Wednesday, October 13, 2010


Anybody who has ever been a mechanic can appreciate this. You don’t always use the “best right tool'. Often you just use the "closest and fastest right tool" that you have within arms reach. This itsy-bitsy ball bearing needed to come off this armature. I tried the old two-screwdriver pry bar trick, levered across each jaw of the vice. Nope! So I grabbed the puller that I’ve used for years. It was on the shelf just above where I was working. As I set it up with all of the right bolts and fittings I stared looking around me, hoping nobody would notice how over-kill I was being, using my huge pulley extractor.

I’ve had the puller since I was a kid. I paid a fortune for the bearing clasp. I couldn’t afford the two or three hundred dollars that they wanted for the whole puller, so I made the rest of it with material that I had laying around. Sometimes it just pays to be a good scrounger.

The puller was something that I used every day on the old belt drive refrigeration units. The clasp fits over the motor pulley. Then the right bolts are used for proper pull length. A bar is used to keep the shaft from turning. Then the puller bolt is turned in with a wrench. The pulley either comes off, or the shaft pulls in two. The puller has served me well. I think that it is every bit as good as anything boughten, even today.

After about a half turn on the puller bolt, the bearing wheezed and popped with a snap, then just slipped off. I got to laughing so hard to myself about my “over-kill” that I decided to take some pictures, and share.

The armature is out of our store vacuum. The vacuum started making a noise like a dry whisping squeal. The rumor was started the vacuum was broken. I assured everybody that the vacuum wasn’t broken, that it was just noisy. I even showed them that it wasn’t broken by vacuuming the store a couple of times. That was just counter productive. They all decided that they didn’t want to be blamed for breaking the vacuum, but if I was willing to vacuum it was okay with them. The “Broken Vacuum” story persisted and it got to the point that we were able to rake and shovel the store, but nobody would run the “broken vacuum”.

Okay, I stopped fighting it. I took the vacuum in the back, took it apart and put new bearings in it, and started a rumor that the vacuum is fixed. I have a whole drawer full of vacuum ball-bearings. It only takes just a little bit longer to change the bearings than it takes to change the bag. I don’t know why I didn’t think of it before. I started a rumor that it was so quite now that you can hardly hear it. Now everybody has to try it just to see how it works, now that it’s “fixed“. I just have to shake my head and wonder what people think.


Anonymous said...

Ha! I think you just fixed the employee's.
I used to pull tricks like that on the personnel at the sawmill. Works everytime.


Rose said...

Greek to me, but cool.

Tom Sebourn said...

Rule #1, don't force it, get a bigger hammer.

Ross Sherburn said...

Sometimes,ya gotta hold your "tongue",,JUST RIGHT!!!

dramabrat15 said...

If you can fix something (even if it isn't broken) there is no use in getting a new one. I'm pretty sure that's a family trait your Sister is exactly the same. I think that's a great quality everytime I think something is totally used up Sharon shows me another use for it or fixes it like new again.

Jon said...

Takes me back about 30 years ago helping my father-in-law overhaul an old Scott Chipped Ice Maker for a local Butcher Store.

Months before the rebuild he had contacted Scott and asked them for new bearings for the Freeze Cylinder and any information that might be of use to him on its service.

Scott sent him a nice letter with the Bearings and a Xerox copy of a mimeographed text on this Cylinder and its repair.

Now the father-in-law had every tool you would ever want and a couple more just for good measure. But no Puller he had could budge the worm gear of the Shaft so we could install the Bearings.

I watched in frustration for 5 hours as he wrecked this Tool Box and Brain trying to get that G** Da** Gear off. Finally he says "Ok Mr. PhD if you get it off, I will never rub your face in all your book learning." To which I replied, "When all else fails, read the Instructions. The Xerox tells us that the Gear is a B&S Tight Fit. Now watch and keep your mouth shut." I walked over to the Bench and stuck the Brass Drift (that I had in my hand for the last 5 hours) into the center of the gear and gave it a healthy wack with a lead mallet. Clink went the gear and the Cylinder slid apart.

First words our of his mouth was 'what the He**?' and 2 minutes later he knew that the B&S was an abbreviation for a Brown & Sharpe Taper Fit.

Yep, a great night of male bonding, and after that night he stopped calling me Mr.PhD and he started calling me Doc. So what could I do other than getting his goat by calling him Sonny Boy just like his 91 year old Mother did.

From that night to the day he passed away it was Sonny Boy and Doc at the Dinner Table and Bob and Jon the rest of the time.

Ernie Branscomb said...

Jon, great story!

Anonymous said...

Ernie, i am going to do my best to get down that way before Christmas and I am going to bring my 4-1/2" grinder down there so you can change the bearings. I think if you have the right numbers on your vacuum bearings we will be in business. I have 4 angle grinders but this one is my favorite at 12 amps it gets the job done but needs at least one new bearing.


Robin Shelley said...

As my dad always says: Which do you need most, help or advice?

Anonymous said...

Your dad is right Robin. When I thought I needed help someone advised me that a cookbook is cheaper. Can't beat good advise.


Ernie Branscomb said...

Well. When I needed help I got married. Aparently advice is a side benifit of marriage.

How much was that cookbook?