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Making Ball Handles.

This page explains one method for

making ball handles like the one
shown on the right. This example
handle was a saddle lock for the
ML7 lathe.

To create a handle with the right

proportions the diagram on the
left can be used.

If the dimension of the larger ball

is know (D), then the other
dimensions can be calculated as a
proportion of this.

Click to read

Alternatively, if the length of the handle is known then the other dimensions can be calculated
because the length is approximately three times the diameter of the large ball.

The other useful dimension is the one shown in green. This makes it easy to the get correct 20
angle for the lever.

In this example the lever length was 60mm and

so the large ball at the base of the lever would
be 20mm and the small ball 2/3rds of this.
As the lever was short it was made in 2 pieces
with the small ball at the tip of the lever being
a separate part screwed in place.

The first step was to chuck a blank piece of bar

long enough to machine the large ball and the
arm of the handle, plus a thread to attached
the small ball.

A profiling and parting-off tool was used to recess a section of the bar. The reduced section
was long enough to fit the head of the spherical turning tool. The larger diameter piece of bar
on the end was left long enough to create the large ball.

The other end of the bar was centre drilled.

The spherical turning

tool was used to turn
a 20mm sphere out of
the end piece of the

Using the ball turning tool The finished ball

A collet like the one shown on the

left was used for the next few

Again the dimension are given in

terms of 'D' and are approximate.
This design also assumes that
with the small ball fitted to the
handle, the total handle length
still falls inside the chuck radius.

The length of the collet was

designed to be a reference
surface for the facing cut which
would create the base of the

Click to Read

The collet was used to chuck the sphere just

turned and the free end was supported with a
centre in the tailstock.

In this setting the arm

of the handle was
finished parallel to its
largest dimension.
Also the reduced
section at the end was
turned ready for a
thread to attached the
small ball.

If you have a taper turning fixture for your lathe then this can be used to taper the handle. If
not then the top slide can be used, set over by about 2.

Finally in this setting the tail stock support was removed and a 32tpi thread was added to the
reduced section.

The small ball was turned by taking a piece of

bar large enough and drilling and tapping it to
match the thread on the handle.

Then this blank was screwed on to a piece of

threaded bar the ball turned to its final

To finished the ball it was placed in another

simple collet and a flat turned to make it a
snug fit on the handle.

The handle assembled

The handle was returned to the first collet and

held by the larger end. In this setting a flat was
turned and a hole drilled and tapped to take
the clamping rod.
It was found that because the large ball was
not exactly spherical the grip from the collet
was not that strong, but with the chuck
tightened firmed and using only light cuts, it
was satisfactory.

The collet was designed so that in the Myford

chuck it would provide both a datum surface
for this facing cut and also provide the correct
for the handle with the small ball
against the face of the chuck.

To finished the handle it was fitted with a rod

threaded to suit the Myford lock cam (5/16th
BSF, 22tpi).