Lathe machines, in general, are not essentially cheap. Even the miniature types would cost around a few hundred bucks. And with this kind of machines, maintenance is really important and much more if your work or job has something to do with lathes.
Now, lathe machines are supposed to be durable and sturdy. Plus, they are meant to last long. But if you are using your metal lathe on a daily basis, certainly, your lathe needs taking care and a few maintenance steps in order for the tool to stay in its finest condition.
So, the question is - how to make a metal lathe last long? What are the key ways of maintaining a metal lathe? What are the things you should avoid?
Metal Lathes Today
There are numerous kinds of metal lathes
. If you are to check the market, you would see tens or even hundreds of them. This is because the range of variety has become too wide since the industrial revolution. More and more innovations have been made and this cause for these machines to be more advanced.
Some of these innovations include self-cleaning features and maintenance functions to maintain the genuine quality of the machine. But even so, there are still tons of factors that can affect the functionality and quality of metal lathes. Things like rust, dust, and moisture are only some of these factors.
Accordingly, this is the reason why you would need to do a few preventive measures and maintenance processes to make a metal lathe last long and keep its finest quality.
Maintaining A Metal Lathe in 5 Simple Ways
Maintaining a machine or a tool can be a challenging task for some. But while it can be quite inconvenient, this is a must in order to prevent damage, deterioration, and even replacement in the long. So, this will save you must cost in future.
Even so, this is not to say the metal lathe maintenance is a challenge. And as it happens, it would only take a few minutes of your time. Here are the 5 simplest ways on how to make a metal lathe last long:
1. Blow and Brush Dust
Every time you use the lathe, certainly, there will be dust, chips, and shavings in and on the tool. So, one of the easiest ways to maintain your lathe is by actually brushing and blowing these dust and dirt away.
Keep in mind that leaving the lathe dirty and untidy may result in quality degradation. Also, it may cause for the motor to wear much sooner. Plus, it may result in losing a few fittings to the dirt pile. Hence, make sure to leave the lathe clean and tidy.
2. Wipe The Surfaces
All the surfaces including the inside, top, base, and underneath must be wiped off. And in doing this, you may want to use WD 40 and a 3M scotch-brite foam to wipe the surfaces efficiently.
Aside from making it smooth and clean, this will also lubricate some parts of the lathe including the banjo and tailstock. And in doing the lubrication once or twice a week, you will notice that the aspects and parts of the lathe are much easier to adjust and manage when in use.
3. Level The Rest
There are times that wiping and dusting are not enough. And you may need to do a little more addition to your usual and conventional maintenance steps. One great indication that you may need to level the rest is when you run your finger over the rest and it turned out that the surface is not smooth.
When this happens, use a mill file to complete the process. It is important to keep the tool rest at the level since this will help you use the metal lathe much easier and smoother.
4. Inspect for Cracks and Tears
Inspection for cracks and tears are not necessarily done every day. But if you must, then you may do so. Nevertheless, it is important for you to check and inspect every part and every aspect of your lathe regularly, especially if the lathe is utilized almost every day.
Normally, the drive belts are more susceptible to wear and tear. So, you should monitor this part of your lathe. Also, pay attention to the motors and the other fragile parts as well.
5. Free From Debris
Aside from dusting off the dirt and small particles that could hinder the lathe to function properly, ensure that the headstock and headstock threads are free from excess chips, shavings, and debris. This is to be sure that the dead center will spin efficiently.
Now, these 5 maintenance ways will help you keep your metal lathe safe and sound. Also, this will keep the machine to work and function properly. Not only that you are ensuring the overall safety of the tool, but you are also securing the quality of the lathe.
Tips and Hacks on How To Make A Metal Lathe Last Long
Alongside the given ways and steps above, there are other important points that you may want to keep in mind. These tips and hacks will help you make the metal lathe last much longer.
Primarily, if you are dealing with the rusting and corrosion of the structure, you may want to check and monitor the lubricant that you are using. In addition, you may want to schedule the right moment and period when to lubricate the lathe
Secondly, keep in mind that the room temperature can also have an impact on the quality of the metal lathe. Too much heat will naturally deteriorate the quality of the machine. So, make sure to store and place the lathe in a cool and dry place. Also, refrain from exposing the lathe to too much sunlight.
And thirdly, before using a lathe, you must understand that knowledge is a must. If you do not have any idea on how to use a lathe, then be sure to equip yourself first with the right knowledge and steps.