View Full Version : Work holding in the lathe using DIY billet aluminium

bob ward
09-14-2012, 09:22 AM
I need to re-do the threads on suspension brackets on my 35 Hudson roadster project. (This is related to the hot riveting query that I posted recently) Building up the worn threads and re-cutting them is of course straightforward, the tricky part, given their awkward shape, was how to mount the brackets in the lathe. Mounting the brackets on the faceplate was probably doable but tricky to set up accurately. A small faceplate in the 4 jaw would be the go, with a suitable block bolted to that and the brackets bolted to the block, but there was nothing suitable in the scrap box.

I ummed and ah'd for a few days and then inspiration struck. I'm working towards making aluminium castings and I'm up to the stage where I've made a furnace and can melt scrap and pour it into ingots, so why not pour a faceplate and mounting blocks.

This is the starting point for the faceplate and one of the mounting blocks. The round was poured into an old 10" saucepan, the block mold I tacked up out of 2" x 1/8" flat.

All machined and ready to go.

With a suspension bracket bolted up. The pin is at a 6 angle to the chassis

Another type of suspension bracket, no funny angles with this one. The mould for the block which is 5" x 2.5" x 2" was a tin can, as can be seen on the end of the block.

I can't claim that any of this billet aluminium is aircraft quality, but it is definitely automotive quality as it is made from Mazda auto gearbox casings. The round plate will be kept for future use, the blocks will probably go back into the melting pot.

One thing I figured out very quickly is that the plate needs to be held into the 4 jaw with a threaded rod through the spindle. Even with very light cuts, when working 5" or 6" from the plate it was surprisingly easy to flick the 9" plate out of the chuck jaws.

09-14-2012, 09:33 AM
Nice job. Great way to wrap your head aroumd a work holding dilema.
As they say; There's more than one way to skin a cat!

09-14-2012, 10:24 AM
Great job Bob! :)

Having the ability to cast things certainly does open up another world of possibilities.


09-14-2012, 11:25 AM

I bet those chuck jaws make a decent fan:)

09-14-2012, 11:37 AM
I'm very impressed!!! JR