Keeping my heavy 10 in a cold garage
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  1. #1
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    Default Keeping my heavy 10 in a cold garage

    So that time of year is coming around when it gets cold here in MI/Southern Ontario. My almost finished heavy 10 is currently being stored in an unheated garage.

    My question: is there any risk involved with losing accuracy by storing and using the lathe in these cold conditions? My background is woodworking and I know that wood can expand and contract pretty significantly with temperature (*humidity) changes.

    I know metal to a lesser extent also expands and contracts with these variations. Am I crazy to worry that my lathe will lose some accuracy by being exposed to the cold weather/seasonal changes?

    Bonus pic of almost done heavy 10:

    img_3831.jpg

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    Only thing to worry about is condensation.

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    Yep, condensation would be the problem. unpainted surfaces are prone to rust. Of course the obvious answer is to keep surfaces well oiled. What I was going to try this winter is to hang a 250 watt heat lamp up high pointing down on my BP to keep the surfaces just warm enough to keep condensation from forming.

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    Lack of oil and quick warming are your enemies. I rutinely park a wet car inches from my machinery (not the best it's what I have to do). I keep things well oiled down and when I go out to the shop on cold days I have to stagger the heating. Bring it up to 40° and wait an hour, bring it up another 10° and wait, etc. this keeps the dew point down and the machines won't sweat. I haven't noticed much with the accuracy, but then again they are old machines. My Seneca Falls is approaching 115 years old. I did notice one winter the spindle seized tight and I had to loosen the adjuster on the outboard end a bit. I'm not sure if it was the cold or not.

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    ultra cheap- hang a incandescent light over the machine. Even in zero degree weather it will radiate enough warmth to keep the machine ready.

    better is a small radiant heater....I had a little Pelonis safety heater that did the job...Kept the machine warm enough it would radiate enough heat to help keep me warm too.

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    As others have said cold temperature is a non-issue. You must avoid rapid temperature change at all costs. It is those rapid changes that cause differential temperature between the warmer air and the colder metal, allowing condensation.

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    how economically painful would it be to keep the garage at ~40 degrees?

    even oiled surfaces will submit to enough moisture when the temp drops.

    keeping things above freezing greatly reduces the condensation level.

    A heavy tarp is also a thought

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    My "fix" for this was to insulate the ceiling in my un-heated concrete block shop. The front wall of the shop is shared with the house so it does bleed a little heat into the shop but not a lot. The insulation slowed the temperature swings enough that it doesn't sweat. Much quieter out there too, which is a plus.

    I also just keep it well oiled as a general rule. South Bends are leaky enough that you can usually just mop up the oil weeping from various places and use that same rag to get a light coat of oil on the handwheels and such.

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  10. #9
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    Hang an infrared lamp(brooding lamp) 250W, and no more problems. Like most have said it's the condensation that is the killer. I have an old K&T Uni in a shed that is kept under a tarp that way. I go through two light bulbs a winter. It's been a temporary thing for the past 5 years(lack of space)...

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    A tarp helps..but with not going down to the floor..

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    I think I will try the heavy blanket solution, I've got a wood lathe in the garage as well that I stored last winter but it didn't get much use and help up pretty well. On the wood lathe I applied some boeshield t9 I think it's called, it's a penetrating rust preventative and I think they make it in spray form as well. Not sure I would want to go that route on the SB since I plan on using it and I think the waxy T9 may interfere with the different oils - thoughts on that?

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    no tarp or blankets.

    unless you happen to really like mice.

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    Quote Originally Posted by iwananew10K View Post
    no tarp or blankets.

    unless you happen to really like mice.

    So that's what that clump of hay and horsehair was on the floor...............Ok got it.....LOL

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    There are anti-corrosion covers made for machines. These covers are impregnated with the same chemical found in anti-corrosion paper that high end tools are shipped/stored in. They form a vapor cloud which inhibits oxide formation.

    An example for woodworking tablesaws is found here: Zerust No Rust Table Saw Cover | Rockler Woodworking and Hardware

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  18. #15
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    I had bad issues with condensation in my old shop. It was not closed in well and had no insulation.
    Thinking I was going to AC my new shop, I put r19 in the ceiling, r-13 in the walls and weatherstripped everything. I figured this would also lower chances of a noise complaint. I never did put in the HVAC.
    When we have a sudden change of temperature, it takes the shop about 3 days to catch up. Rusting on the machines stopped, but I still had some rust on machined CI parts after a year or so, so now I have a dehumidifier with a humidistat running out there. Cheap compared to HVAC.

  19. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by michiganbuck View Post
    A tarp helps..but with not going down to the floor..
    I prefer painters canvas it covers the machine but breathes. Also keeps the dust and grit off machines.

  20. #17
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    Nice machine but the 2 piece leg on right indicates it once had a chip tray maybe.

    Project for you to make later.

    Any old table cloth or blanket works fine as a cover but as others stated keep it up off the ground.

    Make sure the cabinet doors close and make sure no critters can get in the bottom.

    Set a few snap traps inside.

    Have the cover just go over the top of the machine and that will allow > t to breathe but the air circulation will be minimum meaning condensation will be minimum as the temperature change will be such that the machine will be isolated from the room but the air by the machine is trapped in the blanket or cover so it should be fine.

    It also keeps dust off so look for something for long term.

    Good for use at all times to keep it clean when not in use.

    Only operational concerns is when it is real cold the bearings may be a bit tight but spindle is also cold so it may not be an issue.

    Others may have experience there and can comment.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I337Z using Tapatalk

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    Box store dehumidifiers work well unless the temp drops below 60deg F or so. A dehumidifier that'll work below that temp without frosting the coils up is pushing $1000 US.

    It may or may not be worth it.

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    Beautiful machine! I don't have much to add, accept I'm in roughly your location. We should hook up and talk machines sometime..


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  23. #20
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    1) put a 100 watt trouble light inside the motor housing.

    2) cover machine with canvas tarp.

    3) bonus points if you properly lube the machine before (1) and (2) above.

    Main problem is when the machine is cold, and you have a warm damp rainy day, and then
    open the garage door. This causes water to condense on the cool machine.


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