Arduino IR Lathe Tachometer

Build a tachometer for your metal lathe using an Arduino Nano, a two line LCD display, and an IR sensor.

This tachometer is for a WEN 3455 Variable Speed 7” by 12” Two-Direction Bench top Metal Lathe. You can probably modify it for your own lathe.

Since my lathe didn’t come with a tachometer I decided to make one. I’m a computer programmer and decided to use either a Hall Effect or an Infrared (IR) sensor device with an Arduino and a two line LCD display. I tried the Hall Effect device first because it was very small, but it didn’t work too well at high speeds. The IR device seemed to work better, up to about 1000 rpm. Maybe a faster sensor would be better for over 1000 rpm, but I rarely do any metal work faster than that.

The first thing I had to do was get the Arduino, LCD, and sensor up and running. I put a small strip of label paper on my battery operated hand drill to do the testing at the bench. I used a small motor driven grinding tool to test the higher speeds.

The sensor is going to be wrapped up with heat shrink tubing to protect if from the elements, and it will be put under the side cover of the lathe which keeps the gears protected.”


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