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  • For want of a few drops of oil

    A few months ago I bought a 3 ton arbor press. I could see that the 1 inch handle had been beat on with a hammer. (luckily they didn't figure out that they could pound on the top of the ram and get better results) The chrome on the handle was peeled from the hammer blows and was somewhat like being wrapped in razor blades, so I sandblasted the chrome off and polished it in the lathe.

    What was the problem? It was dry as a bone. It couldn't have been more free of lubrication if they had soaked it in trichlor.

    I lubed it up with high pressure lube (center lube) and it works SO much better.

    Shortly after that I saw a 36 inch economy shear for sale cheap. I went and looked at it and the guy told me it didn't cut very well. He said it was dull.

    I brought it home and felt the cutting edges and they felt sharp.

    So I tried cutting some thin aluminum and it would barely cut it.

    The slides were, you guessed it, dry as a bone.

    I lubed them up and now it cuts like it should.

    Is it because there is an oil can shortage or what? Probably a nickels worth of motor oil would have made either of these two pieces of equipment word fine for the previous owners.

    The good news for me is that I paid for distressed machines. Then added a few drops of lube and they are not distressed anymore.

    By the way, the press came from a guy that rebuilt automatic transmissions and the shear came from a machine shop. So it wasn't like I was dealing with people who didn't have access to oil or knowledge of its use.

    Anyone else had any experiences like this?

    Brian
    OPEN EYES, OPEN EARS, OPEN MIND

    THINK HARDER

    BETTER TO HAVE TOOLS YOU DON'T NEED THAN TO NEED TOOLS YOU DON'T HAVE

    MY NAME IS BRIAN AND I AM A TOOLOHOLIC

  • #2
    Brian,

    Part of the problem is that people don't think of the simplest solution to a problem. I am guilty of this all the time. So instead of a couple drops of oil, they think of some other reason that it isn't working, like the blades are dull.
    Instead of putting a drop of oil, they pound on it with a hammer.

    Reminds me what I did with the VN #12 still sitting in my yard outside when the overarm was stuck, pounding on it with a sledge hammer instead of using a simpler and easier method.

    As I said, we don't think of the obvious, a drop of oil in the right place.

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    • #3
      Well this isn't quite the same as what you asked about but a mine I worked at in the mid 80s had a couple of guys that did the servicing on our fleet of haul trucks. These had V 12 Detroit Diesel engines in them, Each one thought the other had filled the engine after the oil change, Wrong!!!!, The truck made it about half way out of the service bay door before it calfed a $120,000 engine. Sad as that was it was just a mistake. What your talking about is neglect and the people that owned that equipment should be ashamed. Their loss your gain tho.

      Pete

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      • #4
        I got another lathe recently, a '66 Colchester. Most of it is working fine, so I'm into the apron at present investigating. It's not going to be a problem - probably adjustment of some spring tensions.

        But as I dismantle, leadscrew, feed screw, and so on, I find parts that should never see the light of day - like the end of the leadscrew that should be hidden 1 1/2 inches up into the gearbox for example, that look as if they've been hit with a hammer.

        I should add at this point that I believe this machine was used in a school of some sort at one time in its history.

        But still, what gives ? Do people take machines apart for fun, and then go around playing Errol Flynn with them ? Do they have snowball fights with the half-nuts ? Components that should be treated with reverence, and at most see a light dusting from a fine file to ease a high spot, get a damn great ding in them. Or do they stand long components against the bench and knock them over in the headlong rush for the door at knocking-off time ?

        Beats me !
        Richard - SW London, UK, EU.

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        • #5
          Seems like people have NO TIME to do anything that they should, like oiling, but lots of time to go do something to "deal with it", like finding a big hammer and pounding.

          Weird, but true..... I've seen it before, probably see it again a hundred times. I don't know why people WILL NOT oil or clean shop equipment.

          And it isn't just the users of it..... Usually it's the manager, who if he sees anyone "wasting productive time" oiling, cleaning, or adjusting a machine, will hit the roof screaming at them to get back to what "they are paid to do", and quit "screwing around".
          1601

          Keep eye on ball.
          Hashim Khan

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          • #6
            Um, yeah, I got a oil can with my lathe, and it don't work. I took it apart and cleaned it all, even dripped some oil down the tube to lube the inside. Got a bit of oil to come out but then it stopped. The dealer was no help. He just told me to put some oil in it, so I did that again. All I got was a bit of oil to come out and then it quit again. I checked the inside of the can and it was clean. The manual was no help, and where it says to put oil in the lathe, I can't get the little covers off. Someone must have put them on way too tight cuz now they don't even stick up enough to grab onto.

            I'm thinkin I got a real apple here. My brother says I should just send the lathe back, and that I got no business having one. I don't have a business- do you think thats what the problem is? My other brother says I should never have ordered it. Maybe I should have picked it up in person?
            I seldom do anything within the scope of logical reason and calculated cost/benefit, etc- I'm following my passion-

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            • #7
              My students oil machines every Friday. Many do it daily because they just like the feel of a well oiled machine, before they run and after they run - I would say the majority at this point. Way, hydraulic and spindle oil, as high a price as it may be is a good investment. I have so many way and such oil cans all over my shop it is almost OCD, but they are used.

              Many may think this is a waste, but hey, care of machines, building an appreciation for precision at the most basic of levels of taking care of the machine...I'll take that critique as a compliment for my students.

              Besides, I actually love the smell of way oil when I come into work each morning!

              My first job inside a machine shop was six months as a company "oiler", this was for a shop of 700 people, I learned a lot, and appreciate this simple "art" as it is. It is a very important art. I had a cart of oils and cleaners, I kept it clean and was appreciated by the machinists. I can still quote the specs for most machine applications to this day.
              Last edited by spope14; 12-11-2010, 11:21 PM.
              CCBW, MAH

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              • #8
                Originally posted by spope14
                My students oil machines every Friday. Many do it daily because they just like the feel of a well oiled machine, before they run and after they run - I would say the majority at this point. Way, hydraulic and spindle oil, as high a price as it may be is a good investment. I have so many way and such oil cans all over my shop it is almost OCD, but they are used.
                Wish there was such a school near me so I could take some courses on the side to learn some essentials. Sounds like you are doing a great job educating those kids as to what is important as a regular regimen.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Two of the molding presses that live with me were "killed" by lack of grease to the toggle bushings.

                  Obviously spending 20 min a week to take two guards off and shoot two shots of grease in a total of 10 fittings per machine... verses a quarter million or more for a new machine? It's a real no-thinkum to me.

                  Yet... I worked for shops were the mindset was "****it when it wears out we'll repair or replace it."

                  I prefer Prevention to Reaction when it comes to machine care. Fix it before it fails or prevent it from failing at all!
                  This product has been determined by the state of California to cause permanent irreversible death. This statement may or may not be recognized as valid by all states.
                  Heirs of an old war/that's what we've become Inheriting troubles I'm mentally numb
                  Plastic Operators Dot Com

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Thanks for the responses guys.

                    I am kind of venting but also kind of trying to educate some of the novices here to the importance of proper lubrication.

                    Jerry, I hear what you are saying.

                    The plant that I worked at for most of my career used to have oilers. People that went around and lubricated the machines.

                    They were educated about which kind of lube and where for each machine.

                    Most of the machines were specialized, highly automated machines. The kind of stuff that you could'nt check a book out of a library to learn.

                    Somewhere along the line, some manager decided we could do without the overhead of the oilers. The people operating the machines could take care of it.

                    They were probably right, IF they had trained the operators to do it. But they didn't. It did create a fair amount of overtime for the skilled trades people to repair/rebuild the machinery.

                    I do have a vertical milling machine that has a problem with the lube system. As of now I have been manually oiling it when I use it. But I will be addressing that in the future to make it easier on me.

                    Brian
                    OPEN EYES, OPEN EARS, OPEN MIND

                    THINK HARDER

                    BETTER TO HAVE TOOLS YOU DON'T NEED THAN TO NEED TOOLS YOU DON'T HAVE

                    MY NAME IS BRIAN AND I AM A TOOLOHOLIC

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Proper lubrication? I'd settle for ANY lubrication. In my guitar shop I see folks with tuners that are ridiculously hard to turn, so they end up using pliers for some extra leverage.

                      All around the worm and cog there are shiny flakes of plating and metal dust. Almost every time the request is for "new tuners because these don't work," and almost always the remedy is quick and easy - a few drips of oil.

                      We have a 12' x 12' roll up door that's usually open in good weather, and there's a steady parade of bicyclists going by - many of which bring with theme that intense painful steel on steel cry of chains asking for some oil.

                      My wife is a potter and we do many craft fairs each year, and of course there's that ear-splitting shriek from the sad neglected hand truck and cart wheels.

                      I suppose that it's really our pain, because so many are deaf to the pleading of simple machines. . .
                      Cheers,

                      Frank Ford
                      HomeShopTech

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                      • #12
                        Now, for a view of the other side. Some years ago I visited the Martin guitar factory and saw a cart carrying bar-coded parts from one station to another. Hanging from the cart was a clipboard with dates and signatures prominent in neat rows.

                        One tour member asked if that clipboard was to record the work on the parts, and the tour guide managed a slightly condescending look as he said, "no that's the list for lubricating the wheels on this cart."

                        Nice to see it done right!
                        Cheers,

                        Frank Ford
                        HomeShopTech

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Anybody else here have a grandfather clock?

                          You don't often think of oiling something like that, but they need it occasionally.

                          I hired a clock repair person to lube ours the first time, just to see how a pro does it.

                          Now it is my job.

                          Come to think of it, it is probably about time again.

                          Brian
                          OPEN EYES, OPEN EARS, OPEN MIND

                          THINK HARDER

                          BETTER TO HAVE TOOLS YOU DON'T NEED THAN TO NEED TOOLS YOU DON'T HAVE

                          MY NAME IS BRIAN AND I AM A TOOLOHOLIC

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Hey sometimes it can be an asset - I just got £150 knocked off the price of an already-cheap first car for my daughter and the seized boot lock and sticking drivers door lock was a big bargaining point. Two teaspoonsful of oil later and both locks work like new!
                            Peter - novice home machinist, modern motorcycle enthusiast.

                            Denford Viceroy 280 Synchro (11 x 24)
                            Herbert 0V adapted to R8 by 'Sir John'.
                            Monarch 10EE 1942

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                            • #15
                              Hydraulic oil is another big one.

                              Two of my presses had what I suspect was the original oil in them, or worse... reclaim oil out of a sump-pan. Rancid-smelling sludgy crap. Part of the overhaul for them involved a "power flushing" and dismantling the valve-blocks and cleaning everything.

                              Again I can't see why you wouldn't spend $2,000 a year to maintain a quarter-million dollar investment. Maybe I am the one who doesn't "get it" or maybe my logic is faulty.

                              These machines are my livelihood, I count on them to make my money. Other people also depend on them to keep running so they have a job every day.
                              This product has been determined by the state of California to cause permanent irreversible death. This statement may or may not be recognized as valid by all states.
                              Heirs of an old war/that's what we've become Inheriting troubles I'm mentally numb
                              Plastic Operators Dot Com

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