the process, just plain forgot. If you are going to build one you might want to reread the text. Good luck. Paul

03-15-2005, 03:42 PM
top shelf Paul...If I could only find a machinist to make it go smoother :hee:

Seriously, awesome work... :claps: :claps: :claps:

03-27-2005, 01:23 AM
I attempted to make a duplicator similar to yours and I am having a big problem with tearout. I know it is the grind on the bit because I tried the same bit in the tool holder with the same results(it's an older logan metal lathe). I tried different types of wood and it tears everything, even maple which I had the best finishes with in the past. I've turned wood on this machine before, but I can't find the bit I used and I can't remember how I ground the bit to have it work right in the first place. What's the trick to this? I tried a square bit ground to a 60 deg. point with the nose radiused slightly, a thread cutting bit, and a radiused 90 deg. bit. I tried cutting on center, above center, and below all to no avail except above seemed to be the smoothest although I could only cut .020" at a pass and this machine can do brass at that depth. I even played around with the top and side angles and not much difference. Can you suggest anything for me to try? I know it shouldn't tear the wood up this much and I'm about at my wit's end with this. :wall:

03-27-2005, 05:56 AM

I have found the half round works the best of all the different cutter's....tool steel.

03-27-2005, 07:36 PM
I agree with Capesam that a radius bit is the best. I use a 60 degree bit too. I like a much smaller radius on the point than Capesams. I find that if I use a big radius on the tip I get a little vibration, especially if I am doing a small dia. plug or a hard material like rock maple into a needle. I too use high speed steel, 1/2 square, but also use carbid ground the same way. I add an angle on the bit, if you look at the front view, that I think makes the tool cut much cleaner. The side view, like CS's, has the much needed angle also. I have never experienced any tearout but with a sharp point the finish looks like crap which is why you need the radius on the point. Maybe you are being too aggressive with the amout of stock you are trying to remove . Maybe your RPM's are too slow but you said you did it before. Try what Capesam's and I suggested and if still can't get good results send me the bit and I will grind for you. Paul

03-27-2005, 07:48 PM
my cutter is only 5/16 x 5/16 th's..I tried the same point as you have showing in your pic..but still got tear out.....and I move like a snail using my dupy...the half round has worked the best for me so far......also if you take your stock and rough it out round with your chisel first close to what dia. your looking for , then use your dupy to finish, it will keep your cutting head sharper longer.

pitch in the wood will dull even carbide after a bit.

03-27-2005, 08:16 PM
Capesams did you also put the angle on the front too. Not the relief angle on the front top to bottom but the angle side to side on the front picture. I found if you leave the tool flat on the top it will not finish as good. The half round was the tool I first started out with but switched to the type I am using now with no problems and I seem to be able to go faster. You will definitely get a smoother finish with a larger radius, but I think you can go faster with a sharper point. Trying to get best of both worlds. I don't know maybe I am just getting lucky. I am by no means an expert in wood turning. I just use what I know about metal and hope it apply's somewhat into wood too. You really do need to stone the tool to keep a sharp edge. I too move at a slow pace, especially after I launched that needle thing into my forehead. Gun shy now. You are right on about roughing stock round it will definitely help out in saving the tool edge life. Paul

03-27-2005, 09:52 PM
You guys rock :btu:

03-27-2005, 10:27 PM
Karl...told ya it would be a wood eater :uhuh: ..good show.

Paul..I bevel the cutting edge[sides] all the way around.....after a touch up on the stone....she throws lots of curly shaving's......but if I try to take off to much at once she just digs in and take's a big bite out of the wood////to sharp maybe.

03-28-2005, 11:55 AM
I found in my limited wood turning with the dup. that if you get too aggressive and try to take off too much that it will grab and dig in and tear. I think it is hard to take tool away from stock quick enough once you make the mistake of being too agressive. You seem to have much more control of a single wood turning tool than the control of the dup. cutter. It being larger and heavier than a single tool, which is what you need, sometimes cause's me to be too aggressive and I can't correct it fast enough so not to dig in and sometimes rip piece out. There is a fine line between the two but practice makes perfect. You want the dup. tool holder to move smoothly and effortlessly across the base but it also can cause you to slide too far in and then you get the big bite at once problem. There is definitely a touch to it. Tool being too sharp will cause the tool to have no resistence when applied to the stock so it just digs in like butter to wood which is soft as far as materials go and if you are not quick enough to pull tool away than you get the big bite, thus the touch. It is only a split second. I know in maching brass and even titianium in some operations, drilling esp., that we always dull the cutting edge of the tool so it does not grab. I still think you want a sharp edge though in wood. Just my 2 cents. Paul;

03-28-2005, 01:09 PM
Karl, nice pics. What is that round metal circle on the back of your cutter for:huh: Looks like some kind of a Redfield rifle sight? You are really crankin,i see alot of Karly green plugs in your future.:hihi:

03-28-2005, 01:41 PM
I think that is his template follower. P.

03-28-2005, 05:17 PM
Uze guys just keep me learnin.:kewl: :hihi:

03-28-2005, 09:23 PM
Today I had a few minutes at break so I ground a roundnose bit like capesams showed and put it in the tool post. It cut a lot better than what I was using. I still had to sand a bit, but pretty much no tearout this time. I have to wait until the weekend to set the duplicator back up 'cause it takes too long to set up and tear down for a half hour lunch break. Kinda sucks not having my own shop, but it has been a lot cheaper to use the tools at work than buying my own. I'll post the results for this when I can get to it. Thanks a bunch for all the help!

01-08-2009, 01:42 PM
this thing is great!

Proffessor M, I sent you over a PM with a few questions. Not sure if went through. Just a few questions about the carbid bit.

01-08-2009, 03:31 PM
PM sent

01-17-2009, 09:37 PM
Thought I would post in this thread because without professor's M's help this would have been a lot more difficult, as well as all the others that have shared their duplicators. Besides the insert, the insert holder, and the threaded rods everything was just scraps that I had at work.

Luckily enough the table saw top on the shop smith serves as decent adjustable platform minus the clearance being on little on the low side.

01-17-2009, 09:46 PM
As others did, the bottom of the duplicator has plexiglas allowing it to slide on the platform easier. I'm sure lexon would be a lot easier to use as the plexiglass tends to crack a lot easier when cutting and drill but I just went slowly and it worked out.

I just happen to have a couple dock cleats from the marina laying around and I was brainstorming about some ideas for weight. looks a little silly but adds a some weight and also allow me to cup my hands in between the cleat and handle.

01-17-2009, 09:50 PM
few additional photos.

01-17-2009, 10:04 PM
more photos for more ideas.

templates - I sort of visualize everything on a computer because I spend more then 10 hours a day designing crap for work, so I drew out my templates directly on the computer. Although I'm sure at some point I will scan in plugs that I like and go from there as others did.
I also measure everything in decimals rather then fractions, just a work related thing.

01-17-2009, 10:19 PM
Although it's not the nicest looking thing it works better then previous attempts. Professor M mentioned that I would most likely change the design several times before settling, and I assumed it shouldn't be problem the first time, I was wrong. I actually made an additional two along with these that I chucked away. I might have made a different one every day last week. :musc:

All in all, I hope this can also help someone out because without everyone's idea's I wouldn't have gotten this far.

excuse the spelling,grandma:as:, everything else that is wrong. I hate text editing

01-18-2009, 12:35 PM
Good for you Frank I knew you could do it. Looks great. Great thinking and remedy for all the obstacles I am sure you encountered. I like it. Now wasn't that fun.

01-18-2009, 03:17 PM
That came out pissa, I bet it works even better than most commercial ones. I like simple. Great job :btu:

01-19-2009, 03:55 PM
thanks, Just worked around using crap that was laying around.
I work in huge storage garage at work, and with a little digging you can find all sort of things. I like making anything that contributes to what I'm trying to accomplish.

Paul-I still couldn't find those plastic star nut fasteners. Using the wing nuts for now. I will keep looking.

01-19-2009, 04:45 PM
thanks, Just worked around using crap that was laying around.
I work in huge storage garage at work, and with a little digging you can find all sort of things. I like making anything that contributes to what I'm trying to accomplish.

Paul-I still couldn't find those plastic star nut fasteners. Using the wing nuts for now. I will keep looking.

I will get you a few, we got some at work just sitting there. I will give to you at plugfest. 1/4 20 thread is that ok?

01-20-2009, 02:23 PM
thanks professor!

1/4 will be fine. I'm using 5/16 threaded rod but it will a lot easier to use 1/4 as oppose to trying to find these fasteners.

I will no longer ask questions in a hardware store that isn't a mom and pop store. I was told twice "I've never seen anything like that" by two people who work in the hardware department while standing right near chop saws that have the same fasteners.

01-20-2009, 04:03 PM
Now that I think of it I am not sure of the thread. Either 1/4 or 5/16. I will look and let you know.