Monday, May 13, 2013

A Dying Art,Pouring Babbitt Bearings

If you can find someone who still knows how to pour and correctly finish a babbitt bearing then you have a very serious resource that is getting harder and harder to find.
I found this video that shows the correct technique to share. I have seen this guy's videos before and he is very, very good at what he does, old school style.
Sure he has milling machines and all the cool tools but he also has the old school knowledge to do things that is getting increasingly hard to find.

I know I looked for a week here in the Portland/ Vancouver area before I found someone who still does them in an industrial capacity. I needed a babbitt bearing poured for a six inch main bearing on a crankshaft for a pump I was rebuilding.

A couple of things I noticed here, first is that he carburized the shaft before he poured it to keep the liquid babbitt from sticking to it and two, that he used a grease pencil when he was preheating the parts that melts at a predetermined temperature to let him know when it was hot enough but not too hot.

One thing I can tell you from experience is that you do not let hot babbitt contact anything cold.


  1. Never saw that done before. Looks like it takes a fair amount of skill to do it right.

  2. It takes lots of hit and miss practice, temperature control is pretty critical. The stuff is pretty forgiving though, it's soft enough to use hand tools to shape it with.
    For emergency work, close can be good enough to get a job done until it can be done right.
    As you noticed though, doing it right is a skill that is hard to find anymore.
    That six inch bearing I mentioned?
    We had several done at once. One of them obviously did not have enough preheat done and it delaminated from the brass before I could finish installing it.

    1. Sir: Thanks for the video. I wish to point out that this fit technique is pretty primative. It works for the old smaller pumps and smaller cantalever loads, but the heavier pumps/compressors,etc need a precision scrape, some shafts do NOT even touch the top half and the pattern is a 2/3 bottom wear cradle on the bottom half. Additionally if the bearing pedestal continues to squirm over it,s lifetime the pattern must be fit for the squirm. I've worked on the fit for 3 weeks at a time where you scrape .0001 at a time and have to keep jacking up the shaft and rolling the bearing in & out to check the progress. There are some way old timey precision scraping tools to be had to make it less painful.
      Thanks for the memories.....I'll probably have the old bad dreams again tonite. Soapweed

  3. Did not see it mentioned but housing preparation is the most important consideration. If not cleaned and "tinned" properly the Babbitt will not adhere and likely allow inclusions to be imbedded in the soft metal.

  4. In the future contact Fusion Babbitting Co in Milwaukee 800-613-5118. The Babbitt repair must take place in our shop.

    1. Normally I would have marked this as Spam and deleted it but since this is such a rare service these days and it is so hard to find anyone that still does it I'll let it through.

  5. Have you ever used babbitrite when you pour to save from the mess? They don't make it anymore, but Deacon came out with a replacement for it called Mold-Pac. The tech sheet is on this link

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