Belzona supermetal 1111
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  1. #1
    Real cars have hydraulics DoubleChevron's Avatar
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    Default Belzona supermetal 1111

    Hi Guys,

    I've joined the atlas lathe list .... and someone is saying to try and repair bed wear with Belzona supermetal 1111. It appears to be similar to JB weld, only it's hidously expensive and can't be found for sale to the general public...... but I found some on ebay uk (a small tub for about $160 delivered ). Has anyone tried this stuff ??

    This is the lathe

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    http://www.shanescitshed.com/lathe/lathe.jpg

    this is the wear. One side is tight, (can't even get a 0.05mm feeler gauge under it) the other is 0.1.

    http://www.shanescitshed.com/lathe/lathe_wear1.jpg

    http://www.shanescitshed.com/lathe/lathe_wear2.jpg

    Given the big slack in the carriage on the side with the controls, I'm wondering
    if it's possible the adjustment "gibs" have come loose ? Sadly nope ... As I tried to slide the carriage off it tightened up to the car where I could to clean and lubricate the bed and the very end (where the tailstock sits) in order to get it off.

    You can see the condition of the bed sort of. My finger is where the bed is unworn.

    http://www.shanescitshed.com/lathe/lathe_bed.jpg

    It appears the cariage has never been adjusted by removing the laminates to take up the wear. I could remove some laminates, and get rid of the slop, however then the carriage wouldn't move all the way back without binding up

    Has anyone tried the belzona stuff before??
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  2. #2
    Fellow Frogger!
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    Shane,

    Gudday!

    You have a flat bed lathe, old and obviously well-worn. Most of the wear will be where the saddle has been most frequently used, usually close to the chuck. The compound slide will also have wear in the area most used, again with the toolpost nearer to the chuck. The best repair is to strip the lathe down to the bare bed and have it machined back to true. Top, and both outer edges, but NOT necessarliy the inner edges, depending on your machine. Some lathes do not have tailstock adjustments on the inner edges. If yours has then machine all six faces.

    Any machine shop will be able to do this fairly simple operation. The 'Gibs' or tapered wedges can then be adjusted to accomodate for full travel of the saddle and compound slide. Vee bed lathes are much more expensive.

    Belzona Molecular, up to my retirement, was the top range metallic putty. However, to use it the surface needs to be correctly prepared, that is, machined undersize to ensure NO grease is contained within the granular structure of the base metal, the material (a two mix epoxy) needs to be properly mixed with regard to temperature and humidity on top of degreasing and machining your lathe bed, grit blasting with inert materials such as ilmenite and nitrogen following the undercutting of the bed, cleaned rubber gloves (no talcum powder on the outside) and surgical masks to prevent any contamination of the base by the moisture in your breath.

    I have used Belzona in the erosion repair of steam turbine casings, where it peformed way in excess of any other product we trialled, indeed the only one that was successful.

    So, back to your lathe - any plastic metal product will not work, unless you follow the preparation procedures as I have outlined, and the simple and cheap remachining of the lathe bed is the only practical answer. I have also to do this to my old lathe in the near future.

    Belzona is the best product available, in my experience, is bloody expensive but gives outstanding results properly applied. Simply slapping it to an unprepared surface renders it, as with all of he cheaper 'plastic' metals, totally useless. Check out a quick surface grind of your lathe bed by the local machine shop.

    And when finished keep all the sliding ways under a coat of oil.

    Regards,

    fento

  3. #3
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    Good advice Fento!!

    Much quicker than the hand scraping we had to do as apprentices, though that lathe bed of shanes is so short it should be easy, a real doddle for shane to reduce the high spots and then scrape in a nice patterned cross hatched surface that will keep oil/lubricant where it should be .

    But I can tell you that when you finish, its a great feeling to look down at your handiwork and know how good it looks, how smoothly it works, and the knowledge that if you treat the surface well and keep your lathe adjusted you will be old and grey before you have to do it again.

    Must be that experience that makes me enjoy polishing metal to a high finish, takes time and patience but the result is stunning if you perfect each stage as you smooth sand and polish!!

    Go for it shane!! forget the Belzona, getting that applied correctly, would be a pain in the rear end and youd still have to level it and if you surface prep isn't good enough - you will need to do it again sooner rather that years later!!

    Ken

  4. #4
    Real cars have hydraulics DoubleChevron's Avatar
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    Hand scrape it myself ?? I'd have to take the whole bed "down" 0.1mm without making the whole bed up and down everywhere ... Somehow I think that would be impossible!

    Is there anything you guys on here don't know ?? I can't believe there is someone on here that's actually used that belzona stuff!!

    Fento that's exactly the sort of feedback i was after. I'm tempted to just use the lathe as is.... But can't help myself ... I must fiddle. I doubt you'd get the bed re-ground for less than the value of the lathe... I'm guessing $800->$1000. I just rang a couple of the local engineering firms ( always a good thing to try as you'll get the "You need to try Bob down at XXXX... He does them"...). Instead I was basically laughed at when I said the it's a 42" bed ..... "Mate everyones surface grinders are 20" tops".

    Fento by the sound of it the belzona is to hard to shape ?? I was thinking I could beed blast, file and clean the area with alcohol. Even if it's "holding" stregth is only 50% of it's ability under the conditions you mention.... That would be far in excess of what we'd need. You see the the rest of the bed is level and even. So you could just shape the belzona "level" with the surrounding metal. Given your description a file isn't going to touch the stuff though

    Then any left over you'd send around to anyone else that has machines they want to attempt wear removal on ... After all... It would be no good sitting on my shelf until it's expiry date passes.

    seeya,
    Shane L.
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  5. #5
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    Shane,

    A couple of points - the bed needs remachining, and the best way to do this is using a multi-cutter head on a milling machine. Any competent machinist will be able to give you a finish totally suited to your future use, even if you have to give it a final polish with a new, good quality oilstone. Norton Abrasives are as good as you get in this line.

    I have not emphasised that the complete bed needs to be machined, which means removing the headstock, saddle and tailstock. Leaving the headstock in position and machining the remaining portion of the bed will result in major hassle with headstock / tailstock alignment. A stripped bed is so much easier and cheaper to take a cut from the worn faces. All parts are then reassembled onto a common accurate surface.

    Do not worry too much about scraping surfaces - Ken is talking about the exercises we geriatric tradesmen went through to get it absolutely right, but to do so you need three elements to eliminate transfering an error from one surface to the other. Do have three lathe beds beds to mate together? For normal use a quick mill and a surface rub-down with an accurate, unworn oilstone will suffice.

    To apply any epoxy metal the surface needs to be treated so it is absolutely clean, AND undersize so that the epoxy has a continuous coating for the full surface it is applied to and then to be recut back to the standard / required size. Building up portions of a surface only will almost certainly lead to sections of the epoxy breaking off as contaminants such as oil work their way between the epoxy and the base metal. All which means that you have to machine undersize, chemically clean, apply the epoxy, remachine and then surface finish. So much cheaper to just machine undersize until it cleans up, reassemble & adjust the gibs to compensate. The point here is to remove the absolute minimum of metal, preferrably leaving a slight witness mark of the original surface to show this.

    An alternative is to buy the same sized lathe, with all accesories including a tool selection, el cheapo Chinese from Hare and Forbes for a little over $1,000, plus transport.

    They are quite a useable unit for the intermittent use we will be giving them.

    Keep up the oil,

    fento

  6. #6
    1000+ Posts Fordman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DoubleChevron View Post
    I can't believe there is someone on here that's actually used that belzona stuff!!
    Shane L.
    Shane, I used Supermetal in my car repair business approx 30 years ago! I remember getting it from a mining supplies company, it had a reputation of being much better than Devcon. But I wouldn't have thought to use it to rebuild a lathe bed.
    I do remember patching a Datsun 180B head which had a corrosion area from combustion chamber to the external surface. I ground a groove down to shiny aluminium, filled it with Supermetal, ground the surface, and it did a few more years work until the car died. It was my bro-in-law's car, so we could take a chance on a repair - I marked with a texta on the ouside of the head where it was visible and told him to look there every time he refuelled to check for leaks. It did a trip across the Nullarbor and home again with no problems.
    Another expensive part repaired was a timing chain housing for a Ford Windsor V8 - they had two coolant ports running through them to the water pump bolted on the forward face. Supermetal did the job on the severely corroded housing.
    And my favourite Supermetal repair - one of my barber's chairs had a hydraulic leak, which I found to be a porous casting in the main base of the chair which was about a 100mm dia bore in a cast iron cylinder. Found the leak by putting petrol in the cylinder and it seeped through. Ground out the porosity like a dentist making a filling, and in with the Supermetal. The barber wanted me to go into business fixing barber's chairs, apparently it was very difficult to get anyone to repair them.
    Just memories, really, but Supermetal was a star!

    Cheers.
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  7. #7
    Real cars have hydraulics DoubleChevron's Avatar
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    Fento is right of course... It is so tempting to just clean that one worn edge as much as humanly possible, fill it, then file it level to the surrounding metal and see how long the stuff lasts. After all it's only ever going to have force applied directly down onto it. If it falls out .... Your simply back to where you started There is people on the lathe list that claim to have rebuilt broken chunks out of lathe beds with it. Chunks would be better as you'd grind the area clean first as Fento suggests.

    seeya,
    Shane L.
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  8. #8
    Real cars have hydraulics DoubleChevron's Avatar
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    Hi Guys,

    how's this for a genious idea.... Someone in Australia emailed me offlist and said "Why don't you just turn the bed around" ....

    You'd have to drill a few mounting holes for the lead screw, but you would move everything to an unworn area of the bed... hmmm....

    seeya,
    Shane L.
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  9. #9
    1000+ Posts PeterT's Avatar
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    I was with Owen Wuillemin when he invited the Belzona rep around. I'm not suggesting you need to use it on the lathe, but the stuff is truly amazing. The rep showed as swags of examples where Belzona had been used, in both automotive and industrial uses. Owen purchased it primarily to bog up Mi16 intake ports (with core shift) and then reshape them. It's the only stuff guaranteed not to fall out and get sucked pass a valve. Adrian might sell you some if you ask him nicely.

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  10. #10
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    It's only an Atlas, not a South Bend or Myford or anything even fancier. Just put up with it as it is. If you find you are running into limitations caused by wear, maybe do something about it at that point, if you ever reach it. But even if you spend a heap of time on it and make it more accurate, it will still be only an Atlas.

    Roger

  11. #11
    Real cars have hydraulics DoubleChevron's Avatar
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    I wan't going to spend any money on it Turning the bed around it a stroke of genious if it works. Your moving all the work areas around. The back of the bed would be worn on the bottom, the front on the top... But turning it around you reverse the wear areas...

    Have you ever know me not to pull apart everything and tinker with out ?? The Belzona stuff sure is interesting though ...

    seeya,
    Shane L.
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  12. #12
    1000+ Posts BIGRR's Avatar
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    Default Belzona "Magic Molecular Metal"

    30 Years ago we had a demo of Belzona by their supplier. He told us that it formed a molecular bond and that it adopted the molecular structure of any metal that you applied it too. I asked if he could apply a couple of kilograms to my gold ring. His answer took a long time to compose, and his face became very red.

    I work in the Water industry and we have used this product in one of its many forms many times. It must be strictly applied measuring humidity etc etc (if not you are throwing money down the drain).

    For the application you want it for (a thin layer) I consider that it will debond after the first big cut you take on the lathe. There are mighty big loads taken on the lathe bed at the worn location.

    End for ending the bed is a good idea though your holes will have to be placed very accurately (I doubt that you could do it in your shed).

    Filing and scraping (or machining) the complete bed is the way to go . (so it will take a while).

    Good Luck
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  13. #13
    Fellow Frogger! racing405's Avatar
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    I'm with Fento, best bet is to have the bed ground. If the machine shops where you are only have 20" magnetic base surface grinders, try looking for a knife sharpener. If you find someone who does knives for wood chippers or planers, it is highly likely that they will have a surface grinder with a bed more 6' long so heaps long enough for your lathe bed. For sure and certain Metaltech / Hofman who have bought the old ADI plant would have either a surface grinder of a 3 axis NC mill big enough to dress it down for you. Here in the Latrobe Valley there are at least 3 machine shops who could do it, but it would cost a bomb to get it down here and back. I wouldn't be using epoxy metal for this application, much better to dress the bed.

    Cheers.

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