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8 – Making the headstock (central supports)

The central supports are going to join to the front and back panels, bracing them and giving us a way to attach the angle iron that makes up the lathe bed. Because they will be used to join on the bed of the lathe they need to be exactly perpendicular to the front and back panels. 

They also needed to be cut so that they hold the front and back panels at the correct distance – that is, the length between the drive shaft bearings. Make sure everything will fit before you start cutting or drilling – cardboard mock ups are useful!

I have cut the angle alu at an angle to make room for the bearing housing and am measuring up the center panel.  I ran out of the thick steel sheet, so this one will be a double layer of scrap aluminium I saved.  I use some aluminium angle to bolt them in.


Positioning and drilling piece of aluminum angle. Again use the clamp together technique of the front and back panes to ensue the center supports line up.

aluminium channel is used to joint to the central supports


Marking out and drilling some matching angle pieces to join centre panels to front and back.


Drilling out some alu angle to make mount


Just as a side point: I have found that to cut bolts to the correct length, it helps if you can make a little bolt holder like this. All it consists of is a scrap strip of metal with a correctly sized threaded hole. Screw the bolt in so it protrudes the distance that you want to chop off. Now saw away with the scrap metal as a guide fence.

Bolt trimming jig

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