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Help with cleaning my 1st pancake.  Rate Topic 
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 Posted: Wed Aug 7th, 2019 11:29 am
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Don Fenton
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Hi folks.....got my 1st pancake yesterday. I want to take it apart and give is a good cleaning. What I don't want to do is mess up the innards but do want to clean them up a bit. I did notice some differences in these fans compared to newer fans. One glaring example is the single bearing, in the front and none in the rear. Must be a pretty long and strong set-up holding that weight of the shaft and the rotor. Anyway, I see the rotor and shaft just pull out from the stator coil. What if any maintenance do I do on the shaft, the rotor and the stator coil? Will the coil come out too, without disturbing the the two wires attached ? (for future reference if I decide to paint the housing.) I have another pancake coming tomorrow, so any advice will help me NOT to screw things up as I'm a bit new to all this. I've taken apart and put back together, Model A horns, completely disassembled antique bikes, worked on old cars and trucks, rewired some old appliances, so I am handy and careful, but with something new, I need expert advice the first time out......thanks again as always! My new baby! 1906 GE




Don


Last edited on Wed Aug 7th, 2019 11:35 am by Don Fenton

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 Posted: Wed Aug 7th, 2019 11:30 am
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Don Fenton
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 Posted: Wed Aug 7th, 2019 01:36 pm
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Steven P Dempsey
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Good news is these are very simple, easy to take apart - I polish with Mother's Mag wheel polish (brass & Cast Iron)

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 Posted: Wed Aug 7th, 2019 02:06 pm
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Sean Campbell
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When I take my fans apart, I gently go over the rotor with 0000 steel wool. I also rub non detergent oil (zoom spout) on the shaft. I usually leave the stator alone other than dusting it with compressed air for cleaning keyboards. I also use a q tip to apply oil to the inside of the bearings. You will definitely want to replace the wick inside the oil cup. They are usually quite gunked up, so you may have to carefully cut it up with a box cutter and remove it from the spring. New wicks can be bought inexpensively from Vintage Wire and Supply. Wire varnish can also be used to insulate the stator. 

Make sure to take plenty of pictures as you disassemble them! These will be valuable references for reassembly, especially with more complex fans. You have great starter fans! Good job!

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 Posted: Wed Aug 7th, 2019 02:23 pm
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Don Fenton
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Sean Campbell wrote: When I take my fans apart, I gently go over the rotor with 0000 steel wool. I also rub non detergent oil (zoom spout) on the shaft. I usually leave the stator alone other than dusting it with compressed air for cleaning keyboards. I also use a q tip to apply oil to the inside of the bearings. You will definitely want to replace the wick inside the oil cup. They are usually quite gunked up, so you may have to carefully cut it up with a box cutter and remove it from the spring. New wicks can be bought inexpensively from Vintage Wire and Supply. Wire varnish can also be used to insulate the stator. 

Make sure to take plenty of pictures as you disassemble them! These will be valuable references for reassembly, especially with more complex fans. You have great starter fans! Good job!


Good advice. How hard is it removing the stator from the housing??

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 Posted: Wed Aug 7th, 2019 02:34 pm
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David Kilnapp
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Be careful when you remove the brass terminals. They are held in place by hard plastic insulators that fit securely in the square holes on the back cover. Remove the brass screw on the inside cover where the terminals are located being careful not to lose any of the thin mica insulators under the terminals on the inside of the back cover. Sometimes the brass nuts on the outside of the terminals don’t want to come off the posts so don’t force them. If that’s the case you might have to cut the wires from the stator or un-solder them from the posts to remove the back cover. Be careful removing the black insulators that the brass posts pass through. They can break if they are brittle.

Last edited on Wed Aug 7th, 2019 02:35 pm by David Kilnapp

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 Posted: Wed Aug 7th, 2019 02:39 pm
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David Kilnapp
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Pancake stators come out very easily. Be careful not to damage the wrappings when you do so. I usually use a paint brush to clean the stator with some compressed air. A little steel wool on the inside of the metal part where the rotor spins (or a dremell with a wire brush attachment) is all that is needed.

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 Posted: Wed Aug 7th, 2019 02:49 pm
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Don Fenton
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That's what I wanted to hear......sounds pretty straight forward.

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 Posted: Wed Aug 7th, 2019 04:13 pm
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David Kilnapp
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I have five Pancake fans or four if you exclude the 16 inch dual bearing one I have. I have found them to be the easiest fans to work on that I have restored. The pressed steel Westinghouse fans are at the other end of the spectrum in my humble opinion. Removing those stators can be extremely difficult and even tougher getting the holes to line up when you put them back into the steel cases. Good pancakes are getting scarcer and more expensive. There’s one on eBay right now with a damaged base that is already up to over $400 with several days to go on the auction. There is also the right replacement base for that fan on eBay for $175 so we shall see how high that fan goes! I predict over $900

Last edited on Wed Aug 7th, 2019 08:18 pm by David Kilnapp

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 Posted: Wed Aug 7th, 2019 04:25 pm
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Steven P Dempsey
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I have also had success soaking old wicks in Wd40. But a new one is best if you have them. What is the diameter of these pancake wicks?

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 Posted: Wed Aug 7th, 2019 04:33 pm
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Don Fenton
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Steven P Dempsey wrote: I have also had success soaking old wicks in Wd40. But a new one is best if you have them. What is the diameter of these pancake wicks?

I have that very same question.......??

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 Posted: Wed Aug 7th, 2019 05:20 pm
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David Kilnapp
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Easy to figure out the wick diameter. Here’s the trick I learned from Steve Stephens. Remove the old wick from the spring in the oil cup and measure the hole by inserting the drill bit that fits the diameter of the top of the spring. Check that measurement against what you find for sale (Vintage wire and supply sells wicks) and get the closest size to that measurement (go larger than your measurement to match what is available).

Last edited on Wed Aug 7th, 2019 05:21 pm by David Kilnapp

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 Posted: Wed Aug 7th, 2019 05:59 pm
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Steve Stephens
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David Kilnapp wrote: Easy to figure out the wick diameter. Here’s the trick I learned from Steve Stephens. Remove the old wick from the spring in the oil cup and measure the hole by inserting the drill bit that fits the diameter of the top of the spring. Check that measurement against what you find for sale (Vintage wire and supply sells wicks) and get the closest size to that measurement (go larger than your measurement to match what is available).I use the butt end of a drill bit to check the diameter of either the hole in the top of the oiler or the hole opening going up into the motor.  I think there is no wick size available that fits pancakes.   The wick should be a "slip fit" through the holes in the oil cup and into the bearing but still fit closely.

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 Posted: Wed Aug 7th, 2019 06:08 pm
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Don Fenton
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Steve Stephens wrote: David Kilnapp wrote: Easy to figure out the wick diameter. Here’s the trick I learned from Steve Stephens. Remove the old wick from the spring in the oil cup and measure the hole by inserting the drill bit that fits the diameter of the top of the spring. Check that measurement against what you find for sale (Vintage wire and supply sells wicks) and get the closest size to that measurement (go larger than your measurement to match what is available).I use the butt end of a drill bit to check the diameter of either the hole in the top of the oiler or the hole opening going up into the motor.  I think there is no wick size available that fits pancakes.   The wick should be a "slip fit" through the holes in the oil cup and into the bearing but still fit closely.



There are only three sizes I could find on the market. 1/8", 3/16", 1/4"

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 Posted: Wed Aug 7th, 2019 07:50 pm
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Steve Stephens
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Don Fenton wrote:There are only three sizes I could find on the market. 1/8", 3/16", 1/4"
That is what I have found.  Pancakes use a 3/16" diameter wick. 5/16" diameter felt wick.   Where can you get that?  3/16" wick is too wimpy and you would have to crimp it into the spring which would basically ruin the spring.   If you take 1/4" wick and draw it evenly across rough sandpaper you can slowly decrease the diameter to something usable.  Sure wish there was 5/16" wick available.
I just checked with my felt supplier for availability and i have never seen it available from them in the distant past.  I was just told they have 15 feet in stock with more due next month.


Edit:  I messed up but how I could mistake 3/16" for 5/16" I don't know  Anyway, Pancakes take 3/16" wick and it is currently available from Southerland Felt Co., 248-280-0450.   I spoke to Toby.   They currently have F3 wicking which is a grey color from South America.  They will be getting in more F1 felt wick, cream color from Australia.
Pricing for the incorrect 5/16" I asked about is $4.00/ft with a minimum of 30 feet.   The wicking comes in 15' lengths but confirm all this if you intend to order some.   I think Darryl has 3/16" wick and some other suppliers may also.  The 3/16" wick will probably be tight in the pancake oiler.   It can be shaved down slightly by drawing across some coarse sandpaper.

Last edited on Wed Aug 7th, 2019 08:39 pm by Steve Stephens

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 Posted: Wed Aug 7th, 2019 08:47 pm
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Kim Frank
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I'm glad you corrected yourself Steve. Maybe you were thinking about the reservoir stems, which are 5/16"-18. All Pancakes use 3/16" felt wick. It can be had from McMaster-Carr part #8676K22 $1.15/ft....5 ft minimum. I usually order 30 feet at a time.

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 Posted: Fri Aug 9th, 2019 02:05 am
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Bob Peshoff
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Kim Frank wrote: I'm glad you corrected yourself Steve. Maybe you were thinking about the reservoir stems, which are 5/16"-18. All Pancakes use 3/16" felt wick. It can be had from McMaster-Carr part #8676K22 $1.15/ft....5 ft minimum. I usually order 30 feet at a time.
I think Kim meant to type 8767K22 for the 3/16" felt wick.

Last edited on Fri Aug 9th, 2019 02:06 am by Bob Peshoff

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 Posted: Fri Aug 9th, 2019 12:00 pm
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Kim Frank
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Thanks Bob.

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