Unstable Lathe speed? Try this BEFORE spending on a new motor or control unit!!

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Blog entry by TannerTurnings posted 09-05-2014 06:19 PM 1277 reads 0 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch

A quick bit of info for anyone using an AXMINSTER awvsl Lathe (or similar)
Today, my Lathe suddenly started to speed up and slow down, somewhat similar to the old Bus engines of the 1950s era, making turning almost impossible. Also, as it would speed up, there was a flash coming from the motor brushes. I guess now that some people are thinking that either my Motor was faulty, or that my variable speed control unit had a fault, and would probably need replacing…right?
The way to fix this problem (in my case anyway) was to remove the motor from the lathe, and clean the brushes that are accessed by unscrewing the small plastic retainer caps that are on the opposite end to the pully. This helped greatly, but didn’t totally solve the problem. So, i removed the variable speed control knob and cleaned the rotary control. The magic cleaning fluid is NOT WD40, but a switch cleaner & lubricant called “SERVISOL”. I sprayed this onto the shaft after removing the knob, and then slowly turned the shaft through it’s full adjustment, about 10 times….spray it again and keep slowly turning the shaft through it’s full adjustment range. Now just leave it for a couple of minutes!! Put the knob back on & fire the lathe up….RUNNING AS SMOOTH AS EVER!!
So, if you experience similar problems with a lathe of this kind (or any other lathe with electrical variable speed that uses a rotary knob for speed adjustment) try the SERVISOL before rushing out to buy a new motor or speed control unit. In the U.K. it’s available at Maplin electronics (on line or stores) and I would guess that in USA it would be Radio Shack…not too sure about the rest of the world, but it is available on eBay I would guess, and YES…it’s the “super 10” with the red “label” that you need as some of the others only clean NOT lubricate!!!!

-- Keith, Norfolk England. Why Burn it when you can Turn it??!!

4 comments so far

View Vince's profile


1105 posts in 2851 days

#1 posted 09-07-2014 05:12 AM

Cool, thanks for the tip.

-- Vince

View NormG's profile


5424 posts in 2426 days

#2 posted 09-07-2014 11:56 PM

Thank you

-- Norman

View KayBee's profile


1083 posts in 2668 days

#3 posted 09-08-2014 01:23 AM

Thanks, nice to know. Just hope I remember it when I need to. :)

-- Karen - a little bit of stupid goes a long way

View TannerTurnings's profile


137 posts in 849 days

#4 posted 09-11-2014 11:01 PM

This is something that simply can NOT be avoided, no matter how clean you keep your workshop!

We are here to turn wood, not empty our bank accounts. If we can save the expense of a new motor or speed control unit just by spraying a bit of Servisol Super 10 into the rotary speed control every 6 months or so…that’s a winner in my book!! ;-)

-- Keith, Norfolk England. Why Burn it when you can Turn it??!!

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