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Babbit bearing spindle leaks a lot of oil how to remedy it?

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unioncreek

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#1
I bought an Atlas H54 lathe that has babbit bearing in the headstock. I've been able to reduce the play in the spindle to about 0.001". When I fill the cups on top of the bearing the oil only lasts maybe 4 or 5 minutes at most. I've tried using a felt disc in the bottom of the cup and that slowed it a little but not much. Other than trying some kind of drip mechanism does anyone have any other suggestions as how to solve or at least reduce the amount of oil it uses? Or is this something I just need to live with?

Bob
 

cjtoombs

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#2
Those bearing systems were "total loss" systems, meaning that all the oil you put in leaks out. I would recommend drip oilers, or oil them often. It's just the way things were done back in the old days. I've got shapers that way, you just oil them and clean up after the job is done.
 

unioncreek

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#3
I'm going to make some drip oilers. Seen some made on YouTube, it'll be a good learning project.

Bob
 
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cjtoombs

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#5
I've found some on eBay but you may have to wait a bit to get some for a reasonable price. Most people think they are worth an arm and a leg, but every once in a while someone will actualy want to sell one and price it reasonably. I got 4 pretty nice ones that mostly matched each other to use on my G&E shaper.
 

Glenn Brooks

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#6
Drip oilers are supposed to have a needle value that regulates the amount of oil that flows into the bearing. I have two original Lukenheimers on my 1919 Dalton Lathe. They work great. Except I've never been able to regulate the oil flow. Tried adjusting the needle valve numerous times, with no discernible effect. It's either all or nothing, so it seems. So I just add a small amount of oil each time I use the lathe, and leave a shop rag on the bench underneath to catch what runs out.

If anyone knows how to adjust these darn things, please enlighten us!!

Glenn
 

tq60

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#7
If oil flow through a controlled gap is excessive then gap may be too big or oil too thin.

There are hundreds of different types of oils that have different functions from being slippery to also being tacky or clingy to the surfaces.

STP is one example but not suitable here.

Moly compound in grease makes it stick like nothing else in crawler grease used on cat tracks.

So you have stated the slop is minimized but it could be no longer round as removing shims reduces vertical height of the bearing but still same other direction.

You can use plasti-gauge to confirm actual clearance.

O rings would slow it down but trap residue so maybe not good either.

Check with a local industrial supply for a suitable oil that has a thicker viscosity and some sticky nature that will help maintain a film in the spindle.

Having the clearance measured will help as the viscosity matters there.

Trick > s to still have the oil flowing out of the bearing but not so fast.

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I337Z using Tapatalk
 

wa5cab

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#8
First, Atlas publications up until the late 1950's all called for SAE 10 ND for everything except the back gears and change gears. The oil recommendation was then changed to SAE 20 ND. At around the same time, felt plugs were added to the spindle bearing oilers. Now by that time, Atlas no longer sold the babbit bearing headstocks. But I see no reason why they wouldn't work just as well with the babbit. And much simpler and much less expensive than drip oilers. You can get them from Clausing. Although given that UPS has a one pound minimum charge, you should preferably order them when you also need a few more parts.
 

unioncreek

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#9
Robert,
I tried some felt plugs, but I don't think the felt was dense enough. They slowed it down a little. I have switched to 20 wt ND, I had some on hand for my air compressor. I have some heavier density felt that is used for gliders under furniture that I'll try. Been pretty busy trying to get my truck painted before the weather turns cold. Finally go the cab painted this weekend and now on to the box. Going to try and get the box stripped and painted by next weekend.

Bob
 

cjtoombs

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#10
Drip oilers are supposed to have a needle value that regulates the amount of oil that flows into the bearing. I have two original Lukenheimers on my 1919 Dalton Lathe. They work great. Except I've never been able to regulate the oil flow. Tried adjusting the needle valve numerous times, with no discernible effect. It's either all or nothing, so it seems. So I just add a small amount of oil each time I use the lathe, and leave a shop rag on the bench underneath to catch what runs out.

If anyone knows how to adjust these darn things, please enlighten us!!

Glenn
I was able to get the 4 on my shaper adjusted down to one drop every 30-60 seconds. The range from no oil to too much is very small. You might try taking it apart and seeing if there is excesive wear on the needle valve, I don't know if that makes much difference, but it might. Generaly, the needle valves have a ring swedged on to hold the spring, this will have to be filed off to get it apart. It can be soldered back on so long as you take precautions to keep from overheating the spring when you put it back together. Good luck.

PS: I was using Vactra No. 3 way oil, which is pretty thick.
 

wa5cab

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#12
I would not use way oil on tapered roller bearings or Oilite bushings. But between two sliding parts, It will be OK. Maybe even preferred.
 

Kernbigo

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#13
you will wreck your spindle for sure using way oil, use spindle oil or worse come to worse use 3 in one (MOTOR OIL)
 

wa5cab

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#14
Most 3 in one is SAE 10. They do or did sell in the same small cans SAE 20 but the unit cost is quite high. Recently, Tractor Supply has been carrying SAE 20 ND in gallons, pretty cheap.
 

Kernbigo

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#15
it has to be the 3in one motor oil not the regular 3in one, i use in my south bend lathe tell i could find the proper oil and worked just fine
 
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