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Lathe Faceplate

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  • Lathe Faceplate

    Some time back I picked up a couple of old auto brake rotors, with the intent of making a faceplate. However the hubs don't really have enough 'meat' to permit boring and threading for my spindle. So the thought I'm having is to make an adapter to fit the spindle and then bolt the rotor onto that. But I'm wondering if that would be rigid enough, if bolted together with, say 5 5/16 or 3/8 bolts. Any thoughts on this idea would be appreciated.
    Lynn (Huntsville, AL)

  • #2
    IMHO, on most brake rotors, the area that has the holes for the wheel studs is pretty thin, assuming the rotors are the type that are separate from the bearing hub. That area is where you say you feel isn't thick enough to thread, if i understand your idea. How about making a thick, say 3/4 to 1" adaptor that is threaded for the spindle and is of a diameter to entirely fill the area where the rotor would normally fit over the axel hub. They could be bolted together with studs, bolts or flat head hex bolts depending on your application, of the same size used to hold the wheels on the vehicle, through the same holes used by the wheels. The adaptor's thickness in that area would stiffen that thin area a great deal. I doubt it would ever be as rigid as a cast iron one piece faceplate, but might work for your purposes. One thing that may increase rigidity even further would be to fill the area between the above mentioned adaptor and rotor with an epoxy; something similar to "molecular metal" which is a metal and epoxy mix, resulting in a composite faceplate. That type of epoxy is machinable like steel and can even be drilled and tapped. Let us know how it turns out.


    • #3
      "depending on your application"

      Most certainly it does. I turned 9"x1/4x1/2 rings from 1/4 aluminum plate for my telescope using a temporary faceplate on my SB9 made from 1" high density particle board screwed to a 4"x4" piece of fence post mounted in the four jaw. Worked like a charm and allowed me to champher the back side of the ring by cutting into the wood. I used a computer generated layout pattern for all the holes, rough cut the work on the bandsaw, centre punched the hole locations and drilled them. I center punched the centre of each disc and held it to the wood faceplate with the tailstock centre and then screwed the disk to the faceplate with wood screws. I then cut out the centre and finished the work. I made seven pieces this way of various sizes and all turned out very well. Faceplate is a little worse for the wear but didn't cost squat in time or money.

      [This message has been edited by Evan (edited 07-29-2003).]
      Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here


      • #4
        I get a chance at a nice L-0 spindle taper face plate every now and then but I decline. If someone offered me a free faceplate in new condition for my lathe I'd probably take it but I doubt I'd ever use it. T slots are a PITA on a faceplate. You can never put a bolt just where you need it. Factory face plates are too unhandy.

        I have a couple of 16" dia round blanks of steel plate about 2" thick. On the back side of each I machined a step 3/8" long at 12" diameter to chuck them in the 4 jaw (17" lathe).

        I think a $30 hunk of plate that clears the ways is much handier and I can drill and tap for studs on a blank face plate anywhere I want, tack weld to it, mill steps anything I'd like to suit the work and never break a sweat over the expense of replacement.

        Besides since the plate is so thick it's much stiffer than a weenie faceplate casting. Not only that but I can skim cut it dozens of time to true it up and still have an nice stiff backing for flimsy work.

        I suppose a spindle taper would be handy but mounting a home brew faceplate in the chuck means it's easy to dial the work over a hair if need be.

        Making a lathe face plate from a brake rotor sounds like an exercise in frustration. Could work for some machines I guess.

        [This message has been edited by Forrest Addy (edited 07-29-2003).]


        • #5

          I am with Forrest on this. Another thing you could do is cast your own - there was an article by Steve Acker (me thinks) and casting and machining one, you may be ale to source a casting from him or the gent that cast it for him. Just drill and tap holes as you need them - this gives better support for your projects.

          If you do not want to have a cast one, you can buy iron bar up to 24" in diameter - as this is continuous cast material there are no voids or hard spots other than the outer skin of the bar. If you can't find a source let me know and I will post some websites you can order it from.

          One of the best commercial faceplates I have seen is Bisons. They are interchangable (bolted on from the front) with the chucks on their super spacers - BTW.

          You can make a servicable faceplate from steel - I have a 7"x3/4" steel faceplate myself with the Maximat style (read non-standard) 1/4" t-slots so I can use the same modified Teco hardened t-nuts I have. I would have prefered cast iron, but did not have the luxury of time when I needed it.


          • #6
            If you have a D1-4 mount, I've got a 12" face plate with 4-jaws and micro-adjust to trade for something.


            • #7
              I wish. ...but no such luck. It's a threaded spindle.
              Lynn (Huntsville, AL)