5 Ways to Maintain Your Lathe
A few minutes of maintenance will ensure that your lathe stays in shape.
1. After turning make sure to blow or brush off chips. When shavings cover the lathe they can cause the motor to overheat and wear. Loose fittings can also get lost or thrown away amidst piles of chips.
2. Wipe down your bed, the top, underneath and inside. WD 40 and a 3M scotch-brite pad work great. This will keep your bed smooth, making your banjo and tailstock easy to adjust. Removing debris also ensures there is nothing between the bed and banjo or tailstock that could hinder them from locking down tightly.
3. Run your finger over the tool rest and, if the surface is not smooth, use a mill file to level the rest. Oftentimes the steel of your tool is harder than that of your tool rest and pushing the tool into the rest can cause pivots. It's important to keep your tool rest level so that your passes are unobstructed and smooth.
4. Inspect drive belts for wear and cracks.
5. Keep the headstock free of excess chips and debris so that your dead center spins true. Specifically keep an eye on the headstock threads, ensuring they are unhindered by chips.
Now that your lathe is in great shape, let's get turning!