My HBM 250 lathe

A couple of years ago I decided to invest in a lathe. I had some projects (probably more excuses than projects) so that time came with no surprise. I spent a few months checking which lathes were available and comparing prices, features, shipping and if they had some level of quality control guaranteed. I don’t have space for a big lathe, so I ended up purchasing a small bench top lathe – an HBM, model 250×550 profi vario. I’m more interested in achieving a good level of precision rather than having capacity for big parts, so I think in terms of size this lathe will serve me well.  I will make a lathe stand for it one day, but for now I’ll use it in a normal workbench – it’s far from ideal, but it will have to work until I have some time to think about the design of that stand.  The first thing I did was to take the lathe apart. Why? Well, I have an itch and… sometimes I need to take things apart. And cleaning gets easier too. The end result of this process is quite scary because you’ll see things that cannot be unseen. THE REBUILD Yes. I managed to put it back together. Please calm down. Yes, it powers ON and the thingy on the front spins while the sticky bit also moves. It’s a good lathe. In case you don’t trust my word, you can have a look. 3D PRINTED ACCESSORIES I have made some 3D printed accessories for the lathe and you might be here for that. If that’s the case, serve yourself, but know that I have made these parts for my lathe and they are a bit tight on tolerances. Some scaling might be needed for your lathe. COMPOUND POWER FEED ADAPTER This fits into the compound wheel without any modifications. It drives the wheel via the 2 handles. A 1/2″ square driver can be used in a power drill to power feed. Adapter dimensions (not the lathe parts):– Compound wheel hole diameter: 40.2mm– Handles distance (center to center): 35mm– Handles holes diameter: 9.2mm– Wall thickness: 4mm (should clear the cross-slide in every direction)– Square driver: 1/2″ Download OTHER DOWNLOADS Cross-slide covers:10.2mm width10.8mm heightLong (180mm)Short (59mm) DRO cables bracketTopBottom Cover platesHeadstock chips cover plateChuck guard safety switch cover plate

My HBM 250 lathe Read More »


I used to have all my bolts in one large box. It was fine when I only had imperial bolts for my Mini, and I knew where all of them belonged, but then I started to work on some metric stuff, and a few years later, it started to get confusing. At one point, I began to find wood and drywall screws in there as well. It was a clear sign something had to change because… there were more boxes of nuts, washers, circlips, bearings and of course, the forbidden random. All had the same evolution. If you’re reading this, I’m sure you have a few too. Around that time, I was given a couple of used organizers with plastic drawers. They were dirty, so I washed them, 3D printed some dividers and started an organization system. I was able to sort all the metric hardware, which was pretty good… until I had some more that didn’t fit. I was also moving those organizers from place to place as I didn’t have a permanent spot for them. Well, enough of that. I was spending too much time looking for stuff I knew I had but couldn’t find, so I decided to make a cabinet where I could have an organizing system that actually worked. I had stored some 20mm MDF boards that looked perfect candidates for this cabinet. They were for a project that didn’t happen, so I could use the space they were taking. This forced me to decide the cabinet would be made out of 20mm MDF. Next, I laid down the stuff I wanted to store in the cabinet. All bolts, nuts and washers should be organized in individual containers, but I also wanted space for bigger items. I wanted to have some drawers. I was looking online for local second-hand desk drawers, but they were all a little bit expensive, so much so that a new nightstand was cheaper. And whiter too. I ended up buying one, which became the basis for the cabinet design. The nightstand is 50x50cm, has four large sliding drawers, plus a solid top on which I could build up more vertical storage space (the limit being the top of the room’s door frame). The small footprint was just what I was looking for – we all know how vital floor space is in a home workshop. I wasn’t sure how to organize the vertical storage, so I thought having limits and defining the final dimensions would help me figure that out. I bought the two side panels and cut the top and bottom from my old boards. With this, the frame around the nightstand was complete. But the whole thing was getting very heavy at this point, so adding some wheels felt like the right thing to do for two reasons: first, I could move it; second, the distance between the MDF and the floor is only beneficial in case the floor gets wet or humid (MDF does not like moisture). Plus, it’s just easier to keep clean. For the vertical storage, I had three organizer modules with six drawers each; that’s 18 drawers already at full capacity. I looked up online and found the exact same modules still available for sale, so I bought another one with shallow drawers. The idea was to stack them just as long as I could look into the first row of drawers. That worked great. What also worked well was an offer of a few stackable gummy bear containers of the size I needed to take the space left at the side of the organizers. But while that was going well, the whole cabinet felt flimsy. Not only the cabinet itself, which was too high with no reinforcement in the middle, but also the stackable towers felt unstable. I was hoping a 3mm backboard would make it more rigid for the cabinet, but I started to feel unsure about it. Since I still had some MDF left, I added some shelves to reinforce the structure and break the organizers stacking in half. Then, when I started taking the dimensions for the backboard, I realized I had lots of wasted space behind the organizers. And that’s when it hit me. 3D printed tool to create and align dowel pin holes for the shelves I COULD DUPLICATE THE STORAGE BY MAKING THIS A TWO-FRONT CABINET! Instead of having a backboard, I could get six more organizers and some gummy bear containers and duplicate the storage. So I did just that. Actually, I couldn’t get enough gummy bear containers, so I had to create a few smaller shelves in that place.  Since the backboard had been deleted, to help reinforce the frame and add some extra room above the organizers, an extra shelf was added. That extra compartment was divided into two: one for sandpaper and another one for tape rolls. This was my first wood project (does MDF count as wood?). The design-as-I-go approach was probably not the best, but in this case, it worked well and I think it was because I had all boundaries defined early in the process. All I had to do was to make the most out of that confined space.   After gluing the boards and adding the screws, I was surprised to see how solid the cabinet became. I mainly used 4mm, 80mm long drywall screws, pre-drilled to screw core size and tighten “just enough”. That way, I managed to avoid any splits in the MDF edges.  I think that 20mm MDF might have been too much; maybe 16mm would be just as good and lighter. This thing is very heavy! As for waste, I didn’t waste too much MDF, only one of the top doors because at first, I wanted to have the hinges on the top, but they couldn’t take the weight of the door, and it would fall off. I did look into proper hinge systems for that, but they take up too much space. I just changed to inset side-mounted hinges and cut



I’ve had this thing for 4 or 5 years now and it wasn’t until a few weeks ago that I opened the 2 boxes that make up this blast cabinet. Yes, it’s the same as the 40lb Harbor Freight sandblaster, just in navy blue. Maybe cobalt blue. Or azure blue, I don’t know, you decide. I’m not that good with colors. This is not my first blast cabinet, I had a smaller one that I offered to a friend – yes, I’m that good of a friend – when I purchased this and since then I’ve been missing from time to time. It was far from being correctly set up, but it was usable when needed. The major issue it had was the flat bottom – the media from the gun accumulated at the opposite corners of the pickup tube and then I would have to lift one of the sides to push all the media to the other side so the pickup tube would get some media. At one point I had it at an angle and it still wouldn’t work right. After a few minutes blasting it would get tiring. Another problem was that I didn’t run it under vacuum, so the thing looked like a blowfish. I couldn’t see anything inside through the glass and everything around it would get covered in dust. Maybe it didn’t work so well.  But now I have a better one, I just need to put it together. Oh, and buy an air compressor. This post will be part 1 of 2 where I show my take on how to, hopefully, make this cabinet better than the one I used to have. The following modifications I’m about to show were mostly observed online on other people’s cabinets. I didn’t invent them, I’m only making the upgrades that make sense to me and if possible, improve on them. Like I said, my take. REVERSING THE AIR FLOW The first thing to address was reversing the air flow suggested by the manufacturer. They say fresh air should go in from the back and sucked (typically by a vacuum cleaner) from the side. Nothing wrong with that, but there’s a better way.  In my other cabinet that didn’t have any exhaust or intake ports, I would have a huge cloud of dust in just a couple of seconds after pushing the trigger of the gun. I’m pretty sure that if we have a vacuum cleaner sucking from an unrestricted port on the side panel of the cabinet, we end up loosing lots of media into the vacuum cleaner. We can improve on this by reversing the air flow. The idea here is to have fresh air coming in from the side and connect the vacuum cleaner to the back of the cabinet. The new exhaust port will be behind the original baffle box and that will help ensuring the media is not sucked directly into the vacuum cleaner. Also, that port is up high, which means some of the media will fall due to its own weight and we’ll mostly be capturing air and very fine dust.  But in order to make this work we need to consider a few more things: The original baffle box welded to the rear panel is opened on both ends, top and bottom. We need to cover the top to ensure our vacuum cleaner is only pickup up from the bottom. I’ve done this with a 3D printed cap. We need an adapter for the vacuum cleaner. I designed and 3D printed one, then bolted it to the rear panel using rivnuts. Our new intake port is now open and we need a way to avoid having media shot directly into it. That can be done with a new baffle box. I’ve done this out of sheet metal. Reason: fine dust will slide off better from sheet metal than a 3D printed object. To try and regulate the vacuum inside the cabinet I’ve added a barbecue vent to the inlet. If needed, I’ll be able to regulate the vacuum cleaner we well. Previous Next SEALING THE CABINET I started to mount the top and hopper keeping the foam tape that came glued to each panel, but then I changed my mind and took it all apart to remove the tape. I used an heat gun to help removing the tape without leaving the glue on the panels. To seal both parts I used a paintable transparent sealant, first on the outside where all panels overlap and then on the inside where they join. The reason to do this is because if there’s enough pressure inside the cabinet, it will leak and the foam will not be enough to prevent that. I believe that having all the seams caulked (with sealant from both sides) is a better approach. LIGHTING & ELECTRICS My old cabinet didn’t have any light, well it did but the amount of dust flying was always so much that I never turned it on, so actually being able to see what I’m doing will be something new. This cabinet came equiped with a 12V 3W LED light. It’s kind of a poor light, so I ditched that and replaced it with 2 flood lights, one mounted at each side. They are so much brighter. Wiring was very easy. I’ve bought a few shallow adjustable lamp sockets and the wires just run through them into a box mounted at the back of the cabinet. These sockets are actually quite important parts because they don’t take too much space and allow us to point the lights to where we want them. They also help sealing the cabinet as we don’t have to get extra holes for the wiring. As for the button to turn them on, I managed to keep the original switch housing and switch. Just kept it simple. I see a lot of people connecting the lights to the same switch for the vacuum, but that doesn’t make