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Machine Maintenance

Discussion in 'Woodturning Discussion Forum' started by Dave Fritz, Feb 12, 2021.

  1. Dave Fritz

    Dave Fritz

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    Yesterday the quill on my mini lathe was sticky and difficult to move. I took it apart and cleaned out and it works so much better now. I wonder if how you handle machine maintance? I suppose it would be best to have a regular maintenance schedule but I admit I don't. I seem to go until there's a problem, then fix it. I know my air filters need cleaning but it seems when I get to the shop I'd rather make things. How about you?
     
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  2. Paul M. Kaplowitz

    Paul M. Kaplowitz

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    You can ether spend time to do maintenance or you can spend time repairing your tools. I have a friend who puts his chainsaw away after a day's cutting without cleaning it Every few months he has to take it to the dealer because it won't start.
     
  3. Mark Jundanian

    Mark Jundanian

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    Uhh, I resemble that remark.
     
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  4. John Torchick

    John Torchick

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    It would be to our advantage to schedule a day or part of a day for equipment maintenance. It's like my grandfather said about oil changes- Oil is cheaper than machinery. I removed my tailstock and lightly sanded the bottom with 400 wet/dry sandpaper along with a light sanding of the bed. Wiped them down and applied a very thin coat of Ballistol to both surfaces. Made a big difference in moving the tailstock and greatly improved my vocabulary. While we are on the subject, I have a Supernova2 chuck that has a lot of wood dust. Disassemble? What is your advice here? Thanks.
     
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  5. John Hammonds

    John Hammonds

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    I have a before and after ritual I do on my lathe. Learning from some on this forum and some YouTube people I have gone the route of buying WD40 by the gallon, putting it in a spray bottle, and going to town on my Powermatic 3520B before and after I turn. You will find many who disagree with this approach ... WD40 is not a great lubricant ... wood dust will cling to the WD40 and make clamping of tailstock and banjo less effective. But I have experimented with other products including waxes and more expensive lubes and I have found nothing that compares with WD40 as an all-around maintenance tool. It cleans (sort of), it lubricates (sort of), it displaces moisture and prevents rust (that's what it was designed for), and it's fairly inexpensive by the gallon. Here in the South and with an outside shop, condensation on metal surfaces is unavoidable and I liberally spray WD40 on all my machine surfaces for rust prevention and merely wipe it down with a paper towel before use. On the lathe, before I turn, I wipe the dust off the ways with a paper towel, then liberally spray down the ways so that I can move all components with one hand. After turning, I give the lathe a good brush-down with a soft bristled shop brush and then reapply WD40 for rust prevention. I loosen the banjo and tailstock and blow out debris from the clamping washer ... sometimes I use compressed air. From time to time I will clean out the Morse tapers with ... guess what ... WD40 and paper towels, using a dowel as a cleaning rod like you would clean a gun barrel. I swab with a dry towel until the towels come out clean ... final swab with a lint free rag. A good blow down of the lathe and chucks with compressed air after a turning session works for me to keep things working smoothly as well ... I don't do that every time but probably should. I have never had to take apart a chuck to clean it, never had to disassemble a tailstock quill, and never had anything in the Morse tapers freeze up or slip. And I have no rust on my machine surfaces ... none ... I hate rust. My tailstock, banjo, and headstock stay where I put 'em when clamped down. WD40, paper towels, a soft bristled shop brush, and compressed air.
    That's just one man's opinion and experience. Hope it helps.
     
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  6. John Torchick

    John Torchick

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    John, thanks two bunches! Need to check and clean the Morse tapers! Will fire up the compressor and hit the chuck with a few blasts.
    WD- water displacing.
     
  7. John Hammonds

    John Hammonds

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    Hope it does the trick, John. And if you want to really get into cleaning those Morse tapers here's a good video on the subject by Mike Peace:
    View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5slFXuWBIjk
    .
    Mike has also posted videos on maintaining chucks and tailstocks. I haven't had to go to disassembly of these components in 10 years of turning ... I just routinely blow them out and spritz 'em down. Works for me so far.
     
  8. John Torchick

    John Torchick

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    Have some shotgun mops for the MT.
     
  9. Dean Center

    Dean Center

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    What's humidity? We're half way through 96 hours of minus temps F and would have to turn on a sprinkler to get to up to zero humidity. Course, the sprinkler wouldn't last long. Heck even the dog only lasts 5 minutes. Good think he poops on command.
     
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  10. brian horais

    brian horais

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    I too am a fan of the WD-40 treatment for the lathe bed. It keeps the tailstock and tool rest sliding smoothly and the horizontal bed surface rust free. I also like to vacuum out below the tool rest where it attaches to the sliding portion of the bed. This keeps the debris down and helps with the sliding motion. Don't forget to periodically check the smoothness of your tool rests and file them down as needed. A bumpy tool rest will result in a bumpy cut.
     
  11. JeffSmith

    JeffSmith

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    There's a good article Brent put together on the Robust tools (turnrobust.com) website on lathe maintenance. Not for Robust only, it's pretty general in nature. A good starting point or reminder for those areas you don't often think about.
     
  12. Bill Blasic

    Bill Blasic

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    I have used BosticTopCote on my lathe beds for years, it is now called Bostic GlideCote. Will have to get a new can soon but the one I have has lasted at least 8 years and has kept the beds in great shape. The only other thing I do is I use that green plastic morse taper cleaner every once in a while. I may be lucky but my turning equipment has been pretty much bullet proof. The only repair of any of my equipment has been to replace the machine cast pinions on one of my Nova chucks that were damaged by using the balled end allen wrench that came with it. I have since cut off all the balls of those wrenches and have never had that problem again. My lathes range in age from 25 years down to 2 years.
     
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  13. Mike Johnson

    Mike Johnson

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    Each machine requires different maintenance depending on its design, hours of use and environment. Cleaning and maintaining a machine makes the daily process more enjoyable compared to fighting with gummed up ways, quills, chucks and tools. Your lathe drive system will dictate the type of maintenance required, a reeves drive system will require regular maintenance to keep it running properly. A transient voltage surge suppresser is a good investment if you have sensitive electronic controllers that that run your shop equipment. A lightening strike or utility voltage surge can ruin your day and equipment. Single phasing or low voltage "brownouts" can also cause problems on 220V powered equipment. Keeping your motors clean and free of wood dust will keep them running cooler and extends the life of the motor. VFD and DC controllers also last longer if you keep the enclosures clean and free of dust build up, these enclosures usually provide a heat sink function to remove heat from the controller.
     
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  14. Kalia Kliban

    Kalia Kliban

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    Sadly, the Tapermate tool isn't available anymore. I was just looking for one. If anybody has a #2 that's gathering dust that they'd like to get rid of, let's talk :>)
     
  15. Kalia Kliban

    Kalia Kliban

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    This thread is a good reminder to go blow the dust out of my lathe's motor and inverter box. Still trying to diagnose the ticking coming from the headstock. I thought it might be a loose set screw on the drive shaft but everything's nice and snug inside the housing. It's always something...
     
  16. John Hammonds

    John Hammonds

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    Kalia, from your photo it looks you're running a Powermatic 3520B. If so, I just recently investigated and fixed that annoying ticking noise coming from my headstock. I'll describe in hopes it will help you. On this lathe there is a speed pickup device in the headstock and behind the speed indicator. The rotating part of the device is on the shaft just to the left of the upper pulleys ... it's black and looks plastic. That black plastic thing houses the magnet that the speed switch "sees" every rotation of the shaft. For reasons that we Powermatic owners cannot fathom (you'll find this is a common problem described in other forums) the set screws on that speed pickup unit get loose over time and that's usually what causes that annoying tick. On my machine it started after I ran the machine in reverse for probably the first time in 10 years to do some reverse sanding. [STOP: before you do the following, unplug the lathe and wait for the inverter capacitors to discharge. With the lathe unplugged, pull the start switch and turn up the speed knob. If the lathe doesn't turn, the capacitors are discharged ... usually takes about 15 seconds or so. Then push the Stop button.] Anyway, to fix it you have to remove the allen head screws holding the speed indicator and the speed control switch assembly and pull them out a little ... enough to access the set screws on the speed pickup...did not have to remove wires but I did move them around a little. Then, you simply rotate the handwheel until you see the set screw on the black thing and tighten it with a 4mm allen wrench. I was able to get about a quarter turn on mine. Then you put the speed indicator and switch back in position, tighten the retaining screws and you're done. Worked for me. Hope it helps.
    If that doesn't do it, we can talk bearings and how to adjust play on your lathe.
     
  17. brian horais

    brian horais

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    If you have access to a 3-D printer, do a search on Thingiverse.com for 'morse taper' and you will find a number of downloadable files for Morse Taper #2 cleaners. Then all you need to do is print out your cleaner!
     
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  18. Kalia Kliban

    Kalia Kliban

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    Thank you John! This is very helpful and clear, and hopefully I'll have some time tomorrow to look under the hood and see if that's what's making the noise. It definitely sounds like the right location, to judge by my attempts to localize the noise.
     
  19. Kalia Kliban

    Kalia Kliban

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    I don't have a 3D printer myself, but Shapeways has all the printers and I can just send them the file. That's a great idea! Thanks!
     
  20. Tom Kraus

    Tom Kraus

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    I have many tools and equipment in my shop and find it is easiest...for me...to just have a free calendar that comes in the mail in the shop and about one day a month, I go through and clean, lube/oil, inspect, tighten up, etc., one or 2 or 3 pieces. I have been very blessed to not have to repair too many breakdowns in my time. As for the morse cleaner, I found a fairly stiff conical bottle brush in an industrial supply catalog, very inexpensive and the one has lasted me over 10 years.
     
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  21. John Torchick

    John Torchick

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    Shotgun mop or brass brush?
     
  22. Tom Kraus

    Tom Kraus

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    Great ideas as well!
     
  23. Aaron Harris

    Aaron Harris

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    Thanks for the reminder that I need to go out and do some serious cleaning and maintenance in my shop. And since I keep several cans of WD-40 around as a lube for honing my straight razors on fine Arkansas stones, I'll try that on my lathe bed and parts. I was concerned about it attracting dust. The last time I did routine maintenance on my Laguna 12/16, I used Johnson's Paste Wax around the banjo, rails and tail-stock.

    Since I'm fairly new to this, I'm open to trying anything that works.
     
  24. Doug Freeman

    Doug Freeman

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    Lathe drive systems vary, and hence the maintenance schedule for those will vary by machine. My previous lathe had a Reeves drive, which required belt replacement and pulley to shaft lube, but it was infrequent, check the belt 1-2 times a year. The pulley only needed lubed when it started to get a little stiff. My current Nova DVR drive is maintenance free - blow out the back of the HS occasionally.

    I point this out as an example - most all aspects of lathe maintenance can be done based on “feel”, if you trust yourself. When a friction surface starts to feel tight - a TS quill, banjo feels a bit “ sticky”, etc, it is time for maintenance. Time spent on these items before they need it is unnecessary, again, provided you trust yourself to notice.

    Keeping wet shavings off bare ferrous surfaces prevents rust, and you can see the tarnish immediately if not - time for maintenance. Blowing out open drive components - inverters and motors - everyday you use the machine. Drive belts - if you typically change speeds, thats inspection time. If you dont, probably inspect 4-6 months.

    Cutting tools get cleaned before sharpening, and gunk gets wiped off after cutting before going in the tool holder.

    Not a fan of any lube that remains wet to attract dust. Only place is the quill acme thread gets grease. All other friction surfaces get paste wax, including chucks - they are disassembled, cleaned and deburred when I get them, waxed, and usually never opened again, blown out often.
     
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  25. That's what I use. Lubricate and use just as one would clean shotgun barrel. Brass brush to remove debris. Mop to lubricate and/or apply rust inhibitor. Inexpensive and works great. 12 ga for #2 Morse taper is perfect. - John
     
  26. Al Chavez

    Al Chavez

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    Is this the brass brush you are writing about?
    I appreciate the tips on the cleaning mop and brush.
    Al[​IMG]
    I found this on Amazon as "Pro Shot 12-Gauge Gunsmith Tornado Bore Brush Gold"
     
  27. That's it. Will need threaded rod. Get one in a shotgun cleaning kit or make one. - John
     
  28. Emiliano Achaval

    Emiliano Achaval Administrator Staff Member

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    YOur motor is not sealed?
     
  29. Randy Anderson

    Randy Anderson

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    Kalia, not sure what the internal setup is on your lathe but mine (Jet 1642) made a "ticking" sound a couple of times and took me a while to find it. Inside the housing is a collar with notches in it for the locking pin button. To the left a bit when you look inside on mine. The set screw was loose. It's happened twice so second time I put a bit more torque on it. Been a long time since then. I've also been known to leave my spur drive push rod inside the headstock spindle and then wonder what the sound is.

    Lots of snow outside and not motivated for the trek out to the wood shed so may be a good day to clean my tailstock spindle (getting a bit sticky in spots), clean bandsaw wheels, check belts, blow dust out of my hand sander, adjust bearings, alignments on saws, etc, etc, etc.
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2021
  30. John Torchick

    John Torchick

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    Excellent idea. Wife and I are going to work on trimming the stairway. Got some turning in the list but need to get the shop a bit warmer than 52 degrees.
     
  31. JeffSmith

    JeffSmith

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    I'd give my eye teeth to get my shop to 52 - a couple of good sized space heaters struggle to get it to 45 for the past couple of weeks...long sleeve smock over sweatshirt, long sleeve shirt and long sleeve t shirt gets it done.
     
  32. Tom Kraus

    Tom Kraus

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    Do you have natural gas or propane as a possibility? Have had both. Keep the shop at about 45, switch it on with coffee, up to 60 in no time! Plus, both types I have had, the unit is near the ceiling and off needed floor space.
     
  33. Dave Fritz

    Dave Fritz

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    After reading the comments in rolling blackouts I'm adding unplugging my lathe to my maintance routine.
     
  34. Gerald Lawrence

    Gerald Lawrence

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    That is what I do all the time since I have heard what bad stuff a power surge can do to the VFD
     
  35. Mike Johnson

    Mike Johnson

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    Installing a surge arrestor on your electrical service panel will save your electronics and solid state powered and VFD powered equipment from line surges and spikes. This will also protect you from most lightening strikes on your utility supply unless your building takes a direct lightening strike, all bets are off. If you have a large shop with a lot of equipment, your best protection is a multi level protection scheme. Most utilities offer surge arrestors at the meter main, install another surge arrestor at your power panel and install another arrestor at each piece of equipment. This protection scheme limits the incoming voltage at the meter main and then limits more voltage at the power panel, the last arrestor at your equipment limits the voltage to a safe level to eliminate damage to sensitive components in your equipment.
     
  36. Dean Center

    Dean Center

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    Carhartt insulated overalls. They allow you to remove a layer or two on top, so you're more flexible. They slip on and off easily over boots, so it's easy to don and remove when you go out and head back in the house.
     
  37. John Walls

    John Walls

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    80k heater hanging in one corner of shop. Keeps workshop, er, wife's garage at 55 degrees. Cats in there appreciate the temps, it's only been minus 20-30F the last couple weeks... hit thermostat, garage turns into a 70 degree workshop in about 5 minutes. After warnings of rolling black-outs, which should not hit us and all the talk about surges, etc, today I removed the junction box and put in an outlet. Put a longer 220 cable on the lathe with a plug so I can unplug/leave unplugged when not in use now. Moved the lathe around a little bit, so a longer cord came in handy. Wiped everything down with WD40. I have an air-hose close by all the time so I always blow the lathe clean after using, when using wet/green wood, I blow everything off every few minutes. Alot of good ideas in this thread, thanks to all!
    Now I need to check/tighten that set screw to get rid of that annoying ticking.... tick tick tick.... grrrrr LOL
     
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