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6 –Thinking about the Headstock (bearings and main drive shaft)


The headstock is basically the part of the lathe that houses the main drive shaft which will spin your wood. It needs to take drive from a motor, transfer it, through a belt to a shaft that you will attach the wood you’re working on.

The materials I found for this were:

Coming from an old piece of machinery, one surprisingly heavy and large sheet of metal, about 6mm thick (strong stuff!).
Two similar sized tray like pieces of stainless steel.
Some of the angle aluminium.
Old motor shaft, bearings and bearing housings.

The photos and descriptions tell it better than words up here.

One problem here is that the old motor bearings are not taper bearings – they are not designed for anything other than small loads in a sideways direction. My feeling was that this was outweighed by the fine axle and ready made bearing housings, and more importantly I had it all there and then, and it was free!

It is worth thinking about though. This is going to mean I have to be very careful and avoid certain (angry) ways of working when the lathe is in everyday use. If I find it unacceptable, or I destroy the bearings, I will replace them with taper bearings, that are much better with side loads.

This rusty old motor had been knocking about my parents house for years, its steel housing was crumbling away, but the aluminium bearing housings, the bearings themselves and the shaft all seemed ok.

An old Freezer Motor woth bearings
I started thinking that the rotor was about the right size to take a belt straight from the washing machine motor (about a 5:1 ratio). With minimal clean up I could turn it into a pulley.  The bearing housing needed a bit of a clean but looks good structurally. The built in fans needed hacking off the shaft.
The Rotor will be used as a pulley
After a lot of (reasonably brutal) coaxing with flame, vice and elbow grease, I got the gubbins of the drive shaft. In the process I got a little bonus prize (which I’m holding). It slots on perfectly and I will later use this (with some modding) to attach things to the drive shaft.
This metal sleeve fits over the shaft nicely

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