Amateur Machinists' Tools, Techniques and Materials

Archive for December, 2012

Lathe care

Posted by hammerscale on December 7, 2012

Not taking into account the lubrication schedule set forth in Rockwell’s literature, there are four maintenance areas that need periodic adjustment/care on my Rockwell 11” lathe.


  • The vary-speed lever needs snugging up every once in a while.    The speed begins to drift as time goes by as the lever loosens.   This is done by tightening, ever so slightly, the hex screw holding the lever on.
  • The cross feed screw also needs tightening on occasion. It gets to the point where the cross feed handle spins too easily and gives no tactile feedback when turning. Do this by adjusting the two jam nuts on the back end of the cross feed screw.  This adjustment is a bit finicky, and may take more than one attempt to get right.
  • The vary-speed pulley needs oiling along the center shaft.  Take 3 in 1 oil and dribble it carefully on the pulley shaft, then work the pulley back and forth under power to distribute.
  • Occasionally, snug up the jib screws on the compound and cross feed. Not often, maybe once a year.

Also, I pump grease into the headstock grease fittings maybe two times a year.  That is covered in the manual, as well as 40 odd oiling points on the lathe. And, of course, it goes without saying, slather way oil over the bed frequently.

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