How to Remove a Stuck Headstock Drive Center on a Legacy Ornamental Mill

It happens eventually to every one. Your headstock drive center gets stuck in the spindle. There are a couple of things you can try.

First Solution: Legacy recommends that you use the 3/16" ball end Allen wrench and use it to tap out the drive center. This is done by removing the knob on the index plate and inserting the allen wrench into the spindle and gently use it to tap the drive center out. This will generally remove the center in everyday use.

Next Solution: The next level is to NOT use a large hammer to pound the live center out. This can potentially damage your machine. Please do not get brutal until you have tried the next step!

Best Solution: Several members of the Google Legacy Ornamental Milling group have found it easy to remove the the drive center by making a simple tool. It starts by purchasing a 2" long by 5/16" UNC bolt and making a spacer from a piece of 1/4" round steel rod that is 3-1/2" long.

The knob is removed from the index plate and the spacer slides into the spindle. The bolt is then placed into the threaded end of the spindle. The bolt should engage at least 5 threads before pressing against the spacer which presses against the drive centers tail.

If you suspect rust is a problem spray some penetrating oil on the drive center and let it sit for a while. Using a small wrench, turn the bolt and hold the drive center to prevent the spindle from turning. The drive center should free itself with very little force.

Please use common sense to avoid stripping the spindle threads. Also note the length of the spacer may vary depending on the length of the taper on the drive center. Make sure you have plenty of threads engaged before turning your wrench.

Last Chance: If the above step does not work, with the spindle removed from the headstock soak the spindle and drive center in penetrating oil. Use heat to warm the part and try the screw and spacer method. Do I really need to warn of the potential hazards of fire and oil? If this still does not work, call Legacy and order a new drive center and spindle because the two parts have become one with each other!

Future Prevention: I found that my drive center would occasionally twist when making heavy cuts. The natural instinct is to pound the taper deeper into your spindle. This is not a good idea, it's hard on the drive center, spindle, bearings/ bushings, the rails and mounting hardware.

The better solution is to use Legacy's Double Locking Collar. The double locking collar is a very useful accessory to prevent frozen centers since it can be used to hold the spindle in place. The center does not have to be fully seated for the double locking collar to grip and prevent the taper from moving.

When installing the headstock drive center, make sure the taper is clean and the spindle is clean before installing. A piece of wood can easily get wedged inside and cause a tight fit. I also recommend frequently removing your taper, especially if it will not be used for a while or you live in a high humidity area.

Any question or comments, feel free to contact me

Web Page added 9-1-2010