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View Full Version : Metal Lathes South Bend Lathe 109y



John Grossi
02-26-2012, 10:44 AM
Hi, I have a chance at a South Bend 109y lathe. So far, limited info and only over the phone. I am trying to gather info before I go look at it. It was decribed to me with the 109y model no., 9" swing, 3' bed, and probably 60-70 years old. I am trying to understand its capabilities, and a general price point. Any help would be appreciated. John

David G Baker
02-26-2012, 2:26 PM
John,
There are quite a few sites on line that can answer your questions. I have a heavy 10" South Bend tool room lathe that I am very happy with. It is 60 years old and I have had it since 1976. South Bend made fine equipment and there are still a lot of them out there. I paid $2500 for mine when I bought it. You need to look at the lathe because condition is very important unless you want to restore it, that can be a major task. Don't know what you want to do with a lathe but I frequently wish I had a 17" lathe because I want to turn larger items than my 10" will handle but don't need the bigger size often enough to justify the expense. Another item to consider is tooling. Buying tooling can cost quite a bit if the lathe isn't well tooled.

David Wong
02-26-2012, 2:30 PM
Here are a few websites you can checkout...

The SBL Workshop - Home (http://www.wswells.com/)
http://www.lathes.co.uk/southbend/index.html
Benchtest.Com - Workshop - South Bend 9 inch Lathe (http://www.benchtest.com/w-south_bend_9.html)
South Bend Lathe Restoration (http://www.millertwinracing.com/MillerTwinRacing/South%20Bend%20Lathe%20Restoration/South%20Bend%20Lathe%20Restoration.html)

John Grossi
02-27-2012, 7:44 AM
Davids, thanks for the info. I did find it listed in price list 23-a, Sept 5th, 1938. It is described as a 9" underneath belt motor drive lathe-floor legs. Series "R". I should see it on Wednesday. John

David G Baker
02-27-2012, 12:38 PM
Good luck John. Take a few photos and share them with us.
David W. Thanks for the sites, I saved them for future reference.

David Wong
02-28-2012, 6:21 PM
I don't own a metal lathe, or really know anything about working metal, but there is something about old lathes that are really appealing to me. Sort of a link to the industrial age.
Good luck with buying your lathe.

John Grossi
02-29-2012, 11:36 AM
225675225676225677I checked out the machine this morning. A little disappointed that a 3 jaw chuck was no where to be seen. However, the ways, 4 jaw chuck, steady rest, tailstock seemed fine. Other then that the machine seemed in very good condition. I have until Thursday to make final decision. We settled on $500.00. Does anyone out there know the weight of this lathe? Also, does the color look to be original? thanks John

David G Baker
02-29-2012, 2:39 PM
John, I would be all over the lathe for that price even if I didn't need it. You could get your money back plus if you sold it for parts.

John Grossi
02-29-2012, 5:53 PM
My biggest concern now is the weight of this lathe. An old catalog I found on that SBL Workshop website that David W. suggested, shows this lathe with a crated weight at 820 lbs. Any suggestions on how to move it? John

David G Baker
02-29-2012, 6:52 PM
I fastened 2x6 boards on the base and used 2" pipes to roll it on. I had planks at the back of my pick-up truck and used a hand crank wench to pull it up the planks. Four guys should be able to lift it but I suggest that you remove the chuck and any other easy to remove items to make it lighter. The guys that moved my lathe from California to Michigan used the four wheeled moving thingies (not sure what they are called. I have also used the plastic furniture things used to slide furniture over floors to move some very heavy items. Can't help you if you need to move the lathe up or down stairs because every time I try to do that things get broken.

ray hampton
02-29-2012, 8:42 PM
I fastened 2x6 boards on the base and used 2" pipes to roll it on. I had planks at the back of my pick-up truck and used a hand crank wench to pull it up the planks. Four guys should be able to lift it but I suggest that you remove the chuck and any other easy to remove items to make it lighter. The guys that moved my lathe from California to Michigan used the four wheeled moving thingies (not sure what they are called. I have also used the plastic furniture things used to slide furniture over floors to move some very heavy items. Can't help you if you need to move the lathe up or down stairs because every time I try to do that things get broken.

you said 4 wheels but I am going to start with a 2 wheel hand truck or dolly , next up the ladder are 4 wheel dolly, 4wheel pallet or skid truck this you pull or push, next are a motorized pallet or skid trucks, I save the fork lift for last because it is the best because you can stand on the machine

John Grossi
03-01-2012, 9:39 AM
David B. That makes sense. I like the idea of attaching the boards. The seller has a winch and trailer so I should be good. No steps involved. If this deal comes off, I will post some pics of the lathe in my garage. thanks John

David G Baker
03-01-2012, 9:48 PM
An engine hoist is also a great option but it looks like you everything taken care of. Good luck.

george wilson
03-24-2012, 4:35 PM
I rebuilt lathes years ago. You can take that heavy base off of the machine,though you'll have to take the belt apart to do so. The rear legs can come off too,with just a few bolts. The headstock is bolted to the ways from underneath them with a few bolts. If you tale off these parts,the lathe will be much more manageable.

The color is not the standard gray that all the South Bends I have ever seen were. Dismantling the lathe will be good to start re painting the lathe.

I forgot: look carefully at the "V" ways on which the carrige(not the tailstock) slides. If the lathe is worn much,right at the top edge of the V's,a tiny vertical ridge will have developed. This is because the V grooves that the carriage runs on have a milled out groove at the tops of the female V's,so the top of the V ways is not touched as the carriage runs back and forth.

This wear is most often near the chuck end of the bed. You can make short parts on a worn lathe,but longer parts will be inaccurate,though you can file them truer,while making careful measurements with a micrometer as you file. I have actually seen and TRIED to use a lathe that was so worn out,it simply WOULD NOT cut metal. The lathe looked nice,but had been used for years with abrasives to polish brass candlesticks. I bought it and rebuilt it.

You can usually feel this vertical "cliff" with a fingernail. That means the lathe is worn,and will not turn an accurately parallel cylinder. When I was taking machine shop in college in 1960,they put me on an old South Bend lathe with WWII "war board" markings on it. It turned a 2' long cylinder that was .015" thicker in the middle than it was at the ends.

Your lathe is VERY OLD,probably as old as the one I used in 1960,and mine was worn out way back then. It all depends upon how much the lathe has been used over the years. The lathe you're looking at does not have a hardened bed.

That old lathe has no ball bearings in the headstock. I was asked to look at a South Bend of similar age. It would not cut smoothly at all. It had bearings that were machined from the main casting of the headstock. There was no way of replacing the bearings AT ALL. In checking out the lathe,I put a crow bar resting on a block of wood and pried upwards under the chuck. I could LIFT THE CHUCK 1/8"!!! That lathe was just worn out,period.
You'd not be able to rectify that kind of problem. I doubt that you could rectify a worn bed either,unless you are an experienced machinist who knows how to do precision scraping. Machine shops around here wanted $1500.00 to re grind a small lathe bed like that one back in the late 70's.

Any time you see a South Bend with a vertical lever on top of the quick change gearbox,it is a very old model. Later models had bronze bearings that CAN be replaced-or at least made. The later models have 2 levers coming out from under the quick change gearbox.





Warping of old castings can happen,too. I rebuilt a 10" Rockwell lathe whose bed had warped upwards at the tailstock end .010". I had to re cut the bed. This was the completely worn out lathe I mentioned above. Its quick change gearbox and lead screw had never been used,though. The clods who used it did not know how to use them anyway. They just polished candlesticks.

The old south Bends were very slow lathes,too. They can take a long time to get work done with.

Ryan Baker
03-26-2012, 9:42 PM
...and used a hand crank wench to pull it up the planks.

Hey, could you send your hand crank wench over here? I have some heavy equipment i'd like her to move for me. :)

David G Baker
03-27-2012, 2:16 PM
Ryan, sorry, no can do I divorced her and bought a hand crank winch that does all the work without complaining. :D