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Methodologies for one-off gears in an antique home shop


Jan 15, 2002
West Coast, USA
A Geared Dividing Head for Lathe, this is part of the Master Lathe Converter . . .

Later versions of this were the "Versa Mill." Between the mill portion sitting on the saddle and the dividing head locked into the back of a lathe spindle, it's a very convenient and effective setup for cutting spur gears. Same options, as above, for the cutter - ranging from a single point tool ground to shape to the proper gear cutter.

Takes up a whole lot less space than even the smallest K&T.

Greg Menke

Feb 22, 2004
Baltimore, MD, USA
If you want to play with steppers and software and whatnot, seems like good fun and will keep you busy for a while.

Or, if you want to set up and start working on gears then a production feed mill, relevant tooling, dividing head/rotab like has been discussed then you can get busy that way too.

I recently did a 53 tooth gear for my father on my Nichols. Its not <that> big a deal to pull the table traverse lever, feed a bit, pull again and so on. Probably lots less annoying than cranking a screw feed. I cut all the teeth in an hour so so- this gear was AL, have done previous smaller ones in steel, more passes of course. I almost scrapped my father's gear by screwing up the indexing on one tooth... win some lose some but he got to tease me over it, so thats fine :)

I get way more than enough software control stuff at work- cozying up to the machines with nothing more than a machinerys handbook and a calculator is just my speed. Wouldn't mind learning about and making gears via CNC but if so then I want real CNC stuff even if its a couple generations old.


May 29, 2021
Here's a shot of the kludge hobber on a Stark lathe as documented elsewhere on this site.


Just a Sparky

Hot Rolled
May 2, 2020
I did NOT know those were "universal" mills.

Some of them have the adjustable table, some don't. I think it was an option. AFAIK they all have non-reversible power feed though. Normally via cone pulleys, but the one pictured appears to be a home-job gear drive.

The fool things need - and do not HAVE (until one makes it) - a shaft extension
to space the Z-axis operating handwheel further out... so it doesn't interfere with the (CLUMSY add-on) mount for the universal table swivel.