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Eagle Surface grinder - who here uses one?

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Pete Rimmer06/01/2020 18:06:13
1255 forum posts
69 photos

I'm currently rebuilding a Eagle Mk3 grinder and I know there are at least a few members that have one. I have a question for you - what oil do you use to lube the ways and how do you apply it?

The machine plate on mine says use Castrol Magna ZA. I contacted Castrol tech support and one of their specialists said that ZA is (was) a ISO10 oil, which I feel is very thin for a machine way.

I'm finding it hard to reconcile using a 10 weight oil usually used on spindles as a total-loss way lube so I'm thinking of using ISO 32 way oil instead. Just wondering what other people use and if it works OK? I'm wondering if the thicker oil might cause stick-slip or even table lift on a fast traverse?

Pete Rimmer02/05/2020 23:50:17
1255 forum posts
69 photos

Quick follow-up here. I found that regular slideway oil wouldn't flow properly along the delivery channel to feed the ways. I put some in both ends of the table and although some made it along, most was still sitting in the feed channel weeks later. So I've taken to using 10 weight oil (the equivalent of the specified Magna ZA) and it keeps the slideways nicely oiled.

Anyway, I finished rebuilding it this weekend so here's a couple of before and after pics. A lot of work went into this machine - not just a clean and paint. All of the ways are scraped, new poly vee belt with new pulleys made. New metric spindle bearings and of course a good clean and paint.

Before, part-stripped for transport:

And now in it's finished state:

Steviegtr03/05/2020 00:03:02
2456 forum posts
339 photos

Do you know what. It is like putting a nice set of wheels on a car. Complete transformation. Well done looks ace. Mnn ebay how much can I get for it. Too nice to sell.


Jeff Dayman03/05/2020 00:04:23
2234 forum posts
47 photos

Top notch restoration Pete! Well done. Did you have to do much to the spindle or was it OK?

Pete Rimmer03/05/2020 08:19:27
1255 forum posts
69 photos

Thanks Steve and Jeff

Jeff the spindle itself was fine, they are hardened. The bearings were shot though and the only exact-size angular contacts I could find were wheel bearings for old British cars so I turned a couple of sleeves and fitted modern metric angular contacts. The floating bearing on the rear was a standard 1"x2.5"x0.75" ball bearing and I did find replacements for that. The spindle also had a through-hole near the front so I made a spring-loaded plunger to act as a spindle lock for putting a spanner on the wheel nut.

Ady103/05/2020 10:03:14
5161 forum posts
738 photos

Lovely job

Steamer191503/05/2020 10:08:27
168 forum posts
42 photos

Love the de-mag on the top there.

thaiguzzi04/05/2020 09:01:33
704 forum posts
131 photos

Had one, or similar a long time ago, handy tool in the shop.

Great job on the resto, congrats!

Jeff Dayman04/05/2020 12:12:50
2234 forum posts
47 photos

Thanks for your notes re the spindle and bearings Pete. Re the angular contact ones you put in - did you order any special high precision type, and how did they compare cost wise with say a common grade 6203 ball bearing? Just wondering as any sort of angular contact bearings I have had priced here recently have been about 100 x the price of a 6203 type ball bearing. Just curious.

not done it yet04/05/2020 12:25:53
6880 forum posts
20 photos

Looks like a resurrection, not just a restoration🙂. But looks can be deceptive I suppose. A neat and tidy job. How much does it weigh (if not on the net)?

Pete Rimmer04/05/2020 17:59:43
1255 forum posts
69 photos

Steamer: It seemed like the appropriate place to keep the de-mag. saves me having to go and fetch it off the shelf.

Jeff: I was torn between Buying standard or super-precision bearings . In the end I bought 7206B angular contacts but instead of loose ones I bought a 3-piece set of matched same-direction pre-load bearings and used two of them back to back. I figured that since they were matched to be loaded through each other they must have a far better than average inherent pre-load clearance. The new size meant that I had to make a 30thou sleeve for the OD and another sleeve for the spindle. Here is the bearing pair fitted in the sleeve.

Its doubtless that super-precision spindle bearings would give a better result but at a couple of hundred quid versus less than £30 for a 3-bearing set of abec5 from ebay I doubt they would be 8 times better. Certainly the resultant finish is adequate for me needs.

Dave: Looks are deceptive. The machine stood under a tarpaulin for 10 years so all the rot was external. I was very fortunate that the way covers although very grubby were intact and so the ways had only minimal surface rust. It was still a couple of hundred hours work though I would guess. Every sliding surface has been scraped and that's quite a lot of work.

As for the weight? I would guess at 150kg or thereabouts though I haven't weighed it. If I get a change I shall.


Edited By Pete Rimmer on 04/05/2020 18:03:03

Jeff Dayman04/05/2020 18:28:39
2234 forum posts
47 photos

Thanks for the bearing notes Pete, great to know the lower cost ones worked OK. Great results!

MARK RIGG30/10/2020 17:07:03
21 forum posts

Hello . First of all I am new to the forum and interested in the posts about the Eagle / Dronsfield Surface Grinder as I have just purchase one .

Mine is a very nice clean machine and I don`t think it has had much use in its former life .

I have only just got it home and it is dismantled into 5 major parts so I could get it into my Audi estate car. I tried to find a weight for it on the net but no luck - doesn`t seem as though a User Manual was produced for it .

If anyone knows different , I`d be pleased to hear.

As I re-assemble the machine I will weigh the 5 components and report back . I`m pretty sure it is not as heavy as the Qualters & Smith power hacksaw I bought from the same workshop - that was well over 300 kilos and made the car look seriously overloaded ! - but I got it home without any mishap .



Pete Rimmer30/10/2020 22:14:01
1255 forum posts
69 photos

Hi Mark,

Well done on getting your machine home without any mis-haps. Please post up some pics of it when you have it re-assembled, and if you ever have to expose the spindle bearings please report the type. Do you know which model it is? Unfortunately there seems to have never been a manual produced.

A couple of things to watch out for:

The bearing pre-load on mine is set by the wheel nut, so don't run the machine with no wheel, the bearings will be loose.

There's scant facility for oiling the cross-table (z-axis) ways, so take care with that because it'll run dry and tear up the slideway. (On a grinder the X axis is left/right, Z is in/out and Y is up/down).

Take note of the topic of this post, the x-axis ways are lubed with ISO10 oil not the usual heavier iso32 slideway oil. You have to oil it more often as the oil is so thin but it does the job well.

Oily Rag30/10/2020 22:37:56
540 forum posts
184 photos

About 20 years ago we had one of these Eagle surface grinders at a place I worked in one of the other facilities. On a visit there I found it outside and when I enquired why it was standing outside, they said it was being scrapped out as the table ways were so worn the table drooped either side of centre. It was used for grinding valve shims to size and had seen lots of work but no TLC. I claimed it for our fledgling workshop in a new facility we were setting up in, got it to the new place and set about restoring it. Sure enough the tableways had not seen any oil in a loooong time - definitely 10 weight and regular oiling is called for.

After re-machining the table ways, knee ways and vertical ways (which actually only needed a light scrape) and scrapping, fitting a new table drive gear and rack, bushing the worn table drive shaft (it had about 20 thou wear in it) - fitting new head bearings - the old wheel bearings rings a bell now - but I seem to remember the rear spindle as a PB bush. Maybe it was an older model?

We got the machine running and table run out was now not measurable; then the buggers from the main facility came and reclaimed it back as they couldn't find a replacement grinder that was as handy as the Eagle. I have always hankered after another for my own workshop.

BTW Pete - I endorse Steamer's note about the Eclipse De-Mag - superb idea!! A lovely restoration / resurrection.

MARK RIGG31/10/2020 00:24:31
21 forum posts

I will certainly post some pics of it when I`ve re- assembled it . I am having to re- arrange my workshop to accommodate it and the other machine I bought recently ! I was interested in the comments about the lubrication problems of the cross slide . I separated the Cross Slide from the Knee bracket to make the assembly more manageable to unload it - whilst it is all dismantled I`ll have a look at the oiling arrangements and see if any modifications can be done to improve things . All the slideways on my machine look in very good condition which is why I don`t think it has done much in its former life / lives.

I will report back what I think .

There doesn`t seem to be any manufacturer`s plate on the machine with a serial number, etc - is this normal ?

The only identification is a plate ` DRONSFIELD ` on the front of the base casting


not done it yet31/10/2020 08:47:28
6880 forum posts
20 photos

Hi Mark,

If anyone knows different , I`d be pleased to hear.

No manual but weights are most certainly on the net - I found them quite easily. 672-780 lbs dependent on model., so over 300kg.

I took mine apart, too. I’m Presently increasing my workshop floor space by 600 x 2700mm, to accommodate mine.

I’ll compare weights, when I come to build it. Only the base (even minus motor and mounting brackets) is too heavy to lift - although I have separated the knee from the cross travel since, so 6 main parts now (not counting the magnetic chuck - and motor, now).🙂 I think you might find it easier to split the knee/cross travel for easier rebuilding?

I’ve read both Pete’s and John Cox’s comprehensive restoration threads on another forum. Both very good and detailed. Mine is like yours - it appears to have had an easy life (it also appears to be a later model, too). There is still lots of original machining marks on the sliding parts - in fact there is only a small amount that is not still visible.

Is it a one, or one and a quarter, horse power motor? Can the drive belt be removed without removing the spindle?

I expect most of these were 3 phase. Mine was, but is now configured 220V delta.

edited to add that I have just seen your other recent post

Edited By not done it yet on 31/10/2020 08:52:11

not done it yet17/11/2020 19:31:04
6880 forum posts
20 photos

Mine seems to have an unusual head.

It is driven outboard - I’ve only seen pictures of machines with inboard spindle drives. Clearly a later machine as its serial number is 4 3 420 . A definite huge gap between the first ‘4’ and the rest and possibly a gap between the ‘3’ and ‘420’.

Anyone any ideas, or info, on this type of head, please? Anyone own, or use, one with a similar head?

I’ve got to the stage of imminent rebuild - just need to weigh those heavy parts for future movers, etc. Just spent a day cleaning off tape, applied to the machined (and unpainted surfaces) as protection.

It seems to be an earlier one than Mark’s as it appears (from lathesdotco) that the Dronsfield plate was only on the very last of the type (no fixing holes on my base).

Some have the machine serial number plate on the head - but mine is low down on the column. Several small differences between the machines seem to have crept in as manufacture progressed over the years!

James Burden30/01/2021 23:00:04
98 forum posts
12 photos

Hi Pete,

Just found this thread and read with interest. I must say, you have made a lovely job of your grinder, really nice. I picked up a Mk3 Eagle grinder a few years ago, overall in good condition without excessive wear. I rebuilt the base and knee, ways looked OK, made new leadscrew and nut for the Y feed, but I didn't get any further at the time - I searched but couldn't find much detail on Eagle grinders - but this thread had inspired me to get going again!

I am very interested in the spindle arrangement on yours - I'm sure mine is not the original setup. On mine, the spindle has one deep groove ball bearing at the rear, and two taper roller bearings at the front. There is an endcap on both ends of the spindle housing, and two collars that are a press fir into the housing bores. The rear cap has a screw that acts on a blind plug to apply preload to the taper rollers at the front, by applying pressure to the rear bearing. Some pictures below.





At the time, I bought 2 imperial angular contact bearings for the front, and a deep groove ball bearing for the rear, but I couldn't decide on a suitable method for applying preload - but I hadn't thought of using the spindle nut. Do you have a sleeve on the spindle to act on the front bearings? I would be interested if you had some more details on your setup, or a sketch would be really useful?


not done it yet30/01/2021 23:19:39
6880 forum posts
20 photos

Hi James,

Both Pete and Rob Cox have comprehensively documented their Eagle rebuilds on the mig welding forum. Both very good reads!

Here is a link to Pete’s thread


Mine was just rebuilt and works quite well. I haven’t touched the head internals, on mine.

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