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Discussion in 'Newbie' started by Leonard Niemi, Jul 26, 2016.
How do you decide when to use a aluminum vs steel face plate?
I only own steel ones.
I can't think a situation where aluminum would be preferred over steel.
I do like using stainless steel for wet wood.
The aluminum faceplates I have seen are small usually 3- 4" diameter.
The small sizes are used for smaller work.
Nothing much can happen to steel faceplate it is going to last forever.
Aluminum can last almost forever but they will get nicks and scratches from screws and drivers.
I have a few aluminum faceplates. For the most part, the aluminum faceplates are dedicated to permanent use on homemade vacuum chucks and reverse chucking jigs. I also use them to square turning blanks to the bed.
I have turned a number of aluminum faceplates on my metal lathe to be used on my wood lathes.
I have made a number of them which are sized to fit in my adjustable Nova chuck, I can leave them attached to the wood piece for the next turning session
and exchange it for another wood piece I am working on quickly.
I have 3" and 6" steel, and 4" aluminum. I use whichever size is suitable. The 6" have hex shanks, which are sometimes easier to remove (Lathe has hex on the spindle, no spindle lock).
For me it is usually the size of the work, as the aluminum plates are smaller in diameter. My aluminum are 3-3 1/2" diameter. The smaller size is better for smaller pieces, say up to 5"-6" in diameter or where I need to get to as small as possible while on the faceplate.
Leonard, I use the few aluminum face plates I have for small stuff, but primarily for wet wood where I will leave it attached for an over night period of time. They will not leave a discoloration on the wood like my steel ones will if they have a nick in the paint. I also prefer my steel ones for large bowl blanks.