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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Canberra
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    46

    Default Restoring 70s Woodfast lathe

    Dear Brains Trust,


    Inspired by the thread below I've been pulling apart my slightly older, but very similar, Woodfast lathe. This post got long; a bit of rambly story, then I've got a couple questions at the end. I'm hoping Lance from the thread below might chip in


    Restoring an early 80ís Woodfast Lathe


    Some backstory: around 8-10 years ago I bought the lathe on Gumtree, and had a lot of fun learning to turn. In 2014 I moved house, life got in the way, and I didn't do much turning. Moved again 2016, and since then it's had to live outside just because of space It was mostly covered, except when I didn't notice the tarp had split and it was a de facto rainwater tank, so it became fairly worse for wear. I moved again in 2018, same space issue, and then AGAIN in 2020 (finally bought a place, so hopefully no moving for a decade or three). In June I was trying to decide if I get rid of the 300kg lump of rust, and buy a new lathe when funds permit, or move house with it a fourth time, when I came across Lance's thread which tipped me back to keeping it. I do love old heavy machinery like this. Having moved house, and with two small kids, it's been a slow hour or two at a time every week or two to clean this thing up.


    So a few photos to start. I think the mark in the third photo means Variable Speed Lathe (VSL), 1971?


    20200813_002105027_iOS.jpg 20210105_035800088_iOS.jpg 20200813_002120656_iOS.jpg IMG_4439.JPG


    It was originally a 3 phase, but at some point someone converted to a single phase motor. Whoever did that also put what I can only assume are the wrong belts - toothed belts typically don't go on smooth gears, and the black stuff all over the inside of the cabinet is rubber which has flown off those belts. Worked fine, but was always noisy and rattle-y; hopefully that'll be fixed by the time I'm done.


    Motor, and variable speed mechanism:
    IMG_3213.jpg 20210105_053816998_iOS.jpg 20210228_035258367_iOS.jpg


    The variable speed drive made me scratch my head for a while - why does moving that spindle up and down change the speed? Are the belts intentionally slipping? Is it some kind of belt-tension-magic? What I've concluded (and happy to be told I've misunderstood, preferably before I put it back together!), is that changing the relative tensions of the two belts shifts the middle double-sided pulley left or right, causing the belts to ride higher or lower in the respective spaces between the pulleys. Fantastic clever simple engineering! This means they should (I think?) have a decent coating of grease on the shaft so that middle pulley can move more freely? Note they're keyed onto the shaft, they all rotate together with the shaft.



    I've now done the elbow grease bit on most of this lathe, and am up to the two drive spindles; one in the headstock, one in the variable speed mechanism (transmission from motor to headstock).

    20210228_034313887_iOS.jpg 20210228_035050860_iOS.jpg 20210228_035112932_iOS.jpg 20210228_035123934_iOS.jpg 20210228_035117623_iOS.jpg

    This leads me to my questions:


    1. How do I get those bearings out??
    Variable speed spindle: I can't get to the back of them other than through the other bearing. Stick a (relatively thin) bit of timber through and smack it with a mallet? I've been a little loathe to try as I can't imagine I'll be able to do it straight, and don't want to make it crooked and even more jammed in there. I was thinking complicated thoughts about a bit of steel with a thread in the middle that I could drop in, then thread a rod onto, then smack it out...?
    Headstock: I'm guessing remove that little key, smack the spindle out, and same as variable speed one?


    2. Suggestions for where to buy bearings? I'll pull them apart and see if they just need repacking, but I suspect replacing is the way to go. Never had to buy bearings like this before, and would rather spend $$ on decent ones than ever have to pull this thing apart again.

    3. Suggestions for where to even start with working out the right belts to buy? I'm assuming it's meant to be a V-belt of some sort, and I could measure the pitch of those pulleys...? There's also a top pulley, and a bottom one on the motor, that I could measure more directly.


    (I'm in Canberra, by the way, but assuming I'll buy these things online).

    Thanks in advance!

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Perth
    Posts
    25,627

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Randir View Post
    This leads me to my questions:
    1. How do I get those bearings out??
    Variable speed spindle: I can't get to the back of them other than through the other bearing. Stick a (relatively thin) bit of timber through and smack it with a mallet? I've been a little loathe to try as I can't imagine I'll be able to do it straight, and don't want to make it crooked and even more jammed in there. I was thinking complicated thoughts about a bit of steel with a thread in the middle that I could drop in, then thread a rod onto, then smack it out...?
    Headstock: I'm guessing remove that little key, smack the spindle out, and same as variable speed one?

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Leopold, Victoria
    Age
    62
    Posts
    4,140

    Default

    Getting to the back of the bearing through the other bearing with a length of steel or brass bar is the way to go to get the first one out. Use the largest bar you have that will fit through the inner of the bearing. Because you are looking at replacing the bearings it doesn't matter about hitting on the inner of the bearing to get it out. If you were wanting to reuse the bearings then you wouldn't do it this way. When you have your bar up against the inner of the bearing you want to knock out then hit it firmly with a steel hammer and keep moving the bar around to different positions around the circle so you are applying force on different parts of the bearing. Don't just hit in one spot otherwise you will twist the bearing in the housing and possibly get it jammed. Using the slide hammer puller like Bob has linked to will certainly do the job but will add costs to your rebuild unless you can borrow one. Just found this one on special at the moment so might be a good buy.
    Once you have your bearings out you can either get the numbers off them or measure the inner dia, outer dia and width with a vernier and order online or take your bearings to these guys and they will be able to supply replacements.
    Dallas

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Saskatoon, SK, Canada.
    Posts
    1,266

    Default

    To get the bearings out you might try and fit the shaft back in and start pumping grease in the fitting. The space will fill with grease and eventually start pressing on the bearings and "hydraulic" them out. One should come out at least. The process won't work if there is another way for the grease to escape. There is a very remote possibility of the casting failing but the bearings should push out long before that is likely to happen. If the shaft has a keyway then you need to find a piece of smooth shaft.

    Pete

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Hobart, Tas
    Posts
    1,009

    Default

    Good job!

    The others have covered removing the bearings well.

    For your other queries,
    2. The bearings. If you're going to replace them anyway, I'd suggest you replace your unsealed units with sealed bearings to reduce future maintenance. Oh, and remove the nipples lest the next owner try to pump in grease. I purchased mine from RS Components.
    3. The first thing you need to do it work out the belt profile. Take a look at Guide to V-Belt Selection and Replacement | PTE (powertransmission.com). Then it's simply a matter of getting the required length in the profile which matches your pulleys. Alternatively you could just take your pulley into a belt supplier and they should be able to tell you what profile to buy. Capital Bearing Supplies as linked by Dallas also appear to sell V-Belts so they can be your one stop shop
    Lance

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Canberra
    Posts
    46

    Default

    Thanks everyone. I'd assumed a proper bearing puller would be a lot more expensive - I'll just buy one. You've also pointed out the now-obvious flaw in my plan - I'm going to have to put the thing back together to get a decent measurement for belt length so I'll do bearings, finish cleaning, put it back together, then measure and order belts. Will check back in when it's running!

    Thanks again.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Sth Gippsland Vic
    Posts
    2,969

    Default

    Just something to consider.

    Have you checked the bearings that are already in the machine to see if they are still good ?

    Its a great project to get a machine and bring it back to life . And its a bit of work and well worth it .

    This lathe may have good bearings though. I always run a machine and check it out first . It can save many hours of running around buying bearings that may not be needed for years, if ever. The headstock bearings look filthy and not sealed .
    You could clean them out and re pack with grease and see if they Run warm or Hot and listen to them .

    I recently had a larger Buzzer purchase. First run I tried I found the big twin row bronze cage ( Expensive ) bearings on each side were running hot. One side was just mid warm the other was Hot . The test is to run it for five minutes and feel the housing near the bearing to see if it gets warmer.
    The other test is to use a screw driver like a stethoscope and listen to the running bearing . Mine sounded ok .

    I pumped in fresh grease and nothing changed so I took of the end cap on the worst side.

    The fresh grease I pumped in was sitting at the back of a tea cup worth of 50 Year old sea gull Poop like grease. Clotted foul stuff.

    So I took the whole head out and left the bearings on the shaft .

    With a paint brush and some mineral turps they came up like new . I blew compressed air through them and then re packed with fresh New auto bearing hi temp grease.
    Just finger pressed enough grease in until it came out the other side.

    When I got it running again , an hour later, they both came up to a mid warm temp . Better than before for the Hot side .

    I thought they must be finished and need replacing but noticed with the end cap off that new grease was exiting the bearings with the pressure of running . Had I put to much in ??

    With a good 20 minute run the temps of both sides dropped right down . Me filling all the space available in the bearing was to much for it . leaving room for it to escape was a good idea.

    I haven't re filled the tea cup space end cap with fresh grease yet so that a pump with the grease gun would push new grease into the bearing . I might just take the three screws off and finger push some in if needed and do the whole fill when the whole machine is painted one day .

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Perth
    Posts
    25,627

    Default

    About 6 years ago I was asked to look at an ~70 years old motor from the mens shed and Like Auscab's bearings one was chocka with saw dust. I pulled the bearings out and could not get any replacements for them so basically did what Auscab did and as far as I know that motor is still running.

    Have since found a really useful gizmo for cleaning up bearings is an ultrasonic cleaner. I bought one for SWMBO's jewellery making activities a few years ago - she has used in a couple of times and I have used it many dozens Any packed grease still has to be removed as per the method described by Auscab but to get them sparkling clean, 10 minutes in an ultrasonic bath can help. Really good on carby parts too.

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Canberra
    Posts
    46

    Default

    Thanks Bob and Auscap. I have gotten as far as pulling out the transmission bearings; and they do look like a repack might be enough. Will definitely try that first. As I can't figure out how to get the headstock shaft and bearings out (likely just: needs more force), I have been thinking maybe I can get all the sawdust etc out and repack in-situ. Haven't done so in-situ before, but will give it a go. With young kids my 'hobby time' is limited to a couple hours a weekend at best.

    Will report back

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