Lathe and Mill Way Lubrication
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  1. #1
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    Default Lathe and Mill Way Lubrication

    I've been dousing the ways on my lathe and mill with oil after cleaning and before running a job. The up side is I figure lube has to be good. The down side is wet lube collects chips. Anyway, I caught glimpses of the ways on a couple UTube vid's where the lathe ways appear very dry, with just a wipe of oil. The upside of that is the chips don't stick, but the downside is less lube.

    So, I wondered how most of you old heads run your ways...wet or just a wipe of oil?

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    To a great degree, if you have properly working way wipes on your machines, a lot of the oil added from the outside in just gets wiped away. Not a thing is mentioned about the normal oil systems on the machines? Are they not existent? Not working? If there do you pump them daily as recommended by the machine manufacturer? If they're there and working, why the need to add more as a daily matter of course? A little wipe off now and then I understand, but don't forget lubrication for the most part works at microscopic levels. Meaning if you're seeing any you're likely seeing enough.

    I don't know... just one 2 cent train of thought. There are likely to be more donations from others. : -)

    Dave

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    On the mill the lube pump works fine, but it is only adding oil at 15 minute intervals when a CNC job is actually running and very low volume. It also has pretty decent covering for the ways. The lathe has no built in lube with very exposed ways. I mention the mill, since it has ways too, but my main reason for the thread is the lathe.

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    Hmmm... wow. A lathe with no lube? No wonder you're slopping it on. Are you sure about that no lube? CNC? Manual? Make/Model? Is this a little bench top number?

    I have a customer with an old Bridgeport clone. Maybe a Kondia or Comet or something. I was there at their shop some years ago checking it out. The thing had about a crank and a half of backlash on the screws and looked dry as hell. I went over to the side of the saddle and gave it a bunch of pumps on the oiler that was there. I nonchalantly asked that didn't he ever pump the lube? He said no. He didn't know it was there or what is was for.

    Not saying this is you, but have you really looked hard for a plunger handle... somewhere?

    Dave

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    Lathe is a Celtic 14. If there is a way oiler I haven’t found it. It’s got little oil cups for everything else, but not the ways. As for the Bridgeport...I can pump all day and it’s still only going to get a few cc’s an hour. I have been coating the ways sloppy wet, as they can’t be getting much from a total of a few cc’s an hour?!?

    It’s sounding like I’m the only one coating the ways...?

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    I looked up your lathe. Pretty nice. Seems there are other threads on PM about it, but I couldn't find a picture of the apron and saddle that was close enough to take a look at how it might be oiled. You say there are oil cups on the machine. I'm wondering if you look closely if you can find some of the old style spring loaded ball oil ports that you stick the tip of your oil can into and give a squirt. They'd be flush with any surface and may be buried under some extra layers of paint? Here is a link to McMaster Carr showing what I'm talking about.

    McMaster-Carr

    Also wondered if you had only felt way wipes if they may be your only oiling device. Just a thought.

    Anyway... that's about the last thing I can think of. Where are all your Celtic compadres to chime in?

    Maybe a post in the Antique section would get you further then here in Bridgeport/Hardinge

    Good luck!

    Dave

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    Thanks, Dave. I’ll study the saddle to see what I can find. I have the manual...in French!?! It’s neither common nor sought after, but it was the first decent deal that came my way for a hobby lathe. From what you’re saying it is likely there is an oiler somewhere. I’ll let you know when I find it...

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    Spent all day installing a DRO on the lathe. I removed every bolt accessible on the saddle...no provisions for lube for the saddle or ways. The closest is the wipers are made of thick felt, with a place to add oil to the top of the felt. I think I’ll keep dousing my ways unless someone else chimes in with a reason not to...

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    Felt was pretty common on old machines of many types. The fact that you mentioned an oiling port to the felt on your machine tells me this is what the manufacturer considered the machines' way lubrication system. Maybe for a while, start doing your oiling there and see how it works. It's possible that it may work well enough to satiate your feelings on what's good or good enough.

    If you ever thought to revive or renew the felt that's there now, McMaster Carr is also a good supplier of felt. They have many types to choose from.

    Wondering what the manual you have on the machine says about oiling the felt. Time to bone up on your French? :-)

    Dave

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    Absolument!

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    You have a Celtic14? they are made about 5miles from my home, and I live in Belgium. That lathe has travelled a few miles! I have a Celtic 12 lathe (and a bridgeport series 1 mill). Standard there are no automatic or central oilers on the machine (I havend seen one anyway). I can take a few pictures of how you can lubricate everthing. Maybe you can send me a private email with a picture of your lathe, just to be sure we are talking about the same machine. I you have questions or you want something translated, I can help because my french isn't to bad and I think I have a dutch manual (dutch is my main language...)

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    That's pretty cool! Here's a picture:



    She was used in a tech school in Massachusetts for her entire life. Then was bought by a fellow in New Hampshire before I had her shipped to Texas. She came with several broken gears, but I am working on taking care of those. Well worn, but still cuts very well and will do what I need to do.

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    ok, that is why I asked the picture. You have the older, rounder model. I have the "newer", square model. But no problem because my colleague has the same as you. I asked him to make some pictures. I will send the to you by private mail. He lubricates the sadle/ways trough the holes in the felt covers. If you make sure the felt is soft it will work very good. he also installed felt and covers on the tailstock to have the same lubrication there. further there are oil points on the spindles and a grease point on the change gears. see pictures in your mail. he will also check his manual and I will make another post or mail with aditional info.

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