Drill Powered Lathe, Building Instructions

(31 customer reviews)


Build your own Lathe for around $35!

Includes Imperial (U.S.) Version AND Metric Version!

Read the full description below.

Watch the video.

When you order:

  • You’ll be immediately provided with an instant download link, and
  • A backup copy will be sent to you by email.
  • Download includes Metric Version!

Write a review for this project!


These instructions are a complete step by step guide that will show you how to build a drill powered lathe, and it should only cost you about $35 in materials.

This project is designed to be an EASY build. You can probably get most of it done in one session. The most time consuming part will be waiting for epoxy and polyurethane to dry!

About the plans:

  • Formatted for normal sized (8.5″ x 11″) printer paper, so you can print them at home.
  • Includes Imperial (U.S.) Version AND Metric Version
  • They include:
    • A complete shopping list for the materials you need.
    • A complete list of parts you need to cut with all the dimensions necessary (with images).
    • Step by step instructions that accompany and compliment the build video.

About the Lathe:

  • Dimensions: 36″ long x 10.5″ deep  x 6″ tall.
  • Maximum Length that can be turned: about 30″ (could be modified to do more).
  • Uses a corded drill to turn the stock.
    • Do NOT use a cordless drill, as it may not be able to handle the load!


Tools required (or at least strongly suggested) to build this project:

  • Table Saw
  • Miter Saw (Recommended, but not necessary if you have a table saw sled or another way to make good cross cuts)
  • 23 Gauge Pin Nailer (Recommended, but not strictly necessary)
  • Drill
  • Drill Press (Recommended, but you could get by with a regular drill)
    • 7/8″ Spade or Forstner Bit
    • 1/4″
    • 5/8″ Bit
    • 5/16″ Bit
    • 5/16-18 Thread Tapping Bit
  • Sander/Sandpaper/File
  • Coping Saw (you can get by without this, but it sure made my life easier)


Because this is a digital product, no refunds are allowed.

31 reviews for Drill Powered Lathe, Building Instructions

  1. Mike Hardin (verified owner)

    Wood lathe great plans, simple to read and understand, a lot of dimensions of wood to cut but makes building so much easier. BEST tip is to make sure to label each part as you cut it ( makes life so much easier later) and make a checklist to mark off what you have cut . I will be getting more plans as they become available. Tommy was always there for me if I had a problem. Unlike most Internet companies this was a great experience.
    Mike Hardin

  2. yitzchok Weinstock (verified owner)

    you need to fix in the materials list 5/16-18 x 3″ (length) Carriage Bolts

    Thanks for catching that ~ I’ve updated the plans! – Tommy

  3. maurizio (=first name) franz

    Hi, I am a”bloody” european, and I am not used to work with american units.
    Do the plans exist in “cm”.
    By the way, you are doing a great job!!

    • Tommy Rich (verified owner)


      Thank you! And yes, the plans for the lathe do include a metric version in the download package. Let me know if you need anything else!



    looks great I will be ordering plans shortly
    Rick H.

    • Tommy Rich (verified owner)

      Thanks Rick!

  5. Mohammad Ameer (verified owner)

    We ordered that item but no response was received yet

    • Tommy Rich (verified owner)


      First off, thanks for ordering the drill powered lathe plans. I’ve sent you several emails – are you not receiving them? I just resent the order details to the email address you provided, along with an additional email including your download links. The message should not go to spam, but just in case, check your spam folder. Please let me know once you’ve received your downloads, and/or if you need anything else! Thanks again!

  6. Robert Cheaney (verified owner)

    Tommy, The plans are very good. I just have not had the time to get into them. Hope to start the New Year off with a build. Will Post again after doing so. Thanks

    • Tommy Rich (verified owner)

      Thanks, Robert! I look forward to seeing how it goes after the New Year!

  7. Steve Suehiro (verified owner)

    For a beginner like me, your plans were clear and easy to follow. Watching your YouTube video several times made the plans come to life. However, I modified your plans by incorporating Powertec T-Tracks and Powertec T-Track bolts and knobs. The rest of the build followed your plans. I bought an inexpensive wood turning lathe chisels and made a very nice oak mallet. The lathe worked great, but I spent more time sharpening than turning. Thanks for the excellent plans, it was a fun build with a useful end product.

    • Tommy Rich (verified owner)

      Thanks, Steve! I’d love to see your modified version and add it to the gallery. Got any pics you can share?

  8. Cees Boots (verified owner)

    Hi Tommy, I am a European from the Netherlands and have bought your plan for the woodcutting machine. Looks very good and clear, I have yet to build it, but I have every confidence in it. When he’s done, I’ll let me hear something from me in a review.
    With kind regards Cees

  9. robert miller (verified owner)

    Awesome plans. simple and straight forward. Also, they are actually paying attention to their customers, unlike many online stores and resources.

  10. Claude Isabel (verified owner)

    J’ai beaucoup aimé ce plan. J’ai eu à contacter Tommy pour une question et il m’a répondu en moins de 30 minutes. Ce plan est clair et facile à suivre. J’avais fait le plan tel quel, mais j’avais de la difficulté à faire tenir le morceau de bois. J’ai donc refait une nouvelle pièce qui soutient la perceuse pour joindre directement la perceuse et la pièce de bois. Pour plus de détails… http://claudeisabel.com/mon-nouveau-tour-a-bois/

    I really liked this plan. I had to contact Tommy for a question and he responded within 30 minutes. This plan is clear and easy to follow. I had made the plan as it was, but I was having trouble holding the piece of wood. So I redid a new piece that supports the drill to directly attach the drill and the piece of wood. For more details … http://claudeisabel.com/mon-nouveau-tour-a-bois/

    Thanks Tommy!

    • Tommy Rich (verified owner)

      Thank you for sharing your review and your experience with the project!

  11. Nathaniel (verified owner)

    TL;DR- they’re good plans, buy them.

    I’m a high schooler with relatively little woodworking experience. I saw the Youtube video for this lathe and decided to try it out. I have a really old drill laying around that I thought would be perfect for it. The plans were well laid out and in depth. The extra notes and guidelines on the side really helped as well. I have yet to fully test the lathe because I am waiting on the pen mandrel I plan to use it with, but my hopes are high. It turned out exactly like the one pictured. I was relieved to discover that the tolerances necessary to create this project certainly aren’t extreme. As a beginner that is a must for me. The only difference I had with my lathe was that I opted to use a 3/8-16 threaded rod in place of the bolt that goes through the headstock. Furthermore, I had some 3/8 inch bearing lying around that worked perfectly. This combination allowed me to bypass epoxying the bolt through the headstock, which hopefully will reduce turnout. Overall, I’m really happy with the plans and would certainly recommend purchasing them if you are interested. Also, the price is stellar!

    • Tommy Rich (verified owner)

      Nathaniel, thanks for that awesome review! I look forward to seeing how it goes once you get the items your waiting on!

  12. Denis (verified owner)

    Having trouble securing the wood both ends

    • Tommy Rich (verified owner)

      Denis, thanks for the feedback! Also, I’ve sent you a couple of email messages to try to help you resolve the issue. I haven’t heard of this issue before, but I’m sure we can figure out what’s going wrong, and getting working for you. Again, just reply to one of those messages, and we’ll start working on getting it fixed!

  13. James Cooper (verified owner)

    I found this lathe and the one minute workbench while idly browsing for no particular reason than to pass time. I bought the plans to the lathe a process I found easy to achieve and found to plans to be well thought out and easy to understand.
    I am in the process of building the Lathe now having obtained the baltic birch plywood from Amazon.
    There are a number of other Project plans I am interested in and would have no hesitation in endorsing such a great Lathe as this.

    • Tommy Rich (verified owner)

      James, thanks for the wonderful review! Let me know how it turns out!

  14. James Cooper (verified owner)

    I am in the process of building the lathe now, It was very easy to follow the instructions and the plans were very clear. All the parts are cut and ready to be put together which has only been delayed by the sanding and coating and gluing.

    • Tommy Rich (verified owner)

      James, thank you for that review! Good luck finishing up the project – be sure to let us know how it goes!

  15. Robb Sarmento (verified owner)

    Total love your videos and the way you deliver your information and projects with that said I bought the plans gir the drill turning lathe because by watching your video your building process seem to be solid structurally. Though I haven’t had the time to actual build it yet the plans I recieved were quickly recieved and downloaded but once I printed them out and reviewed them. Super professional plans well laid out and easy to understand, I will definately write another review when I build it. Love your channel keep up the good work.

  16. Sean Feeney (verified owner)

    Fantastic lathe. I just finished building two of these and I am pleasantly surprised at the quality of them. They are very sturdy.

    The instructions were easy to follow. I would consider myself on par with the average wood worker, and I see no reason why even a green woodworker would have difficulty doing it.

    Also, I would like to point out to everyone that Tommy responds to emails fairly quickly. I had trouble finding a 60×60 piece of plywood and he took the time to research distributors in my area.

    Tommy, if you see this, let me know where I could post pictures. Thanks again for your help!

  17. Tony

    Hi Tommy, thanks for this. I am currently in lock down in Uganda and came across your you tube video which has inspired me to attempt to build it. Before I order the plans do you think it would work to build with African harwood as plywood is of such poor quality here. Thanks.

    • Tommy Rich (verified owner)

      Tony, you might be able to pull off a lathe build with hardwood, but you’ll have “movement” issues that aren’t present with plywood. Wood expands and contracts, buy plywood is an engineered material that is designed to have less expansion and contraction. So, if you’re going to build it out of hardwood, you’ll need to consider those issues, and I wouldn’t recommend these plans as a guide, since they are based on plywood’s dimensions. I hope this helps to at least give you some direction. Best of luck!

  18. Lance (verified owner)

    I haven’t had a chance to build it yet but I am looking forward to getting it built. The plans look great and easy to follow. I will let you know when I get it built.

    • Tommy Rich (verified owner)

      Lance, thanks for writing this review! Let me know how it goes when you get around to the project!

  19. Camillo (verified owner)

    Ottimo , abbastanza chiaro e comprensibile , il progetto può essere attuato con facilità.Grazie

    From Google Translate:

    Excellent, quite clear and understandable, the project can be implemented easily. Thanks

    • Tommy Rich (verified owner)

      Thank you for the awesome review!

  20. pat bowyer (verified owner)

    i have yet to make this ,it looks very good to make. it looks like a Fantastic lathe the price plan are good price to keep it up

    • Tommy Rich (verified owner)

      Pat, thanks for the review – good luck when you do get around to the project!

  21. ken earle (verified owner)

    I sure wish I had gotten plans with imperial measurements!!! I now know a lot about converting metric to imperial, spent hours with conversion tables! Covid keeps me out of my lumber store. But the plans seem to be very exacting and complete.

    Ken Earle

    • Tommy Rich (verified owner)

      Ken, thanks for taking the time to write a review – I’m glad you enjoyed the project and about learning metric/imperial conversions, however I feel bad you went through all that work…both versions (metric and imperial) were included with your download 😂 But hey, at least you learned something – good for keeping the brain in shape!

  22. Geoff (verified owner)

    This was the first set of plans I’ve purchased after seeing a project on YouTube. Overall I was very pleased. I made a few minor modifications and altered the head stock. But it works great. I’ve never done anything on a lathe before. I used some carving chisels I have and played around with some pine 2×4’s and had a blast. Making some new chisel handles now. Great set of plans and a great project.

    • Tommy Rich (verified owner)

      Geoff, thanks for the review! I’m glad you enjoyed the project and are having fun!

  23. stephen coyne (verified owner)

    recently purchased plans, found them to be easy to follow and complete.
    I would add that its very important on the build to make sure that you drill holes for spindles to be exact.so they line up perfectly.

  24. Albert Kasenter (verified owner)

    I have an unheated workshop on the farm, I bought this to be my first project when
    the weather gets warm enough to work there.
    I think the plan is great and I don’t expect to have any problems following the instructions.

  25. Alan Holleyman (verified owner)

    Everything is pretty good with this except the T-nut. Broke within 20 seconds. Lucky That I actually have a metal lathe and was able to fabricate a chuck for it which resolved the problem.

    • Tommy Rich (verified owner)

      20 seconds – poor little bugger never stood a chance! 😂 Thanks for the feedback, maybe it’s a matter of metallurgy used in the t-nut. Mine is still going after all these years, but I’ve heard others say that theirs broke as well. In the customer gallery, there are several folks who’ve made improved versions. I’d love to add your custom built solution to the gallery as well. If you’re interested, email me some pics. Either way, thanks again for the feedback, and taking the time to write your review!

  26. Joaquin Iñurrategui (verified owner)

    The plans are amazing and very easy to follow along with the video. My drill is kind of difficult to grab like the one he used so I’m struggling with some vibration on that end but even with that I was able to start turning wood.

  27. Camden (verified owner)

    Great instruction! Very easy to follow.

  28. Michael Oldham (verified owner)

    Fantastic plans! Although I haven’t built the lathe yet, I have used A LOT of plans before and Tommy’s are among the best I’ve seen so far. The instructions are clear and succinct, and I really appreciate the conversational tone because I think it makes the plans more accessible for beginners. There isn’t really any unnecessary jargon thrown at you. These are far and away the most complete plans for how little you pay for them. For those of us who are thinking about making plans of our own to sell, these are also an example of how it should be done. Once I actually build the lathe, I’ll come back and update this review, but I don’t expect to be taking any stars away. Very well done, Tommy!

  29. alan langman (verified owner)

    Got to say these are the easiest set of plans I’ve seen to follow. I don’t have the need for a store bought lathe but this one will cover my needs. Being a retired cabinet maker (50years} i find it easy to have some one like you do all the nutting out and for $5 I can save hours and hours and get straight into the project I wish this type of service was there when I started out. Now that I know how good the PDF plans are I will be looking for more from you . Well done Tommy and thanks.

  30. Mike (verified owner)

    The plans are well made and with the little notes it puts them over the top. Tommy does a good job with visuals as well. 10 out of 10.

  31. Nick Di Benedetto (verified owner)

    Haven’t started to build it yet, but thoroughly read the whole document and the level of detail makes it look super clear and straight forward. Thanks for putting so much effort into detail.

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