Here are some tips for maintenance and care of some of your
most expensive machine components.
Moulder Spindles: Broken shafts, seized bearings, “welded”
tooling, all can be prevented. Prevention = money in your pock-
et or more precisely, money you get to keep in your pocket.
Let’s start with spindle basics. These bearings just don’t fail
in one instant – they have been failing for some time. You’re
just not paying attention. Most bearing sets in today’s spindles
are rated for 6,000-7,000 running hours. Now there are a lot of
variables here; material, chip load, balance, all have an impact
on bearing life. Obviously the lighter the work load and the
better the tool balance, the longer the bearing life. During
every tool change the operator should carefully spin the shaft
and see if there is anything that does not feel right. It takes
about 5 seconds so don’t worry about wasting any time.
Typically, if a bearing is failing you will start to feel a drag
or a rough motion. It may not “free wheel” like it used to. You
might also notice an obvious decline in the cut and finish qual-
ity. These are symptoms of an expensive repair in the making.
Now is the time to get the spindle off the machine and in for
repair. If you are proactive, you can schedule the downtime.
I’m not going to spend any time on tooling balance other
than saying it’s one of the most crucial factors in long spindle
life. Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for the particular
tooling you are using and make sure loose knives are all within
1/10th of a gram of each other.
On hydro-lock spindles we see many failures that are mostly
related to poor operation and maintenance. Always use the
safety collar on your hydro tooling. It prevents the tool from
Woodworking machinery maintenance tips
By Bob Barone
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