Woodshop/lathe checkout and advice needed

Good Evening Everyone and happy Friday,

I got a membership this evening to try and make a retirement gift for the Command Sergeant Major within my Battalion who is finally retiring after 25 years of service. My original plan was to 3D print an artillery shell to hold a bottle of liquor that we could present to him but after loading the plans this afternoon I found out the job was unfeasible (it would take 40 hours to print). I’m wondering now if it would be possible to lathe the shape of the artillery round from a log and potentially hollow it out so a bottle of liquor could still go inside. The largest diameter would be 6 inches and the length would be roughly 23 inches. I researched the dimensions below, Any advice from anyone would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

Hello! Welcome to LMN.

So, this sounds like an ambitious project, no matter the production method. I think as with most things, when thinking about the feasibility, the real question is how much experience do you have on a lathe and how much time do you have to make it. It seems feasible to shape something like this on a lathe, but it wouldn’t be an easy/quick task for a beginner.

The other big question I would have is your choice of materials. Wood takes a long time to dry to the point of usability, and it needs to be dry when you give it as a gift or it could warp and potentially crack over time (it will do that no matter what…you just don’t want someone’s gift to warp). If you’re planning on shaping it from a found log, you need to make sure it’s been dried properly, either in a kiln or by letting it sit in a dry spot for many months.

None of this is meant to dissuade you from trying this project–I think it sounds like an interesting way to learn the lathe and it sounds like a retirement gift your friend would like. Just know that it doesn’t sound like a “quick” alternative to the 3d printer and that you might want to look for an alternate source of wood.