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Get More Bearing Life — For Free!

This simple carving mistake is the cause of most bearing failures. The good news is this mistake is easily solved in less than 1 second. First lets look at the photo below of a failed Vortex F5 bearing.

F5 Bearing Damage

What are we looking at?

The object in the middle of the photo is the bearing retainer clip. The purpose of this clip is to separate the ceramic balls and hold the bearing assembly together. The other two objects are the Vortex F5 front bearing shown on the left and the rear bearing on the right. As you can see, the rear bearing still has the bearing retainer clip seated in place. The front bearing failed when the bearing retainer clip was unable to hold the balls in place.

The Failure

A closer examination reveals that the ball sockets look normal on the top, but are worn down to just nubs on the bottom. When this happens, the balls are no longer separated causing them to make contact with each other. The sockets between the balls has worn down to small nubs. This causes bearing failure.

The Fix and How To Get Up To 400% More Life!

Next time you pick up your Vortex F5 carver, rotate it a small amount as shown in the photo. An easy way to remember is the star pattern used when changing a tire. Rotate your Vortex F5 for every 30 minutes of carving. By doing this, you will even out the wear on your bearing retainer clip and get up to 400% more life from your bearings.

Vortex F5 Rotate
Star Pattern

Don’t hesitate to leave a reply below if you have any questions or comments.

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Ceramic Bearings are ideal for the Vortex F5. They are superior to common steel bearings in many ways. Ceramic is the ideal material for obtaining higher RPM (faster speed).

Ceramic balls need less lubricant and have a greater hardness than steel balls. This contributes to increased bearing life. Thermal properties of ceramic balls are more superior than steel resulting in less heat generation at higher speeds.

Ceramic bearing assemblies use ceramic balls but they are constructed with steel inner and outer rings. Ceramic balls weigh up to 40% less than steel balls. This reduces centrifugal loading so ceramic bearings can operate up to 50% faster. Also, the outer race groove exerts less force against the ball as the bearing spins, reducing the friction and rolling resistance. The final results, ceramic balls allows the bearing to spin faster and uses less energy to maintain rotational speed.

By not having to insert burs by bear down on a hard surface like other carving tools, radial bearings can be utilized instead of angular bearings. Radial bearings are better suited for carving on their sides. Angular bearings which are primarily used in a vertical position and drilling.

Permanently Lubed for Life Turbine Bearings

Within the nosecone of the Vortex F5, there is a turbine bearing assembly. The bearings are permanently lubed and never need oiling. Warning: using an in-line mist fog oiler or placing drops of oil or cleaner into the hose may cause damage to the carver and void the warranty.