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"Caron's love for sensual shapes helps him mold his beautiful metal sculptures."
--Kellie Huang, The Arizona Republic

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How to Use a Metal Lathe

The Voice: Hey, Kevin. What are you doing?

Kevin Caron: I?m playing with the new tool in my studio, a metal lathe.

I have a little chunk of metal here and I'm trying to make a bowl. I was just about to change tools so I can reach a little farther in there. Come here. Take a look.

As you can see, here's the cutter that was in there, with this little carbide tip on the end of it. Here is the one I'm going to replace it with. This is actually a newer cutter. The other is one of the original ones that came with the machine.

You can see how much longer reach the new one's got. And this little cutter head has got a little carbide tip on it, too, so it will last a long time; make a good cut. It will enable me to reach farther down inside this little cup I'm trying to make.

I'm just playing around - just learning. This is the little tool post holder; you put your tool inside.

One of the things the chuck taught me was that you want the cutting tip to wind up right at the center of your metal, so you're cutting right at the center line of your metal.

I'll just run it inside here and line it up as close as I can get it by eye. Let's tighten this part down. That looks pretty close.

Now I'll fire it up and make a couple of cuts back and forth through there, making sure that I take out the center so I don't end up with a little point left over.

Watch your eyes. (using lathe)

Nope. That's a little too flat. Come over here and check this out. If you look right into the cutter, you can see that the flat edge of the cutter is actually flat right up against the edge of the metal, and that's going to make a chattering noise. Did you hear that little squeal for a second? That's going to make a chatter.

I'll just turn it a little bit so that I'm cutting with my point rather than flat. OK, not that much. Let's try that again. (using lathe)

I can just sit here and whittle away at it; just keep making it deeper.

Oh, well. Back to playing. I mean working.

See you next time.

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