My new lathe has double tapered timken roller bearings on the front of
the spindle. It had set for a while so I figured the grease probably
dried and hardened so I unscrewed the fitting and withdrew as much as I
could with a little screwdriver then filled it up with light spindle
oil before running it a low speed. Didn't hear anything alarming when
I listened to the bearing through the handle of a screwdriver.
Got a tube of grease at the bearing supply that's 'compatible with most
bases' and gave it a couple pumps but the grease started coming out
the base of the zerk fitting. Turns out there's a slot cut through its
threads: is that a 'relief valve' for the bearing seal?
Someone here - maybe Pete Keillor - spoke of cleaning out this bearing.
How's that done? Then what? Wheel bearing grease?
My motive is to find out how fast I can run turning wood. A couple
quick home-improvement projects would give this baby's popularity a
much-needed boost around here.
I bought a rockwell 11 in lathe a while back. My lathe had set for
a long time too. I did a fair amount of research on what grease
was used in the bearing and would would be a proper replacement.
I don't rememeber the details but the old grease used a different
base than modern greases and I could not find a similar product.
I decided that an "electric motor" grease was the best. I think I
got some Mobil synthetic electric motor grease from MSC.
My lathe has L00 spindle. I removed the threaded retaining ring
using a big snap ring plyers and remove the front bearing cover
to expose the front bearing. I pumped grease in while the spindle
was running and the excess came out the front. I repeated this
cycle until I pumped a whole tube of grease through the front
Say, double the rated top speed of 1550 rpm, for turning wood and small
I see 3450 rpm versions of new motors, and I just put new bearings in
the original Delta 1725 rpm motor. Can I safely double its speed?
How about the newer Taiwanese GE Energy Efficient one in my parts
I think there's no chance the vari-speed drive would make it, but I
take Jim Rozen's point that a vfd and pair of step pulleys obviates
the need for them now. So I could get rid of a lot friction by taking
So, how 'bout them bearings?
I have the same issue with my Millrite vertical mill. The manual calls
for a sodium soap based grease but allows as how that's less important
than putting in just the right amount, but elaborates no more. The
guys who currently own the Millrite name told me they squirt 30 weight
in their own. I've been using light spindle oil for a few years now,
which is a pain when it runs out onto wood, though.
Another poster makes it sound like I could replace the zerk fitting
with an oil cup to good effect. The rear bearing takes oil.
Nope, I never flushed out my bearings. Lube chart says Texaco Starfak
#2 for that bearing. I just give it a squirt of a lithium based
grease. So far, doesn't get hot, runs fine.
On the other hand, don't to forget to take the headstock cover off and
oil the pulley pinion and back gear shaft every day you run it.
You'll probably have to turn the drive to see the oilers.
I would not even consider pushing my rockwell lathe to 3k RPM.
I doubt those big bearing are designed to run that fast and
I bet the grease would melt at that speed. It already gets fairly
warm at lower speeds.
If you compare the rockwell 11 lathe to a clausing 12 inch lathe
you will see that the clausing is rated to 2k but the rockwell
is only rated to 1.5k. The clausing uses oil in the headstock
and rockwell uses grease. I suspect there is some correlation.
And your suspicions are widely shared.
I gather grease is a convenience lube, and given the limitation of the
vs drive, there's no need for anything better. Kind of surprised
there's such a small spread between those speeds.
Now that I've got oil into the drive jackshafts, it's quieted down a
lot so I think I'll forego the hot rod mods and content myself with
getting it set to run as designed for the next two or three decades.
This seems like a keeper.
When you pumped in the new grease, did that push old grease out both
sides? Did you worry about leaving too much in the bearing?
I wondered about using belt lube on the vs belts, but Gunner's post
dissuaded me of that. My dealer said to heat 'em in the oven and then
run them for a while so I ran it while playing a heat gun on them.
Seemed to help, so should I try it some more? Is there a stock
replacement belt out there, and do they help much? The current setup
allows the vfd to turn the spindle very slowly and it takes a long time
for it to coast to a stop, so maybe I'll just leave well enough alone.
I needed to replace the bearing on the jackshafts. They grease in
the bearings had dried out and they were quite noisy. They are
standard bearing and it was not very difficult.
I removed the front cover so all the grease came out the front. I
figure that the excess was pushed out and I also figure that there
must be someplace for excess to go because the manual states to
apply grease. My headstock does get warm at high speed but not even
close to the max temp specified in the manual so I figure its ok.
I am told that various bearing places can measure the belts
and cross reference them. I was also told that new belts will
be quieter. My bests are ok, but not perfect. I do get some
viberation at times, but not enough to force me to tear down
the machine and get new belts.
Thats why they make link belts. Visit any swiss screw machine shop
and open the base doors.
"Considering the events of recent years,
the world has a long way to go to regain
its credibility and reputation with the US."
'I do get some
viberation at times, but not enough to force me to tear down
the machine and get new belts. '
That's not what I heard. I called Dick Triemstra yesterday and he said
your lathe was the smoothest he knew of.
I found over the weekend that the next problem I'll have to deal with
is the worm wheel in the apron. I pulled apart the apron in my parts
machine and found its teeth are all worn down also. Dick still has the
new parts he had made up and at his price, buying one from him is a
But I've got no brain, and besides, my dealer's Rockwell 14 sounds like
it has the same problem and Dick has no worm wheels for it, so I'm
thinking of ways to repair them.
I wonder if it work to mount them on an axle held in the tool post,
applying metal-filled epoxy to the perimeter and smushing it to shape
against a piece of rotating acme threaded rod.
I'm visiting Detroit in August and planning to drop in on Dick. Sounds
like he's got some real beauties there.
Ug-oh. Someone is cheating and telling stories out of school!
You should have heard it before I put in new jackshaft bearings!
Yea it runs nice but once in a while I get a vibration. Maybe its
a resonance or something, but I still think new belts would help.
I think the new Leeson motor, new jackshaft bearings and VFD
drive contribute considerably to the smoothness and low noice
I like my rockwell 11 lathe. Sometimes (but not always) even
more than my Myford Super 7.
A while back I picked up a micrometer stop for a rockwell 14 inch
lathe off ebay. The seller just said rockwell although the box
clearly said for a 14 inch lathe. I modifided it to work on my
11 inch lahte and it is so nice.