Replacing a part on anything

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When repairing anything, following a basic process as below will help you.

Not working? Check the stupid stuff first[edit]

  • Is it plugged in? Is there any issue with the power cord?
  • Is it switched on? Try switching off and on once or twice.
  • Is something stuck in it? Look in obvious places near the important parts of the machine.
  • Did you break it, or was it broken before? If you know who used it last, ask them about it.
  • No idea what's going on or how to fix it? Inform the general manager and/or the shop manager.

Not an obvious problem, but not ready to quit? Here are some methods for finding answers[edit]

  • Google and Youtube are your friends. If a machine has broken in some way, there's someone out there that made a post or video about it and how to fix it. Searching for the brand name or model number and a word or two relating to the issue will hopefully come up with something useful.
  • With mechanical problems like binding, jamming, sticking, etc., try to feel where the binding is occurring before you take anything apart.

Don't make more work for yourself than necessary. The goal is to find the problem while dismantling it as little as possible. The more parts you take out, the more parts you need to make sure go back properly.

Need to replace a part?[edit]

For many of the power tools in the wood shop and metal shop, you can find parts and diagrams on

For older machines (like the milling machine and southbend lathe) you may need to search for the model number of the machine and see what comes up on ebay. Some people on machinist forums have parts for sale as well.

Is it a plastic knob or simple piece of hardware that broke? Perhaps it could be 3D printed! Check for existing parts on Thingiverse. If it doesn't exist, maybe you or another member can make a 3D model.