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Thread: Bearing quality? Spindle adapters?

  1. #1
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    Question Bearing quality? Spindle adapters?

    Hello everyone,

    I hope my questions below aren't already answered, if they are please let me know guys.

    My lathe is an old classic Rockwell Beaver 3400 - 36" lathe 3/4 hp and these are my 3 lathe related questions:

    1) I've currently removed the 2 bearings, front and rear (NSK 6204z and 6205z) from the headstock of my lathe. From researching online they classify these bearings as being Deep Groove Single Row Ball Bearings which are Sealed. Not being familiar with these types of bearings I'm wondering if there are any better quality Models/Brand that exist instead of NSK? Or are NSK bearings top of the line and should last for years? I’m currently sourcing the same ones, yet I figure if I'm going to put everything back together I want bearings that will last as long as possible and that are superior quality. Should I change these to another type of bearing style?

    2) The spur centre on my lathe is threaded directly onto the spindle (no hole in the spindle). Do adapters exist that can be threaded onto the spindle so that I can add a tapered cup centre? If I am not mistaken these are right-hand threaded at 7/8-14 tpi.

    3) Finally, has anyone had experience with the Rockwell Beaver 3400? Is it worth putting some money into it and keeping? I purchased it because I liked the fact that you can turn on each side of the headstock and because it is solid quality cast.

    Any recommendation, suggestions or advice would be great guys. I appreciate your time and efforts everyone.

    Peace,

    R@nger

  2. #2
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    A.B. Normal

    Default Re: Bearing quality? Spindle adapters?

    Wood lathes are pretty simple and not subject to too much force.

    The best bearing would be a tapered roller to resist the forces in line with the spindle such as when you are boring towards the headstock.

    This is a big consideration in machine lathes, however wood lathes operate with hand forces.

    A deep groove roller bearing will accept some axial loads, and of course radial loads. This makes them a reasonable choice for wood lathes.

    Of course there are many very old lathes built with plain bearings, and as long as they were properly lubricated they lasted from the foot treadle era to the distant future.

    My wife has a Rockwell lathe, the poor orphan of our trend in Toronto to kill off the wood shop classes. It's an adequate lathe, just like your Rockwell/Beaver. You're going to enjoy it greatly, learn a lot, have a lot of fun.

    What you're not going to do is make it the equivalent of a big expensive lathe by replacing a couple of bearings with something made from unobtanium.

    You're on the right track, buy a couple of good quality bearings, NTN, FSK or the brand you've sourced, I happen to like the bearings made in Japan, the EU etc to the other importers.

    Nice to see the older machines still in use, have fun with yours...........Rod.

  3. #3
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    just what you thought :^')

    Default Re: Bearing quality? Spindle adapters?

    Ranger there are a whole slew of posts on the Beaver, Beaver/Rockwell 3400 lathe.
    SKF and TIMKEN are good quality bearing makers, but as Rod mentions these lathes are not heavy industrial machines, and a good quality bearing will last for a long time.

    I am not aware of an adapter made for these lathes but some accessories can be held in a chuck.

    Here's a link and there are many more posts on these lathes

    http://forum.canadianwoodworking.com...t=Beaver+lathe

    Have fun and take care
    Leo Van Der Loo

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Bearing quality? Spindle adapters?

    Thanks again Rob for your input.

    I'll look into deep groove roller bearings... you had also mentioned tapered roller are best because these are in line with the spindle… Aren't most roller bearings in line with the spindle? Are tapered roller superior to just roller?

    Yes, I'm looking forward to using it The bearing issue was heard/noticed when I started her up, my hope is to install new bearings and get back into turning during the coming winter months. Yes, I like older machines. I find that taking the time to change the speeds by moving the belt gives me some time to re-think my next approach and is def old school. ;) One day I'll move onto the more expensive models with automatic RPM system, for now this old beaver will do the trick.

    Thanks for the advice on the NTN and FSK brands and manufacturing in Japan and EU. If I am not mistaken NSK bearings originated in Japan, yet are manufactured in North America, Brazil, Europe, China and Japan. I'll look around Ottawa to find a bearing supplier and hopefully they will have these in stock.

    Cheers,

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Bearing quality? Spindle adapters?

    ive had lots of experience with the beaver 3400, rebuilt 3 of them

    any good quality standard bearing is more than adequete, i use the skf from motion canada, about 15 bucks each i think. never had a problem with them

    special b its for the headstock can be a problem, there is no morse taper in there. the very old beavers did have a mt2 in the headstock, mine from the late 40's does, later models didnt have that feature. you are correct on the threading, the outboard side has a 3/4 by 16 lh thread

    is the machine worth keeping and upgrading? well i definetly thinkso, mines older than me and most of us here, its a well built reasonable capacity machine, somewhat crude by modern standards(keep a 3/4 wrench handy and manual shift the belt over) but they will last for another 5 decades easily and no plastic or potmetal stuff to break
    my shop is a beaver lodge
    steve, sarnia, ont

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Bearing quality? Spindle adapters?

    These guys on Kent St. will have anything you want.... http://www.gbs.ca/en/mainen.html
    Paul

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Bearing quality? Spindle adapters?

    Thanks again everyone for the advice.

    I did go to GBS and picked up some SKF Explorer Bearings, the guy said that they are tripple sealed so there is no way any sawdust or anything will ever get into them. Wow! He also looked at the other NSK bearings and they were toast. Couldn't wait to get home and I put everything back together in less then 30 mins and now the lathe is ready to work with. I agree stevem, I think the machine is worth keeping and these models are built like a War Tank. Just too bad the center spur on the headstock is not tapered. I did find a forum that talked abour having one made...

    The solution to a Spur Center for either the Rockwell 3400 or Delta 46-140 is quite simple:

    Buy two parts, a 7/8 x 14 TPI adapter and a MT2 Spur Center. Cut off the Morse Taper from the MT2 Spur Center about 3 mm behind the Spur head. Mount the Spur in a drill press and used a hacksaw, this made a nice clean cut. The Spur head fits nicely in one end of the 7/8 x 14 tpi adapter. Weld the two parts together, clean up the weld on a grinder and paint. Both of the required parts are available at Busy Bee in Canada or at Grizzly in the USA.


    Also just got a nice Wolverine sharpening jig with 120x cold grinding stone for the bench grinder. I'm almost there.

    Thx guys

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Bearing quality? Spindle adapters?

    the beaver/rockwell spur center is a common problem, usually they are awol on used machines. but as leo pointed out, virtually any headstock tooling can be held in a chuck including a shortened morse taper spur drive but at the cost of some length capacity. the headstock spindle can also be bored out and reamed for a morse taper, but it would have to be rehardened

    ive changed the bearings on 3 3400's, its easy but dont forget to put on a new belt during reassembly

    remember also that the old cast iron is brittle, broken banjoes and tailstocks can be an issue. a major catch will snap the banjo(tool rest slider) and if the tailstock is loose on the bed during faceplate turning, it may slide off and break the little ears that retain the handwheel

    i use good quality ball bearings like the origanals, done lots of drilling using the tailstock with no issues and done some larger bowl work on the outboard side, again with no bearing/spindle issues and my spindle is bored and reamed for a morse taper so maybe somewhat weaker than the solid spindle

    with a standard 1750 rpm motor, the 3400 is way too fast for bowl work and large drill bits(ive used up to a 2 inch forstner in mine) i added a 2 speed jackshaft to give much lower speeds

    good luck and stay in touch
    my shop is a beaver lodge
    steve, sarnia, ont

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Bearing quality? Spindle adapters?

    I would think that getting a chuck would be a good start. Then if you can find a machinist or hobbyist that could turn the taper to straight and hold it in the chuck.
    I have machined my own drill chuck adapter as well as one for a Beal collet chuck for my 1970 Beaver/Rockwell.
    Good lluck.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Bearing quality? Spindle adapters?

    i agree with WB, a chuck is an excellent addition to any lathe
    nova and oneway are considered to be the best, avoid the cheapies!!

    i have a nova 3 with adaptors to fit inboard and outboard threads, works very well. i've also made various tapered adaptors to fit in the chuck as described by bob hamilton in his videos(in the tutorial section)
    my shop is a beaver lodge
    steve, sarnia, ont

  11. #11
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    just what you thought :^')

    Default Re: Bearing quality? Spindle adapters?

    Oneway makes spurs to be held in their chucks, they have square sides on the body so they will not spin in the chuck, I have one that I use occasionally, even used it on bowl blanks a few times, but I think their new big spur would be much better for that, anyway have a look if interested, they are well made, ........... what else would we expect from Oneway

    http://oneway.ca/spindle/spurs.htm

    Have fun and take care
    Leo Van Der Loo

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Bearing quality? Spindle adapters?

    Hi all,
    I know this is an older thread but these are referenced over and over again for new 3400 owners (like me!) and are an appreciated wealth of information.
    I found a gentleman in the US that makes adaptors for these that will bring the 7/8 14 tpi thread to a more standard 1" 8 tpi and also provide you with a MT2 in the new threads. Another option if you don't need a chuck immediately or don't want to adapt MT accessories.
    I have one of these on order and will update back with my findings.
    A note about the adaptor. Please make sure that he knows that you have a solid spindle. The default adaptor purchased on the site assumes an MT hole in the spindle. I emailed him and he is turning the adaptor longer to completely house the the MT2. Seems a nice guy to do business with. I am in no way associated to this guy, it just took me a long time of digging on the internet to find this solution so I wanted to share with other 3400 owners.
    Another bonus, he ships USPS so you won't get hosed by brokerage fees...

    link http://bestwoodtools.com/

    Thanks!
    Warren
    Last edited by hagarw; 05-16-2012 at 11:51 AM. Reason: forgot link

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Bearing quality? Spindle adapters?

    so this adaptor fits over the 7/8 and provides both 1 inch threads and an mt 2?

    must be pretty long!!, like 2 or 3 inches extra spindle length. that will shorten the lathe's length capacity of course

    and a drawbolt for the mt accessory wouldnt be posible, although that isnt needed if the tailstock is in use

    let us know how it turns out
    my shop is a beaver lodge
    steve, sarnia, ont

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Bearing quality? Spindle adapters?

    Quote Originally Posted by hagarw View Post
    Hi all,
    I know this is an older thread but these are referenced over and over again for new 3400 owners (like me!) and are an appreciated wealth of information.
    I found a gentleman in the US that makes adaptors for these that will bring the 7/8 14 tpi thread to a more standard 1" 8 tpi and also provide you with a MT2 in the new threads. Another option if you don't need a chuck immediately or don't want to adapt MT accessories.
    I have one of these on order and will update back with my findings.
    A note about the adaptor. Please make sure that he knows that you have a solid spindle. The default adaptor purchased on the site assumes an MT hole in the spindle. I emailed him and he is turning the adaptor longer to completely house the the MT2. Seems a nice guy to do business with. I am in no way associated to this guy, it just took me a long time of digging on the internet to find this solution so I wanted to share with other 3400 owners.
    Another bonus, he ships USPS so you won't get hosed by brokerage fees...

    link http://bestwoodtools.com/

    Thanks!
    Warren
    I had come across these adapters a few weeks ago, but was disappointed to find the 7/8"-14 in the special size category resulting in a cost of $70 plus shipping, to me this seemed like too much of the cost of getting a good chuck that would solve most of these issues. I am interested to see how it works out for you.

    -Will

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Bearing quality? Spindle adapters?

    Agreed. For me I wanted to jump quickly into pen turning and did not want to invest yet in a decent chuck just to hold the mandrel, let alone limiting that field to only ones that have a 7/8"-14 adapter. I'm not saying that down the road I may not need a chuck but this was really all I wanted to invest to get me up and going and see where it leads. The drawback to the adapter will be loss of a little length (not an issue for pens) and no drawbolt (also not an issue for now). Just one more option of the many

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