I lamented last week that I just missed the closing time at the local bearing shop. I got there yesterday nice and early and they not only had the right bearings, but bearings with the exact same set of numbers stamped on the side. That gave me some confidence, even though the race covers looked a bit different. The man told me they were from their higher quality line of bearings, and here’s hoping. They were $10/ea., whereas Sears’ version were $4/ea., but I was happy to just get them now, sans-shipping and waiting. I really want the planer back ASAP.
I put the whole shaft in the freezer for about 15 minutes, and dropped the bearing on a cast iron skillet on my gas stove. It lives there, and is always very warm from the pilot. I ended up with a cast aluminum cutterhead so cold I could barely hold it, and slippery from all the condensation from the warm spring air. The guy at the bearing place had recommended using a socket to tap it on. I thought it was a great idea. I had a box of various long sizes to fit over the long shaft and way down to the center part of the bearing. The problem last time was that the hole I drilled in the wood was too large, and was putting its force on the race cover and outer part of the bearing, bending it up as I hammered on it.
It was sliding on well, then stopped. The bore had narrowed in the socket, and now that was wedged on the shaft. I had to grip the socket in a vise, then pick up the shaft while tapping on the socket for awhile until the vise and socket fell away. The next size up worked, but stopped about 1/16” from fully on. I had bottomed out. The shaft was flush with the socket top. I just added another socket on top of that, and tapped it home.
The bearing feels a bit sluggish. The other one rolls quite freely, but this one feels like the oil is thick inside. I’m just going to have to go with it. Here’s hoping! I began to reassemble the planer yesterday. It took hours, and I’m still not done. There are so many pieces, so much grease, and so many parts I didn’t really understand when disassembling it a full 120 days prior. I labored over installing the two rollers that grip and pull material through, using a stick as a wedge to push them up and hold springs in place above them while carefully installing the metal covers to hold them in place with 2 screws each, only to find I’d gotten them switched. It was a lot easier the second time, but still a lot of work. I’m definitely not built to be an auto mechanic, and that’s exactly what this felt like.
The highlight of the day was getting the 4 lift mechanisms screwed back into the top so I can now crank it up and down again. I was worried about that step, but it turned out to be one of the easier bits to get back together. There’s slop in the 8 screws that mount the head to the mechanisms on their threaded rods, and getting one corner in didn’t mean I could get another corner in without raising or lowering the mechanism a few turns, so I’m concerned I’ll have perhaps up to 0.01” difference from one side to the other, but I think after testing, if I find that, it’ll be easy enough to pop the cover, unscrew the offending corner, crank the handle one way or the other, and retighten, then test and repeat until it’s perfect. I’m far more concerned about the new bearing holding up.
Craftsman added absolutely no ability to easily remove belts, and they’re the super rigid v-grooved timing belts that absolutely do not stretch. There are no loosen-able bits that allow tipping something one way or another, and no take-up wheels. You just have to roll the wheels while forcing the belts on, one groove at a time, hearing it click into place after each groove-hop. I pinched my fingers pretty well a few times.
I’m now down to more fiddly bits, like the pulley and belt for the fan, adjustment knobs, the slotted wheel for the digital readout’s optical measuring of heights, the battery and LCD compartment, and unfortunately, at least a handful of screws, washers, and bushings that don’t remind me of anything. Hopefully I find a home for all of them, but if my history with everything I’ve ever taken apart and reassembled holds true, I’ll finish up with a small assortment of screws I can’t place, but that don’t seem to affect the function of the device.
I’ll keep you posted, and wish me luck! Oh, and thanks for the support, everyone. If this thing is actually fixed, I think I might decide to go out dancing for the first time ever. Here’s where I left off last night:
-- Gary, Los Angeles, video game animator