Welding lathe made from old bike

Welding lathe

Several years ago…sometime around 1993, I bought my first tig welder.

Around 1996, I got an order for 200 round parts.

The job paid pretty well but I didnt want to spend all my earnings on a turntable without knowing if I would use it often enough to pay for it.

So I made a DIY welding lathe from an old bicycle.
my welding lathe rig was powered by a variable speed drill motor and a 1/4″ piece of round chucked in the drill chuck.
In 12th gear, the part turned just about the right speed for me to bang out 200 parts in no time.

The parts were 2 inch dia and were stainless steel so needed to be purged on the inside.
so I made the tailstock with a piece of tubing so I could attach a purge line.

Turning a part that is 2 inches at 1 rpm provides a travel speed of around 6 inches per minute which is pretty close for a lot of tig jobs…but I could adjust speed using a hose clamp on the drill motor trigger.

Now that I have a better setup, I dont use the diy welding lathe made from a bike any at all.
I had to dig it out of storage and oil it up just so it would turn for this video.

It served its purpose well but the newer one has more features, is more accurate and adjustable.


  1. Nice torch setup! I have done many welds with a positioner, but I don’t have a torch holder. Another method I use for round stuff is just rolling the part on a large thick aluminum plate. It takes some practice to be able to get the whole weld without stopping while rolling the part, but it works well for short production runs. The aluminum does a pretty good job of not leaving ‘pecker tracks’ as long as you keep the plate clean.

  2. Tony Pedersen

    July 19, 2016 at 4:29 PM

    I’ve pretty much always learned SOMETHING from every video you’ve produced. You’ve been a great help. I was hoping to win that AHP tig welder, I have a Lincoln square wave 175 it.s nice but it doesn’t do what inverters do. So anyway, who won it?

  3. As a welding hobbyists and enthusiast I think the bike idea is great. I for sure can’t afford or justify a rotary table, but I very well may be looking for a bike 🙂 now.
    Thanks again for you great teachings!

  4. Hi Jodi your bicycle welding turn table lathe is Great, love it. “necessity is the mother of invention ” somebody said that. ? William

  5. That was a great setup, great to see the how you managed some production welding on a budget.

  6. Love the innovation Jody Necessity is the mother of invention. Thanks for sharing.

  7. This wonderful tig welding with all the robatics and automation, but that’s not what we watch your video’s for!!!!!!!!!!!! We are hobbyist welders just trying to learn how to weld good doing tig!!!!! Come on get back to basic tips on welding!!!!!

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