Lathe motor oil

Discussion in 'Watch Repair' started by Lefpanhorf, Apr 3, 2020.

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  1. Lefpanhorf

    Lefpanhorf Registered User
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    Sep 22, 2018
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    I have a old lathe motor that has oil cups on the bottom side of each bearing end and I was wondering what kind of oil should I use.
     
  2. Smudgy

    Smudgy Registered User

    May 20, 2003
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    Any good quality light machine oil will work. I use 3-in-1 most of the time, Zoom Spout sometimes, gun oil, or occasionally Norton honing oil if I run short of the 3-in-1.
     
  3. glenhead

    glenhead Registered User
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    What Smudgy said.

    This is one of those areas where yes, synthetics will outperform natural oils, but realistically you use enough and refresh it frequently enough that natural oil (like 3-in-1) will work just fine. I use synthetic sewing machine oil. It's roughly the same price as 3-in-1, so the fact that I use a lot of it for the motor and lathe bearings doesn't make much difference in cost. The fact that it gives me the warm fuzzies to use oooh-synthetic is icing on the cake. (And yes, I understand that synthetic lubricants really are that much better for long-term performance.)

    Glen
     
  4. viclip

    viclip Registered User
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    If you Google "electric motor oil" a number of specialty oils will come up, including those marketed by the 3-in-1 people as well as the WD-40 folks.

    I guess I'm getting long in the tooth, but I still remember applying such oils to the armature bearing cups of my old furnace motor every Spring & Fall.
     
    MrRoundel likes this.
  5. Lefpanhorf

    Lefpanhorf Registered User
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    Sep 22, 2018
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    Thanks for the input everyone. The reason why I was asking was that when I got the motor the cups were packed with a red grease and I wasn't sure if it would migrate to the bearing well enough with the cups being on the bottom side of the bearing.
     
  6. viclip

    viclip Registered User
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    Some electic motors were designed to be periodically lubricated with grease rather than oil. I would expect that a grease fitting be found rather than an oil cup, although using the proper nozzle on a grease gun or pumping syringe would allow grease to be shot into an "oil cup".

    Anyways the lubrication of motors calling for grease initially requires determining the proper formulation of the grease. Again Google is your friend here, there are many hits respecting acceptable grease types (with warnings against mixing different greases) & associated procedures.

    In a nutshell, at both ends of the shaft there should be a grease fitting, removable plug or other protective device at the entry point for the grease; also a removable plug at the exit point (sometimes left uncovered). Ensuring that the exit point is open, the correct quantity of the proper grease is then applied via the entry point but first taking pains that the entry point is clean. Old grease & air are forced out of the relief passage through the exit point while fresh lube enters the grease reservoir via the entry point.

    The above general observations must of course be adapted to suit your particular motor. If there's still an identifying plate or decal attached, you might do a Google search - it's surprising how often someone has posted ancient instruction/specification sheets etc.
     
  7. Smudgy

    Smudgy Registered User

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    It sounds like you may have a motor that was dry and the owner put grease in the cups, thinking that grease was needed. If the cups are on the bottom like you've described it should use oil and have a wick to bring the oil up to the bearings. The wick will look like a piece of string and may have been discarded when the grease was put in the cups, but should be replaced if it is missing. It should also have cone shaped springs in the cups to hold the wick up against the bearings and not simply fall to the bottom of the reservior. I haven't heard of any motors that use grease having the oil cups mounted to the bottom. I don't know how the oil could migrate upwards without some mechanism to counteract gravity.
     
  8. Lefpanhorf

    Lefpanhorf Registered User
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    Sep 22, 2018
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    Yes there is a wick. Cleaned out the grease and put 38.1 in. Thanks
     

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