South Bend Lathe A B C Oils
Most machine tool manufacturers have very specific performance standards for the care and feeding of their products to insure accuracy and long service life. In the South Bend Lathe publication; “How to Run a Lathe”, which is considered by many people to be the last word on the care and operation of the South Bend lathe, the use of “A, B and C Oils” were recommended. These are lubricants that fall into specific viscosity ranges, or have particular qualities. Judging by the amount of “survivor” South Bends on the market today, the recommended oils were more than adequate. In researching the current types of lubricants that have been developed in the last century, I found out that the oils originally called for in “the Bible” are still available, and in fact very competative in terms of performance.
I’ll be discussing only the Mobil line of lubricants, as that is what I have chosen to sell in the BlueChipStore. I chose them for availablity, quality, and cost. My reasoning was that buyers would want an ample supply of a time tested product at a fair price. Mobil lubricants fit the bill.
Lets discuss their specific applications:
A Type Oil:
Mobil Velocite #10 Spindle Oil is a light oil (viscosity of 20) that is used in the headstock, to lubricate the spindle bearings, in the apron reservoir and in the electric motor (later lathes with ball bearing motors use grease).
B Type Oil:
Mobil DTE 24 is a stabilized hydraulic fluid (viscosity of 32) that is used in the gearbox and countershaft assemblies on the underdrive, and overhead drive systems. Early back gear oil ports (marked “OIL”) will take this oil,( later ones take grease).
Type C Oil:
Mobil DTE 26 is a stabilized hydraulic fluid (viscosity of 68) that is used on the external screws and gears, tail stock ram, lead screw, and micrometer assemblies; basically most of the external rotating parts of your lathe.
Mobil Vactra #2 Way Oil:
South Bend Lathes did not classify Way oil as “D Oil”. This is my recommendation to round out “the package”, and provide the last lubricant needed for everyday use. Mobil Vactra #2 Way Oil is formulated with sticktifiers to cling to the bed ways. This is NOT a curculating oil, but a lubricant for sliding surfaces, and is used on the bed ways, cross slide, tailstock and compound ways.
At our store, we have assembled a kit of these oils specifically at the request of numerous South Bend Lathe owners, so that they would have all the specified lubricants at their disposal. I’m happy to announce that the lube kit is now available in the bluechipmachineshop store.
The three page PDF file of the original South Bend Lathe Lubrication Chart # 6503
(Click Below for Free Download )
Thanks for looking, and hope this helps,