You’ve heard the saying, “You get what you pay for.”
This is especially true when it comes to finding replacement parts for your lathe. LeBlond is a Original Equipment Components Supplier (OES). There is no question that OES parts are superior to aftermarket or self-machined parts.
If you want to extend the longevity of your lathes, mills, grinders, drill presses and bandsaws, then here is why you should purchase original equipment parts for your LeBlond, Standard Modern, K.O. Lee, Johnson Press & DEKA drill machines from LeBlond, your OES machine tool parts supplier.
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Problem & Solution: 1960 LeBlond 17”
Years ago, a machinist who owned a 1960 LeBlond 17” manual lathe suspected a transmission gear went bad and consulted a machinist forum for advice on how to solve the problem. We decided to run by the machinist’s issue with a LeBlond service tech who determined that the machinist’s assumption was incorrect.
There has never been a LeBlond lathe manufactured with a transmission gear. The LeBlond service tech did suggest that it was probably one of three gears: the quick-change box, the headstock, or the apron gears. These are the only three areas of a LeBlond lathe that contain gears. Headstock gears are the most expensive, while gears in the quick change box are the middle and apron gears are the least costly of the three.
Is the Bad Gear Worth Replacing?
Now, the question the machinist had was, “The lathe is a 1960s model. Is it worth replacing the gear?” Due to its age, the owner wasn’t sure how much more life he could get out of the lathe. The answer surprised him. The lathe lasted many decades, and if the gear is the only issue with it, then it has the potential to last for decades to come. However, to maximize the lifespan of the lathe, the machinist should buy an OES part from LeBlond instead of machining the part(s) himself, or having a third-party fabrication shop make them.
The Importance of OES Parts
Manufacturers who do not produce OES parts do not have the original blueprints and drawings to machine the parts. This means that the parts will not be built to exact specifications. These differences can potentially cause serious issues such as:
Aftermarket parts have a shorter lifespan, meaning you will have to replace them much sooner than OES parts.
Other parts of the lathe may become damaged due to the aftermarket part not being made to the exact specifications.
The lathe shaft can become damaged due to inferior parts, which can cost upwards of thousands of dollars to repair versus a considerably less purchase of an authentic OES part from LeBlond
The cost of continuously replacing cheap aftermarket parts can far exceed purchasing quality OES lathe parts.
Differences Between OES and Aftermarket Parts
There are three main differences between OES and aftermarket parts. Understanding these differences makes it clear as to why you should always purchase OES LeBlond lathe parts.
As mentioned above, aftermarket parts will not and cannot meet the exact specifications of the original part. Aftermarket parts are designed to fit all similar equipment, meaning one part doesn’t fit any equipment perfectly. Furthermore, the components used to make the part are typically not as high-quality, meaning the part, in general, will be of lesser quality than an OES product.
At first glance, aftermarket parts seem like a great deal and typically cost significantly less than OES parts. However, do not be fooled. Remember, you get what you pay for. Chances are you will have to replace the aftermarket part more often, and it can destroy other components of the lathe, making the actual cost of an aftermarket part much more expensive than the OES part. OES parts also typically have cheaper shipping costs since they are shipped straight from the manufacturer.
Your lathe will probably still function. However, it will not function as well because the aftermarket part is not made to your lathe’s exact specifications. If you replace a gear and the part you machined yourself or had fabricated is off by an infinitesimal amount, that could result in a nightmare scenario like a shaft being damaged. Now you have a far greater problem (and expense) because you decided to take a short-term “band aid” approach.
Contact LeBlond for Authentic Lathe Parts
Here’s another old saying: you can have your cake and eat it too. You can have parts for your legacy LeBlond lathe without incurring astronomical replacement costs and consequently prolong the life of your machine for many years to come.
Have a new RKL lathe? We also supply parts built to original specifications for our new LeBlond machine lines (lathes, drill presses, band saws and vertical mills) as well as K.O. Lee grinders. Parts for new equipment include but are not limited to motors, bearings, gears and accessory and electrical components.