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FP1/Alexander Spindle Lubrication


Sep 30, 2006
Hi All,

I have an Alexander milling machine which I believe to be very similar to the FP1. I was wondering if anyone can explain to me how the lubrication system for the horizontal cutter spindle works. Here is a copy of the relevant page in the user manual.
Spindle Lubrication.jpg
If I am reading it correctly, you fill the gearbox with oil and then the pockets around the spindle. It seems then that you never need to fill the pockets again as they get re-filled when the machine is run. How does this work? Is there some sort of pump system?
The other question is that the manual talks about a sight glass on the front of the machine so that the level in the pockets can be seen. As you can see below my machine does not have this window. All other photos of Alexanders and FP1's I have seen show this window.

The pockets are “catch trays”. They get refilled by oil carry over and splash from the spindle gearing. That in effect is the “pump”.

As to the sight glass, no clue as to why your machine lacs one.
Perhaps your machine is a late version and Alexander deemed the glass as unnecessary and stopped fitting such.
Think it would be relatively easy to fit one should you wish.
Could get a member here to measure the position of the glass on their Alexander or FP1 and you could bore a hole of the proper size and fit the sight glass. The glasses used on the FP-NC seal with an O-ring and just need a simple straight bored hole of the proper size.

Cheers Ross
Hi Ross
Interestingly to fill the pockets the operating instructions tell you to advance the head forward to the 1” position and to run the machine at 750rpm for a few minutes. I wonder if there are some shields to stop too much splashing and that at the 1” they are not so effective.
My machine has the roller bearings not the plain ones perhaps they require less lubrication and hence the sight glass isn’t so important - just a thought.

Can’t say with Alexander but with Deckel, needle bearing spindles are grease packed and don’t get any oil in the spindle.
There (Deckel) the catch troughs cast into the sides of the Y ram are there to provide oil to lube the Y ways below.

Suspect your Alexander is similar and the sight glass is irrelevant.

Cheers Ross
That sounds like a good explanation. Presumably the catch troughs are still replenished by oil splash though.
Hi Bob, this is the description of the Alexander roller bearing heads.
Alexander roller bearing spindles.jpgRoller bearing vertical head.jpg


  • Alexander roller bearing spindles.jpg
    Alexander roller bearing spindles.jpg
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