View Full Version : Auto-oiler ideas.

02-06-2012, 01:05 PM
Has anyone ever fitted an auto-oiler to their mill or lathe? Not talking about a one-shot oiler but a constant supply. I'm thinking of making one each for my lathe and mill, the lathe one driven by saddle movement and the mill my the x-axis spindle.

I understand that some of the better quality lathes have oilers on them, what sort of volumes are pumped?

02-06-2012, 05:02 PM
If you are considering this, you are either severely over lubing your machines, or are seriously overthinking the situation. Machines are designed from the factory (even the cheap ones) to operate a maximum amount of time with a minimum of lost time maintaining the machine. The high end machines that have internal lube pumps generally are meant for a significantly higher duty cycle than a home shop and even many non-production shops could push them to. Even most shapers, which tend to see very high cycle rates bc of the constant oscillating motion, do not have self lube systems.

My Bport and lathe both have an "all gits cups" lube system. 5 seconds with an oil can lets me run hours without interruption. Why would you want anything more, that could prove to be a failure mode, when the current system does so much?

02-06-2012, 05:13 PM
chemical dosing pumps would make good auto oilers

all the best.markj

02-06-2012, 05:31 PM
I was thinking more along the lines of a small, slow-turning epicycloidal pump.

Justanengineer: I seem to be constantly cleaning and lubing the ways of my lathe (with proper way lube) and can't stop the grey smearing as the saddle travels up and down. Also, my old milling machine is already tighter at the ends of travel on both axes which means the middle is worn. I want to reduce this on both.

I don't mind a bit of mess to clean up, I'd rather not have my machine worn out if I can help it.

02-06-2012, 05:31 PM
Don't recall the exact periodical though it was one of the British model engineering ones...perhaps a year ago?
Anyway, the project was to build an oiling system for a Myford lathe and, IIRC, there was actually a kit developed out of that (or the article was a promo for the kit?) including all the fittings (at end of line but also "manifolds") and the lines themselves.
I just don't recall enough details other than to say I considered it as my lathe is a "loss" system...I think what it amounted to was a reservoir and then metering to different feed points which I think were in fact where the oil cups/balls had been. I will end up using a couple of those oilers similar to what a lot of "hit and miss" engines use and then just oil can for the other points [got all the parts, waiting for it to warm up]

Lew Hartswick
02-06-2012, 06:10 PM
Also, my old milling machine is already tighter at the ends of travel on both axes which means the middle is worn. I want to reduce this on both..
That usually means the lead screw is worn, not the ways.

02-06-2012, 06:42 PM
I have an auto oiler fitted to my Tormach, It gives a shot of oil on startup and then at regular intervals while you are using it, they sell them for $294 USD.
They have two different voltage ones one 220 volt and one at 110 volt



02-06-2012, 07:00 PM
I understand old iron and the desire to preserve it well, but suspect you are overdoing it quite a bit.

If youre adding way lube and getting out a mess (or anything that looks different), you should check the oil galleries or wipers for crap buildup. Whenever I buy a machine, the first thing I do is pull it apart and check every part of the lube system.

I would also ask what your definition of "constantly cleaning and lubing" is? My Bport's manual says to add a "few drops twice daily" to the gits cup going to the spindle bearings, "twice weekly" for the cups to the feedscrews/nuts, and "weekly" for the ways. These are recommendations for commercial shops, running 8 hours/day 50 weeks of the year. My Clausing lathe has similar recommendations, a few drops every day or week depending upon the port. Admittedly, I also overuse the oil quite a bit by adding a few drops in every cup every day I use them, but there is no need for more than a few seconds work each time. I think when you compare a few seconds work vs the very real possibility of potential issues, messes, and possibly starving your machines of oil unknowingly (I HATE "one shot oilers" for this reason), there is little question which is better.

FYI - one shot oilers are great, until a line/metering valve etc or two become plugged and you think your machine is completely oiled, only to have it starving on a few bearing surfaces. You wont notice it, and you will keep working in many cases. Ive seen more than one machine that suffered bc of these. I compare certain features like these to automotive power windows - great until they break, then be prepared to pay. Sometimes simpler is better.