Fun Metal Lathe Projects

lathe image by Tomasz Plawski from

A vital tool in metalworking, a lathe produces symmetrical cylindrical objects from aluminium, brass, copper, sterling, zinc and any other metal. It works by spinning a piece of metal while the metalworker cuts, sands, drills, knurls or forms the piece into a desired shape.

Craftsmen and hobbyists use the metal lathe for a variety of projects, from making simple, functional items to creating metal masterpieces to be entered in science fair, scouting and metalworking competitions.

Models and Parts

Shape the cylindrical body of a model train, tractor or aeroplane using a metal lathe. It can also be used to make smokestacks for the train as well as wheels for any of the items. Some hobbyists use the metal lathe to make barrels for model cannons and wheels for robots. The metal lathe can also be used to make cylinder-shaped steam internal combustion engines to power those models as well as larger riding objects such as go-karts.

Kitchen and Home

Metal plates, saucers, bowls and canister sets can be made with the lathe, along with cups, mugs and even medieval-style goblets that look like they came from Old World castles. It can be used to craft chopsticks, skewers for kebabs, barbecue and fondue and other cylindrical utensils. Use a metal lathe to make a fireplace poker for the hearth, vases for the mantel or customised magnets for the refrigerator door. The metal lathe can be used to make almost any household accessory that can have a cylinder shape, such as umbrella holders, waste cans and toothbrush holders.

Parts and Accessories

Astronomy buffs might find the metal lathe useful in making a telescope mount, while a baseball fan could actually sculpt his own aluminium bat. The lacrosse lover might make his own stick, fishermen could construct their own sturdy metal pole and the hiker might customise a walking cane. Whether the hobby is watch making, target shooting or music, the metal lathe can be used to make cylindrical parts for watches, re-loaders and guitars. It is also good for making other tools, including mallets and screwdrivers.


Make a brass lamp or an aluminium flashlight with the help of a metal lathe. Science fiction fans could use the metal lathe to make their own light sabre, while those who prefer old-fashioned lighting could use the tool for crafting beautiful brass candlesticks or candle holders. It could also be useful in making a frame for a lantern or porch lights.


Design one-of-a-kind earrings, pendants, lockets, brooches, lapel pins, rings and cuff links with the help of a metal lathe. Hair barrettes, key rings and pens are useful, everyday accessories that can be made with a metal lathe. They make nice gifts and allow the craftsman to create them especially for the people in mind.