Turning a base for testing a spacecraft

This was quite an unusual request from the Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd.

They required a large 700mm Diameter by 250mm High base, with a 200mm dia. hole through the centre.
The instructions were to make it from softwood or ply, no metal was to be used in it's construction. This meant that biscuits or dowels had to be used throughout. This complicated the laminating process and meant that I had to glue one layer at a time and allow the glue to completely set (24hrs) before gluing the next layer on to it.


Below: Laminating the layers

The base layer was to be mounted to the lathe, turned to size and a 200mm hole turned in the centre of the layer. Each layer had to be glued to the one beneath it while still mounted on the lathe. Then after the glue had set (24hrs) it was again turned to size and a 200mm diameter hole turned into it. This process was repeated over the six layers.

Below: The first two layers on the lathe

After the blank was laminated it was turned to shape, drilled with eight holes on a 298mm PCD, then sanded and given four coats of varnish.

Below: The base completed and awaiting drilling and varnishing

The completed base was used to mount a spacecraft on, in order to carry out some electrical tests.


Dave Thomas.



DT Woodturning
1 Port Talbot Workshops
Addison Road

Port Talbot
West Glamorgan
SA12 6HZ

Tel/Fax 01639 897177
Mob: 07900 846397