I am restoring an antique wood-bed lathe that is 12' long. It is too big for my shop so I am thinking of putting it in my storage building next to the shop. This building has lots of space but no electricity. Running power into it is not an option, as the building is part of another address.
The lathe was originally designed to be powered off of an overhead line shaft. In 1890 when it was built, power was via a waterwheel, I guess. Maybe steam. I hope to use either a gas engine direct or a gas generator/electric motor. Are there other options? Which way is most efficient?
The lathe will be used for turning posts and making small tabletops on the outboard. It would be used once every month or so. A regular lathe in-shop takes care of most of my turning work.
(Solid Wood Machining Forum)
From contributor G:
I would go for a small generator, my preference propane, and an electric drive motor. If you go for a gas direct drive, you need to deal with exhaust gas plumbing, and the generator will give you the option of a work light. I presume you can install the generator someplace where its exhaust would be no trouble. Propane in a 20 lb tank is probably more convenient and perhaps safer. Anyway I have had little luck with small gas engines that are used infrequently... always seem to be gummed up. Other than those two options, I suppose you could pedal, but that seems a bit much.
So far I believe a small diesel generator, about 10,000 watt, and an electric motor on the lathe with potential for other machines and lighting is my best bet. Diesels are longer lasting, less expensive to fuel and less of a fire hazard than gas engines according to my research. I'm still trying to find some actual fuel consumption figures. I hate this fossil fuel dependency we all suffer from, but what can you do?
Thanks for all the input. Contributor G, my knees are shot, but I was thinking of putting a big mother windmill on the roof! That's the super-expensive option, better to move to a bigger shop.