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New Departure Bearing Co

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  • New Departure Bearing Co

    Is there a good equivalent currently manufactured that could replace the original New Departure Bearings found in Century projectors?

    So far it appears there are only Chinese or Japanese made bearings, and talking with my local bearing shop neither is going to be the most reliable option.

    Wondering if any Century users have had positive experience using current manufacturers like RBL, NTN, KSK? Does anyone have suggestions for better options?

    Thanks again!

    - Jacob

  • #2
    The big issue is that the new bearings are not exactly the same bore size as the original new departure bearings were. Wolk used to have them custom made


    • #3
      Wolk typically supplied NSK bearings towards the end for the BG-9, but they were all specially selected for the proper bore... actually was there one day while they were doing that. Vertical shaft and shutter shaft are supposed to float in the bearings in order to compensate for temperature variance as well as the start up shock of the mechanism. I also have used Barden bearings as they also make the BG-9... but they are precision ABEC-7 tolerance, and they are uber expensive. New Departure is long gone having been sold off by General Motors in the 1980's. New Departure used to supply about 70% of all the bearings used in industry.
      Also, be sure to install new spacers and spring washers on the shutter shaft as well as the Vertical shaft.


      • #4
        The end days of New Departure were quite sad. They were turning out real crap at the end. Another industry surrendered to others overseas. Old machinery, no capital improvements to the factory. GM was making old technology as long as they possibly could. Meanwhile, VW and others were working with Bosch on electronic fuel injection while our carmakers were trying to wring more life out of the carburetor.


        • #5
          And now GM makes Ventilators for COVID patients... Not sure I'd want to be hooked up to a GM ventilator, but I'd certainly accept a Ford Ventilator.


          • #6
            Thanks for the information! Too bad the bearing shield prevents them from being serviced.


            • #7
              FWIW, When ever I rebuilt projectors I always used rubber sealed bearings. This does two things... Keeps the grease from evaporating, and also keeps crud out of the bearing. This is especially important on Christie Projectors where rubber particles like to work their way into bearings and wear them out really fast..


              • #8
                I have spoken extensively with my good friend and Mentor, Louis Bornwasser, regarding the BG-9 bearings (aka New Departure 88501-A11).

                88501 is a standard bearing that can be purchased at any bearing supply. However, the -A11 suffix designates an undersized bore. These were extensively used on Century and Simplex E-7 projectors.

                Louis told me that New Departure produced the bearing from materials that drastically exceeded their design specifications. Hence, the shields were able to withstand the axial (thrust) load imparted by 5G-68-D shutter shaft spring (Century). The Japanese made bearings where built to the original design specifications, hence they are unable to sustain that load.

                I will be experimenting with machining a press-fit sleeve for the standard 88501 bearing, and will publish the test results whenever I complete that project.

                Louis had also designed kits to resolve the shutter shaft alignment issues common to later Century’s. He is sending me the parts for me to reverse engineer. I will need to determine if I have the available facilities to produce the parts. If so, then Louis and I will need to determine a price.


                • #9
                  Hi Will, thanks for your response, that's good information.

                  So the 88501-A11 has a slightly undersized inner race and that is the bearing used on the vert. shaft and shutter shaft.

                  Since the main drive shaft bearings do not have a suffix attached to the model number (88016) does that mean that a modern foreign made replacement would be an appropriate fit? Ignoring the fact that the materials are are inferior I would assume in some circumstances there would be no alternative.

                  I have a spare E-7 sitting in a storage room. Could I salvage the un-used bearings from that machine for my Century's?

                  I understand that in many respects the parts are not transferable between Simplex and Century. Do you know of other exceptions where parts from Simplex's of various models could be used for Century's, and vice versa? I happen to have a small collection of Simplex parts.

                  I hope you don't mind the questions. I would like to learn as much as possible!


                  • #10
                    Jacob, Don't transfer some old bearing that's been sitting in an old projector to another one.. It is highly likely the solvents in the grease have long since evaporated. Nor does it being an older bearing make it a better one. LaVezzi always recommended to use ABEC 5 bearings on the shafts in Century's due to the high tolerance they manufactured those shafts to. Also, if you can, try to find a NOS LaVezzi vertical shaft. They hardened and ground their shafts, while the original factory shafts were ground soft steel. I had shutter shafts of equal quality manufactured to go with the LaVezzi Vertical shafts back when I was rebuilding a lot of Century's. Those projectors ran faultlessly for over 20 years before they were pulled for digital.


                    • #11
                      I do concur with Mark to an extent. Fortunately, all of the New Departure bearing number codes are available on-line. Some of the bearings that I have come across in both Simplex and Century projectors had cut-outs in the race seals which allow for re- lubrication. This is designated in the prefix and suffix codes.

                      I strongly agree with Mark about transferring gearings from an old projector!


                      • #12
                        How do you find the New Departure item numbers? I also need to replace some Century bearings, and only found a three-digit number stamped on the bearing (ex., 910 for the main shaft bearings).

                        And does anyone have tips for removing a bearing that's stuck in the casting? Preferably a non-destructive method.


                        • #13
                          If its a century head, make sure the three binding head machine screws are removed, then using a 1/8" pin punch, gently tap the bearing out on its outer race edge. you can also make a drive tool from a piece of conduit that is the same diameter as the bearing and tap it out with that and a hammer. Centurys are notorious for the bearings galding on the shafts as well as the aluminum castings...