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Home > Lathe Projects > Free Metalworking Project Plans: Ball Turning Toolpost (Lathe, Mill)

Free Metalworking Project Plans: Ball Turning Toolpost (Lathe, Mill)


Material: Steel
Units: (in)

I’ve seen many ball turning designs as I read through the back issues of Home Shop Machinist and Projects in Metal, but I’ve never seen one as simple and effective as Steve Bedair’s Ball Turning Toolpost.

Steve runs a website dedicated to 9 x 20 lathes and it’s full of great information. If you’re interested in this project, be sure to check out the other projects Steve has listed on his site.

Note: Because this project requires both a lathe and mill to complete, I’m listing it under both categories.

Here’s an image of Steve’s Ball Turning Toolpost in action:


And here’s a YouTube video clip of the toolpost in action:

Excited yet?

Here’s the link to the plans so you can create your own! If you want a detailed walkthrough of the process, be sure to visit Steve’s site.

  Ball_Turning_Toolpost_-_Complete.pdf (225.4 KiB, 13,252 downloads)
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About Tyler

Tyler is a hobby machinist and 3D printing aficionado. He teaches computer programming and web development at Highline College near Seattle. Tyler founded Projects In Metal in 2008 because he was frustrated by the lack of free plans available for hobby machinists.


  1. IMGP5509.JPG


    Okay, finally had some more time to tinker on some of my own projects so here’s my version so far.  Still have to order a bronze thrust washer to go between the mounting plate and main body and then it will be ready to use.  Set it up to use a 3/8″ HSS ground tool bit which will clamp in the slot at the top of the tool holder.  Range will be 0 – 3″ diameter external and i should be able to machine up to 120 degree internal concaves as well. 


    LOL, won’t use it that often but when i do it will be useful :)

  2. Very nice Bromac.


  3. Looks like a “humdinger”! I must make myself one of these. Love the background music in your video too! A big thank you for the plans! Cool

  4. Turning balls is fun.  You’ll understand when you make your first one.  Then you try to find places for knobs, just to make more.

  5. Wow! That’s quite the design! Is it your own or are there plans somewhere? I like the way it looks. How well does it work?

  6. IMGP5552-2.JPG

    Tyler said
    Wow! That’s quite the design! Is it your own or are there plans somewhere? I like the way it looks. How well does it work?

    Tyler, here you go.  It works beautifully, rock solid, no chatter whatsoever.  I ended up shortening the handle as i simply did not need the extra leverage, cutting is easy, very smooth.  My lovely wife cringed when i made reference to building a “ball cutting attachment” too. LOL.

    Unfortunately no plans, i just put this together off the top of my head using the existing plans here as starting point for the design, but i think the photos are pretty much self explanatory.  Just a matter of matching the size to the lathe it will be used on.