Keeping a Well Maintained Machine

There is nothing more important that keeping a well maintained machine to help you enjoy a life time of use.


Lubrication is probably the one thing that will keep your machine humming along for a lifetime.  The type of oil you use in the machine is very important.  Use a 30W non-detergent oil.  We are often asked about using automobile oil which we don't recommend because it has detergents which suspend debris in the oil.  The non-detergent oil allows particles to settle to the bottom of the oil reservoir.  You don't want your gears bathed with oil and debris, just oil will be fine. 30W, non-detergent oil, is used in air compressors and most agricultural implements.  Any Lowe's, Home Depot or Mernard's should carry air compressor oil.  You can also check a local ag-dealer such as Tractor Supply for 30W non-detergent oil.

You should check your oil level at least once a month and we recommend changing the oil once a year. All Smithy machines are equipped with oil buttons to lubricate the moving parts of the machine.  We recommend a 10W oil for lubricating these points.  It is important to keep these points moving freely, so plan on adding oil once a week.  If your machine has been sitting for a little while, make sure you check your oil level and add oil to all the oil buttons on the machine.

Grease Points
In addition to oiling your machine, some Smithy's are equipped with grease fittings and you should plan to grease these points at least once a month.  In our shop we use, a general automotive and industrial multi-purpose grease from Valvoline. 

You should also coat the gear train gears with a light layer of Multi-Purpose Moly Grease. If you have a Granite machine or CZ-239, keep the quick change gear box lubricated with Moly & Graphite Chain and Cable Lube.  The wand allows you to access the gears easily and chain lube tends to be "stickier" and better penetrating.

Corrosion Protection

Humid environments and salty air may be good for us but not our machine tools.  Keep your machine rust free.  Smithy technicians use a combination of WD40 and 10W hydraulic oil, about a 50:50 mixture to coat our machines after each use. 

If you don't think you will be using your machine for a while, it is a good idea to give it a fresh coat of oil once a week and if you are going to be off on an extended vacation or work assignment, use a corrosion preventative product.  There is a great thread about this on the Smithy Yahoo Group.  The dedicated founder, created the the Great Rust Off of 2008 and found the best product was WeatherPruf.  For more information, visit,
Belt Maintenance:
Belts wear out, that is the nature of the beast.  You should check the belts of your machine every few months or so.  Look for signs of wear such as cracks or cords shredding.  If the belts get hard and develop a shiny surface, they will begin to slip and should be replaced. Belts should be properly tensioned for best results.  Pressing the center of your belt with your thumb, you should have approximately a 1/4" deflection. 
Periodic Adjustments:

A well used machine tool will need to be adjusted periodically to hold machining tolerances.  The main areas of adjustment will be the cross-feed nut, gibs and spindle bearings. All Smithy 3-in-1 machines have adjustable cross-feed nuts.  You will notice an increase in backlash if these need to be adjusted.  A good rule of thumb is to adjust them at the same time you are checking your belts.

Gibs are generally tightened to the user's feel.  If you notice table movement either front and back or side to side, you will need to tighten your gibs.  If the gibs are too loose you will definitely notice this in the results of your machining. Lathe and Mill Spindle Bearings should be adjusted as needed.  A sign that an adjustment is needed is that you will not be able to hold tolerance and you will see cutter chatter even when doing light cuts.

Daily Maintenance

Check before starting the machine:

  • Check all the running parts no too tight, or loose. Bearing of headstock, longitudinal and crossfeed, toolholders, etc. would be examined and adjusted by hand or proper fitness.
  • Check the sensitivity and reliability of all manual control levers: To try the speed change rate function of headstock feeds and apron in gear box and inspect their starting, stopping, forwards and reverse action whether they are sensitive, reliable or not.
  • Cleaning the machine: dust, chips and other particles should be removed from sliding surface of machine to make the rotating or sliding parts performing easy and smoothly. All other static parts can be often also cleaned to avoid corrosion.
  • Check the tightness of the bolts holding the millhead in place.
  • Greasing and oiling: regular oiling should be done everyday (see lubrication plan sheet) to keep the machine properly lubricated. Check the oil site gauge under the lathe chuck and add oil if the level is below the half way point. - show the lubrication plan sheet.
  • Fixture and fig of headstock, tailstock and tool holder tight clamping between tailstock and bed surface, close running fit of spindle in tailstock, clamp bolts of tool holder and figs on headstock.
  • Check and adjust the lock position of the bed clamp lever on the tailstock.  Should be located before top dead center.
  • Start lathe or turning machines and observe operations to ensure that specifications are met.
  • Replace worn tools, and sharpen dull cutting tools and dies using bench grinders or cutter-grinding machines.
Check after starting the machine:
  • Lubricating system: Examine all lubricating system carefully and ensure all flowing line without obstacles.
  • Check the electrical control system: switch the "on" and "off" button and examine the sensitiveness of starting, stopping and pilot lamp strictly.
  • The sensitivity and reliability of mechanical control device: control levers for forward and reverse main spindle, automatic feed and thread change should be sensitive and reliable. Automatic control devices for longitudinal and crossfeed, gear change, threads change, carriage, and spindle direction change should be accurate also.
  • Coolant system: check the quantity of coolant oil and start the oil pump for inspecting its function and leakage.
Caution during operation:  
Noise and vibration:  
If you find the noise and vibration of the machine are abnormal or irregular. Stop the machine immediately for inspection and adjustment. When starting max. speed of headstock spindle on no loading basis, check the noise and vibration whether they are over specified limit or not. Aware of vibration and unusual noises that the machine produced. Stop the machine immediately and check the following cause:
  1. Lack of lubrication
  2. Faulty adjustments
  3. Dull tool bit or cutting tool
Correct any problems before resuming the work.  
Temperature of bearing and motor.  
Tap the main bearing by hand and the motor as well, feel the temperature if it is normal or not.  
Safety affairs:
  1. Must stop operation when you leave the machine.
  2. When changing main spindle speed or feeding speed stop running first.
  3. All tools and products are strictly not allowed to be left on sliding surface of bed.
Quality of products:  
If you discover the quality of product is out of limit, stop the machine at once for finding the causes of defects. Check after operation  
Cleaning the machine:
  • All of the oily matter, chips, etc, on the machine should be removed completely and put a thin lubricating oil on the sliding surface of machine to prevent the corrosion.
  • Tailstock, carriage and tool holder should be place to proper position.
  • All tools should be kept clean first then put back to original position.
Weekly maintenance
  • Check the lubrication of the sliding parts of the machine. Apply  light grease or oil if needed.
  • Visually inspect the drive belts for excessive wear and cracking. Check the belt tension by applying finger pressure to each belt at a point midway between the two pulleys. For correct tension a deflection of about 3/8 of an inch should be evident in each belt.
  • Lubricate all points as required.
  • Transmission system:
Check the damage of rubber V-Belt and read just the tensile strenght strenght of V-belts.
  • Clean and coat the lead screw with oil. 
  • Check all guards are secure and function correctly(includes latches, locks, fasteners,and/or interlocks if fitted).
  • Removed, cleaned, and re-saturated the wipers pads with oil regularly. Wipers are designed to keep out small chips and dirt between the slides and the ways.
  • Check locking levers and adjusting handlers/levers for smooth operation.
  • Cooling System:
Clean-up the whole and replenish with new cooling fluid.  
Monthly maintenance
  • Electrical system: Carefully examine the connection of all electrical wires, terminals and switches, which occasionally have been damaged by chips or others.
  • Check and adjust backlash as necessary.    
  • Check the condition of all drive belts and replace if necessary
  • Check all gibs adjustments.
  • Cleaning and oiling of the chuck should be done on a regularly scheduled basis as well as whenever the chuck jaws become difficult to move.                         
  • Adjust the accuracy of the slides on both the cross and longitudinal feeding.
  • Dismantle and clean all the dust, chips and foreign matter from moving parts.
Every 6 Months meaintenance
  • Lubricate the change gears in the lathe pulley box with an aerosol chain lubricant.
  • Lubricate the bearings, worm gear and worm shaft with light grease.
  • Check the wear and tear of all gears in gears and packing:
  • Inspect the damage of all gears in various box, spindle, bearings and packing.
Repair or replace it if necessary.
  • Check the clearance fit between feed screw lever, nut and main screw spindle and nut whether they are right or not.
  • The stability of machine body:
  • Tighten up the foundation bolts of machine body to the ground and make the body stable.
Yearly maintenance  
Inspection of accuracy
  1. Inspection work for accuracy should be rechecked, if the accuracy is over specified limit, the adjustment or alignment will be done accordingly.
  2. Bearing inspection
  3. Re-examine the insulating materials and clearance fit and lubrication of all bearings.
  4. Inspection of appearance.
  5. If the paint is peeled off, repaint it with the same color.
  6. Check the exposed parts whether they have been damaged, corroded or deformed.
Repair or replace them if necessary.
  • Check the electrical cord, plug, circuit breakers, switches and terminals and related connections to assure that they are secure and safe.
  • Positioning and leveling
  • According to the inspection regulation, recheck the positioning and leveling once after a year service.
  • Drain the lubricant from the gear box of headstock, feed and replenish with fresh oil.
  • (Depending on the use if necessary change or timely basis)
  • Remove the X and Y axis gibs and clean with solvent. Coats gibs with way oil and reinstall.

Recommended Oil for Lubricant

For Gear Box: SAE30 weight non-detergent oil or 30 weight compressor oil
For External or Moving parts: weight Oil/Regular Oil
For Cleaning: Noncorrosive Kerosene or White Mineral Spirits or even WD-40
For Train Gears: Multi-Purpose Moly Grease
For Quick Change Gears: Mixed Moly, Graphite Chain & Cable Lube Lubricant
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