View Full Version : Killing the lathe

14th Nov 2005, 11:27 AM
Dear all,

After using my lathe on the weekend I think it would be a very good idea to have a kill switch (activated by my knee) on it, not just in case I get into trouble but because I'm stopping it so much and inspecting the work. The current on/off switch is on the headstock part of the lathe. Has anyone built a kill switch and could you tell us how you did it. It would be a lot easier if the current on/off switch was down below but given that it's not how would you get around this?

14th Nov 2005, 12:59 PM

I have thought about it ,but have yet to do it. What I was going to do is fit a standard stop switch ie the button locks down when you hit it and you twist half a turn to release it. Its simple to to fit, and down at knee height as you mentioned is the best spot for it,as it leaves your hands free. It does mean you have to reach down and reset it each time. There ways around this but a l ittle more complicated electrically.
Where to get it? I have one of an old piece of equipment, failing that they are readily available at any electrical wholesaler.


Kev Y.
14th Nov 2005, 01:02 PM
I have often thought about installing a FOOT ACTIVATED kill switch, much like on some table saws.

But being generally lazy and a slight procrastinator, I haven't got a round to doing it .... yet:o

14th Nov 2005, 01:05 PM
I've got a big red bar the length of the lathe down at knee height.
One touch and she is off.:D

14th Nov 2005, 02:12 PM
This fellow had a good idea. I made one myself and it works quite well. http://www.aroundthewoods.com/switch.shtml

14th Nov 2005, 04:29 PM
Thanks, guys.

David G, I'm assuming that your on/off button is already at knee height and you can get away with a bar over the switch. I had thought of a foot switch but the problem is it will quickly get buried in shavings and if you're watching the lathe then it might be difficult to locate the switch because it's small. I would like to put in a long bar but can't work out how it will activate the current on/off switch. Any suggestions?:confused:

14th Nov 2005, 06:54 PM
No. The lathe has its on and off buttons above the bar.
It came with the bar. See (http://www.vicmarc.com/Page.php?PageId=Lathes&LatheId=7)

Use a toggle type switch or an electronic switch, in series with the current switch.

14th Nov 2005, 07:26 PM
You could always get a Triton switch unit, as supplied with the 2000 Workcentre and also a separate part on the planer attachment - its a short extension-type cord with a switchbox & paddle style cover attached. You can screw it to the stand whereever you like & plug the power cords into its extensions as appropriate. If you want a 'knee bar', just make one up from a length of timber & a hinge, maybe a rubber band to keep it tight.

14th Nov 2005, 07:54 PM
I have built one but it's no help in this situation . the one I built was a bar knee height the length of the lathe so you could stop it anyware , but that was on a ships lathe with unlimited material switches relays steel and time

For your problem I think bsrlee has the best and easiest answer



15th Nov 2005, 01:48 PM
I built one a while ago. I picked up a secondhand stop/go switch wich had an overload in it and 2 push buttons. I fixed the switch low and screwed piece of 3ply with a couple of hinges in front of it. Lined up where the stop button was and added a knob to the flap to push against the stop button.

It did have its limitations, you had to lift the flap to turn it on and if you droped the flap down too hard the knob hit the stop button and tuned it off. Apart from that a good heath robinson fix.

16th Nov 2005, 12:35 PM
I would go with the Triton switch.
I have a Triton saw bench and find it quite easy to tap the switch with my knee to turn off the machine.
Obviously being plastic if you smack it too hard you're in trouble but so far so good.


Wood Butcher
16th Nov 2005, 12:59 PM
Dad and I remade the stand fo his woodfast lathe about two years ago. The major drawback with the old tand was that th motor was behind the lathe with the switch with it.

When we remade the stand the motor went underneath and we fitted a magnetic contactor switch to the lathe with a second stop button at the far end at knee height. The advantage of using a contactor switch is that you can have multiple start or stop buttons and if the power goes off the contactor turns off so that the lathe will not automatically turn on when the power comes back on.

The setup was not cheap. I think that it was around $110 for the main contactor and enclosure and about $20 for the extra stop button, but definately worth the effort!!!

17th Nov 2005, 12:24 PM
I recon for a lathe a toe bar would be the best option.
You slip your toe under the bar. means you don't have to take your foot off the ground.
good for when you are parting off, job in one hand chisel in the other, need stability. set your self up with your toe just near the bar.... part part... job comes free swivel toe under bar lathe stops.
its off the ground so doesn't get buried....

they used to put these in teller booths in banks.

All these options would be easier to do if you have a DOL starter (industrial motor starter) then you just extend the stop contacts out. similar to wood butcher.

I just baught one ( starter) from garry pye ( jet spare part) for about $70. cheaper by far than anywhere else.

Carbatec were selling a thing called easyoff at one time in two versions one for normal switching and one to use with a DOL starter.
I don't think they have them anymore.
They were a big stop button about the size of an A4 sheet.


La truciolara
18th Nov 2005, 06:25 PM
I've got a big red bar the length of the lathe down at knee height.
One touch and she is off.:D
By any chance you have a Vicmarc 300 ? :cool: