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Babbitt bearings

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Recky33

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Hi all, I'm looking to see if I can find someone to sort out my (originally) belt driven Robinson surface planer, needs the Babbitt bearings redoing in situ, I'm in South Manchester, not sure this is a thing anymore so just asking
 

heimlaga

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You can do it yourself if you want. It is not too difficult. I have done it a couple of times.

First you order a mandrel from a machinist. The mandrel has the same measurements and the same corrugations as the shaft stubs of the cutterhead minus 0,3mm on the diametre. The slightly smaller diametre is to allow for schrinkage in the white metal and for scraping. The mandrel can be turned from any ledftover steel shafting.
One bearing is usually corrugated inside to prevent axial movement
On the mandrel should be 4 movable collars each with a radial groove to one side which will act as an air vent.

Then you use a blow torch to melt out the old bearing metal.

Then you set up a wooden shtestle that will hold the mandrel in it's correct position relative to the tables. Absolutely parallel with the table surface.

Then you cover the mandrel and collars with soot by holding it over some burning birchbark. The soot prewents the white metal from sticking to the mandrel.

Then you assemble everything in place. Caulk the seam between the end of the bearing housings and the collars with either a repair putty for car exhaust systems or with a dough made from rye flour and water. If you use rye flour it must be dried very thoroughly before pouring the white metal.

Preheat the bearing housings with the blowtorch.
Heat the new white metal until a pine stick dipped in it chars enough to get light brown not black.

Pour the bottom half of the bearing.

Let it cool and cut down the white metal level with the cast iron housing.

Do the same sort of process with the upper half. The ventslots in the collars must point upwards so the air can get out from inside the cap. You are poring through a hole in the cap this time. Put some paper shims between the cap and the housing before poring so you have a marigin for tightening the bearing later on.

If you want to do it yourself I can help you with step by step advice. I am very far from Manchester and not likely to visit my relatives there anytime so we have to teach you online.
 

Vann

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...needs the Babbitt bearings redoing in situ, I'm in South Manchester, not sure this is a thing anymore so just asking

I don't know if there are firms out there that still do that sort of thing. But if not, all is not lost.

Being a Robinson it's almost certainly a well made machine - assuming there aren't other issues.

Many people attempt conversion to ball bearing races, but as often as not these are stuffed up.

You can repour babbitt bearings youself. Heimlaga has done so on a couple of his machines. If you want to investigate going down that road, check out the vintagemachinery.org website. It's American :(, but it has all the info you need. Or visit the sister website OWWM and read up on.how some people have gone about it.

Babbitt bearings are old technology, but they're not obsolete. If the machine is worth persevering with, then so are the babbitt bearings.

Edit: Heimlaga beat me to it.

Cheers, Vann.
 

Recky33

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I've had the Robinson for twenty odd years and it really needed them doing then, but now it uses sooo much oil it's no longer funny, I find myself with nothing to do but kitchen cabinets for the next month +, so now would be a good time to find someone to do it, The machine is so well setup sometimes it's hard to remove the 300mm planed face because of suction, so yes it's worth doing, I've been promising myself that one day I will do it but now despite knowing how to do it I realise it's never going to happen thus the inquiry, What I really need is a Heimega who lives round the corner, lol
 

Recky33

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Thank you chaps, Sometimes the obvious just walks up and smacks you in the face, Much appreciated
 

clogs

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Vamos, Crete, GREECE.......
It's a shame Fred Dibnah is not around anymore.....
There is a firm in Bolton that was doing it but not sure of the name now...they also custom made nuts and bolts.......
Ask a few one man machine shops they'll know.....
In the old days u could get anything done in and around M'cr , Salford.....
There's a large steam engine repair shop/charity in Yorkshire.....
they actually employ their own full time engineers as they are so big now....
they may help for a fee......
good luck.....
as an add, any chance u could get some bronze bushings made.....?
 

Ttrees

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Keith Rucker of youtube and vintage machinery forum fame, is about to upload a video of pouring babbitt bearings on a big ol bandsaw.
The prep work was only done recently.
Might be worth looking through the comments, or even asking himself if he knows anyone in the UK who could help.

That's if @wallace can't help ya
Tom
 

Ttrees

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@Recky33
Hoping you can get this sorted, not read any comments under the video, but I think it might be worth posting a comment.
Can't be too many folks pouring lead babbitt bearings, so chances are some from the UK could be watching.

Good luck
 

Recky33

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Cheers chaps, I posted on an engineering site and a really helpful chap called Noel spent nearly an hour on the phone telling me about total loss systems, seems that the fact there is nothing wrong with the machine other than it eats oil, it's probably down to it getting to much oil, and considering that all I do is pour oil onto something that's nothing more than a small sink it can do nothing more than drain away, so will pick up either drip or wick feeders and see what happens.

Didn't know about the Anson museum they are only 11 miles away, they have had to lock down due to not being able to do social distancing and are taking the opportunity to do some rebuilding, so once they are back up I will give them a visit
 

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