Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Oil Sight Glass Replacement for my Emco Maximat V10 Metal Lathe

Project:
Replacing an old faded and scratched oil sight glass for the headstock of my metal lathe

Difficulty Level (Easy, Medium, Hard, Insane):
Medium

Process:
The original sight glass for my metal lathe had weathered, corroded and was in such a bad shape that I couldn't even tell whether there was ANY oil in my headstock at all. After carefully measuring the plastic dimensions of the sight glass it came out to be exactly 1/2" wide.

I ordered some 1/2"" Threaded Zinc Air Compressor Oil Level Sight Glasses on eBay just to realize that the 1/2" NPT is actually almost 3/4" wide.

I was debating whether I should order some smaller ones or try to fit the 1/2" sight glasses and decided to try to make it work with the larger ones because I wanted to change the oil in my headstock and really didn't want to wait a few more weeks for the new sight glasses to arrive.

Before I was able to remove the chuck, I had to build a Spindle Lock for my lathe. Once that was done I was able to remove the chuck and get to work on replacing the sight glass.

Before I removed the old sight glass I hauled out my 1/2" NPT tap and did a test hole with threads in a piece of 1/4" steel just to make sure the threads would match up.

After I confirmed that the threads were a match I emptied the oil, broke the old sight glass, and cleaned the headstock. I was doing some research into how to clean the headstock because the oil was so old and sticky and I wanted to make sure I got it really nice and clean. I was concerned that the solvent would break down the new oil so after some investigating I learned that diesel fuel (or kerosene) would work.

I hauled out my syringe, filled it up with diesel and sprayed the inside liberally while reaching into the headstock with a small brush to clean it really good.

Once it was all cleaned, I drilled a 5/8" (or 3/4", I can't remember) hole where the old sight glass was, used the tap to cut the new thread and cleaned out the metal shavings really well. After installing the new oil sight glass I filled it all up with non-detergent oil and I was good to go.

Videos:

 
Pictures:
Hauling out the lathe to access the rear
After the oil has been drained and the old sight glass has been removed
Another view
Testing to make sure my 1/2" NPT tap threads would match the sight glass
A close-up of drilling out the sight glass
Tapping the hole for 1/2" NPT
The tapped hole
Cleaning the headstock with diesel
A little vinyl tube I stuck in the oil drain hole to drain the diesel fuel properly
Checking the oil splash guard behind the chuck
A view of the new sight glass in all its glory
Another view after the chuck was installed again
Tools:
Drill
Drill bits
1/2" NPT tap
Adjustable wrench
Stainless steel bowl
Vinyl hose
Syringe
Spindle Lock
Drill press

Materials:
1/2" oil sight glass
250ml diesel
Non-detergent oil

Cost:
$5.00

Time:
2hrs

Savings:
N/A

Conclusion:
It is so nice to be able to quickly check the oil level

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