|The dust of shredded gears...|
|The broken gears, note the missing tooth on the small gear, and the crack running through the large gear.|
|Metal Transmission Gear Set from Little Machine Shop|
In any case, I decided to bite the bullet and get the metal transmission gears from Little Machine Shop.
Although installing the gears does require extensive disassembly of the lathe (the motor has to be loosened from its mounts to get access to the headstock bolts, the electronics has to be removed. the chuck and spindle must also be removed, etc...) it was not difficult, only time consuming. I removed the shafts with a lead hammer to avoid marring them, and was able to not lose the Jesus clips holding them on (is there anything more satisfying than that?).
I also loaded up the new metal gears and the change gears with a good grease. At some point I want to add a pair of Zerk fittings to the top of the headstock so that I can squirt in more grease whenever the mood strikes me.
The new metal gear transmission is much smoother (funny how when a gear has all of its teeth it runs better...), but it is noticeably louder. I am very pleased with the upgrade. Although many people may never need to replace their gears, I am the type that gets bored too easily to avoid biting off a bigger chip than I can cut, so I know the metal gears will be well worth it in the long run.