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I've just acquired a 15 frame Lega electric radial extractor (it's quite old but apart from being pretty grubby it's not in bad conditon). The extractor is probably 30 years old and I don't have any instructions with it. I've been cleaning it up today and there is the usual ball bearing in the pivot point at the bottom of the central shaft. The socket appears to have been filled with some sort of grease that I have now cleaned out.

I've never put any grease in the pivot point of my existing manual extractor and the question I have is:

The bottom of the extractor is domed and I doubt that the honey would get up as far as the pivot point but I can't say that I'd be happy putting any sort of foreign substance in the drum. Does anyone put any sort of lubricant/grease in the pivot point ?
 

hemo 

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With my 9 framer I have 3 small balls for the vertical shaft to turn on an leave them dry. In time they may eventually go out of shape and just use spare bicycle BB balls to replace them.
 

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You can use food approved/grade grease.

Such as:

 
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The other question I have ...

The motor (which sits on a bar across the top of the extracfor) has a gearbox that changes the direction of the drive from horizontal to vertical ... the gearbox appears to be filled with grease but it's looking pretty grungy (the extractor has not been used for at least 10 years) and I'd like to clean the gearbox out and change the grease ... has anyone done this and what grease did you use ?
 

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Sounds similar, mine's a Lega. Pivot mounting is on top of domed base? I've never used anything.
 

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The gear box should not require food grade grease.

Ideally you want to follow the manufactures guidance, using the type and amount they say.

Failing that, I would just replace with roughly the same amount with something like:


Acetone is amazing at cleaning away oil and grease, failing that white spirit should help clean up the worky bits.
 
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The gear box should not require food grade grease.

Ideally you want to follow the manufactures guidance, using the type and amount they say.

Failing that, I would just replace with roughly the same amount with something like:


Acetone is amazing at cleaning away oil and grease, failing that white spirit should help clean up the worky bits.
Thsnks ...unfortunately I have no manufacturers instructions and lega have nothing on line. I have some white lithium grease so that will probably do the job ... I haven't taken the lid off the gearbox yet so I'm not sure whether it will need it.
 
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Sounds similar, mine's a Lega. Pivot mounting is on top of domed base? I've never used anything.
Yes ... the central rod sits in a brass socket and the ball bearing goes in there under the end of the rod.
 

madasafish 

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The bottom of the extractor is domed and I doubt that the honey would get up as far as the pivot point but I can't say that I'd be happy putting any sort of foreign substance in the drum. Does anyone put any sort of lubricant/grease in the pivot point ?

First thing I did with my s'h extractor is strip it down , remove the (very worn) ball bearing and greased the replacement with food safe grease. . The prior owner said he had never greased it..
 
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First thing I did with my s'h extractor is strip it down , remove the (very worn) ball bearing and greased the replacement with food safe grease. . The prior owner said he had never greased it..
Yes ... I've stripped it all down - I had to as it is a Langstroth extractor and I need to modify the cage to take my national frames, it was also very dirty from being stored. ...Actually, it;'s not going to be too difficult as the cage is not one of the welded wire sort ... the top and bottom of the cage are pressed sections joined by rods with nuts top and bottom. Just need to make some shorter rods.

The ball bearing doesn't appear to be too bad - there was a load of grease and gunge in the socket which must have preserved it. I have a few spare as I tend to lose them when I clean the extractor out !
 
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Sounds similar, mine's a Lega. Pivot mounting is on top of domed base? I've never used anything.
Having looked at food safe grease .. most of them seem to state that they are not intended for use where there was continuous exposure to food items ... the risk, as I see it, is that in the bottom of the extractor there us always the likelihood of the grease coming into contact with the honey being spun out. I think I'm going to follow your lead Steve and not use grease .. I think i might just put a bit of beeswax in there with the ball bearing ... that's not going to do any harm and will provide a little lubrication.
 

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I don't know what the bottom of your extractor looks like @pargyle but cannot you not have the tap open all the time so the honey always flows out and doesn't build up around the bearing so it wouldn't come into contact with the grease? I am assuming the floor is convex so it slopes upwards in the middle towards the spindle and where the bearing would sit.
 

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Mine has a holding tank below a stainless sieve, to be honest the spindle mount is an area that always stays clean.
 
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I don't know what the bottom of your extractor looks like @pargyle but cannot you not have the tap open all the time so the honey always flows out and doesn't build up around the bearing so it wouldn't come into contact with the grease? I am assuming the floor is convex so it slopes upwards in the middle towards the spindle and where the bearing would sit.
Yes it does exac;tly that ... there is no holding tank but the bearing is probably three or four inches above the floor at the rim ... and its a big extractor so there would have to be a lot of honey in the bottom for it to reach the bearing but .. just don't like the idea that there is synthetic grease anywhere near the honey. Leaving the honey gate open is asking for a disaster... did it once by accident ... a little honey goes a long long way !!
 
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Honey is a pretty good lubricant
Yes ... Looking more on the web at other extractors nobody seems to recommend lubricating anything so I suspect that this is the best option.. The only thing that prompted me to ask was that the cup with the bearing in it was clearly full of grease when I cleaned the drum out and it made me wonder. I've never bothered greasing the bearing in my manual extractor.
 

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Obviously you still want to avoid getting grease in contact with your honey even if food grade is used.

I assume the spindle mount stays clean on most extractors when in use. However tiny specks of grease may fly out of the mount when in use, or drips could come out when you tip it up to get the last of the honey out. So agree there is always a chance of contact.

I got a new extractor this year and it came lubricated at the spindle mount.

I re-greased mine as there was far too much and I did not know what grease the chinese had used.

I just put a little on the metal ball and dropped it in the hole.

Using bees wax is a great idea, but I wonder if it may become too runny if it gets hot and melts. I may give it a try next year and see if it is ok.

I would definitely pop a little bit of something in there, but be very sparing with it.

Honey is a pretty good lubricant
Only in the short term. I saw a you tube vid where a guy experimented with honey as a lubricate. He even tried filling a car engine with honey instead of oil.
 

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Bobba said, " Using bees wax is a great idea, but I wonder if it may become too runny if it gets hot and melts. I may give it a try next year and see if it is ok. "

I would like to venture an opinion, even though I have not seen an extractor of the type you mention.
Purely from a mechanical point of view, when two metal surfaces form a moving contact area, there will be some friction which will cause some of the metal to be worn (and to form a black "powder"). When a suitable lubricant is used, there is a fluid layer, which may be ever so thin, that prevents metal-to-metal contact, and therefore no abrasion of the metal.
I think that the use of beeswax as a lubricant is a very appropriate idea. If that spindle mount gets hot enough to melt the wax (above 60C), then just think of how hot it would get without lubrication (and how much frictional wear would occur)! The biggest problem might be if the beeswax remains solid, and does not form a protective layer between the metal surfaces.
If you use beeswax on the spindle mount, even if it does not get hot enough to melt, then hot wax is very slippery and would be an excellent lubricant. Moreover, if any of that wax were to get into the honey, why should that be a problem? The honey which you are wanting to harvest was stored in wax by the bees. Beeswax and honey are completely compatible substances
 
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Just so everyone can see what I've been talking about ... this is the extractor I've acquired .. as you can see it's in a bit of a state ... these are the 'before' photos ... I'll post some more when I've got it up together. It's a bit of a beast compared to my manual one .....

Although it has Morris Beekeeping branding on it - underneath the label on the drum is the Lega name and logo embossed in the metal. I thought, initially, that it might have been galvanised and I was going to use the motor assembly to change my manual extractot to a motorised one. When I put a magnet on it all - stainless ! It's really heavy and well built. Not used for at least 10 years but it runs up fine and the variable speed and the reverse both work. Just needs a bit of TLC and the cage modifying to take my national frames rather than the Langstroth it was made for. My manual extractor may be available shortly for a reasonable sum shortly.
 

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