Belt Change on a Harbor Freight 34706 Lathe

Today I changed the belt on my Harbor Freight 34706 Lathe. That was a lot harder than it should have been: The clearance between the pulley and the cast-iron housing was about 1/4”, not enough to get the new belt through without damaging it. So the pulley had to come off for the belt change.

The outer half of the two part pulley (it is a variable diameter pulley to allow for speed changes) is secured on the axle with a c-ring and two set screws. Problem was that the pulley was stuck on the axle. I guess a pulley puller or maybe some heat could have helped the situation, but alas I had neither available.

I started tapping the pulley with a mallet, but after a few taps I realized that this would probably damage the bearings. I ended up wedging a piece of wood between the pulley halves, using the speed-control handle to apply some pressure, release, rotate the pulley a bit and repeat. It took about 15 minutes, but the pulley came off fraction by fraction.

I cleaned the axle and the opening in the pulley by sanding them lightly, and applied a small amount of White Lightning bicycle grease on the axle. The pulley went together a lot easier (yes I remembered to put the belt in first), and hopefully next time this procedure will be a lot easier.

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