Fit to a Specific Wood Size

The designs automatically created by Lathe Magic typically fit within a cube that is a maximum of 6 inches high and 6 inches wide. You can choose to have designs fit to a specific size you choose, especially helpful if you have an existing piece of wood in mind.

Example Automatic Design

The image to the left shows an automatically generated design. It is 6 inches high and about 4 1/2 inches wide.


Set Wood Size

Select menu item Preferences-Set Wood Size. A dialog box will open and the wood width and length can be set.

Fit to Wood Width

After setting the wood's size, you need to select how to use the wood size. Select menu item Preferences-Fit to Wood Width. A check mark will appear showing that the design will now be adjusted to fit the wood width specified in the wood size dialog. Any design generated by using the New button will match the width until Fit to Wood Width is selected again, turning off the check mark.


Whenever any of the wood size preferences are in effect, the wood size will be shown in the Front View window as a green outline. In this case, Fit to Wood Width has been selected, so the example design has been narrowed so it's broadest dimension matches the wood width (in the image to the left the very top of the design is the widest). As Fit to Wood Length has not yet been selected, the design is still it's original 6 inches high.

Fit to Wood Length

Select menu item Preferences-Fit to Wood Length. A check mark will appear showing that design will now be adjusted to fit the wood length as specified in the wood size dialog.


The example design has been shortened so it matches the wood length. Since both Fit to Wood Width and Fit to Wood Length are selected, the design now fits within the green wood size outline.

Short & Wide

Many of the designs automatically created by Lathe Magic tend to be taller than wide. For bowls, you'll want short and wide. For this example, we'll set the width to 6 inches and the height to only 2 inches.


The image shows the design was reduced in height. Looking at this design, it's shorter height will make it more difficult to make on the lathe, so we'll modify some of the blocks.


The third block from the top was eliminated, the third block from the bottom was made taller, and several of the profile curves were smoothed out.


A 3D view of the revised bowl after hollowing.

Flat Sides

The automatically generated Lathe Magic designs have a circular cross-section. You can allow it have flat sides by choosing Preferences-Allow Flat Sides.


Select menu item Preferences-Allow Flat Sides. If Fit to Wood Width was previously checked, it will be turned off as the design has to be wider than the wood's width to get flat sides.


This is the same example we began with, after it was fitted to a 4 inch wood width and 5 inch wood length. With Allow Flat Sides turned on, the wood outline has been rotated 45 degrees. The two green dotted lines now mark the wood width (in this case, 4 inches wide). The solid green lines mark the width of the wood's diagonal (from one corner to the opposite corner; for example a 4 inch wide piece of wood will have a diagonal of 5.65 inches). As all parts of the design fit between the two dotted lines, there will be a circular cross-section throughout.


A 3D view of the above outline. As can be seen, the cross-section is circular throughout.


The wood width is now narrowed from 4 inches to 2.5 inches wide (the diagonal will be 3.5 inches).


The design's outline (black) is the same size as before but the wood's outline (green) now reflects the narrower wood. As can be seen in the middle and bottom, some of the design lies between the dotted lines and the solid green line. These areas will have a cross-section with flat sides and rounded corners. The parts of the design that lie right on top of the solid green line will have a cross-section that is square with sharp corners.



This is the 3D view of the above outline. The upper part of the design has square sides. The bottom part of the design shows flat sides with rounded corners.


A grid texture was applied to better show the flat sides.


This illustrates the circular cross-section for parts that lie fully between the two green dotted lines.


This illustrates the cross-section with flat sides and rounded corners. The size of the corners can vary: when the black outline is close to the green dotted lines, the rounded corners are bigger. When the black outline is close to the outside green solid lines, the sides will be mostly flat with small rounded corners.


When the black outline lies directly on top of the solid green lines, the cross-section is completely square.


It's important to note that to get the same results on all four sides, the wood needs to be exactly square and mounted exactly in the center of the lathe.

Example Using Flat Sides

For this example, I set the wood size to 6 inches tall by 3 inches wide. The central part of the vase is no wider than 3 inches so it is round. The upper lip and lower pedestal are 3.7 inches wide and fall within the dotted and solid green lines. This gives them both a cross-section with rounded corners and flat sides.


A 3D view of the design.


A close up 3D view of the pedestal in wireframe mode. This makes it easier to see how the flat sides will appear.


A close up 3D view of the top lip in wireframe mode. By rotating the model on the screen, I was able to inspect the lip to ensure that the interior has sufficient separation from the exterior.


Lathe Magic Products are designed by Rich Schafermeyer
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