Traditional ornamental lathes relied on sophisticated mechanical machinery to control the location of cuts.
Today, we can use computers with stepper motors and lead screws to achieve a greater degree of accuracy.
The hardware is much simpler, more reliable, and much lower cost.
When properly applied, the use of a computer to move the position of the cutters or the work does not reduce
the artist's contribution to the final piece of art.
Rather than using a mechanical "analog computer", we use a digital approach.
Recently, I've made my design software available to others for free.
This software enables the user to visualize a 3D view of the surface cut by an ornamental lathe.
Whether you have an inexpensive MDF Rose Engine or a restored Holtzapffel ornamental lathe,
you will find this software helpful to you.
Rather than the traditional trial-and-error approach (which can take hours in the shop),
you can quickly simulate the appearance of a piece on the computer.
Once you have a pattern you like, print out the details of the location of each cut and then go to the
shop and make some sawdust.
The program can also be used for guilloche work, both straight line and rose engine.
For more information, see the COrnLathe Software page.
I've been using a computerized ornamental lathe since 2009.
However, my current design is not easy for someone to replicate unless they have some electrical, mechanical, and computer skills.
For those who want to learn more about my equipment, click through the links below.