Ball Turning Attachment for the ML7 Lathe

This design for a ball turning tool came from Steve Bedair's web site.

His ball turning tool was a much simpler design than many of the others

For the ML7 lathe the centre height was much lower than Steve's, so some components had to be shortened as appropriate.

Here are some images of the final item. Visit Steves web site for more pictures, dimensions and building instructions.

Tool on the LM7 lathe

Tool Detail

The tool was built from scrap material. 1/2" aluminium plate for the base, an off-cut of cast iron for the rotating part and a piece of bright mild steel for the tool holder. It was found that a small amount of grease between the rotating surfaces made the tool much nicer to use.

A locating edge was added to the design as shown above to aid the location of the attachment onto the cross-slide.


This was a 20mm brass ball handle made with the tool. The tool worked really nicely but careful use was required to make a sphere rather than an elliptically profiled shape (which is what happen on the first attempt).

Exact diameters were difficult to obtain but with a little practice decent results were possible and exact sizes were not often important with handles.

The ball turning tool was used to form part of a handle for a fire poker, which was being made as a present. The poker handle was formed from a piece of 1" diameter brass rod; because of the clearance required by the ball cutting tool to create a sphere the ball was made separately and pinned and brazed onto the end of the handle.

This image shows an improved tool insert orientation which would machine closer up to the ball mounting post.

A useful design change which would also result in more clearance between the tool holder and the chuck


The tool was also used to make a

ball handle for the saddle lock on the ML7.

For details on making ball handles go here.