View Full Version : Bridgeport Ram, Ball Handles, Micrometer Dials

07-29-2003, 08:47 AM
Any suggestions as to how best to get a healthy dose of way oil into the ram, without having to disassemble. My 1959 Bridgeport's ram is seriously difficult to move.

Secondly, the ball handles and micrometer dials have a coat of surface rust on them. Any suggestions as to cleaning this up would be appreciated. I've considered low pressure bead blasting, judiciously of course, and then a coat of polyurethane to seal.

Thanks in advance.

John B

Paul Gauthier
07-29-2003, 10:25 AM

the micrometer dials and ball handles are easily removed and bead blasting would be then be a good method to clean them up.
The ram is not so easy. Move the ram to its extreme in both directions and coat the exposed dovetail with way oil and then move it to and fro repeatedly should help to free it up some.

Paul G.

07-29-2003, 10:47 AM
Thanks for your response Pual. I had thought of doing exactly that, but hesitated until I heard it from another. When I say the ram is tight, I mean it is tight. Almost took a wallop from a dead blow hammer to get it to move. So, I will approach with caution and way lube the living "H" out of it. Thanks again!

John B

[This message has been edited by jr45acp (edited 07-29-2003).]

07-29-2003, 11:31 AM
Don't know of course how heavy the rust is on your ball handles, but I use something called 'Never Dull' or 'Stay Brite' or something like that. ...can't think of exact name at the moment, but it's a cottonlike wadding saturated in some magic formular (maybe kerosene ??? ...I dunno). Comes in a small metal can. When used with a healthy dose of elbow grease it'll put a nice shine on such as ball handles. Tho I wouldn't want to tackle a heavy layer of rust with it.

07-29-2003, 11:53 AM
Thanks Lynnnl. I've tried Never Dull, but with limited success. That's why I thought a light touch with glass beads would be the way to go. Nice frosted finish. Thrud wouldn't like it, not shiney enough!

John B

07-29-2003, 12:12 PM
Never having seen glass beading on an instrument dial, it makes me shudder http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//eek.gif but I could be wrong about it.

I use Birchwood Casey "blue & rust remover" for removing rust without touching the base metal in any way. I've it many times for machine micrometer dials. Rinse well in water because it has phosphoric acid in it. Finish off by turning it with #600 paper and a few drops of oil.

If you want to spend some money for pretty dials, Sherline makes laser engraved aluminum replacement dials (crisp white on black dial). I think they're around $35 each from Sherline or MSC.


07-29-2003, 02:13 PM
I've used Nevr Dull many times. It is intended for polishing aluminum and is the only polishing method certified as safe to use on aircraft aluminum as it will not remove the cladding on the alloy. Yes, the magic solvent is kerosene. Not sure how well it would work on rusty steel. A Scotch Brite pad ought to work well.

07-29-2003, 02:26 PM
You might try an old bike/auto restoration trick start with an SOS or Brillo pad. It will not damage the original surface and will remove all manner or accumulated crap including rust.

07-30-2003, 02:29 AM
Ditto on the scotch brite pads for the rust.

Part of the reason the ram might be tight is the crappy oil that last duffuss used. Dinosaur Puke (petroleum oils) have heavy waxes in them and as the solvents evaporate they increase significantly in viscosity. Might be easier to dissaemble, clean, and adjust. I would stick to a good lube (there are no full synthetics in way lube, but Amsoils is the closest).

07-30-2003, 10:07 AM
I will try the brillo pad option. I've done the scotch brite I've gotten at the local hardware store, but I don't have that much elbow grease. FWIW, when I talkked about judicious bead blasting, my small unit only has 6PSI at the nozzle. I did a test on another piece and it appears that it will do what is required without overdoing it.

Ragarsed Raglan
07-30-2003, 10:56 AM

See if your local blaster can do a 'nut blast' or 'shell blast' on those parts. The nut blasting uses coconut shell fragments and the nut blaster (Ouch! sounds kinda painful) uses Brazil nut, pistachio nut shells and such like.

In fact, just thought about this one, why not take the parts to your local 'Lone Star' steakhouse and leave the bits on a piece of string in the aisle ways. The amount of peanut shells kicking about in the last Lone Star I went in would have it shiney bright in 10 minutes!!!!


07-31-2003, 05:34 AM
I like the Lone Star option the best! Cn feed my face, kick back some cold ones, and get my stuff cleaned up all at once! http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif

07-31-2003, 11:39 PM
You can bring back a nice shine to bead-blasted items by using a FINE wire wheel or Scotch Bright wheel. If you make your SB wheel, use the grey pads.