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Toyman01 (Forum Supporter)
Toyman01 (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
4/27/20 12:05 p.m.

I hadn't planned to do a restoration on this. The plan was to get it out of the building it was stored in and move it to the shop on the farm for future use. This guy deserves better than that so it's going to get a facelift before the trip to the farm.

The beast in question is a South Bend 16" engine lathe. I bought it 10 years ago on a whim for $300. 10 years ago it looked like this. Pretty nasty, in a cluttered shop, seldom used, and mostly neglected. Unfortunately I neglected it for another 10 years and mostly forgot about it.

Last Friday I was informed that the building it was in was being torn down. So it was time to get it loaded up and moved. The plan was to use a couple of engine hoists and the trailer winch to get it up on my flatbed trailer. Luckily there was a excavator we could "borrow" to get it loaded. She tips the scales at over 2600 pounds so powered hydraulics were nice to have. 

I needed somewhere dry to store it for a few days so it will be spending a week or two at my office in the warehouse. 

Here are a few shots of the debris it came with.

Since the lathe is in my work warehouse and I'm sitting around doing next to nothing, I've spent a little time studying it.

The good news is, every thing that is supposed to move does. Kind of surprising since the machine was sitting in 1" of water. Termites had apparently eaten most of the structure out of the roof on the far end of the building so gravity was slowly dragging it back to the ground. 

There are no missing or broken knobs. Everything is where it's supposed to be. 

For some even better news.

It came with a taper attachment. It hangs off the back of the carriage and allows you to cut tapered shafts. It alone is worth more than I paid for the lathe.

Buried in the mess in the chip pan was a threading dial. It is used to indicate the start and end of threads so you always start in the same spot. They aren't cheap either and are often missing. 

It also has a micrometer carriage stop on it. Another frequently missing item that isn't cheap to replace. 

That brings this up to date. 

More to come. 

 

java230
java230 UberDork
4/27/20 12:07 p.m.

Ohhh Fun!

wheelsmithy (Joe-with-an-L)
wheelsmithy (Joe-with-an-L) GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
4/27/20 12:24 p.m.

Hit us with your knowledge. Incredible score.

Jerry From LA
Jerry From LA SuperDork
4/27/20 6:34 p.m.

Following.....

Mr_Asa
Mr_Asa HalfDork
4/27/20 6:48 p.m.

Gonna be picking up a Southbend 9" this weekend.  I'm sure I'll have some questions later

esuvee
esuvee New Reader
4/27/20 9:11 p.m.

I have this EXACT same lathe. Every detail seems identical along with all the add on parts, never seen another one totally the same.  Mine was at a university so has lived a pretty charmed life and runs great but I'll be following this for sure to see what you make of it.

What year?  I think mine was 1948 IIRC.

Best tool in my shop by far.

Alex

frenchyd
frenchyd PowerDork
4/27/20 9:30 p.m.

In reply to esuvee :

I got a little Atlas bench top lathe that I still use to make bushings and stuff for.  No tail stock but I can live without that. But it would add a lot of capacity to this.  

Bent-Valve (FS)
Bent-Valve (FS) HalfDork
4/27/20 9:32 p.m.

I started with a small Southbend. Smaller than the 9 inch. I still kick myself for selling it. I saved it from going on a shop sign. Yeah they were going to weld it on a pole!

The0retical (Forum Supporter)
The0retical (Forum Supporter) UberDork
4/28/20 8:28 a.m.

Damn... How do you guys find such good deals on these things?

Every time I find a lathe for sale the seller always wants challenge pricing+ on it. Obviously someone is paying it too because they never last very long out by me.

Toyman01 (Forum Supporter)
Toyman01 (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
4/28/20 8:35 a.m.

Sitting on the chip tray was a wood case. The lid was being used to protect the ways under the chuck. After doing some digging, I have no clue what this is. They are magnetic, but they are weak magnets. Any ideas?

Toyman01 (Forum Supporter)
Toyman01 (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
4/28/20 8:40 a.m.

In reply to The0retical (Forum Supporter) :

Keep a wad of cash in your pocket at all times. When a deal pops up, jump on it immediately. Don't think, don't consider, just do it. 

Then you too can have a large chunk of metal that sits in an obscure building for 10 years before you remember you own it. wink

 

The first part I'm kind of serious about. The deals usually go to the man with ready cash. 

Toyman01 (Forum Supporter)
Toyman01 (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
4/28/20 12:13 p.m.

So, this mornings we have some mixed news. 

The good is the long shaft that was sitting in the chip tray was actually the collet draw bar. Another handy and frequently missing tool. 

This is the rest of the junk that was in the chip pan. Most of it is just that, junk. Broken tool bits and scrap pieces of stock. The other end of the big wrench is for tightening the tail stock. 

The bad news...

I cleaned up the ways some so I could determine how worn they are. There is unfortunately noticeable bed wear under the chuck. 

All of my measuring tools are at home so I did a quick, dirty, and not very accurate check with a decent leven and a feeler gauge. That shows about a .004 wear under the chuck. That's pretty common on older machines. South Bends don't have hardened ways. Once I get the machine off the trailer, I will level it and accurately measure the wear. From there, I have a couple of options.

1: Scrape the ways, a long and arduous process that I don't know how to do.

2: Have the bed ground, at a cost of approximately $125/ft.

3: Don't worry about it.

Since I'm not a production shop trying for repeatable accurate cuts, I'll probably go with option 3. I seldom turn long pieces so the bed wear probably won't be noticeable to me. We will see how things measure up once I get the machine to the house.

 

lxnm
lxnm New Reader
4/28/20 12:38 p.m.

I personally doubled down on option 3 and didn't even bother to measure the wear of the ways.  If I don't know how bad it is, it won't bother me, right?

Toyman01 (Forum Supporter)
Toyman01 (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
4/29/20 7:59 a.m.

This is another lathe I acquired 8-10 years ago. It was abandoned at my house when I bought it. Curmudgeon was storing it for someone he knew. After trying several times to get it back to the owner I gave up and it's been sitting in the warehouse at the my office for years. Since I was looking up the serial numbers for the 16" I figured I'd look this one up as well. 

This is a South Bend 10" lathe built between 1937 and 1940. I've done a few test cuts with it and know the chuck is badly worn. It's also pretty grungy. I might have to give this one a facelift next. 

java230
java230 UberDork
4/29/20 8:00 a.m.

This made me go to CL.... Southbend 9" with OBO as price kinda local..... Looks like its missing a fair bit though.... Carry on :)

Toyman01 (Forum Supporter)
Toyman01 (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
4/30/20 9:59 a.m.

Since I'm sitting around my office bored to tears, I've done some research on the 16" lathe. 

It is a early to mid 1950s South Bend Toolroom Lathe. Model number CL8117C. 

The bed length is 6'. That gives it 33" between centers. 

It tips the scales at 2925 pounds boxed up and read to ship. 

In 1956, list price was $2806.00. In today's dollars, that's about $26,900.00. surprise A new Taiwanese manufactured 16 x 40 South Bend lathe will set you back about $20k. 

Available spindle speeds range from 30 to 980 using 4 pulley steps and the back gear. 

It will cut thread pitches from 4 tpi to 224 tpi. 

Here is a PDF of the 1956 South Bend Anniversary Catalog for the interested. 

Patrick (Forum Supporter)
Patrick (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
4/30/20 10:44 a.m.
The0retical (Forum Supporter) said:

Damn... How do you guys find such good deals on these things?

Every time I find a lathe for sale the seller always wants challenge pricing+ on it. Obviously someone is paying it too because they never last very long out by me.

I found mine on letgo at a farm where grandpa passed away and grandson was selling everything because they sold the farm.  It went from 900 to 700 to 550 and i ended up loading it on the trailer for $320.  

Toyman01 (Forum Supporter)
Toyman01 (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
4/30/20 11:11 a.m.
Patrick (Forum Supporter) said:
The0retical (Forum Supporter) said:

Damn... How do you guys find such good deals on these things?

Every time I find a lathe for sale the seller always wants challenge pricing+ on it. Obviously someone is paying it too because they never last very long out by me.

I found mine on letgo at a farm where grandpa passed away and grandson was selling everything because they sold the farm.  It went from 900 to 700 to 550 and i ended up loading it on the trailer for $320.  

Another thing to consider with old lathes, the bigger they are the cheaper they are. A production shop isn't going to want a 70 year old belt drive lathe. It's too slow and too worn. A hobbyist isn't going to want a 16" lathe. It's too big and take up too much space in their garage and most people have no way to move it. The smaller lathes frequently go for pretty big money. 

jgrewe
jgrewe Reader
4/30/20 11:43 a.m.

I also have the exact lathe with all the attachments.  It was given to me by a friend, just had to move it.  The best thing I did to make it more usable was to replace the leather belt with a serpentine belt I picked up from Graingers. The belt is almost 2" wide, cost me $15 on clearance.  You cut the belt, grind the ends so they overlap with a taper about 3 inches, feed it through the slots in the bed and reattach it to itself with plain old super glue. 

It makes it closer to a gear head even though you are riding on the tops of the ridges of a serp belt.  I was worried the belt would let go with the method of gluing it but its been going on 7 years and there are no signs of it giving up.

Did you call Southbend to find out the history of yours?  Mine was sold to a ship yard in NJ when new. 

 

Toyman01 (Forum Supporter)
Toyman01 (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
4/30/20 8:05 p.m.

Today was moving day. 

I used my engine hoist to get it off the trailer. It handled it, but it didn't like it very much. That's the first time I've seen all 6 castors on the floor at the same time. 

Then since I knew it would be impossible to set the lathe on the floor with the engine hoist and since I needed some way to lift all the parts off the lathe to clean and rebuild, I decided to buy a gantry crane for the shop. My shop is too short to put the castors on the gantry so it is sitting on the floor. The lathe will live underneath it for the foreseeable future. 

Once the gantry was built, we rolled the lathe over to the gantry with the engine lift and used the gantry crane to pick it up to get the engine hoist out from under it. The lathe is now sitting on 6, 1000 pound furniture dollies. Hopefully they will keep it mobile while it is getting taken apart. 

We didn't drop anything, injure anyone or do any damage to the lathe or tools. I'll call this one a success. 

 

More to come. 

 

Brotus7
Brotus7 HalfDork
4/30/20 8:25 p.m.

Congrats getting it home, off the trailer, and intact.  So many lathe stories end with: and then it dropped/fell.

Toyman01 (Forum Supporter)
Toyman01 (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
5/2/20 5:19 p.m.

I made a slow start at getting this thing pulled apart. I have a trolley and electric hoist coming for the gantry that will make this easier, so I started with the lighter parts. 

Taper attachment removed and initial cleaning done. A parts cleaner is almost a necessity for a project like this. The top layer on all these parts is 50 years of oil and dust and every crack and crevice is full of swarf and a goo made from cast iron wear and oil that is as black as ink. Everything is getting scrubbed in the parts cleaner with a brass or stainless brush. 

I was wrong about everything moving. The taper attachment took a fair amount of persuasion to get apart. If you need to heat a large chunk of metal, a portable heater does a great job as long as you aren't in a big hurry. After about an hour of heat and penetrant, the goo was soft enough that things started moving and it came apart. 

There was quite a bit of rust and goo in all the slides. 

Cleaned again.

Then a Scotch-bright pad and some paint thinner is used to clean the rust off the machined surfaces. 

Next up was the tail stock. Even with the guts removed it weighs close to 70 pounds. Everything about this machine is heavy, I'll be glad when the hoist and trolly gets here. 

Next up will be stripping the paint. It's pretty soft paint so most of it will be removed with a wire wheel. I'll make a run to Tractor Supply for paint tomorrow or Monday. As big and heavy as this machine is I don't have room to spread it all over the shop so it will be done in stages. 

 

More to come.

 

esuvee
esuvee New Reader
5/2/20 8:27 p.m.

In reply to Toyman01 (Forum Supporter) :

My taper attachment is really sluggish even when clean so no worries about aggressive scotchbrite usage on that thing, it could use a little wiggle room.  Fun project!

Alex

wheelsmithy (Joe-with-an-L)
wheelsmithy (Joe-with-an-L) GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
5/3/20 8:23 a.m.

I have a request. Talk to us as if we know nothing. I am only now learning the various parts of a lathe, and would like to learn more. You obviously have real world knowledge on the things, but I bet what seems basic to you (OP), might help some of us noobs.

Of course, feel free to ignore my request. I'm already getting plenty out of the build. Good stuff.

 

Toyman01 (Forum Supporter)
Toyman01 (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
5/3/20 10:30 a.m.

In reply to wheelsmithy (Joe-with-an-L) :

I'll be happy to pass on what I know. 

I'm not going to say I know everything about it. I'm not a machinist. Everything I've learned has been trial and error or research. 

I started with this. It's super old school, but so are my machines. Well worth the watch if you are interested. 

 

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