Turning Archive 2005

How to tell if your bearings are bad?

Mike Rubes, Apex, NC
>Hi all,

I realize that this may fall into the category of questions like "how do you know when your gouge is dull", but I think the bearings on my Jet Mini may be going.

How can I tell for sure that they are or aren't?

Here's what I know.

When I run the lathe, I sometimes get a clicking sounds coming from the headstock.

When I remove power and take the belt off the pully, I can spin the spindle and it doesn't make any noise. Very smooth, very quiet.

When I put the belt on the pully (I've only tried this on low, 2 and 3rd selection) and let the lathe run without tightening the motor clamp, it runs fine. Very smooth, very quiet. When I put a little pressure downward on the motor and then clamp it down, I get the click click click, even when spinning it by hand.

I've noticed that there may be a very slight upward play in the spindle. Sometimes, when hand sanding, it feels like the piece "clicks" up a little as a put pressure on it to sand. I have grabbed the spindle and tried to move it up and down by hand, but I cannot replicate the "click" I sometimes get.

Should I not be applying any pressure before I tighten the lock? When I don't apply any pressure, the lathe is far too easy to stall.

Any ideas or things I can try?

If it is the bearings, do I need any special tools to replace them? I've heard mention of a press, but I don't have a "press".



Oh yeah, the Jet Mini is 3 years old last month. I've turned 150 plus bowls/vessels of various sizes on it. Some have really stretched the 10" swing, others have been candlesticks. I have replaced the belt about 6 months ago.

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