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Thread: another question re old lathes

  1. #1

    another question re old lathes

    The old floor model Rockwell I just purchased had been sitting unused for a few years. The lathe seems to run fine, but I thought perhaps some fresh lube on the head stock couldn't hurt. Checked the manuals. Nothing about lubrication. Is some sewing machine oil ok? does it require something heavier? Is their a possibility that any lube could screw it up? I put sewing machine oil on an old PowrKraft lathe headstock bearings and it still runs better than when I got it.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2017
    Location
    Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada
    Posts
    567
    Unless there are oil cups or grease points on top of each bearing position you don't lubricate anything. The bearings are sealed. If there are no noises, rough spots while rotating the shaft and it spins feely you are good to go. If there are problems they need to be removed and replaced. Best thing to do is take them to a bearing, motion drive type supply place nearest where you live and they will cross reference the bearing numbers and give you the options of what bearings they can get to replace them with and they will likely have them on the shelf. You can buy online the same way if you have the numbers, just be sure you are getting quality bearings and not very cheap imported ones.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    Norfolk, UK
    Posts
    94
    Most bearings are designed to run with grease - they will spin faster and freer with oil but unless they were designed for oil, they'll wear faster. If you're just a hobby lathe user, its not going to wear them significantly in your lifetime doing it that way though!


    If they are open bearings (where you can see the balls), which are pretty common inside machines - sealed or double sealed bearings are only really used where they get messy, they cost more so the manufacturer wont use them if they dont have to.... pull them out, soak them in some car engine degreaser and scrub them with an old tooth brush until nice and shiny - then either pack them with automotive wheel bearing grease, or just smear everything in grease then re-install.


    Peter is bang on about the quality bearings - they are worth the 10-20x you'll pay for them over chinese bearings. On my bandsaw I was going through a set of Chinese double sealed bearings (blade guides) every 2 weeks because they were locking up with dust - ordered some from McMaster and didnt touch the bearings for 2years! There's really no comparison between cheap bearings and expensive bearings.. definitely still something you get what you pay for (unlike so many things these days where you just pay for the logo)!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2017
    Location
    Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada
    Posts
    567
    Thanks but don't take from my post that all Chinese bearings are bad. They can and do make decent ones too but many online sellers sell the garbage because so many of us are looking for the best price. If a brick and mortar bearing business offer a Chinese bearing in their product line it may be the equal to a name brand bearing or a little lower quality because they still need to maintain their customers. Kind of a good, better, best offerings but they won't be selling the junk.

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