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20wt Machine Oil

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  • 20wt Machine Oil

    I don't want to sound like a complete dummy here...but I think I may. I just picked up a Jet metal lathe (9x20), and the manual says use 20wt machine oil. I can't for the life of me find this stuff anywhere...what kind of oil do I need to use? And where can I get less than 5gal...say a quart or a gal?
    I have limited knowledge on a lathe...but have used them in the past. I have worked on an old Southbend...(slick as snot btw), and a Smithy. I don't want to use the wrong sort of I would like to keep this thing running great and working as it should.

  • #2
    Too bad the archive search feature is so crippled; proper oil has been discussed a LOT in the past. It may be worth trying a search, anyway.

    #20 is about ISO 49, if I remember correctly. Look at or and see what they have. You could also use hydraulic or turbine oil of the correct viscosity. They're about the same thing as "machine oil" and may be easier to find.
    Try to make a living, not a killing. -- Utah Phillips
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    • #3

      here is a chart cross referencing variuos oils

      for your machine hydraulic oil is the best choice,if you cant find that try some 20 wt air compressor oil, but ideally you want hydraulic oil
      -buy some way oil as well
      you can use it for lots of other things if you get too much, the oil thing has been hashed to death often , and with great vigour if you search you will see .


      • #4

        Hi Gwindor
        If I were you I would use 20 wt motor oil. It will work fine. Oils are made to be effective lubricants in hot and cold conditions. I also use WD-40 at times. What happens is that I always clean my ways before use with some toilet paper. Even if you clean the lathe after the last use wipe it again so that all dust is removed. I use the WD-40 when I just need to use the lathe for a minute or two. If I am going to use it for extended periods of time than I apply regular oil. I find that thin oils are great for a little run time and makes clean up less mucky. Use oil and keep your ways clean and your machine will still be making parts when you gone and are pushing up flowers.


        • #5
          Do a search for this ebay seller. I have met him personally a couple weeks ago when I picked up my oil. He buys lathe oil in bulk and sells in smaller quantities for the occasional machinery user...

          His ebay name is bluechipmachineshop


          • #6
            You also might try lawn mower suppliers and l/m repair shops to find 20wt non detergent oil.
            mark costello-Low speed steel


            • #7
              machine oil

              I had the same problem, then I bought a little can of 3in 1 oil for something else. I happened to read the can, it's 20wt. You should be able to get this at just about any hardware store.
              When I get Time... I'll...


              • #8
                once again, a what oil do i use? thread starts turning into-"well i use wd 40 ,3in 1, cooking oil ,chainsaw bar oil hair oil ect ect "


                • #9
                  I ausme we are talking about the hear box here, ok well my book for my busy bee 10x18 says to use 10wt or 20 wt ,,try finding it so i asked them can i use 30wt non deterget well certenly you can and its even better then the 10 or 20 as you wont need to change the oil as often and the lathe will run a bit less noisy and smoother,,so i says to the guy thats much,

                  so anyhow i been using the stuff for going on my 3rd year now on this puppy and for the hell of it i change my oil 2 times a year and i use it to lube all the oil spots on my lathe as well as the bed, i use wd-40 when i take the jaws out and clean up the scroll then i use a finle lube after of 30wt and all is good ...

                  i turn alot of SS , but either way i machine SS and aluim and brass and bronze for the most part. and i use cutting/turnnig fluid mainly..

                  most of my tooling i use is HSS other then some carbide ones i modified for special stuff i do..


                  • #10
                    If it's for the gearbox, you'd be better off using NON-detergent oil, which I've discovered is nearly impossible to find. The detergents will keep grit and stuff suspended in the oil, while non-detergent oil will let it settle to the bottom of the gearbox, where it'll do no harm. Hydraulic and pneumatic oils have pressure-resistance additives, but no detergents, so they're fine.

                    Local (northern NJ) carparts places have 30 wt ND, but my Maximat calls for 10 wt ND, and the only place I've found that is Tractor Supply, in 10-quart jugs.

                    Mc Master has a whole selection of ND oils, but again, in gallon sizes, and shipping will kill you.
                    Pete in NJ


                    • #11
                      Try NAPA auto stores if you have one in your area. The one here stocks 20W and 30W ND in a Napa brand in quarts. Thats is what I am using in my LeBlond headstock and it sees to be fine. I use Varacta way oil on the ways and apron.


                      Happily working on my second million Gave up on the first


                      • #12
                        Yes, auto part stores or McMaster -

                        Do not use automotive motor oil. It has detergents (see above) and also will stain the metal and paint with prolonged use. I would think 3 In 1 may be OK, but do not know about the detergent thing. Perhaps they have a web site. And it may be the most expensive thing.

                        You can also try shop supply places like MSC, Enco, Wholesale Tool, Reid, etc. You may also find a local TSC (Tractor Supply) or Orscheln. They are farm supply places but farmers have tractors and machinery that needs various oils. I got two gallon jugs of oil from McMaster: one a lighter weight spindle oil and the other a way oil. The way oil has better stay-put properties under pressure and is a heavier weight. Both seem to work well. I don't have a gear case (yet) but needed a gear oil for my rotary table. I got a quart container of gear case oil at the local auto supply. It may not be perfectly matched for this service but is a gear case oil and with manual cranking the duty should be light. The most important thing is there actually is oil in there. I am looking at a mill with a gear drive and will need to get a proper oil for it as that will be a more severe use.
                        Paul A.
                        SE Texas

                        And if you look REAL close at an analog signal,
                        You will find that it has discrete steps.