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gumby GRM+ Memberand Dork
6/4/21 9:43 p.m.

nocones said:

Seems like we need a "Lathe Chat" thread where we post up tooling that we have had success with and reviews of our machines. 

OK then! I haven't had my lathe very long, and I need to learn more than turning it on and basic functions. But so far, so good!

I do want to change the chuck and get more tooling. I am not sure if sorting out these older machines is voodoo, or if it is simply my unfamiliarity, but I figure the hive can keep me on the proper path, and share experiences with their own machines.

Based on the South Bend site, and the lack of a power cross feed, it seems this is a Model C. Circa 1935-39.

I grabbed the serial number to compare with info here

Interestingly enough, clicking on the button to order a PDF copy of the serial card goes to the Grizzly site. I haven't committed to that purchase yet. I like old things(tools, race cars, etc) and find myself learning as I go most of the time, due to a lack of available information. Having as much info about my machine as possible is intriguing, but I am not 100% that this card will actually be $25 useful for keeping this lathe operational or updating the tooling for my use case. Will this card tell me the tail stock taper? Will it tell me the size of the threaded shaft to order a chuck backing plate?

Well, I already removed the current chuck anyhow.....

I was able to free the backing plate with an oil filter strap wrench, and the shaft measures 1½"

Is it safe to assume the same backing plate that fit nocones Atlas also fits this South Bend? Linked in another thread:

I would also like to get a drill chuck and a bullnose live center for the tail stock, but I need to confirm the mandrel taper before ordering

Thinkkker UltraDork
6/4/21 9:56 p.m.

Oohhhh, I'll add more later.  I have a new belt on now at least.....


Honsch Reader
6/5/21 2:52 a.m.

You can find out a ton of stuff from these guys: VintageMachinery.org
The manual for that lathe should be on the site.

The question is, what do you want to do with that lathe?

Does it include all the change gears?
It has no quick change gear box so changing threads and feeds will be a pain.

The chuck taper is common, no worries about that.  Check the mating surfaces for dings, they'll need to be stoned off to get proper registration.

The tailstock taper looks like MT3, super common.  That taper on the live center looks trashed but it's hard to tell from a picture.

Toyman01 + Sized and
Toyman01 + Sized and GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
6/5/21 6:38 a.m.

Your spindle thread is 1 1/2" x 8. When I replaced my worn-out chucks, I bought two chucks, a 3 jaw and a 4 jaw, from the same manufacturer and a backing plate. You then have to machine the backing plate to match the chuck mount. You can probably machine your current backplate to match a new chuck. Machining the backplate trues the chuck to the machine. 

Your tailstock taper is MT2. Not super common, but there is stuff out there for it. You can still buy drill bits with that taper. 

Your South Bend search leads you to the Grizzly site because they bought South Bend several years ago. They are still a pretty good name, but no longer made in the USA. 

Tooling is a rabbit hole you will never climb out of, but honestly, 90% can be done with a handful of HSS tool blanks and a decent grinder. The other 5% is going to be boring bars and such. I use HSS for most tooling because it takes less HP to run them. If you go with carbide, get a tool set that uses a standard replaceable insert. 

Buy a quick change tool post if you haven't already. I use a Phase 2, but there are others out there that are just as good for less money. It will save an enormous amount of time with it comes to changing tooling. 

My only other recommendation would be to change the motor to a DC treadmill motor and control. Variable speed is the best thing I ever added to my lathe. 

I bought my 9A 20 years ago out of a guy's back shed. It's one of those machines you don't need often, but when you do it sure is nice to have. 

Mine in the early years. 


And after a month of cleaning and painting. 


Have fun with it. They open up a whole new range of things you can build. 

Toyman01 + Sized and
Toyman01 + Sized and GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
6/5/21 6:53 a.m.

Oh, and your serial number is going to put that as a pre 1947 lathe. At a guess, probably sometime in the mid 30s. 

Mine is a 1947. 



tomtomgt356 (Tommy)
tomtomgt356 (Tommy) GRM+ Memberand Reader
6/5/21 7:02 a.m.

I have an older Atlas lathe and ordered a new 4-jaw chuck from Shars.


They have 3 jaw chucks as well as the backing plates. It has worked great for me and I am planning to order a new 3 jaw as well.

I'll second (or third?) the quick change tool post. Mine came with a lantern tool post and the quick change is so much nicer. 

Hobby-machinist is another good forum for information on using and restoring these old lathes.

HFmaxi Reader
6/5/21 8:11 a.m.

The practical machinist forum has a wealth of info on these machines: https://www.practicalmachinist.com/vb/south-bend-lathes/

Like others have said these are great little lathes and can do a lot as long as you keep your cuts and speeds reasonable. I'll second the HSS recommendation. Normally I would say search craigslist and FB and the accessories you need will pop up but the used market is still weird.  


Trent PowerDork
6/5/21 8:29 a.m.

This is my Clausing 4900 series 9X46. My most used tool by far. I have it set up with a shooting star DRO, two 3 jaw scroll chucks, two 4 jaw chucks (all high quality "Buck" chucks) a face plate and a cheap import 5c collet chuck. 

This cheap collet chuck is honestly,  pretty great. I would prefer a proper collet closer setup since this is a scroll and it takes a lot of turns with the key to change change collet. But it is very repeatable and fast.. 

I made a simple collet rack for organizational purposes.  

My tailstock is MT2 as well. I have had no problem finding drill chucks or live centers for it. It is a very common size for hobbyist machines and therefore lots of inexpensive import stuff is out there for not much money.  

I mainly use carbide insert tooling. I don't have the luxury of being able to take the time to constantly maintain HSS so I end up paying more to throw away dull or broken inserts in exchange for fast changeover. 

For insert tools I use banggood.com. ridiculously cheap stuff. Sometimes it will take 3 weeks to get your order but it will show up. Carbide inserts are pennies on the dollar compared to my local machinist supply store.  Like $9 for a dozen instead of $65.

I have a very nice Dorian quick change tool post which is compatible with all the cheap import tool holders.  More holders equals more convenience. I have 6 or 7 and want at least that many more. 


I am currently looking for a bigger lathe. Something in the area of a 15" swing. 


I look forward  to more of this thread

CrustyRedXpress GRM+ Memberand Reader
6/5/21 9:38 a.m.

Love to see lathe stuff on GRM. 

I want one, but am not sure how much I'd use for car stuff. 

People seem to recommend this book for beginners: http://www.vintagemachinery.org/pubs/1617/3789.pdf


Racingsnake Reader
6/5/21 9:42 a.m.

Pleased to see this thread, look forward to learning a bit. 

Racingsnake Reader
6/5/21 2:48 p.m.

In reply to Trent :

What's the advantage of using collets over a 3 jaw chuck?

EvanB GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
6/5/21 6:30 p.m.

I finally got the motor mounted on my logan 1922. I got a belt for it yesterday so i can finally get it going after it has been sitting in my basement for 2 years or so.

Gumby, did i send you a MT2 chuck in the new years game one year or was that someone else? I may have a couple more laying around.

Trent PowerDork
6/5/21 6:40 p.m.

A 3 jaw scroll chuck is not a particularly precise way of holding a work piece. It is really good but nowhere close to perfect. To prove this chuck up a piece of stock and make a 4 inch cut. Now flip that piece in the chuck and make another light cut. There will be runout no matter how good your chuck is and how well it is dialed in. A proper collet chuck once setup correctly takes that runout from perhaps a few thousandths down to a few tenths of thousandths of an inch without the time killer of setting up a 4 jaw chuck every time. 

4 jaw independent chucks are the best  for accuracy but you have to spend minutes with a dial indicator every time you move a part in them. That can equal hours per project so we tend to aim for "good enough" with a 3 jaw scroll chuck (frankly they are good enough for 90% of everything we do). A collet chuck gets you a lot closer to perfectly repeatable results of a 4 jaw  with the speed and convenience of a three. If you have a complete collet set you can hold anything close to round between 1/16" up to 1-3/16".

gumby GRM+ Memberand Dork
6/5/21 10:22 p.m.
EvanB said:

Gumby, did i send you a MT2 chuck in the new years game one year or was that someone else? I may have a couple more laying around.

Boy, is my face red. blush
I went back into the NYG thread to confirm, and yes, you sent it to me. Without any machines that used Morse taper at the time, I moved it along in the game with some other ballast....

Racingsnake Reader
6/6/21 9:05 a.m.

In reply to Trent :

Thanks, I remember 4 jaw chucks being a hassle to set up. I think a 3 jaw chuck would probably be adequate for anything I'd be likely to use a lathe for but it sounds like collets would be nice to have if I found a good deal.

On a related note, what tooling is considered essential, and what is just nice to have? I realize this is dependent on the work being done but just looking to get an idea of what people are using their lathes for most often and the tooling required to do that.

burgermeister New Reader
6/6/21 10:38 a.m.

I have a similar vintage 9A and most of what was available for it (micrometer carriage stop, dead center, taper attachment, 3C collet attachment, 3 Jaw chuck, 4 Jaw chuck, dogs & drive plate, faceplate) - let me know if you need pics of anything.  It's a fantastic lathe (though it is on the small side), and I use mine all the time. 

As previously pointed out, not having a gearbox is a detriment, and if you don't have change gears you may find them shockingly expensive - but OTOH, if you're not cutting threads, you really don't need the power leadscrew or crossfeed.  I cut most of my threads with a die - single pointing takes forever, and metric on an imperial lathe requires very difficult to find transposing gears.  Also, allthread is really cheap - just tap & loctite in some allthread ...

There used to be a guy on ebay selling rebuild kits complete with teardown instructions for a reasonable price.  It's cheaper to buy a felt block from McMaster, but the disassembly manual and the pre-cut stuff is really nice to have. 

The South Bend Lathe Book is a great place to start learning how to use it.

Get appropriate oils - spindle oil, way oil, and light & heavy circulating oil are what it calls for.


Here it is checking a 993 crankshaft for straightness - juuuust enough room to spin it.  I don't have a sufficiently sized surface plate & V-blocks, happy it fit on the 9A.



And here it is cutting / sizing a valve guide for a 911 head.  With careful setup, it will cut to +-0.0003" over short distances.  Not in a time efficient manner, but it can be done.

burgermeister New Reader
6/6/21 10:42 a.m.

One more thought - keep the leather belt!!  Or get a replacement someplace.  The leather is really nice in that if you do something you ought not have, it will slip & pop off, rather than break lots of expensive stuff.

gumby GRM+ Memberand Dork
6/6/21 11:14 a.m.
burgermeister said:

One more thought - keep the leather belt!!  Or get a replacement someplace.  The leather is really nice in that if you do something you ought not have, it will slip & pop off, rather than break lots of expensive stuff.

I have already noticed this(dull HSS cutter with a too ambitious feed rate), and find it to be advantageous for a fabricator who only thinks he could be a machine operator some day.

I do have all the change gears, and my lead screw is functional. I don't anticipate using the feed to do any threading, but I will need to slow it down from its current setting to get a reasonable rate for turning/boring. So that is on my list of things to figure out.

All the links in this thread are fantastic! I have lightly explored many of them and already found books and info that will cost only slightly more than the serial number card but should contain a much greater value in practice.

AClockworkGarage HalfDork
6/6/21 11:21 a.m.

You may have done this and not shown it but when changing chucks, make sure you put a piece of wood under it to protect the ways should you drop it.

frenchyd UltimaDork
6/6/21 12:34 p.m.

In reply to burgermeister :

You say not in a time efficient manner, well, you are wrong. 
think of the time it would take you to bring it to a shop to be done, then go back and pick it up?   
     Starting to look a lot more efficient, right?  Now add the time to check the work.  Getting a lot more efficient isn't it?  
     My lathe is really badly  worn.  But I've found work arounds that get the tolerance to where I need it to be as I'm sure you will too. 
    The best machinest  I've  ever known  used old converted belt drive tools . He had shims and stops etc.  even would change the cutting angle in mid cut.  When you got your piece from him it was perfect. That's knowledge and judgment. Not the newest equipment. 

wheelsmithy (Joe-with-an-L)
wheelsmithy (Joe-with-an-L) GRM+ Memberand UberDork
6/6/21 1:20 p.m.

You tube How to use a lathe according to MIT

I'm not saying I'm any good, but the above videos are responsible for any semblance of skill I have.

Highly recommended. There's stuff on milling, too.


EvanB GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
6/6/21 8:30 p.m.

Here is mine. I got the belt on today and verified that it works. I made a small test cut on a pipe nipple with the carbide tool that was on it. 

Now I need to do a lot of learning and make some chips. I also need to upgrade the lighting in the area. 


burgermeister New Reader
6/6/21 9:30 p.m.

That Logan looks really dry.  Usually there are 10-20 places one is supposed to oil every time the lathe is used - any place things slide or turn, basically.  If this is self evident, my apologies and keep making chips!  If not, it'll save a lot of needless wear if it isn't run dry.  The older South Bends even have plain sleeve spindle bearings with a recirculating oil reservoir and a spring loaded wick to keep the bearing oiled.  Sort of like a crank bearing, but much tighter (!) tolerances.

EvanB GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
6/7/21 6:43 a.m.

In reply to burgermeister :

It has been sitting unused for quite a while. I do need to clean it thoroughly and oil everything before I get started making things. 

Mr_Asa UberDork
6/9/21 5:14 p.m.

Finally throwing chips with my late cousin's lathe.  Southbend Model A, haven't looked up the serial number or anything, but they made these from 1939-1968.



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