Thread: Lathe Maintenance/Tick Tock Productions' videos

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  1. #1
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    Lathe Maintenance/Tick Tock Productions' videos

    Well, I've made the big commitment and bought a lathe. It's a Moseley with a Hamilton Beach motor.

    I'm very interested in taking good care of it and haven't had too easy a time finding the info I'm looking for. I do have de Carle's book "The Watchmaker's Lathe". But chapter 4, "Care and Maintenance of the Lathe" is only two pages! I'd like to know how to maintain the lathe, and take care of the electric motor too. If anyone knows of any good websites, I'd appreciate it. I'm not even sure what oil to use. Sewing machine oil?

    It seems the closest thing I've found so far are the Tick Tock videos: Jewelers Lathe Basics. Clockmaker Watchmaker Lathe Basics, a course on DVD or video. Anyone have an opion about them?

    Thanks,

    Robb

  2. #2
    NAWCC Forum moderator Ben_hutcherson's Avatar
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    Re: Lathe Maintenance/Tick Tock Productions' videos

    I haven't seen the video, so can't comment on that.

    Most of what I know about lathe maintenance(which isn't much!) I've learned second and third hand.

    Basically, what I've been told is that the most important thing is to keep it clean and well lubricated.

    If your lathe hasn't been used in a number of years, you'll want to break the headstock down and clean it well. This part is relatively straight forward, although it may not be immediately obvious. All the ones I've seen come apart more or less in the same way. The first step is to remove the drawbar, which is a tight friction fit inside the spindle. Remove the two split rings that act as dust guards around the oil ports-these just pull off, although some twisting might help them. Unscrew the knurled ring that allows you to adjust the play in the bearings. Then, loosen the set screw in the pulley. The rear bearing-which is a tight friction fit onto the spindle-can often then be pulled off, although occasionally a few LIGHT taps on the spindle with a watchmaker's brass hammer may help get things going. Once the rear bearing is out, the spindle can be pulled out through the front bearing-just be sure you support the pulley to make sure it doesn't crash and break.

    Once you've cleaned all the bearing surfaces, you can put it back together. Just be sure the set screw of the pulley is aligned with the flat on the spindle, and make sure you get the rear bearing keyed onto the spindle correctly. I was taught to set the bearings as tight as possible that allows the spindle to still turn with no apparent resistance.

    For oil, I use 3-in-1 oil, although you will likely find a lot of debate about this. Others I know use various grades of automotive oil. I think more important is that it be oiled regularly and correctly. I was taught that oil should be added until it runs out, and the excess wiped off.

    As for the motor-be sure the cord is in good shape. Most of the lathe motors I've seen have felt wicks in the bearings that need a few drops of oil occasionally.
    Member National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors, member NAWCC Ch. 149 Early American Watch Club

    Serious collector of American pocket watches-Waltham(and the predecessor companies) is my specialty.

  3. #3
    NAWCC Forum moderator Ben_hutcherson's Avatar
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    Re: Lathe Maintenance/Tick Tock Productions' videos

    One thing I should add that you may already know...

    To keep your bearings in as good of shape as possible, be sure to take the tension off the belt any time you're not actually using the lathe.

    And, depending on how long your lathe has been out of service, you may want to invest in some fresh lathe belting. Opinions vary on the best type, although I've had the best luck with the type where you melt the ends together to join it.
    Member National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors, member NAWCC Ch. 149 Early American Watch Club

    Serious collector of American pocket watches-Waltham(and the predecessor companies) is my specialty.

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    Re: Lathe Maintenance/Tick Tock Productions' videos

    Thanks for the info Ben. I'm making progress. Unfortunately it looks like I'm fighting very old, solidified oil. I've got the back bearing off after a great deal of pulling. But it looks like the pulley is seized on the shaft with old oil and is keeping me from getting it the rest of the way apart. It's moved some, but it's definitely not free. (I did remember to loosen its screw, too, before starting.) I'm afraid to use WD40 or anything to try to loosen all this old crud, but if I can't get it finished in the morning, I may have to resort to that. Is there anything better for softening old oil? Watch cleaning solution? I don't want to wreck the old plastic.

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    Re: Lathe Maintenance/Tick Tock Productions' videos

    Quote Originally Posted by Robb Ludwig View Post
    Thanks for the info Ben. I'm making progress. Unfortunately it looks like I'm fighting very old, solidified oil. I've got the back bearing off after a great deal of pulling. But it looks like the pulley is seized on the shaft with old oil and is keeping me from getting it the rest of the way apart. It's moved some, but it's definitely not free. (I did remember to loosen its screw, too, before starting.) I'm afraid to use WD40 or anything to try to loosen all this old crud, but if I can't get it finished in the morning, I may have to resort to that. Is there anything better for softening old oil? Watch cleaning solution? I don't want to wreck the old plastic.
    I had exactly the same issue with a very old instrument lathe I bought a while ago (it's identical to a jeweler's lathe, just scaled up to about 3 times the size). Old oil and some surface rust on the spindle were preventing the pulley from sliding off. I ended up having to MacGyver a puller arrangement together. With that constant force, it did slide right off. No amount of (careful!) banging or pressing with an arbor press was able to budge it. Go ahead and try WD-40, or a good penetrating oil (AeroKroil is the best, but PB Blaster is good too), if no luck there then start thinking about making a little puller arrangement out of whatever you have handy. Just make sure you don't stress the headstock casting (if you are putting force against one side of the bearing housing in the headstock casting, make sure the other end of your puller is braced directly against the opposing side of the bearing housing of the headstock).

    Let us know how you make out, I know how frustrating this can be.

    EDIT: If you end up needing to come up with a puller arrangement, I can do up a simple diagram to show what I used for mine.
    Last edited by mars-red; April 6th, 2012 at 19:00.

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    Re: Lathe Maintenance/Tick Tock Productions' videos

    I would love to see your idea Mars, because my fingers have done about all the pulling they can do for a while. So far the WD40 doesn't seem to be having any effect either. But I'll give it longer to soak to see if that helps.

    And thanks for your help, too.

  7. #7
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    Re: Lathe Maintenance/Tick Tock Productions' videos

    I GOT IT!!!! Finally, I got it.

    I don't have any sensation in my fingers, but hey, you gotta take the good with the bad.

    Thanks again to both Mars-red and Ben_hutcherson for your help. I don't know if it was the WD40, pulling with my bloody stumps of fingers, very careful taps always against a piece of wood, or what, but it finally gave in and I am victorious. It's a big relief, that's for sure.

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    Re: Lathe Maintenance/Tick Tock Productions' videos

    So the problem seems to have been that the pulley is really, really tight on the spindle. So much so that the last half inch it needs to go on seems almost impossible without an excessive amount of force. I have the pulley oriented properly with the index plate of it in the right place, so that's not the problem. I wonder if this is a pieced together lathe, or a replacement part that is off a bit. Am I just being too sensitive? Even with a bit of oil, it seems like it's going to be just as hellish to get it back on as it was to get it off.

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    Re: Lathe Maintenance/Tick Tock Productions' videos

    Quote Originally Posted by Robb Ludwig View Post
    So the problem seems to have been that the pulley is really, really tight on the spindle. So much so that the last half inch it needs to go on seems almost impossible without an excessive amount of force. I have the pulley oriented properly with the index plate of it in the right place, so that's not the problem. I wonder if this is a pieced together lathe, or a replacement part that is off a bit. Am I just being too sensitive? Even with a bit of oil, it seems like it's going to be just as hellish to get it back on as it was to get it off.
    Glad you got it off! How does the surface of the spindle look? Is it bright and shiny? If it has even the smallest amount of corrosion or discoloration, gently spin it around in either a green scotch-brite pad with some light oil applied, or some extremely fine crocus cloth with some light oil applied until you get a smooth, shiny surface (it shouldn't take much!). Also look at the mating surface inside the metal sleeve that goes through the pulley - that's obviously much more difficult to polish up... I often find something round, a little less than the inner diameter, wrap some extremely fine abrasive (with light oil applied, again) around it, and rotate it inside the bore. Whatever you end up doing, don't remove anything more than just the surface discoloration from the spindle. If you need some extra clearance, take material out of the inside of the pulley instead.

  10. #10
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    Re: Lathe Maintenance/Tick Tock Productions' videos

    Thanks again Mars-red for the help. Since I didn't have a scotch brite hand I used a needle file. But they're old files, and I used essentially no pressure both on the spindle and inside the pulley. I was a little aggressive on the spindle in one spot because it was very rough and raised a bit. There wasn't any rust that I could see, but it wasn't nice and shiny either, hence the file attack.

    So I guess that concludes the lathe lessons for the week. I now know how to maintain the headstock like a pro (I exaggerate a lot). Now if I could just remember where I put the center for the tailstock, I could claim to keep track of parts like a pro too.

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