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Pouring Supplies

So you are thinking about pouring your own bearings! Congratulations on taking the leap. The first thing most people want to know though is what supplies and such will they need to get the job done. Here is a basic list of items you will want to get before starting the job.


If you are going to pour Babbitt bearings, the first thing you will need is the Babbitt metal itself. There are basically two types of metal out there - lead based and tin based. Generally speaking, you can use lead based Babbitt on slower speed applications such a drill press or band saw but will want to spend the extra money on tin based babbitt for high speed applications such as planers and jointers. For more information on this topic, see the following entries:

Retaining Compound

When you pour Babbitt bearings, you need something to use as a damming material to keep the molten metal from pouring out of the open ends of the bearing shell. This dense putty like material (it is similar to the consistency of play-dough), can be easily molded around shafts and bearing shells to perform its intended task. Sold by McMaster-Carr as "Casting Retainer Putty", it goes by the trade name "Babbitrite".

Melting Pot



You need something to melt the babbitt in. Some people use a melting pot (a cast iron pan will actually work) but I fine it easier to just melt it right in the ladle that I will use to pour from. The ladle end will need to be pretty heavy - cast iron or shaped steel plate will work. I bought a 6" x 2.5" Steel Flat Handle Ladle from McMaster-Carr several years ago and it has held up well and will hold more than 5 lbs of molten babbitt - plenty of metal for most pours you will deal with in restoring machinery.

Heat Source

You will need a heat source to melt the Babbitt on. Chances are, you probably already have something that will do this around the house. A small propane camp stove works great but a electric hot plate or even the kitchen stove will do (Warning - do not try melting babbitt on the kitchen stove if you wife is at home - don't ask me how I know!). Some people have melting babbitt on a gas grill and in a worst case situation you can even do it the way the old timers did - over an open fire.


You will also need to pre-heat the bearing shell and shaft before pouring. An oxyacetylene torch is best for this since it make the most heat but you can easily get by with a propane or mapp torch just fine - it is just a bit slower.

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