Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Machine Lubrication

Which Where When Why

When you get an old machine, you invariably find out that it requires a lubricant that is old and outdated.  You can feed it like this, but that's pretty expensive.

Or you can dig around and see what others are using.  If you ask on the big machinist's blog, you will get forty-seven answers and 600 lbs of crap for "using an old boat anchor to try and make parts."  I'm not a production shop making nuts and bolts for replacement bile ducts, so I'm okay...  I don't need a 1000 part a minute 7 axis cnc with a 50 HP 5 phase motor that runs on whale oil either.  This is machine shop on a budget...

My old LeBlond spec'd some odd oil that was either too expensive, or was out dated....  I asked an old timer and this is his recommendation.

Disclaimer - this is an old lathe, spec'd out in 1942, delivered in '43, it's survived horrible abuse, and will outlast me and my attempts to take care of it.

He recommended using hydraulic oil in the headstock, with a sticky additive.  I got 5 gallons of Super S ISO 68 oil (or Tractor Supply's Traveller ISO 68) with a gallon of Lucas Oil additive in it to make it sticky-er (why yes, that is a 5:1 ratio).  And it works a treat.  Down here, near the surface of the sun, the ISO 45 seemed a bit thin to me.  He is up in PA, and with their cooler weather, 45 was his goto oil. 

I use this stuff to fill the headstock, the apron and as way oil.  And it works.  It works well.  In the winter down here, during the odd cold spell, it's tough to pour into the apron.  It needs a bit of warming up.

The Logan lathe likes it, too.  Nice paint brush to smear it around on the ways.  Crank a bit on the apron and the cross slide, as well as push around the tail stock to make sure it's under everything.

Milling Machine

Well, as a matter of fact, I do use the same oil on the ways of this machine, too.  It just works.  It sticks, it's cheap, and it works.  It keeps the rust at bay, slicks the ways, and fits in the one shot.  What's not to like? I still have some sticky way oil I bought for 20 bucks a gallon years ago.  It seems to have the same consistency as the ISO 68 with Lucas.  I should compare them head to head sometime.

On the head, there is a little grease zerk on the right side. 

I just leave this finger tight.
I found that the head is supposed to get some super duty Lubriplate grease in a 2 oz, million dollar tube.  I finally found one that was about $20.00 and ordered it.  Well, it's just plain old Lubriplate assembly lube. 

Plain old assembly lube in a tiny tube

Dualco, ain't it cute?
When I found that out, I purchased this:

It's a Dualco bicycle grease gun. 

 It works wonderfully to give the head a spritz of Lubriplate whenever it needs it.


 Special Ops - Clausing Hydraulic Speed Adjuster

The old Clausing lathe has this cool reservoir that holds some magic oil for the speed control. When it was shipped, that got sheared off and wound up in the chip pan.  I replaced it with a cup for a HVLP spray gun (Northern Tool as I remember).  It works fine, but what to feed it?
Cheap mod that really works, now the rest of the machine looks like a pigpen...

I read all I could find, and simple power steering fluid fills the bill.  I didn't want to put my sticky mix in it.  Should have reserved a bit of the ISO oil, but wasn't thinking.  I'm sure any hydraulic type oil would work, even Type F.  It's not under a hood, getting circulated through heat and demanding aggro-driving.  It hardly moves any thing, so budget is good enough.

Friday, December 27, 2019

Happy Christmas, Rusty!

I hope your Christmas was enjoyable.  Mine was a smooth day.  One of the few this year.


I used to worry about rust.  I worked to keep it at bay, and tried every little trick I knew to clean it when it came.  Living within a 100 miles of the gulf, humidity is unavoidable. Machinery acts just like a glass of iced tea.  Cold front will chill it down, and then it'll sweat when it warms up.  Down here, our normal winter is a series of cold, dry fronts that back up as warm, humid fronts.

Since my tricks weren't working all that well, I had to learn some new ones.  



I've used several methods over the years.  Sanding, wire wheel, knotted wire wheel, sand blasting all have their place.  But on a machined or smooth surface, you are ruining that finish with those methods.

Before treatment


Vinegar - It will eat rust.  I wonder if it pulls iron from the surface as the part will be covered with a black film that needs a bit of scrubbing to remove.  It could be residue from the chemical transformation of rust, too.  The finish is usually frosted after the treatment.  I figure it is like Parkerizing, without the coating.  The resulting solution has a very metalic smell to it.  The smelly leftovers are easy to dispose of. I use hot water to wash it, and let it evaporate for a minute before hitting it with M1*.


After EvapoRust treatment

Evapo-Rust - It works like vinegar without the vinegar smell.  It leaves the same black coating on the part. The same metallic smell is evident and the part needs scrubbing a bit.  The finish is frosted.  It works very well.  Same process as vinegar for washing and treating.

Electrolysis - I did this on the foot of the Clausing drill press I reconditioned.  I hooked it backwards at first, and had some really nice looking sacrificial anodes for a couple hours.  Then, I reversed the leads.  It worked fine.  Just like it did for Mr. Pete.  The rusty part was pitted a bit deeper but did clean up well after I got it the right way round.



Hexavalent chrome warning:  

found via Bing image search




 WD-40 - I use this to remove the water from the item that needs protection.  It's what it was designed for, and it's good at it.  I wipe it off with a paper towel after flooding the part.

M1* - Starrett's M1* lube is great.  It evaporates to leave a thin film and it has done well to protect what I've applied it to.  You can find it on sale at times (Little Machine Shop)

CRC - I've got a test can of  350 and 400.  Testing will commence soon.

BLO - If you have a blacksmith type tool, heating it up, dipping in boiled linseed oil, then heating it again until dry will put a dark coating on it that is resistant to rust.  I've done that to several rough use tools.

VCI paper - I've unpacked tons of parts with this in the box.  I got a box of it for myself.  It's in most of my tool box drawers as a top cover.

Even with a coating of oil, or M1*, you have to keep up with the maintenance. 
If your tool acquisitions outstrip your ability to take care of them, you will have a rusty nightmare to fix.   Or a pile of rusty crap that others will paw through and wind up scrapping after you dirt nap.

No matter how you look at it, we are just stewards of what we have collected.  Someone else will inherit it and if it's in poor condition, they will trash it.  Make sure it's worth their time to sell it, or better yet, develop an apprentice.  

*   Okay, so, it appears that Starrett's M4 is really Starrett M1.  A memory is only as good as the paper it's written on.  And I didn't have any paper this morning.... heh....

Sunday, December 22, 2019

The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men

May to December 2019

Who knew that pain was a motivation killer?  Who knew that medication would eat creativity and leave you weak?  Who knew that little innards hidden in your body make really important stuff that you need to operate correctly?  Sure wasn't me....  But I know now!

It's been a heck of year.  Typing with a brace on my wrist right now.  Hopefully, I'm done with medical issues for a while.  Not a ride I enjoyed, fer sure.


New Skills

When I'm immobile, my brain keeps working.  It's frustrating to be chomping at the bit to do something and not be able to.  So, I started learning Fusion 360 a couple weeks ago (low impact) while my hand heals.  I had a semester of AutoCad back in 1989, and a semester of mechanical drafting in 1981. That background makes it fairly easy to glom onto the concepts.  I'm really just learning the program right now.  If you want to cnc, this is a necessity.  I may or may not cnc, and leaning towards not...    however:

I bought a 3D printer last year on Myfordboy's recommendation, and it is a learning experience.  In order to make my own ideas a reality, I have to draw them and then export to the proper file type...  It's an .stl file.  Then the program (Cura) can take that to generate the gcode (cnc directions) for the printer.  Whole new vocabulary.

All my shop projects languished this year.  Not proud of that, but at least I'm alive to complete them in the future.

conFUSION 360

I've wanted an optical center for a couple years, but being the frugal type, I won't spring for one

I've been digging around on the net, and saw a neat one flash across the screen.  It was a fuzzy drawing that was being advertised but the website is long gone and I guess their cd of plans is too.

Got out the dividers, and the calculator.  Measure the fuzz best I can, then set up a ratio, then use the factor to solve for the actual dimensions. 

               [A:B = C:D  read that  this way-> A is to B as C is to D]

Came up with a drawing then over to Fusion 360.   Export the .stl file, then over to the old klunker pc running Cura, and save the gcode to the memory stick, then into the printer.  Four prints to get the dimensions correct (105% of measured).  3 hours and a few mins per print.  About 13 hours total over a few days.
Proof of concept, why is there a curve on the back??

Now I have a working model, and I can move to steel or aluminum for the finished product....

Oh wait, no lifting.... 

So, I got some laser mirrors off the auction site that we all know and love.  Measured those and worked in a slot to the design.  It goes into the body, so it holds the mirror without adhesive.

I had a little center finder that has a steel plate, and a center punch.... like this only more redneck:
Found it!  yeah, it's a beauty.

The optical part was too long to fit in the hole, so I added in a slot with a counter sink to hold it and it's basically a working unit! 

Is that cool or what?

After I get a bit stronger, I'm aiming to make at least one of these for the mill. 

I am truly glad that this year is almost done.  It darn near did me in.  It was a booger, no doubt.