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  • Sparks and burning smell from planer

    A member over on WoodtalkOnline forum suggested I post this over here. Hopefully someone can provide some advice. Thank you all in advance.

    I have an older Central Machinery 10” thickness planer that I’ve been tuning up and planning to work on a snip issues. I was noticing it did not sound right and today when feeding in some pine it just stalled. I turn the unit off and could see smoke from near the bushings. I”ve been thinking of replacing the bushings because of the sparks I can see from that area. Is it hosed? Any help is greatly appreciated. Also I don’t have any idea on how to tell if the bushings are a problem. Thank you.

  • #2
    Re: Sparks and burning smell from planer

    I'm not familiar with this brand or it's particular quality/assembly makeup.

    Sparks from a "bushing" or bearing is not normal, at least from the point of view that I've never witnessed a bearing on any other kind of tool or motor actually "sparking". Are you referring to the motor itself, or a bearing on either end of the feed rollers or cutting head?

    (Whatever you do during inspection or whatever, please make sure you've got the unit unplugged!)

    Not knowing or seeing exactly what is happening here, I think I'd unplug, and get to the motor itself, remove the drive belt (I presume it has one) and inspect that separately. See if you can manually turn the cutter head (again...UNPLUGGED). The objective is to find where the resistance is at. If there is indeed sparking from a bearing/bushing, I suspect that it is either frozen in position or damaged to the extent that you will find some point in which the supported shaft catches/snags. Repair of course will depend on the location, serviceability, and extent of the damage. Replacing a "fitted" bushing can be challenging in itself, but if the shaft (of say a roller or cutting head) may be particularly expensive, especially if it is the motor itself.

    I know this is a bit vague, but I don't know the particulars. Inspection is required to determine exactly where the sparking and mechanical resistance is taking place.

    BTW, Welcome to the Ridgid forum!



    • #3
      Re: Sparks and burning smell from planer

      If a bearing or bushing has failed one of the feed rollers or the cutter head could have/or be shifting side to side, letting it rub on the housing.

      Once you have some of the sheet metal covers removed, check the rollers for any end play (side to side) or any up and down play, there should not be any.

      Is there any place on it for lubrication?
      Bearings can come sealed and pre-lubricated but time will wear out the grease. These sealed bearings can be lubed with a hypodermic needle
      Bushings on the other hand need lubrication on a constant basis, at least if you are wanting them to last very long. Some equipment mfg. do not add zerk fittings (the little nipple a grease gun fits on) or oil cups to bushings just for that reason.

      If you find that it has bushings, they are worn out and do not have a way to lubricate them.....after replacing them add zerk fittings, just be sure to get bushings that have a grease groove in them. You will need to drill and tap for a new zerk, or just drill and use a press in zerk, you will need to drill all the way through the new bushing by the way.

      Let us know what you find and a few pics would be helpful.


      • #4
        Re: Sparks and burning smell from planer

        Could he be talking about the motor bushings?


        • #5
          Re: Sparks and burning smell from planer

          Could be, did not think of the motor right off.

          Slip the drive belt off of the motor and check to see if the shaft has play in it.

          A good name brand motor is worth being worked on by a motor repair shop. Older motors are usually more heavy duty than the newer throw aways.


          • #6
            Re: Sparks and burning smell from planer

            This is a lunchbox type planer. I can see the sparks in though the vent area on plastic shroud. Not sure if that helps. I know that if I restarted it the unit would spin back up but it just does not sound right. I've had it for over a year so I kinda know what it should sound like. I was turning the head manually the other day but should I feel some resistance? I had some but I could spin it with out too much effort. Thank you all for your help.


            • #7
              Re: Sparks and burning smell from planer

              Now that you mention where the sparks are coming from, it sounds to me like you're looking in the motor... through the air vent. If so, you may well be seeing the sparks from the where the brushes are riding on the commutator.... Does this unit use a "universal" type motor?

              If it is a "universal" motor (they use "brushes", while "induction" motors do not), there may be a possibility that the brushes have worn down and you may possibly have a spring in contact with the commutator. I'd UNPLUG, pull the covers so you have access to the motor and check the motor brushes.

              Universal motors will often "spark", especially when they are new or when the brushes have worn do to the brass "shoe holders". When brushes are worn in and properly mated to the commutator, the sparks are almost negligible sometimes. If they are worn, it is essential that you replace them quickly before they score the motor commutator.

              I hope this helps,



              • #8
                Re: Sparks and burning smell from planer

                Anytime you let the smoke out it is not good. Most products will cease to function when the smoke has gotten out.
                SSG, U.S. Army
                K.I.S.S., R.T.F.M.