Lathe - Rebuilding/Restoration



SB Restoration Site (Jan 31, 2001) Rebuilding Assistance Needed (Apr 7, 2003)
Model C Restoration (Mar 25, 2001) 13" SB Restoration Pix (May 24, 2003)
Anyone restore an SB Heavy 10? (Apr 1, 2001) Restoration (Jun 12, 2003)
Re-building (Jun 11, 2001) Reconditioning a 9" SB hor. drive countershaft (Mar 9, 2004)
Rebuilding a Model A (Jun 9, 2002) Rebuilding 9C (Dec 6, 2004)
Rebuilding SB Heavy 10 (Dec 2, 2002) 10" tool room lathe bed restoration (Jan 9, 2005)
Rebuild page on 9" SB Hercus clone (Jan 24, 2003) Rebuild help (Feb 28, 2005)
SB Restoration Site
I'm shifting gears from woodworking to metalworking and have documented the restoration of my 1941 SB at *no longer available* Mike (121)
Mike, Beautiful site, BEAUTIFUL SB! Just like you, I've poured over the frankenlathe site and others gathering as much info on DIY restoration as I could. When I get a chance, I'll be reviewing your site at a slower pace as I think about what next to do to my 1941 9" SB. I too, have been if not shifting from, augmenting my woodworking with metal working. Nice to have the capability for both. Corian -- now that smacks of a woodworker. I thought I saw a precision level in one of the pictures. Have you set up the lathe yet, and how does it perform, precision-wise? How's the 1/4 HP motor do? Paul R. (122)
Paul. set up the lathe yet, and how does it perform, precision-wise? How's the 1/4 HP motor do? Yes, that's an 8" Starrett level I used to get the ways leveled-off, in fact, I think you can also see the test bar I started making in the same photo. The lathe was off .003 over 6", and after some trial and error tweaking, I was able to get it down to .001-.0015". (well within my tolerance level) (and ability) You know as well as I do, woodworking only uses fractions, and I don't ever remember using them down to 64ths. Now I have to deal with thousandths? Sheesh! The motor is surprisingly strong for it's rating. In fact, its much larger and heavier than a newer 1/2 hp motor I have. I would swear that it's a modern day 1/2hp equivalent. Sometimes I make too aggressive of a cut, and the belt tends to slip, but I like that safety factor. At least I know I won't be burning the motor up. Maybe it's why it is still going strong after all these years. I'm glad I found this group, Mike (123)
I'm curious about belt slip. With my current setup, with a polyurethane belt, I can still grab the chuck or the largest spindle step and cause the belt to slip. When is too much slip a bad thing? How soon does your belt start slipping? I also wonder if my belt and pulleys are starting to get slippery from oil/grease. Paul R. (126)
Let's just say that when I accidentally take too deep of a cut, the tool bit stops the work, chuck and all, and the leather belt slips until I turn the motor off and regroup. I have never noticed (heard or felt since I can't see the belt) it slipping when making normal cuts or procedures. Mike (128)
I think that belt slippage is built in short coming of the SB Lathe. I have busted many a carbide tool bit when the work comes to a stop due to belt slippage. I do not know the answer to this, but regular cleaning of the belt with Acetone will help. I have ordered a new 4-ply power transmission belt for mine. I should have it this week. One of the features of this belt is its low stretch. You can increase the tension a bit more without a problem. You can also use belt dressing on the type of belt. One thing we should keep in mind is the fact that this little lathe was never designed for modern carbide tools and inserts. We tend to get a bit aggressive with this tool bits. As the normal cutting speed of carbide is about 4x faster than HHS. Momentum from the speed and the superior cutting properties of carbide will give us the feeling we can take bigger cuts, but the bottom line is, the poor little gear teeth may not hold out. Jim (129)
Model C Restoration
I'm trying to bring a 9x36 model C that's sitting in the corner of my shop back to life. Its not mine (the shop is a metal working collective), and the owner is in Europe, so I'm trying to keep expenses to a minimum. I had a web page that described how to remove the spindle, but I can't find it now. Also, where do all these images come from (like the ones on the web site), are these from the manual that I can order from Southbend? Also, do all 9 inchers have thrust bearings? If they do, it looks like mine was replaced by some flat washers. Also the backgears don't quite line up with the bullgear on the spindle, is this normal, or a result of the bearing/washer replacement. Chris (386)
As far as I know, they all had the thrust bearing. That could be the alignment problem. To remove the spindle: 1) Remove gear guards 2) Remove reverse bracket assembly 3) Loosen binding screw in take-up nut at the gear-end of the spindle, then remove nut and washer 4) Drive out spindle from gear-end with a hammer using a wooden block to keep from damaging the spindle. Once you get it started, the spindle should pull out from the nose-end. Don't let the thrust bearing, cone-pulley or bull-gear fall out! Paul R. (389)
Anyone restore an SB Heavy 10?
Curious to know if anyone has torn down and restored a South Bend Heavy 10 lathe and perhaps documented it, pictures/web page etc. I have one mounted on the steel cabinet, 1958 model told to me by South Bend. Has a threaded spindle but used to have a Camlock according to SB. I'd love to find an L00 spindle as that is what I have on my LeBlond but not critical. Marty (451)
Marty, we've talked before via e-mail, but the best Heavy 10" restoration site I've found so far is: http://www.redshift.com/~gordis/Heavy10/  This lathe is my inspiration. My Heavy 10 is in real good shape, but needs a good cleaning and a coat of industrial paint. Because of the fine site listed above I've bitten the bullet and decided to go for it right away. This is taking time away from my aircraft restoration, but I can't help myself. Mel BTW, here is one more 9" lathe restoration site that is real good: http://web.dimebank.com/FrankenLathe.html  (453)
I am in the middle of restoring a 1950 10L right now. I have taken some pictures but wish I had taken more as some of the things I found were quite something. Unfortunately the pictures I did take are still in the camera. Hopefully I will be able to post some in a week or so. It really disappoints me to see how badly some people can treat a fine piece of machinery. When you get one of these jewels torn apart and see how well South Bend made them you begin to understand how a 50 year old machine tool can last so long. This is one well made lathe. It is too bad that previous owners used, neglected and even abused it in so many ways. I don't know much about the history of this lathe but the person I got it from said that it came from a school. South Bend told me it originally was shipped to a company in Wisconsin. It had apparently had been in storage for a long time prior to being acquired by the person I got it from. He said that he got it as a part of a larger purchase and that he had not actually used it. I believe this was a true statement as all of the parts were coated with oil so old that it looked almost like tar. The oil in the spindle was thick but not old. When asked he said it was way oil. Same as what he used on his 15 ft long Monarch. Oh well. Anyway I got it and now I am trying to restore it. In general it was in good condition. Extremely dirty and many layers of paint slopped on. Unfortunately I have found some serious (expensive) problems that I will have to correct before I can put it to good use. Two gears have a tooth missing. One is on the back gear, one is on the clutch assembly. The biggest problem is that the sleeve bearings have been bent by someone who apparently removed the bearing caps without removing the expander screws. South Bend wants $617 each for them. OUCH! I will look around the used equipment dealers and see what I can find. Anyway this is what you often encounter when restoring old things. I will get some pictures posted as soon as I get them developed and will keep you posted on the progress. Karl (458)
There is a firm that makes something called MOGLICE. This stuff transcends anything you ever used for fill and repair or duplicate. There are products made by this firm that will re-build low spots, fill holes, resurface ANY flat bearing from a jewelers lathe to a Pratt Whitney 96" VTL main bearing. The catalog is full of good advice w/pictures and prices. Now all I have to do is remember the name of the damn firm!! Your dialog on building up gears made me think of the stuff they sell that actually can make a new gear. cheers, Ron (855)
Try: Devitt Machinery Co. 4009-G Market Street Aston, Pa 19014 (800) 749-3135 www.moglice.com  Anthony (863)
Curious if anyone has any experience actually using this stuff to replace broken gear teeth. I visited the website and it appears to be a machine surface and bearing coating rather than as to gear teeth replacement. How about something more readily available such as J B Weld that is sold in auto parts stores? (867)
This is a post from the atlas_craftsman group that I belong to I read it and it seems like a good idea. It is not my post but from Jeff Hayes. The other day I was buying an old South Bend 3-jaw chuck from a gentleman-machinist at a flea market, and we got to talking, knowledgeable old-timer to eager new kid (me), and when I told him I had an Atlas lathe, he immediately asked me if I knew how to repair broken gear teeth? I said he was knowledgeable didn't I? I said I did not, and he proceeded to tell me how it's done. It seems he had to perform this type of repair on a lathe some years ago, that used some kind of pot-metal change gears. He proceeded to drill three tiny holes where the gear tooth had been, and inserted three pieces of steel wire- actually small finishing brads- which he then cut off to the correct height sticking out of the gear for a tooth. He then applied JB Weld to the wires to provide material to build up the tooth. As the JB Weld began to cure, he rolled the gear "tooth" through the meshing teeth on an adjacent gear, to provide the correct shape. As far as he knows, the gear is still in use. On another occasion, he had to perform a similar repair on a sawmill drive gear. The mill had ordered a replacement gear that would not arrive for 2 days, and the mill was looking at seriously expensive downtime. This time, the size of the gear teeth meant using 3 spikes to provide the "spine" of the new tooth, but the same JB Weld was used the same way. When the new gear arrived, the mill owner decided not to replace the repaired gear- to avoid the downtime required, so the gear was used for the next 5 months until the mill shut down for the winter. The repaired gear is now the spare, in storage for future use if needed. He said make absolutely sure the area to be repaired is ***CLEAN*** for this repair to work. It sounds like this should work on zamac as well. Jeff (868)
I've been in touch with the factory--for a 9-inch, $1050 to rescrape the bedways and saddle bearing surfaces, 8-12 weeks turnaround, I pay shipping both ways. (2548)
And I bet that is for a 3 foot bed and not anything longer. I guess it is a good thing I don't want to make any parts for Nasa. Gerald (2552)
I had just sent my bed in to be reground. The factory did an excellent job. UPS also did an excellent job in destroying it in shipping, now I am waiting for the factory to reopen after the Christmas break so I can send it back to have it redone. Do not ship with UPS, they are paying the $1100 to have it redone, but they must learn that they cannot throw a 100lb box, no matter how strong it is. The price to regrind the bed is the same regardless of length. You also have to send in the saddle to be scraped so it will match the leadscrew. Alex (2553)
I have a lathe where the bed was " damaged in shipping " so far they are trying to get off with that. I am trying to get them to give me the bed no matter what the damage and I am getting the runaround. They don't seem to understand that one doesn't just go out and buy a new Mikron (a Swiss make that now makes CNC machines only) lathe bed. I now have a head stock and a nice turret but no bed. Yasmiin (2555)
Alex, Did they tell you how much they had to grind off your bed to true it up? Reason I ask, we grind a lot of milling and centerless grinder tables for a local rebuilder. I just got a 9" SB that has a slight drop :) underneath and to the right of the chuck. The guy I got it off of must have made a lot of short parts. I don't have a problem grinding it, but I'm worried about the carriage. How much can you grind off safely. The rebuilder wants 500.00 to scrape the bed once I grind it. I plan on indicating the bed to find out, just thought you might know. Mike (2557)
It would be interesting to see what kind of fee the people that make Moglice charge for their services. Seeing as they take it off as well as put it back on. The cost of scraping makes me wonder if we are in the wrong business. Think I'll go back to my book on machine-tool re-building and finish making my set of scrapers. When my dad would tour some of the great shops of Philly, (Baldwin, NY Ship etc.) it was common-place to see men scraping breech-blocks on large guns. The critical surfaces had to achieve a gas-tight fit. Very impressive for one man and one tool! Now I have a question for the gifted horde. I find that after using back-gear on my lathe for a while, the pulley and the bull-gear tend to get hot and seize a bit. What causes this and how do I fix it?? AND TODAY'S CHEAP-SHOT: Ever loose a loose eccentric collar and have to make one? I did. During the construction of Tims 30" bench-grinder one of the locking collars for the bearings turns up gone. I had to make another. So I took a piece of round stock and bored the 3/4 hole for the shaft first. Then took the other collar and indicated the ID in my 4-jaw chuck. Then just bored it to fit. Works great! Ron (2558)
Ron: Sounds like there's no Teflon grease inside the cone pulley or the quill assembly. I'd say tear it down and clean and inspect first, then reassemble with Teflon grease, and then inject some more. Paul R. (2562)
I find that after using back-gear on my lathe for a while, the pulley and the bull-gear tend to get hot and seize a bit. What causes this and how do I fix it?? Don't know about a SB, but on an Atlas there is a lube point on the drive pulley. It looks like a set screw in the bottom of one of the V's of the pulley, but it leads to a hole for oil that lubes the spindle/ drive pulley joint. Of course when you are in direct drive the pulley and spindle move as one piece, but in back gear the pulley and spindle rotate at different speeds so that point needs oil. John (2563)
Ron, As others have pointed out, it is most likely a lack of lubrication in the stepped cone pulley. There is a slotted set screw (actually a plug screw) in the middle step of the cone pulley that you remove to add lubricant. It will be labeled "Oil" or "Grease" over the screw. You know what to do from this point... The other possibility that the others haven't mentioned is that overheating can be caused by the flat belt being tensioned too tight. Proper tension is 1" deflection in the middle of the belt with hand pressure when the belt is under tension. On the underdrive units, where it is hard to check the belt in the middle, the deflection should be 1/2" near the cone pulley. Many times belts are over tensioned to compensate for the slipping of a dirty, oily belt. If this your case, clean your belt with Naphtha and tension it properly. If you still have slipping problems after cleaning, replace the belt. Webb (2564)
Yasmiin: You will find that they are only liable for $0.10 per pound for used machinery. They wrecked my lathe and now I have gotten a new used gear box with lead screw and a new saddle. I have yet to put them together. Any used machinery is fair game for them to wreck and they will only give you scrap value for it. I wonder if they have to pay a higher price per pound if they wreck stainless steel machinery? Jim (2568)
I am just trying to get them to give me the " busted " lathe bed. I am betting that they broke a leg off it. Anyway I want to try and repair it but getting the " damaged it transit " item out of them seems to be an unending battle. Yasmiin (2569)
Rebuilding a Model A
On the subject of regrinding ways, my Model A appears shot. The ways have a 0.010" ridge on the top front. I can see the cross slide fishtail when I bore. Boring holes produces tapered holes that get smaller as the hole gets deeper. The head stock makes loud clicking noises when a live center is used. Worse, I can't part aluminum with my parting blade (or any blade for that matter). When I do try to cut off aluminum, the work chatters and howls. The best description of the sound is like a drunken elephant giving birth to whale. It doesn't matter what speed I run, the chattering is always there. I can see the work vibrate. I have a Bison 6" chuck. Any ideas? I am thinking that the lathe has taken a turn for the worst and simply needs a rebuilding, but before I either spend a few thousand $$$$ or chuck it and buy a new one, I wanted to get some opinions on what I might try to do. The lathe is used for very light production of aluminum. Marv (4516)
Have you check the spindle bearings? You may have too much play (clearance). Is the clicking noise when in back gear or in direct drive? If it is in direct drive, your stepped cone pulley may have too much play on the spindle. When this occurs, the pin that locks the bullgear to the stepped cone pulley (for direct drive) "clicks" from the shifting of the pulley. SBL headstocks have shims under the bearing caps that allow one to adjust the bearing clearance. Have you checked and/or adjusted the gib on the rear of the saddle? That may help to prevent the "fish tailing." Speaking of gibs, are the gibs on the cross slide and compound adjusted correctly? any "play" will contribute to "chatter" when parting. Of course, I am assuming that the parting tool blade is sharp and clearance angles are properly ground. And the tool is set up on center and perpendicular to the axis of rotation of the spindle. As to rebuilding, you may be better off getting another lathe in better condition. It all depends on how much rebuilding your lathe requires. Webb (4517)
I would assume after 47 years everything needs rebuilding. The alternative that I see is buying a new lathe. Since I am not impressed with Asian made lathes, that means looking at North America or Europe. Either one is about $10,000 tooled up. So far I have $2,500 wrapped up in a used SB and a new Asian lathe. I guess I got an education about lathes out of that, but I won't throw any more money out the window on junk. If fixing this lathe is not practical, I probably will be forced to buy a new one. I refuse to buy another used one. After all, the reason these lathes are up for sale is because they have exceeded their useful life in the shop. Marv (4522)
Marv, I realize everyone has their own needs and requirements, and for you, maybe an new industrial quality lathe is the answer, but for many of the folks on this list, a well used high quality American made lathe suits our needs just fine. One other thing we shouldn't forget, is that, while the quality of a machine tool can have a significant influence on the quality of work produced on it, so can the operator. Mario (4523)
If fixing this lathe is not practical, I probably will be forced to buy a new one. I refuse to buy another used one. After all, the reason these lathes are up for sale is because they have exceeded their useful life in the shop. While that may be true for some of the larger industrial lathes, it is not true of the smaller ones. I have purchased two of my SB 9's from estate sales where the previous owner had passed away. The other SB 9 I bought came from my high school metals shop. I have kept in touch with the instructor for the past 17 years and he figured he would give me first crack at it. I made the school an offer that I thought was fair and I got it. It is the very first lathe I ever used. The only reason they were even considering getting rid of it was for tax reasons. Yes it has seen some abuse but it was not used in a production environment. I guess you will just have to plunk down the cash for a new SB or what ever other brand of lathe you decide to buy. Gerald (4524)
You can get an old lathe professionally rebuilt. In the last 6 months or so Meridian Machinery had a heavy 10 completely rebuilt for sale at about $6,000. It included taper attachment and a chuck, but no tooling. I recently saw a 9 inch rebuilt at a charge of about $6,000. By rebuilt, I mean bed ground, carriage, compound, headstock, tailstock and taper attachment all ground, lined with Turcite and hand scraped to perfection, new bearings, entire machine stripped and repainted, etc. A professionally rebuilt lathe of that sort is arguably better than it was when new. The attention to detail and the precision of fit and alignment in a good rebuild shop is better than was afforded on the original factory production line. I think that's what I'd do if I had a $5-10K lathe budget. (4525)
Well, as an operator, I can tell you I significantly influence the quality of the work. That's why I need the best machine I can afford to offset my negative effects. Marv (4526)
That sounds good to me. I like the 9A, but it badly needs help. If I can find a local place to do that for this one it would seem agreeable. For that same $5,000, I don't know of anything new that I could get that competes. Marv (4527)
Where are you located? You might call Dave Ficken at Meridian and ask him about the place he used to rebuild that heavy 10. It's called something like 'New Jersey Machine Tool'. Finding someone real "local" could be a challenge, depending where you are. Although I think a rebuild is a viable strategy, I seriously doubt it's hassle-free, meaning that you'd really need/want to spend some time doing homework, like visiting shops, seeing samples of their work, talking to references, etc. Maybe even getting a contract that has spces on it? Although I've talked with and visited several rebuilders, I have very little idea what the business is really like. I actually took a machine to a supposedly first-rate rebuilder for a look-over and estimate, and 2 months and a half-dozen conversations later, I still haven't got a firm estimate. They have a very slow pace. I've heard this is not uncommon. (4533)
Yes, I believe that can be a problem. I need to do a full evaluation of the lathe and I think it needs everything. Even the tailstock has bad play in the shaft. It wiggles all over the place when I try to drill. It is almost impossible to cinch down the shaft with the screw. I think the head stock bearings are shot. When I use a live center and apply force to the work laterally, I get clicking sounds out of the head stock. The ways have a 0.010" ridge on the top. The cross slide visibly fish tails under load. The cross slide doesn't appear to have play, but it is hard to tell with all of the other problems. It is a bit stiff to articulate. I would think that since everything else is shot there is no reason to believe that the cross slide should fare any better. I would think that there some aspects to rebuilding that I can do, but things like regrinding the ways are out of my reach, big time. I can see it now. I'll do an ad for Dremel regrinding my own ways with a 0.250" stone spinning at 10,000 rpm. (4537)
Marv, It sounds like your lathe is pretty beat up. Maybe you shouldn't rule out just buying a great condition used lathe. They don't come up too often, but they do show up several times a year on Ebay (and presumably elsewhere). I also didn't want a second-rate lathe or a first-rate rebuild project, and I watched Ebay and newspapers for a while. I found a 10K on Ebay that is essentially new. Zero wear on the bed, everything is tight as the day it left the factory. It wasn't cheap and it wasn't tooled, but I've decked it out with first-rate tooling like Buck chucks, etc. and in the end, I've got a fabulous lathe for under $5,000. Admittedly a generous budget by many standards, but not too outrageous either for something that will last my lifetime (I think I've got ~30 years left). I took a similar route with a mill, waited 6 months or so, but found something that had been sitting in a corner for 25 years. The search was discouraging for a while, but then one day, voila: a lathe. A month later: a mill. Then a grinder, then... you get the idea. My faith was restored that good things come with a little patience and networking, and especially if when the time comes, you're prepared budget-wise. None of my equipment were bargains in the conventional sense, but then again, they require no work. As you're seeing, that can have real value. I continue to watch Ebay occasionally, and in the last 2-3 months there was a beautiful, nearly-new, well tooled Clausing 6500 from a retired machinist that went for about $4,000. There was a virtually new SBL 9A that went for about 3,500 a month or two ago. (I think I have pictures and the actual prices of these I could send you if you're interested to see the kind of thing I'm talking about. Email me offline) There are still machines out there in garages and basements that would-be hobbyists bought and never used, and they gradually come to see the light again. Mark (4545)
I have work that needs to be done now. I am trying to work out ways to limp along until the cash flow from the jobs offers me a chance to upgrade. When I have the money I need to move, so waiting for the right used lathe may not be a good option. Besides, I seem to have bad luck with used stuff. :-/ I might consider rebuilding the lathe in stages. Attack the items that are the worst and keep improving as I go along. That really depends on what the total cost of a rebuild is and what I can do myself. I am also thinking that better tooling may help. Does anyone have a good idea what kind of money would be required to rebuild an A? Are things like head stock bearings, tail stocks, and cross slides something that I can repair with new parts or does it require specialized tools (beyond a hammer)? Marv (4546)
Rebuilding SB Heavy 10
I recently purchased some parts to rebuild my Heavy 10. I'm in the process of taking down the headstock and rebuilding it when I noticed something odd in the bushing races. Realizing I'm new to this I thought I would post my question here to see if anyone can spread some light on this subject. In the races of the headstock, there appears to be a leather strip in the keyway of each of the bushing races. What are these things and where do I get new ones? Do these things act as wicks to keep the part oiled? Terry (7685)
I have a 9" so it's different than yours, but it sounds like this is a felt wick for oiling. There seems to be lots of these oilers in various parts of the SB lathes. John (7686)
John, these wicks, are they an item that you can still buy or are they just made out of leather and just replace them with some leather strips? Terry (7687)
They are made of felt not leather. Mine were in pretty good shape so I never tried to buy any. Depending upon the thickness you might find something in a fabric store. Others have used felt out of shoes? (winter boots), felt hats etc. If you search the message archive you'll find others who have obtained them or made them of something more common. John (7690)
When I did mine I used scraps of felt that were leftover after I re-felted a machinists chest. It was a thick heavy felt and worked very well. Dave (7693)
I'd recommend buying some F-1 or F-3 felt strips from McMaster-Carr, or buying the actual replacement felt from South Bend parts. It'll only cost a dollar or two, and you'll be getting the real deal. Jeff (7712)
Rebuild page on 9" SB Hercus clone
I may be behind as usual, but maybe someone other than me has not seen this excellent site with great pics on the rebuild of an Australian Hercus clone. http://www.steammachine.com/hercus/ Okey (8896)
Rebuilding Assistance Needed
I'm in the process of rebuilding a SB Heavy 10". I've completely taken the lathe apart, cleaned each piece, primered and painted. Now I'm working on the headstock and when I put the spindle back in it's very "tight" or difficult to turn and I haven't even torqued the bearing bolts down. What I'm looking for is there any information out there on what kind of clearances are needed for the spindle bearings. I have a newer style headstock where the spindle turns inside a bronze bushing as apposed to the old style where the spindle ran directly on the bearing races on the headstock. When I place the spindle in the headstock I'm able to line up the oiler hole in the bronze bushing with the oiler spring in the journal and the journal cap has a bronze bar that fits in a slot on the spindle. Is there a book that would have this information in it. (10125)
Sounds familiar. I went through this while back. You might not be outta the woods yet. did you remove expanders before poppin caps? Did you replace wicks ?what kinda oil you have in res. iso vg 100 something s/b 1600?? did you retain the wicks with a pull out rod when you dropped the spindle in? any way lift check should be around 1mil or set up a little looser for run in as I did. keep at it but don't ruin your spindle.....u should be able to turn free by hard before you lite her up. Magnetic thermometers on the caps will give u a good idea of what's going on. stirboy (10128)
I guess that the group sees questions about spindle bearings often enough that somebody should put a FAQ in the group's files section. But for now, a few helpful hints. First, you really should use a an indicator when assembling the spindle. A set of dial calipers and a 0-1" mic would be useful too. If you haven't read the instructions that were riveted to the inside of the machines belt guard, read them. It sounds like your parts are already very clean. Good. Dirt, chips or paint on the shims or cap surfaces will really make things harder than they need to be. All set? Good. 1) measure the thicknesses of all four sets of shims. The headstock casting was finish bored with (probably about) .015" shims in place. Shims are added (or subtracted) from that basic thickness to adjust the bearing clearance. You can measure your headstock bores at 12:00 and 3:00 without any shims installed to find the approximate basic shim thicknesses to achieve round bores. Shim thicknesses should be the same on each side of a bearing cap (within .0015 or less). Of course, the important shim thickness is the one which provides the correct bearing clearance. 2) Radial bearing clearances are checked and adjusted with the (axial-play) take-up nut loose and the bearing caps tight. The specs are .0007-.0010" deflection under a 75 lb load. Set an indicator on the spindle end. Push down. Read indicator. Pull up (about 75 lbs). Read indicator. The difference is the clearance measurement. Add or subtract shims as needed. Repeat for other bearing. Adjust take-up nut. With a ball-bearing take-up bearing, tighten the nut finger tight or so. If you have the plain thrust washer take-up bearing, tighten the take-up nut hand tight, then back off the nut a bit. I have been happy enough with .001". If you have the plain bearing take-up, you may want to look up a very helpful contribution from 'gearloose' about adding a needle bearing take-up to 9" machines. Obviously, a 10L will use a different size needle bearing but the idea would be the same. 3) Unless you know that the spindle was OK before you disassembled everything AND you are using the same thrust bearing, you may also want to check for at least a thou axial clearance between the flange at the front of the spindle and the front of the headstock bearing housing. Most of this info (and much more, of course) is available in the factory service manual, available from a number of sources. I don't want to plug anyone in particular. (I got a printable pdf from www.machinemanuals.net ). (10130)
I forgot to mention that the bearing expander should be tight when measuring bearing clearance. And, of course, this discussion would not be complete without us all chanting in unison to "always remove the expander screws before loosening or removing the bearing caps". I will include a few more details because you never know what you're gonna find.... The bearing shells are .125" thick (at least for a 13T). The oiler tubes stick up .100" from the bottom of the headstock bores. The wicks are made of two grades of felt. The soft felt below to wick up the oil. The dense felt at the top, to contact the spindle. The top of the wick sticks up a bit (1/8" or less) past the top of the oiler spring. (10132)
13" SB Restoration Pix
It took some new software, but I've finally put all my restoration pictures in one place on the web. Some of you may have seen part of this collection of photos, but for the new folks I'll do a little 'splainin' (the pictures don't have any captions) In June of 2002 I rented a truck and drove from Cincinnati to Dayton to pick up my 1953 13" South Bend lathe. Over the next 5 months I spent between 2 and 4 hours each night working on the lathe. When all was said and done, I had taken every single piece apart then stripped it, cleaned it, primed it and painted it. I used Plasti-Kote Gray Primer and Machinery Dark Gray spray paint for most of the parts, using about 2 coats of primer and 2-3 coats of paint. For the bed, motor housing, legs and compound I used a custom-tinted Sherwin-Williams 2-part Epoxy paint. Though a real pain to prepare and clean up, this is amazing stuff. Hard as nails, and a real nice finish. There are a few parts (like the gear box) that I'd like to repaint with the epoxy. The pictures in the website are, for the most part, in chronological order, so you should be able to track my progress. You might also notice that about 2/3 of the way through my project the bed, motor housing, and a few other parts are magically stripped down to bare metal. After fighting with gallons of paint stripper and an ever- increasing loss of brain cells, I made the command decision to bring these parts to a local metal-stripping house called "American Metal Cleaning". They dipped my parts in a huge tank of toxic chemicals and they came out looking like fresh castings. The best $200 I ever spent. Enough blabbing, take a look at the pix. *pics no longer available* Jeff (11451)
Very nice and you have my complements on a great job - I did a similar labor of love on a heavy 10 (bed, saddle tailstock base regrind and all). What capped it off was my son produced and hooked up the gear to run its 3phase motor off our single phase - the pot to vary the motor speed fitted very neatly in the forward/reverse switch box (I nearly gave him a kiss for doing that, but he's too big and ugly and probably would have inflicted serious damage on myself. Dave (11454)
Jeff: My complements on an exemplary job!! I had a 13"x5' SB a number of years ago and did much the same job. I'm sure that you realize you have been rewarded with a first class machine, which I believe is easily equal to a 10L (with 25% more capacity) Pete (11464)
I am getting ready to start a tear down restoration/cleanup of my 9A. It has basically sat idle for the past 35 years or so. It is caked and gunked up with grease, oil, and dirt. All of the oil galley's and felts are no doubt gummed up also. My first question is if I am careful in removal of the head stock, noting if and how any shims are placed will I have a problem with the position and accuracy of the reinstallation by just putting everything back the way it came off? Would the same thing hold true of the QC gear box. Fred (11927)
South Bend Lathes, when they left the factory, don't have any shims between the headstock and the bed. They were machined and hand scraped so that the headstock was aligned with the ways when bolted down. If you find shims under your headstock, it means something is wrong. Either the headstock casting is warped or the bed has a warp or wind. The only shims used were under the spindle bearing caps in order to adjust the bearings as they wear. You should not have any alignment problems with removing for cleaning and painting and then replacing the headstock. Just be careful of the mating surfaces and take care not to damage them. This is one of the things that distinguishes a quality made lathe from some of the off shore stuff. Webb (11928)
Webb. I knew there should not be any shims under the headstock but threw that in the mix just in case I find any. My gut instinct, knowing the history of this lathe, is that it is as came from the factory July 30, 1946. Fred (11933)
I'm in much the same boat as Fred, beginning the tear down of what I am told is a 9a. There is SO MUCH crud and grime that I can only assume there is a lathe under there. G Most of this grime is buffing compound. I'm looking for advice on what to use, both to clean as well as to paint strip. I'm thinking that since this machine will have to come COMPLETELY apart, an hour with a paint brush will not be out of order. I could have the machine sand blasted/glass beaded and then powder coated by a local guy, but I'm worried about the use of ANY abrasive that might get into places it shouldn't. I do have a parts washer, 18" x 32" x 8", which should fit everything except the bed. I'd prefer to get most of the buffing grunge removed before it hits the solvent, though. Alan (11959)
Reconditioning a 9" SB hor. drive countershaft
I was taking apart the horizontal drive unit for my 9" SB, getting ready to put on a new motor with a VFD, and found out that the countershaft was badly scored at the drive pulley end. After getting everything taken apart and cleaned up, I found the reason was that there are no @#$% bearings for the shaft to spin in -- it's steel on steel. The holes in the casting have 1/8x1/8 keyways cut along the top, under the oilers, with badly worn felt strips in the slots. (Hmm - that explains why I was filling the oilers all the time.) Casting hole at the drive pulley end is about 0.020 oversize (vs 7/8") and at the other end it's a little less worn. Given what I can do reasonably well and the tools I've got, my guess at the best repair is to switch to a 3/4" shaft running in oilite bushings. MSC sells 3/4" ID 15/16" OD bearings that I can put on a mandrel and turn down to fit the oversize 7/8" holes I've got. The motor pulley and 4-sheave pulley will need something to convert them from 7/8" bore to 3/4", and I was thinking of just using oilite bushings there, too, with holes cut for the setscrews. I thought that'd be a lot easier than trying to make sleeves out of steel tube, since that'd have a seam on the inside that'd eat the teeth off my reamer. Anyone have any better ideas? Tove (17652)
Are you telling me that the oem configuration was steel-on-steel and that there wasn't even a bushing ? or that there was a bushing that is now absent? If its steel-on-steel, why not convert the oilers to grease fittings and grease this point? Doc(17653)
Doc, that is a very good idea. Grease will last longer than oil any day. Duane (17654)
It was steel on iron, not steel on steel. With a light oil film this makes an extremely good high speed bearing. South Bend built many lathes with headstock bearings of this design, and you might even have one. As long as they are properly oiled, they will run forever. When new and properly fitted, the grease would be to heavy to make a proper film for the shaft to ride on at high speed, an the shaft might go metal to metal. In your present worn out condition, the oil-lite bearings would probably be a good choice. If I were you, I would check the headstock for bearing type, and felts to keep them lubricated. (17655)
Rebuilding 9C
Somewhere I have lost the cross slide gib. I assume that this made out of soft material like aluminum. Can a shaped piece of aluminum, sanded property, be used? Gene (22615)
Gene, I have one you can have i will never use it. Bob (22616)
No, don't use the aluminum. It will wear and bind. The original is a piece of hardened steel. You should be able to find one easily, tho. Call Sobel Machinery, (New Jersey) if you can't find one else where. I don't have his number handy, but you can get it by entering the name in "Google". (22617)
Gene I've always used flat brass stock of the appropriate thickness. To form the gib head, I make a 1/8"wide (approx) cut to half of the material thickness to minimize stresses on the inside radius. The profile can be cut on a jig saw and the edges filed. Don't see why you couldn't do the same with aluminum. Jim Waugh (22619)
Ok, now I'm getting curious. I've seen brass used as a gib replacement and I can see how it wouldn't be a problem. To me, tho, it still seems like aluminum would wear more quickly and bind. Any thoughts? Greg (22625)
Aluminum by itself will gall badly. It makes a miserable wear surface as a result, even with grey iron which is pretty forgiving. Against stainless steel it binds. The gibs should not be a soft material which wears fast. If that were the case then the original ones would have been made of it. JP (22628)
I wouldn't discount aluminum as an acceptable bearing surface. Most lawn mower engines have aluminum pistons riding in cast iron cylinders (older) or cast iron rings riding on aluminum cylinders (newer), and most Japanese (and now American) automobile engines have cast iron cams riding directly on the aluminum of the cylinder head. For the amount of use most Home shop lathes see, aluminum might last quite a while. Mario (22629)
My INCA lathe has aluminum gibs originally. Don't forget there are many alloys. (22630)
There are many aluminum alloys suitable for a wide range of work like aluminum bronze which is a hard bearing material. The properties of these alloys is completely different from the more common 6000 series aluminum that we usually machine up for the gizmos we make. In your lawn mower piston example the aluminum is not a rubbing surface the cast iron rings are and your cam bearing example is not a 6000 series aluminum piece rubbing on steel. Aluminum and its alloys are great materials for their respective applications but there are limitations. The point I was trying to make before was that it is the galling of the material that would make a common piece of aluminum a poor choice for a gib. JP (22631)
My replacement MLA cross slide has a gib from 1/8" CR steel made by Earl Bower who is in this group. Bob (22632)
Right-O. There are also specialized treatments for the aluminum wearing surfaces in engine blocks, I believe it involves a controlled oxidation of the surface to produce a well-bonded layer of aluminum oxide, hard, galling-resistant, etc, on the cylinder walls. (Also known as sapphire, I seem to recall). Thus one cannot rebore such blocks; should they wear, they are scrapped. It took Detroit a long time to get this to work. Owners of mid 1970's Chevy IIs with 4 cyl Al blocks will recall how quickly they needed new engines. Dave (22633)
Gene, Have you check with Leblond on the price of a new gib? Last time I check on the price of the Cross slide gib, it was only $12 + change. I have made these out of CRS (originals are some kind of soft steel) but at $12 or so for a new one, it really isn't worth making it. I would check with Rose at Parts Works too just to see if they might be cheaper. Webb (22634)
Aluminum IS NOT (of itself) a good bearing surface. It IS way too soft. Sure you can have a hard anodized surface, but this is NOT practical for longevity (if at all!). Yes, BUT those aluminum pistons have CI or Steel PISTON RINGS riding against the cylinder walls. Don't forget, there is a certain amount of "looseness" or give with the piston ring and cylinder wall. A gib does not have this same "loosness" it is effectively "tight" or binding. This constant rubbing WILL wear away aluminum. Once it starts to wear it will only get worse - including binding. Brass CAN be used as a gib and is much more capable than aluminum, however I would, like others on this list, recommend a hardened steel gib. Definitely the best solution. Such cams (AFAIK) are forged steel. CI would break down over time under such stresses. Gee, I would be worried if my engine was designed like that. I don't know for certain but I do hope there are some "good" bearings in which the cam rotates. :D Do it ONCE out of hardened steel and the home shop owner would NEVER have to replace it again in his lifetime - in home shop use it may last several generations. Peter (22635)
Actually that was on the Chevy Vega, and they used a very high silicon content alloy. The engine was designed to have aluminum pistons running directly in the aluminum cylinder block (no steel liners) Now That's a lousy bearing, so they used a high silicon alloy of aluminum and then etched away the aluminum at the cylinder wall surface leaving only the much harder silicon grains to rub against the aluminum piston. The reason so many engines were scrapped instead of re-bored was that repair shops, dealers and independents alike, didn't want to bother with the hassle, mess, and risk of the intended re-bore process. I can understand their reluctance. After boring the cylinders they would have to set up an acid bath process to re-etch the cylinder walls. Mario (22636)
There is a MIL spec fine grain anodizing process that I think you are referring to that is used on wear parts that absolutely have to be made from aluminum. Sapphire is the single crystal version of aluminum oxide. Sapphire is some very tough material. I have been involved in making the equipment to produce it. JP (22637)
I've got an email in to Rose. Thanks to all for the great information. I made the assumption that a soft metal would work best in that it would not mar the dovetail. I did not consider galling. I also made the assumption that the price of the item would be outrageous. ca. $12 new/$10 used is more than reasonable. Gene (22641)
Actually this process goes back to 1936. Kollbenschmidt saturated aluminum pistons with silicon. It is called hypereutectic here in the US. I think Ferrari and Citroen used this on a V-6 block in the early 70's. It might have been used earlier though. I think it depends on how the aluminum is age hardened, as to how much of the silicon rises to the surface. I do know that the Russian model airplane motors (Norvel) use the hard anodizing on their cylinder heads. Depending on how the anodizing is processed its like a sapphire coating. Tom (22642)
The biggest problem with the Vega setup was the fact that the tops of the cyls. were not attached to any thing and they moved around and you could not keep a head gasket in one. Vega means falling star. (22643)
10" tool room lathe bed restoration
I have a SB 10" toolroom lathe that I was in my machining business. The lathe is fully outfitted with just about every option and accessory that SB offered for that lathe. Everything is in excellent condition, except the bed ways and carriage have some wear. It would cost me a fortune to purchase a decent quality new lathe with all of these accessories and options, so I would like to have the SB bed scraped or ground to restore it to it's original accuracy. Does anyone have suggestions on a company that could do this? I know it's not cheap. Does anyone have any idea what the cost would be? Brian (23856)
Several members have used South Bend in Indiana I believe or another company or individual also in Indiana . South Bend is probably most expensive and seemed to me the other company was about 1/2 to 2/3 of SB's price. These members who have had this done will most likely chime in soon. I believe all members were advised that the saddle should also be done along with bed at the same time and ground and scraped to fit as a pair. I do machine repair at work and this is how we would do it. I would tell you to search the archived messages but I have not had any luck with using the search vehicle provided. Ron(23857)
Brian, Do a search of the archives for "bed grinding" and hit the "next" button a few times and you will run into the thread on regrinding beds. Lots of posts there over the last few months. Irby (23859)
I have upload a drawing on making the bed way replaceable See the drawing at the Yahoo user group SouthBendLathePix http://finance.groups.yahoo.com/group/SouthBendLathePix/files/Drawings (23861)
Brian I contacted South Bend within the last couple of weeks and asked the same question. Putting the machine back to specs is around $2,200. I believe that included the cross slide and the compound. I have no idea if this price is in line or not. Roger(23929)
Home Shop Machinist (Village Press) just had a short series on re-furbishing lathes. There is a good, but pricey book advertised there on "Reconditioning of Machine Tools." (23937)
I don't know where you guys live, but if you are close to Indianapolis, you could swing by my place and see the job that the Acme Machine place did on my lathe. I am still pretty happy with it. Kevin (23938)
Rebuild help
I need some guidance for rebuilding a 16" SB turret lathe. The bed has been reground. The saddle wear (.004) has been machined down and I will be fitting the production cross-slide to the saddle next. After the cross-slide I need to fit the saddle to the lathe bed. The bottom of the saddle will be built up using Moglice. I need to make sure that the saddle is perfectly square to the bed and the spindle. I was planning on using the chuck and a test indicator. If the back of my chuck is wore or the spindle isn't true to the bed how do I ensure that the saddle will be positioned correct. I want to make sure this one is right when I am done. Richard (25637)
A chuck should be fine to use, measure a point close to the outside edge of the chuck nearest to the front, right on the center line height of the spindle with a dial indicator. Then lock the carriage in place, now move the cross slide a little and place a magic marker "X" on the spot the indicator was just on. Go back to the "X" spot, and zero in (only by turning the bezel) or note the indicator reading. Now rotate the chuck 180 degrees by hand and advance the cross slide to sit exactly on the "X" as before. I'm pretty sure that lathes are supposed to cut a very slight concave surface, so the reading might be off a few thousandths (maybe 1 or 2 but not exactly sure how much) with the far side being closer to the headstock side. Have the gibs adjusted up nice, and the largest chuck or face plate you have would be best. With this method it doesn't matter if the chuck or face plate runs true or not, you still get a true reading. I hope it's good on your first check. Jim (25652)
Jim, The entire lathe is getting a rebuild. First I need to square the saddle to the headstock. The saddle dove tails needed to be machined to remove the center wear. the cross- slide will be hand fit after I get the saddle taken care of. Then I need to work on the turret assembly. Hopefully I will be able to find a 16" compound cross-slide and a standard tail stock to refit also. Richard (25658)

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