In the hands of an experienced and creative worker, the metal engine lathe can be used to pay for itself very quickly. The materials that can be manipulated into consumer products on an engine lathe range from hard steel to copper and cast iron to aluminium. The owner of a lathe can use it for boring holes, knurling decorative patterns and even making springs. Experience and dedication can turn the metal lathe from a hobbyist's tool into a moneymaking device.
Utilising tools such as a jeweller's saw, tracing paper, files and the appropriate type of metal, you can learn to use your lathe to help create scribed designs on a metal bracelet. The design should be very carefully scribed in order to ensure no lines are made that don't contribute to the decorative effects. Use acid-resistant paint if you want to make an etching on the bracelet.
Many woodworkers use a wood lathe to create a bowl from a block of wood. Hammered bowls can be made from a metal engine lathe. Necessary tools include mallets and hammers, files, centre punch and a scriber. A round-faced mallet is typically used for giving the bowl its shape. Buffing will need to follow smoothing to give your hammered bowl a brighter finish.
You can potentially make a lucrative living from specialising in making blades to sell at knife shows. Tools needed for making blades with a lathe include a grinding wheel, centre punch, hammer and twist drill to fit rivet. The primary uses of the lathe in making a knife are grinding and buffing, and the end product can range from a utilitarian kitchen knife to an ornamental scimitar.
Metal and woodworkers may prefer tools made by a fellow enthusiast, which opens the door to making some extra cash by creating the very tools that you yourself will use. A bending fork is an adjustable wrench used in working with wrought iron that can be made with a lathe. Friction calipers are another tool found in many workshops that you can sell. The cold chisel is an indispensable tool used in everything from metal working to masonry construction.
Candelabra are elegant items that an experienced metalworker can churn out using a lathe and a selection of tools for riveting, buffing and bending. Candelabra can be made from material as pliable as copper or as heavy-duty as wrought iron.