The best thing a lathe owner can do is perform preventative maintenance.
Proper and regular maintenance of the lathe is vital to ensure machine functionality and user safety. Preventive lathe maintenance, where potential problems are avoided through constant maintenance, is just as important as repair and can avoid unnecessary expense. The best tips for lathe maintenance are to create a checklist covering all parts of the machine and review it thoroughly, using this checklist as often as possible. By developing a detailed checklist, keeping the machine clean, and looking for potential wear on parts before they become a problem, regular lathe maintenance helps promote a long, safe, and effective life.
It is vital not to lose any important machine parts when servicing the lathe. Some of these parts are easily visible on the surface of the machines, while others may require an inside view. Drive belts are what carries the engine’s power. They are typically housed behind a casing called an edge protector. They should be checked regularly to ensure proper tension and consistency. With time and use, they will naturally wear out and will need to be replaced. Since the drive belts come as a set, it is important to replace the entire set instead of just one of the belts.
Keys are an important adjustable feature built into lathes. They serve as a kind of wedge when the moving parts that run along the guides of the lathe, through constant friction, have created too much space between them and the guide and no longer run smoothly. The screws are placed next to a key and can be adjusted to push the key, a long piece of metal, into the space that has been lost through wear. It is important to adjust the keys whenever necessary.
A lathe is a complicated instrument, and when creating a lathe maintenance checklist, all of its components must be included. A complete inspection should always include your hydraulic system, cooling system, air filters, electrical components, head and spindle. The machine should also be kept well lubricated by regularly checking the spindle and passage lube tanks.
Cleanliness is also critical to the maintenance of a lathe. Correct lathe maintenance involves constantly cleaning the lathe surfaces as well as maintaining the wiper pads. These are sticky, oily pads found on most lathes and designed to keep small debris from getting in the way of the lathe’s operation. They must be removed from the machine, cleaned and lubricated frequently. While general preventative maintenance and upkeep can be performed even by a novice, any complex repairs that involve disassembling the machine should always be left to experts.