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What oil to use for Proxxon TBM220 drill press

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One of my favourite tools is the small proxxon drill press. The manual suggests every 10 hours of operation to lubricate the bearings but does not specify what oil to use. I emailed Proxxon and this was the reply:


The TBM 220 drill press may be lubricated with a wide range oils, so we do not recommend any specific lubricant. Sewing machine oil is absolutely suitable.


Maybe this will be of help to others. I am not sure what I will use, I think probably what ever car motor oil I can get my hands on.



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Motor oil may be to thick for your machine.  A lighter machine oil would be better.  A lot of different places should carry what you need.  The same type of oil is used to lubricate fishing reels, sewing machines, small motors and other light equipment.  Not sure if it is still available or sold in the UK if it is but the old standby household oil called 3 in 1 oil would be a good choice.  If nothing all else fails ask at a hardware store for light machine oil.

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Well, I did a bit more research on the net. It appears that indeed 3 in 1 has been traditionally used but there seems to be some disadvantages. Sewing machine oil on the other hand seems to be a very fluid oil, some times fully synthetic, specially formulated for such purposes. I just ordered a bottle

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I'd second the decision for sewing machine oil....key properties that make it suitable for this application are:

   1) Light in "weight" means it will penetrate bearings as needed.

   2) Non drying formulas typically are used for sewing machine oils....this keeps them from "gumming up" mechanisms

        of sewing machines and also any other similar machine that does not see strong side loads (like a drill press).

   3) Easy to obtain in small quantities.


If you were asking about lubricating oil for the spindle of a milling machine then you'd need a different oil that provides ability to lubricate under presence of side load....so if you use your Proxxon drill press for milling operations then we'll need to discuss a different option...although in reality I'd suggest against using any drill press for milling as it will cause premature failure of the spindle bearings.


This could be a really long discussion, but that's the crux of it....

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Just out of curiosity: I have the predecessor to this machine, purchased in the early 1980s. At that time it had ball-bearings, which of course would not be oiled, but greased. Did they change the bearings to plain bearings, which would need to be oiled ? This would be rather surprising, as one hardly ever uses plain bearings these days.


And, yes, I use 'sewing machine' oil for my small lathes and mills, which is what the manufacturers recommended at the time.

Edited by wefalck
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