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Bearing Design

Galibier Design - Bearing
Bearing (alien not included)

Features and Benefits:

  • Precision machining to air-bearing tolerances.  The  .800″ (20mm) diameter shaft means lower deflection and higher precision during the machining process.
  • Oil reservoir/chamber.  A central section of the bearing serves to damp stray bearing vibrations – slight as they may be.  Think of a plucked violin string whose maximum travel is at its midpoint.
  • Massive brass housing machined from 1.5″ (38mm) stock – contributes to vibration and heat dissipation.
  • Replaceable Delrin thrust plate and hardened steel ball for long life and low noise.  None of the “exotics” we’ve tried have convinced us to change this element.

Frequently Asked Questions …

What about setting belt height, and bearing rocking?

You’ll read much about the geometric superiority of inverted bearings, and other designs which locate the center of gravity for the most stability.

While the Galibier platter and bearing architecture takes this geometry into account, we’ve found that the execution and close tolerances  trumps all of these considerations.  We’ve never been able to “disturb” the stability of a Galibier platter/bearing by either varying the belt height or motor pod position.

What kind of oil should be used in the bearing?

The short answer is that low viscosity oils are ideal for use in close tolerance bearings like those in Galibiers. Lower precision bearings require thicker oil (or grease) to attempt to compensate for their inherent instability.

We have been specifying thin, air tool oil for 15 years.  It is readily available, inexpensive, and satisfies all performance criteria.

Lubrication has been a source of much obfuscation, propagated in part by certain Scottish turntable companies.

Realize that from a petroleum engineering perspective, there is very little demand on the oil, and less so, with a close tolerance bearing like the Galibier.

Some basic guidelines (if you want to experiment):

  • Stay away from detergent additives.
  • Match the oil viscosity to the tolerances of the bearing (high quality bearing = thin oil).
  • Additives like colloidal graphite (what makes the Linn and Merrill oil black) are acceptable but unnecessary.

Lubrication Goal #1:  to protect the bearing from mechanical and thermal stress.  No oil you’d consider would fail this test.

Lubrication Goal #2:  mechanical stability (viscosity).  This is a non-issue with Galibiers, due to their air bearing tolerances, but lesser turntables have been known to benefit from thick oils, and even  bicycle grease!

Lubrication Goal #3 – do no harm.  This is where staying away from oils with detergents, as well as the opposite – those which may leave a varnish/deposit over time comes into play.  Again, air tool oil is designed to these requirements.

Can I experiment with lubrication?

Sure!  Just follow the basic guidelines mentioned above, and realize that while there are guiding principles, there are no absolutes, because any mechanical drive system is an interactive, resonant system.

Know that the lubrication is interacting with the following elements:

  • The motor and its controller – how quickly it responds to the dynamic demands placed on it.
  • The drive type and its compliance (e.g. rubber vs. Kapton belts, material used for rim drives, etc.):
  • Platter mass
  • Bearing tolerance

Changing any one of these variables will affect what you hear.  Have fun!