Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Let's face it - when there are 60+ people working at your shop in any given week, you're going to need some sort of regular tool maintenance in the shop. I try to stay up with several tasks by keeping a maintenance chart - regular chores that I can check off on a weekly basis.  Like what?  Oh emptying all five dust collectors every other day, tossing out all the scrap wood that build up at each tablesaw, changing the filters in the air cleaners, just to name a few tasks.

But when some of the tools start making weird sounds or acting sluggish, it's time for a little deeper maintenance. Take this Porter Cable sander, for instance. 

It's gotten some abuse lately, and since it's a work horse in the shop, I couldn't let it sit idle for long. 

It's particularly sweet for sanding in tight spaces. 

But when it started groaning and wouldn't spin freely, I knew it was probably a bearing that needed replacement. 

It's an easy chore, but some people hear the word "bearing" and think it's akin to open heart surgery. 

Once the pad is removed, 

there's little in the way to see the culprit.

Perhaps the most difficult part was locating the right Torx wrench. 

They always seem to turn up missing, right when I need them most!

Once that top screw and double washer set was removed, pulling out the bearing was a breeze. Until I noticed the snap ring holding it in place. 

Again - the right tool for the job makes this an easy repair! 

Snap ring pliers and a little BFI.

Here's where things got a little tricky - conventional wisdom would require a bearing puller to get that bearing out of its housing. But - 1) I don't have a bearing puller, and 2) I don't need no stinkin' puller! 

My old buddy and tool guru Phil taught me a simple way of getting the bearing out. It's all about removing the bearing with an even pressure, so that you don't twist or bind it. So I found an appropriately sized socket that provided even pressure all the way around that bearing, and with a few light taps.... 

BAM! It easily popped out!

Honestly, the part that took longest about this repair was locating the replacement part! 

I looked up the model number, did a little cross referencing (ereplacementparts.com is my favorite site for this) and within minutes, I found the part number for this bearing.

A little more digging and I located a similar bearing on eBay... free shipping, and overnight delivery. What's not to love?

And just like that, the sander was re-assembled and back in business. 

Speaking of ereplacementparts.com - they offer some great videos to assist in tool repair. Here's a great video for their method of pulling a bearing. 

All I can say is - if you have tools, they're eventually going to need some work done on them. Don't just call a repair shop to do your dirty work...embrace it!  In all honesty, it's kind of fun to work on them!

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