Leather Belt Lathe - Removing the Spindle
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    There's a very extensive thread on splicing serpentine belts on machines like this.

    Heavy 10 serpentine belt??

    To save you a lot of reading, I'll tell you that I have found that grinding a 2" lap on the ends of the belt, gluing with Shoe Goo and clamping with a couple of spring clamps makes a very tough splice. I have tried very hard to tear apart a test splice and have failed.

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    Conveyor belts used in everything from production to agriculture use rubber belting, in the good old days lather was used.
    There are two common types of lacing used to couple the ends together. Any rubber belting supply company can supply you with the width and length and thickness of belt needed as well as installing the lacing to attach the ends together, in both cases a hardened steel rod is fed through the two and slightly bent on the ends to prevent the pin from walking out. this way you won't have to pull anything apart.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mpoore View Post
    Here is my question: Can babbit bearing caps be removed and re-installed like shell bearing caps?

    I recently bought an old lathe made by A. V. Carroll in the 1920's. It is very similar to the South Bend lathes of the era. It has an electric v-belt motor that drives a countershaft that drives the head via leather belt. The leather belt needs to be replaced.

    Replacing the leather belt with rubber seems like a nice upgrade. Gates makes a serpentine belt of the correct length and width that could be used as is, if I can safely disassemble the headstock to slip the belt on. It looks like it has poured babbit bearings, which I have never dealt with before. The spindle spins well without slop and I'd like it to stay that way. I'd rather cut and stitch the belt than pour new bearings, if those are my only options.
    Our JR HS / HS Industrial Arts class, tail-end of the 1950's, Instructor taught us once or twice a year - new belt needed or NOT, how to taper leather belting off roll stock, hide glue it with a simple wooden guide and clamp.

    SB lathe was running next day.

    Spindle never had to come out. joint was essentially silent, unlike lacing or metal clips.

    Practice half a dozen times on cut-ups off the remains of the OLD belt, then JFDI.

    Rocket insemination, it was never. Clips weren't invented 'coz no one knew how to glue.

    Line-belt era, they were simply more useful for lots more frequent alterations to needs than just ordinary wear would require.

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    Quote Originally Posted by thermite View Post
    Our JR HS / HS Industrial Arts class, tail-end of the 1950's, Instructor taught us once or twice a year - new belt needed or NOT, how to taper leather belting off roll stock, hide glue it with a simple wooden guide and clamp.

    SB lathe was running next day.

    Spindle never had to come out. joint was essentially silent, unlike lacing or metal clips.

    Practice half a dozen times on cut-ups off the remains of the OLD belt, then JFDI.

    Rocket insemination, it was never. Clips weren't invented 'coz no one knew how to glue.

    Line-belt era, they were simply more useful for lots more frequent alterations to needs than just ordinary wear would require.
    It scares me that I'm starting to understand Thermite, at least by the second or third reading.

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    Clearly, the verdict is to not remove the spindle to install a belt. I'll check out a local belt supplier about getting the recommended supplies.

    Although you all provided helpful information, no one actually answered the question I asked. Can babbit bearing caps be removed and reinstalled like shell bearings? I'm just curious. I might want to do it at some point for a better reason than replacing a belt.

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    You might want to consider pulling the spindle and replacing the leather belt with an off the shelf serpentine belt. I have an old 9" SB that I still use for certain operations and I put a serpentine belt on it about twenty years ago. I do know how to scarf a leather belt but the serpentine belt is much better. It does not slip like the leather belt and you don't have to keep adjusting the turnbuckle because of stretch. The other reason why you might want to pull the spindle is to inspect the felt oilers. If you say this lathe is similar to an older SB, then it will have spring loaded felt oilers that extend into the oil reservoir and keep the spindle bearings lubricated. These should be replaced due to wear on the felt. This would be a good time to do it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mpoore View Post

    Although you all provided helpful information, no one actually answered the question I asked. Can babbit bearing caps be removed and reinstalled like shell bearings? I'm just curious. I might want to do it at some point for a better reason than replacing a belt.
    Garbage In = Garbage Out.

    There is an antique section here, you failed to post there.

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    That's not a nice way to treat a possiblel future moderator of the metrology forum...

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    Quote Originally Posted by digger doug View Post
    Garbage In = Garbage Out.

    There is an antique section here, you failed to post there.

    Bullshit. He asked a specific question and none of the exalted experts here deigned to answer. What? They (you) couldn't understand the question? Babbit bearings can still be found in heavy industry and the question is valid on this forum.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gordon Heaton View Post
    Bullshit. He asked a specific question and none of the exalted experts here deigned to answer. What? They (you) couldn't understand the question? Babbit bearings can still be found in heavy industry and the question is valid on this forum.
    And still no one has answered the question. On my Father's SB lathe you are supposed to loosen the spindle cap bolts a little for extended high speed running. This increases clearnace so it does not bind as it warms up from the higher rpm's. This makes me think you can unbolt it safely.
    Bil lD

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    Quote Originally Posted by crossthread View Post
    You might want to consider pulling the spindle and replacing the leather belt with an off the shelf serpentine belt. I have an old 9" SB that I still use for certain operations and I put a serpentine belt on it about twenty years ago. I do know how to scarf a leather belt but the serpentine belt is much better. It does not slip like the leather belt and you don't have to keep adjusting the turnbuckle because of stretch. The other reason why you might want to pull the spindle is to inspect the felt oilers. If you say this lathe is similar to an older SB, then it will have spring loaded felt oilers that extend into the oil reservoir and keep the spindle bearings lubricated. These should be replaced due to wear on the felt. This would be a good time to do it.
    THIS. is wise. Age and unknown condition, bit of preventive maintenance or repair to extend life, wotever.

    And regardless of what choice is made as to belting. Separate issue, IOW.

    There is info around about Babbitt bearings.

    They are not themselves a close-tolerance drop-in and-go from standardized off-the shelf parts as Micro-Babbitt overly "shell" bearings in motors cars but yes, they can be taken apart and re-assembled. Scraping and refitting were/are common.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MrWhoopee View Post
    It scares me that I'm starting to understand Thermite, at least by the second or third reading.

    I keep telling you folks that Thermite is really quite cogent and understandable once you learn his basic dialect. From what I've been able to gather, it seems to be a mixture of Nepalese and Tagalog with some English added for understandably.


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    Quote Originally Posted by thermite View Post
    THIS. is wise . . .
    Yes, and the OP said in his original post that he was leaning that direction

    Quote Originally Posted by thermite View Post
    . . . about Babbitt bearings. . . yes, they can be taken apart and re-assembled. Scraping and refitting were/are common.
    Ah, the question is finally answered.

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    Here is Lodge & Shipley's version - "Babbitt" ( they said WHITE METAL) shells, removable/replaceable. I see the cap is off

    This was quite the elegant improvement back in the day
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails ls-plain-bearing.jpg  

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    Babbitt bearing removal.......with a blue flame or a hammer.
    fig-224-spindle-box-reed-lathe-ready-babbitti.jpgfig-225-spindle-box-reed-lathe-after-babbitting.jpg
    Then just melt them back into place.

    The answer is your mileage will vary.

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    First, a serpentine belt is the bees knees on a belted lathe. No more click - click and it runs smooth as glass. In addition to that, I will second the idea of removing the spindle on an older lathe. When I got my SB-9 I decided to use a serpentine belt so I took the spindle out to install it. I was very happy that I did because I discovered that the felts in the oilers had completely worn down and the steel springs were riding on the spindle and scoring it. Fortunately the damage was not too severe and I was able to purchase new oilers and install them. It runs like a top now.

    It is a very good idea to inspect the inerards of a lathe that is 30 - 50 years old. And I figure that the serpentine belt is far superior to the original leather and will probably outlast me. It's been installed for over 10 years now and shows no sign of wear or even stretching.

    I also checked the spindle run-out at that time and would have made adjustments if they were needed. Removing the spindle is a win, win, win!



    Quote Originally Posted by crossthread View Post
    You might want to consider pulling the spindle and replacing the leather belt with an off the shelf serpentine belt. I have an old 9" SB that I still use for certain operations and I put a serpentine belt on it about twenty years ago. I do know how to scarf a leather belt but the serpentine belt is much better. It does not slip like the leather belt and you don't have to keep adjusting the turnbuckle because of stretch. The other reason why you might want to pull the spindle is to inspect the felt oilers. If you say this lathe is similar to an older SB, then it will have spring loaded felt oilers that extend into the oil reservoir and keep the spindle bearings lubricated. These should be replaced due to wear on the felt. This would be a good time to do it.

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    What happened to the original post?

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    It is still there.



    Quote Originally Posted by Gordon Heaton View Post
    What happened to the original post?

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    Well, I don't know if its me going crazy or something else, but this thread shows post #1 from MrWhoopie, not the original question about babbit bearings from mpoore:

    Originally Posted by mpoore

    Here is my question: Can babbit bearing caps be removed and re-installed like shell bearing caps?

    I recently bought an old lathe made by A. V. Carroll in the 1920's. It is very similar to the South Bend lathes of the era. It has an electric v-belt motor that drives a countershaft that drives the head via leather belt. The leather belt needs to be replaced.

    Replacing the leather belt with rubber seems like a nice upgrade. Gates makes a serpentine belt of the correct length and width that could be used as is, if I can safely disassemble the headstock to slip the belt on. It looks like it has poured babbit bearings, which I have never dealt with before. The spindle spins well without slop and I'd like it to stay that way. I'd rather cut and stitch the belt than pour new bearings, if those are my only options.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gordon Heaton View Post
    Well, I don't know if its me going crazy or something else, but this thread shows post #1 from MrWhoopie, not the original question about babbit bearings from mpoore:

    Originally Posted by mpoore

    Here is my question: Can babbit bearing caps be removed and re-installed like shell bearing caps?
    The short answer is YES! I have a Seneca Falls Star lathe with similar poured bearings in the headstock. It has a stack of shims between the bearing cap and the main body that can be removed as the babbiting wears. Another example is the GM main and rod bearings for engines prior to about 1954. They also have a stack of shims between the cap and main body that can be removed as the bearing material wears.

    The power house at our company headquarters had ammonia compressors similar to this:

    early 20th century industrial ammonia compressor - Google Search

    The bearings in the flywheel were babbited and required inspection and "adjustment" every couple years to maintain proper tolerances. The bearing caps were removed, Plastigauge was inserted between the cap and the shaft, the cap was reinstalled to the proper torque and removed again. The Plastigauge was then measured and the proper number of shims were removed to reset the clearance. Every 5 years or so the flywheel was removed and the bearings were repoured.

    Sadly the compressor was lost in a fire in the early 1990's. While it could have been rebuilt, no off the shelf parts had been available for nearly 50 years. The cost of making new parts was prohibitive.


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