Welcome to St Agnes

Views of the Layout

Further Views

Map of the “St Agnes”

Operating the “St Agnes”

The Budd Cars

The Transistor Throttles I use

Building my Throttles

Calculating Scale Speed

Using a Model Lathe 1

Using a Model Lathe 2

Using a Model Lathe 3

Making Searchlight Signals

Ersatz Ground Signals

Making Dummy Signals

MRE “Hints and Tips”

Exhibitions and Layouts

Building a Layout in a short time frame

Simple Street Lighting

Simple Cut out Buildings

Canadian Trees

Updated July 2017

This Page was written for a friend many miles away, modelling quietly away building a loco from scratch as much as possible with a lathe and other tools which he has acquired for the purpose. I would also like to do the same one day but lack of patience or time I think would get the better of me. He has the lathe but not much experience... I am the other way around!

There also do not seem to be many pages around that detail how to use a lathe but of course I am not used to every machine possible available in the world. So this will be a generic treatise on using a lathe perhaps with a few model parts included for practice. While your lathe may not quite LOOK like this, the principal will be the same.


The four main parts include

HEADSTOCK - Where the work piece or "stock" is held and rotated from. Round rod or hexagonal  bar can be held in a three jaw clamping device, known as a "chuck". Square stock must be held in a four jaw chuck. A four jaw chuck can also be used to hold Round Stock which must be held "off centre" such as eccentric rods etc... but we are getting ahead of ourselves. Any item being turned must be held tightly.

BED - The Bed of the lathe is the horizontal frame if you will which supports the tool post and carriage. The length of material you can handle is basically determined by the length of this bed. 

TOOL POST and Carriage - The support base for the cutting tools, providing a moveable cutting profile when the stock is rotated

TAILSTOCK - Provides a means of support for longer pieces of stock. A tailstock can also be used to hold a drill chuck so that the stock can be turned from the end. 

My drawings have been deliberately kept simple here to represent the later form of a Unimat lathe that my friend owned and they need to be as generic as possible for the different type of machines available to us in the model world


The simplest operation is drilling a hole in the end of a piece of stock. If you were using a power drill to drill a hole in a piece of material, the drill would be rotating as it cuts through to the other side of the material. In a Lathe the opposite occurs in that the drill remains stationary while the work piece being drilled is rotated about the drill. The net result is the same because the drill is moving relative to the stock but the preparation required is a little more involved for a lathe.

The Cutting Tool is placed in the Tool Post like so...

The Black circles represent tightening screws which must be very firmly tightened. Now turn the tool post by loosening the main clamping screw so that then cutting edge will have clearance when it is "delivered" to the rotating work piece

Notice the clearance between the cutting edge point and the surfaces of the stock material. This is exaggerated but indicates the idea of clearance needed. Make sure that the cutting edge point is aligned with an imaginary line between the centre.

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