Sunday, February 18, 2007

Learning about the Lathe - part 4 - Power to your headstock

We're rapidly catching up with my current position here, the lessons in this part are freshly learned!

As mentioned earlier, I opted for a variable speed motor which comes with a control box, but not much else. The motor is a cylinder with a shaft sticking out of the nose end, but in a concession to practicality, there are 4 threaded holes in the casing,arranged radially around the shaft,and a packet of matching screws and anti-vibration washers. So the next job is to figure out how to locate and mount the motor next to the lathe.

I purchased the Peatol mounting bracket which is basically a plate of black painted metal with a smaller plate located an inch or so above it, joined by 2 rubber bushes at one edge to allow for some adjustment, which is controlled by a bolt at the opposite end. There are a couple of small pre-drilled holes that match some of those on the lathe bed, you have to locate and drill everything else yourself. There isn't much clearance above the holes on the user side of the lathe, so you need to use quite short bolts there.

The drive pullies are located on the headstock shaft and tightened with a small grub screw, and on the motor shaft which has a flat to locate the grub screw.

A note on conventions: so far as I can tell, the conventions for lathes assume a right-handed person is using it - the headstock is usually on the left, tailstock to the right, then front is nearest you, back furthest away.....
I have mine bolted to the Peatol mounting bracket, which is then in turn screwed into a piece of chipboard with recesses drilled to match the mounting plate bolts to allow the mounting plate to sit flush. Some kind of sound and vibration damper is recommended beneath the chipboard - and one of my correspondents - Alan - has used 4 rubber doorstops effectively - a nice cheap solution which I have implemented.

Back to the motor - friend Jim came up with the best idea - measure the distance from the centre of the motor shaft to the centre of one of the screw holes, then use a pair of compasses (or dividers) to mark off a circle on your chosen mounting bracket for the motor. I purchased 2 metal bookends from B&Q and after some trial and a lot of error managed to get 4 screw holes and the large central hole for the shaft more or less en pointe and got the nose end mounted up ok. I may yet have to use the second bookend for the tail if the motor vibrates too much - this has two smaller holes and no screws provided so I will have to guess....

I have mounted the controller behind and to the right of the headstock - as far away from the working end as the wires will allow - but I suspect I shall shortly install a junction box and move it further away and above the lathe so I can reach it without bending over the lathe - safer and more convenient.

Once you get to this point you can switch on and have everything spin around - that feels good! Which means that unless I've overlooked anything obvious, in part 5 we will do some work!


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