How to tell when a lathe is too hot
To check whether your lathe is too hot, you must troubleshoot. If your lathe is has been operating for a few years and is one of the older models, then carbide tooling might not be recommended for you at high speed. The lathe will take deep cuts, which will lead to the motor being overloaded after overuse. When your lathe is made from HSS, you generally use slower speeds because of the lower gear. It is more powerful and can generate too much power for a 1 HP motor.
When you reduce the load and increase friction, the motor maintains its required operational speed. This action gives the fan a chance to cool it safely. If you are abusing the engine at too high a speed, the amperage draw becomes much higher. You will find in this case, the motor won’t be able to spin fast enough. The heat won’t dissipate in time when it cannot turn fast enough. When it gets too hot, you feel you can’t even touch the motor with your hand.
Electric motors can create more horsepower when required. This limit is flexible but only for a short period. When you surpass this limit for a long time, your lathe will become too hot. An amp probe is a handy activity that can help determine whether the amperage draw is above what your motor can handle without overheating. If you find that the speeds are not enough, then rather than forcing it, the best option is to get a bigger lathe or bigger motor.
Cooling down a lathe
When your lathe motor starts to get quite hot, no cooling is likely installed. Without any cooling for the control board, you will blow the engine quickly, especially in hotter climates. You can install a small fan on the motor cover to solve this problem. Nothing more significant than a 120 vac fan should be used. You can place it on the motor cover to successfully cool the control box area of your lathe. This technique will use the vital air passageways to provide your lathe with positive cool air.
Troubleshooting overheating issues
It is essential to know that heat will damage your motor. Therefore, it is necessary to find inexpensive ways to cool the engine effectively before you end up needing to replace the motor.
The first thing you can try is to unplug the motor. Once the motor has been unplugged and safely cooled down, we want to disconnect the belt and turn (spin) the engine. Perform this activity with a helpful spanner or just by hand. If you notice any difficulty turning the motor manually, you have discovered a blockage. This means there is an accumulation of sawdust. You will need to blow the engine’s pipes with an air compressor.
Once you finish doing this, you can turn the motor on to check that it’s now running without any hindrances. This should help it to cool down much faster. Keep repeating the process until all the dust has been blown out. If this is not the problem, your bearings are likely a problem. The worn-out bearings are quite an expensive problem because these often cannot be restored only replaced. When dealing with all the mechanical issues, you can make a dust shield, and the machine is running well. Try not to make it too tight or risk causing an overheating problem.
When you suspect a motor getting too hot, the first thing to look out for is a burning smell. This smell will be that of the insulation melting. The smell will be acrid and impossible to miss. In this instance, you must turn it off for safety purposes.
- Check the device to ensure the pulleys are all correctly aligned. If the pulleys are crooked, then they can damage the motor shaft. They will push this shaft against its bearings, and this friction will result in overheating.
- Check whether the bearings being used are sleeve-type bearings. Sleeve-type bearings always need oil caps for lubrication. When the oil is low, you can expect sparks from friction. In excess, these sparks will cause overheating.
- Extension cords that cannot handle the capacity of your circuit will overheat. Make sure to choose an extension cord that can handle the load carefully. It is advisable to go with a small wire of 12 gauge.
Metal lathe overheating
The ideal temperature for a metal lathe is between 95 to 115 degrees F. It is set at this level to be conservative. This keeps users away from the very hazardous temperatures around 170 degrees. Bearing life specs will generally not survive past an operating heat of 130 degrees F.
You will also need to check carefully that an oil bath gearhead lathe is the type of oil used.
This accessory will help minimize the friction around your non-pressure lubrication systems. Splash lubrication is usually used in this scenario, but this causes the oil’s high viscosity. In simple terms, it will cause improper lubrication properties to emerge, which over time cause foam. This foam will lead to lubrication/failure and excessive friction.
When combined, these factors can cause excessive heat production. Your metal lathe will soon suffer from premature mechanical failure if this goes on for long. Manufacturers typically provide the best-practice methods you can use to keep lathes or mills cool. The advice is usually centered around the bearings and gears.
Mini lathe overheating
If your mini lathe is overheating, the problem is often easy to fix. These devices need very little maintenance apart from the bearings. You can start by turning off and disconnecting the belt from the motor to the lathe pulleys. When safely removed, you want to run the engine for a while briefly. After a few minutes, you should find out how warm it is.
If the motor is working well, then it shouldn’t be hot. At most, it should be just warm, including all the spindle areas. It should rotate without much hindrance. If they function like this, the belts are too tightly tensioned. This action causes extra heat and can rupture the belt.