Hollowing with a camera system

Brent Dalrymple

PRO Member
A friend and fellow turner tipped me off that he had abandoned his laser hollowing system for one that uses a camera and a monitor. I did a bit of polking around on the web and found a nice video by Michael Gibson ("Hollowing with a Monitor") on Youtube. So, I took the plunge and bought an automobile backup camera with monitor ($60) and a 12V power supply ($20). I replaced the laser from my Monster Articulated Hollowing arm with the little backup camera and mounted the monitor directly on my Carter stabilizer. The idea is to trace the shape of the cutter directly on the screen with Dry Erase marking pens so that when the cutter disappears into the bowl interior the exact location of the cutter is still shown by the tracing. In the pictures I've included, the red arc indicates the desired wall thickness so when the arc gets to the edge of the bowl, you're there. I used this in hollowing my current bowl and it works very well--much better and more precise than the laser.
 

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mfisher

Super Moderator
Staff member
Thanks for sharing. I know a turner in our club who uses a hollowing tool w/ laser. Next time I see him I will share what you have set up.
 

Frank Smith

Member
I've trying to figure out a good way to do this and I'm very intrigued by this solution. Can you give me some details on the camera and monitor you bought?

Also, I'm not very happy with the hollowing system I bought. What are you using?
 

Brent Dalrymple

PRO Member
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Hi Frank:

The bottom image show the automobile backup system I am using. It includes both camera and monitor. The monitor is only 7" but where I have it mounted it is quite adequate and it has the virtue of being able to eliminate the backup lines that cannot be eliminated on some backup systems. You will also need a 120V ac to 12V DC converter (transformer) and the one I bought is shown in the middle photo. It has more capacity than needed, but better safe than sorry. The hookup is fairly straightforward. If you are going to mount the screen at a greater distance, say like on a wall behind your lathe, then a little security camera like shown in the top photo would work well and you could get a monitor of whatever size you need. All of these camera focus from about 4-6" to infinity, which is adequate for the purpose.

I have an articulated hollowing system made by Monster Tools but they are out of business. There are, however, several other articulated hollowing systems on the market and probably any of them would work well. I didn't like the first (non-articulated) system I bought either so switched to the Monster. If you need more photos or info, let me know.
 
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Frank Smith

Member
Thanks for the information Brent! I bought the Carter Roller system and maybe it's just me, but I struggle with it. I think an articulated system might work better for me. Both are pretty big investments when you don't know if you'll like them or not but whoever said wood turning was gonna be cheap!
 

Brent Dalrymple

PRO Member
Thanks for the information Brent! I bought the Carter Roller system and maybe it's just me, but I struggle with it. I think an articulated system might work better for me. Both are pretty big investments when you don't know if you'll like them or not but whoever said wood turning was gonna be cheap!
I had one similar to the Carter (but a different brand) and found it heavy and difficult to maneuver. The articulated systems are virtually friction free and I find them easy to use (not that hollowing is ever "easy").
 

Brent Dalrymple

PRO Member
Making your own steadyrest is both easy and cheap. I have $7 in skate wheels and another $7 in knobs. Everything else came from the scrap bin.
I made one similar to yours years ago and it works well much of the time. It was inexpensive to make but it doesn't have the versatility of the Carter version, which is pretty expensive.
 

Brent Dalrymple

PRO Member
I've never seen the Carter in person. What can it do that the simple ones don't do?
The arms that hold the wheels can be arranged at almost any angle and at any position around the support structure. Also the front 2/3 can be quickly removed so that you can have the support behind the bowl (for turning the outside, if necessary) and no obstruction from the support. That may be a little hard to visualize but Carter Tools has a video on their web site that shows how it works. Of course, those features may not be useful for everyone, particularly considering the cost of the system.
 

Ken Sherwin

New Member
I made mine in two halves to be able to take it on and off with the tailstock in place but it wouldn't operate that way. When you're stopped, you want support under the piece but when you're turning, you need support on the top and back too. I've never actually used that feature though. I looked at their videos and theirs can adapt to various swing heights and that would be harder to homebrew and keep strong. If I had multiple lathes of different swing heights, that might be handy but having a cheaper on made specifically for each lathe might be even handier if I wanted to move a piece between lathes quickly.
 
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