Open ball bearing lubrication


I am going through the VS countershaft assembly on the lathe and it
has two open ball bearings. They were filled with dried grease, which
I cleaned out.
I want to know what grease to use in them. I filled one with lithium
grease, but decided that it is still not too late to ask. I would say
that this bearing is not very stressed out, sees at most 3-4,000 RPM,
etc.
If anyone has any grease recs, let me know.
Thanks
i
Reply to
Ignoramus23515
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If you're referring to white lithium grease, there are lots of better greases than that, just not as commonly available.
I used to use white lithium fairly regularly for various mechanisms, but found that it always dried out over time, and seemed to attract dirt when used in open locations.
I've seen lots of comments recommending and praising ordinary wheel bearing grease, which is probably better if it's not white lithium. Then again, some folks will claim that anything that costs less is the best product.
For different types of machine applications, it would probably be wisest to visit a manufacurer's dealer/rep to get a guide for their different greases and lubricants (Pennzoil, Valvoline, Wolfs Head, etc).
Distributors such as Fastenal, Applied Industrial Technologies, and other industrial parts vendors probably have guides for lubricants.
I can't recall white lithium grease ever being recommended for lubrication in any service manuals.
Reply to
Wild_Bill
WB, this lithium grease I had for a few years and kept it in an open container, and it did not dry. Nevertheless, I will take your advice and I will get another grease, probably something at Autozone. The grease that was in the bearings, probably since the lathe was built, has dried out.
i
Reply to
Ignoramus23515
I can't see it being terribly critical. I'd go with whatever car wheelbearing grease that you have to hand. You're running a bit faster than wheels, but those bearings can see a lot of heat from braking.
Any grease is going to collect dirt. Dryout might involve evaporation of the oil phase in high temperature and/or windy applications, more commonly it occurs because the oil separates out from whatever component is used to thicken the grease (often a soap). Either way, periodic cleaning and/or topping up is the answer. Can you fit any sort of shield (metal, rubber, felt?) to keep dust away?
Reply to
newshound
This one particular bearing is hidden inside a certain hub. This is in my lathe., which realistically will not see much service,.
i
Reply to
Ignoramus23515
OK, I went to Autozone and bought
1) Mobil 1 synthetic grease, advertised for high speed operation 2) Valvoline moly fortified synthetic grease blend
Reply to
Ignoramus23515
If these bearings are accessible and can be removed easily, you may want to make yourself a gadget for pressure-lubing them. It can be very simple. Mine is two pieces of aluminum plate, 3/4", about five inches square. I drilled and tapped one in the middle for a regular automotive Zerk fitting. Then I cut gaskets for the size of the bearing, which cover the outer race; it's a hole just smaller than the outer-race size.
Put a tight wooden or aluminum plug inside the inner race so grease is directed into the bearings. Support the bottom of the bearing on the other piece of plate with a few scraps of gasket material, so the grease has a place to get out. Then load grease into your grease gun and shoot enough through the bearing to force out old dirt and crud, which will simultaneously pack the bearing full of grease. I clamp the bearing between the two pieces of plate with a pair of C-clamps. You could drill holes for bolts if you want to get fancy.
I made this originally for greasing a wide range of bearing sizes, and it's kind of clumsy for small ones. I'd make a smaller one if I'd be doing nothing but small bearings.
BTW, it took less than 15 minutes to make that device -- almost as quick as typing the directions. Pressure-packing bearings is a good practice if they're inclined to get dirty. Packing them helps keep the dirt from getting inside, and the gadget makes it easy to clean out the bearings when you re-pack them.
You got good grease. Automotive wheel-bearing grease is made for extreme pressure, and it's too thick and stringy for machinery bearings.
Reply to
Ed Huntress
Ed, I ended up using red synthetic Mobil-1 grease. The application is the countershaft for the variable speed drive. RPM is from 700 to perhaps 4000 or so depending on the speed selection, just guessing. There is next to no radial load on the bearing. It just has to spin and not get in trouble.
The countershaft assy is moderately easy to take apart. Takes perhaps 20 minutes from the start of the work to the assembly taken apart.
i
Reply to
Ignoramus23515
That's the same stuff I have in one of my grease guns now. I can't testify about its performance, but it gets a lot of positive comments.
Well, that should be easy to take care of, as long as you keep it clean.
That's a task, but see how it goes. It may save time in the long run to grease it from time to time under pressure. Or it may last you a lifetime, in hobby use.
Reply to
Ed Huntress
Ed, Could save yourself a lot of aggravation and just grab a standard bearing packing tool. The two cone style work OK. 99% of the time I just grab the bearing and pack it by hand after cleaning it well.
Reply to
Steve W.
If the grease does not dry out, then I would expect it to last my lifetime under hobby use. If I get an hour runtime per week, it will be great (under the thinking that the more, the better).
The countershaft assembly has been reassembled. (and I was thankful to have the press available for me)
I hope to have the VS and motor reinstalled back tonight, though it is a bit audacious. I still need to put the motor back together.
When I was 17, I was certified as a Class II lathe operator (which does not amount to much). So I am very partial to lathes. More so than to milling machines.
i
Reply to
Ignoramus23515
My bearing packing tool also doubles as my finger.
i
Reply to
Ignoramus23515
What fun is that? Besides, it was a Saturday, and I wanted to make something.
Packing by hand is fine, but if you want to drive out grit and dirt, you need pressure. Either that or spend more time cleaning the thing in solvent than it takes to squeeze enough grease through it to push all that stuff out. It takes seconds.
Reply to
Ed Huntress
Yeah, I'm a lathe fan, myself. I like lapping shafts and bearings, and I like clever faceplate work -- although I haven't done anything clever for decades. I use spring calipers ten times more often than I use micrometers.
One of the things that really got me interested in lathe work was a book by Dick Moore, one of his early ones, in which he described the work that his original Jig Borer was designed to replace. It was all faceplate work on a lathe, so I went back into the McGraw-Hill library and read everything about it that I could find. My first few years with the lathe, I tried very hard to duplicate that work, which was some of the most precise machining that could be done in the early days.
Now I make replacement bushings for old tools that I probably should throw out. d8-)
Reply to
Ed Huntress
Bearings should be not completely filled with grease or they will run hot because of friction of all the grease moving around. The recommended fill is 1/3 the void but to make sure the grease gets into the bearing groove. A good bearing grease is designed not to get hot and run off the balls and groove.
John
Reply to
John
Ok for machinery bearings. But bearings used in processing and packaging, and other rough environments, are generally pressure-packed. Wherever they're open and subject to dirt, it's common to use pressure-packing both to clean the bearings and to re-lubricate them.
Reply to
Ed Huntress
I like to put the (clean and dry) bearing along with a suitable quantity of grease into a ziplock bag . Work the grease into the bearing and have clean hands when I'm done .
Reply to
Snag
On Fri, 19 Feb 2010 11:31:48 -0500, the infamous "Wild_Bill" scrawled the following:
All greases and oils do at least a bit of that. It's why dry lube was invented, ah reckon.
It was in the Ford manuals in the late 70s, when I was a Ford wrench. Ford even had Ford-stickered spray cans of it on their shelves. It was used as door/hood/trunk hinge and window mechanism lube. I fell in love with the spray lithium grease way back then. It's too thin for high-rpm stuff, but on the manual movements, it's magic.
-- "Just think of the tragedy of teaching children not to doubt." -- Clarence Darrow
Reply to
Larry Jaques
On Fri, 19 Feb 2010 22:19:31 -0500, the infamous "Steve W." scrawled the following:
Hey, Mr. Tambourine man! (I've obviously BTDT a few times, too.)
-- "Just think of the tragedy of teaching children not to doubt." -- Clarence Darrow
Reply to
Larry Jaques
On Fri, 19 Feb 2010 21:24:07 -0600, the infamous Ignoramus23515 scrawled the following:
Then you're obviously not doing it right, Ig. You need to pack it in so it comes out the other side, and a single finger just won't cut it. This guy has it down.
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-- "Just think of the tragedy of teaching children not to doubt." -- Clarence Darrow
Reply to
Larry Jaques

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