Live centre

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Established Member
30 Apr 2021
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New Zealand
I'm not a metal worker and in fact I didn't even know what a live centre was until a few days ago.
In the aircraftery I turn up some little wooden bits and pieces the ends of which need to be supported by the tailstock. Previously this was done using a bit of 5mm rod with a point on it and held in the tailstock chuck. Not at all satisfactory because of burn wear.
So a live centre (as soon as I understood what it was) was needed.
The problem was that all live centres appear to have a morse taper on the shaft which doesn't suit a chuck - my lathe is home made and probably somewhat unconventional - secondly there are no really small live centres to suit modelling, not in NZ anyway and they are hugely expensive especially when you add in shipping from overseas.
So it was into the boxes of stuff that there is no use for but are too tight to throw away.
The crux of the thing is an old 6mm X 15mm roller bearing. The body is an offcut of a 15mm ID threaded brass plumbing connector. The brass shaft is a piece of pump plunger from a discarded garden sprayer that conveniently had a substantial flange on the end of it. This needed about a mm spun of it to make a snug fit into the end of the plumbing connector. This is sweat soldered in. With the shaft soldered in the assembly was small enough to be held in the drive chuck (12mm). The thread on the plumbing connecter was spun off and the ID eased a bit to accommodate the bearing. The point is a quarter inch stainless bolt turned down to 6mm where it goes into the bearing. I suppose brass and solder is not strong enough for engineering type stuff but is more than adequate for the small scale woodturning that I do.
And the moral of the story - never, never throw any old junk away.
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