Leaky Lathe?


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Established Member
28 Apr 2021
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It’s not a euphemism, I’ve got a leaky lathe…

I’ve bought a used Record Power CL3, one of the green ones with the little oil top up spout.
Overall a lovely machine and quite the step up from my little Jet midi.

I’ve dutifully been putting the RP oil in, not too much just a bit each time I use it, however I’ve noticed that there is an oil leak on the drive spindle, drive centre side. Not noticeable unless chips stick to it. Is this normal?

It could be run off as I spilt some when I filled it the other day, but does it sound like anything sinister to any of you? Unsure if it makes a difference but I’d been turning for about an hour when I noticed it this weekend.

Any help greatly appreciated!
The CL3 has a bronze front bearing that does wear away as it's used and needs tightening up
If it's worn out you can buy a headstock re build kit as listed here

Or individual parts here
I think you will find a video on YouTube that shows how to adjust it.
Thank you! That is just what I needed to know, thanks for the links too, that’s really helpful.

I’ll have a look online on how to tighten it first see how it goes then look at the rebuild.

apart from the adjustment a little leak is what is intended......as for adjustment ....better a little loose than a little tight....
too tight even with oil will trash the main shaft...
if it were not supposed to leak there would be a seal there......
take a look at this.....my Colchester student wasnt getting enough lube on the shafts so modified the lathe....
I'm happy to see a little oil as I know it's getting thru the bearings.....
for u, a squirt with WD40 and a rag will clean things up....
come to think of it my Myford metal lathe is the same with oil weep behind the chuck....also a bronze bearing.....and the machine is new old stock ...still with shipping wax in places....
My CL4 is exactly the same if I get a little excited with the oil. As Blister said tighten up the bronze bearing but not too tight. I clean off any leakage before I start every day and no real problems.
This has all properly put my mind at rest. Thanks for all out posts and the detail you have gone into!
If it leaks a little and that’s fine, nothing sinister as said above, it’s just it’s character, I can work with that!
It’s not a euphemism, I’ve got a leaky lathe…
I posted a few CL3 improvements some time ago. Includes a collar to address the leaking spindle bearing:-

Here are some modifications I made to my CL3 to make it a more likeable companion. There are a lot of them out there so someone might benefit. Apologies if they seem old hat.

1. Make and fit an oil retaining collar for the brass bearing. This prevents oil spinning off the spindle. Oil accumulates but only needs clearing occasionally.
2. Replace the pressed steel shaft spanner with a forged one. I got an offset 25mm gas bottle spanner for £2.
3. Make a centre steady . The CLs have long spindle capacity.
4. Fit a handle to the tail stock wheel.
5. Make and fit a hand-wheel to the end of the main spindle.
6. If you still use the old style banjo (better but awkward to adjust) - I moved the lever to the top with an optimally
oriented nut below the bars.
7. Why bother with the belt cover screw?


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If you don't allow too much wear and keep the bearing adjusted up (not too tight) it will bed in and potentially become leak free and last for many years. It's a neat design - in fact the best thing about the C4
ISTR two grub screws down a hole which is a problem if you haven't noticed and only loosened one!