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South Bend 9A


Dec 21, 2012
Somewhere in Colorado
Please refer to the attached picture of my new to me SB 9A.

Since I've installed a 3 jaw chuck, I'd like to remove the collet release tool from the left end.
Can somebody help me with this?

The carriage was severely polluted with metal chips and was completely dry of lubricant. This issue has since been resolved and is soon to be reassembled.
Would it be acceptable to use a 20-50 synthetic engine lube for reassembly of the carriage components?

I'm also looking for replacement parts. Does anybody have a one stop shop?



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The collet closer should slide right out. At worse, it is a light sliding fit.

I would only use the recommended oils for these machines. They depend on wicks to distribute oil to places where it needs to go.
Don't use any oil with detergents made for engine use. The detergents can damage the bronze bearing surfaces. Use non detergent single grade oils as suggested by SB or equivalents on the Saybolt chart.
The warnings I've seen detailed about using the incorrect oil types were mostly about using hypoid gear oils and the additives they may contain. Apparently the sulphur most of that oil has reacts to some but not all bronze alloy types. The problem for us is we can't know for certain what alloy type was used by the manufacturer or not. An oil type that works fine with one brand or model of machine doesn't necessarily mean that's going to be 100% true for everything else. But I'm unsure if those high detergent oils have the same issues with bronze sleeve bearings and bushings. That modern automotive detergent oil isn't recommended at all in non pumped & filtered machine tool oil sumps simply because those high detergent oils have those additives designed to help keep contamination suspended within the oil until it can be removed by a filter. For straight sumps with splash type lubrication, the non detergent oil is used since it allows most of those wear particals to drop out of suspension and remain at the bottom until the next oil change.

It was a dumb ass and expensive mistake, but I've learned the hard way that substituting oil types outside the manufacturer's recommendations for machine tools is real stupid idea. We ain't smarter than the manufacturer's or the oil engineers they most definitely would have consulted before deciding on the best oil type to recommend given the expected use and loads in each area. And very specific oil clearances were purposely machined, reamed, ground or hand scraped into parts such as head stock sleeve bearings for the oil type and viscosity. Old school Saybolt standards the factory may have used are not now in use by any lube oil manufacturer I know of today. But a Google search will turn up a few cross reference tables with multiple brand names for comparable products that are available.

Since this thread is partly about lubrication, I've seen it mentioned on forums and on Youtube enough to add this. Using any grease as a lube product instead of the proper oil type and viscosity on machine tools is another real stupid mistake. Yes it's a lube product and is basically oil in a thickened carrier medium. But it in no way acts the same as the much thinner oil does on machine tools not specifically designed for that type of lube. Grease literally acts the opposite of oil and retains any contamination and inevitable wear particles. That in turn vastly increases further wear. Oil applied often enough to keep the surfaces clean helps to flush out that same contamination. Greasing change gears for example just to keep the oil spray to a minimum is another mistake. Open lathe change gears compared to almost anything else that's being driven is pretty light duty even while threading or power feeding on the size of machine tools most of us would be using. A few drops of oil applied often enough is more than ample. Use the correct lube products the factory recommended, but even more important use enough to keep the oil between the surfaces from becoming discolored or even worse black. At least for manual machine tools, I'd go as far to say more are worn out from the lack of or improper lube products than were ever worn out from being used for what they were designed to do.

Over my career in mining I've probably used dozens of freight truck loads of lubrication products since most of the equipment had on board timed, regulated & pumped lube systems. And not once did those mines ever substitute what was called for with incorrect products. And that equipment has obviously far looser tolerances than any machine tool. Illogical guessing about lube choices will only cost you money, and with what were using it for, serious accuracy problems from that accelerated wear later. To put it into perspective, I'd also bet the power consumed by any machine tool costs more per hour than the pennies it costs just to use enough of the proper lube product over the same length of time.
^^ Well said.

We often are told that a user is using grease here, or there on his machine. On a SB, it is usually on the change gears, or underneath the apron. The reasoning behind their decision is, "Swarf never gets there..." Well, it does. Anyone who has ever disassembled a SB lathe will be amazed at exactly how MUCH gets to these areas. A change gear holding a steel chip can be damaged from it interfering with the mesh of the gears. Same with the apron gears. Using the proper oil allows the chips to be thrown off the gears, since the oil won't hold onto swarf very well.
Exactly SLK001, there's a basic logic behind where grease verses oil should be used and not substituted for the other product. Probably the thinnest grease most would have easily available would be the various brands of white lithium. Compare it's viscosity to any of the light spindle or even way oils. Within most machine tools the available clearances for grease would be minimal at best. Because of that, any type of grease gets squeezed out and wasted instead of being used as lubrication. Your then also starving the surfaces for enough lube even without it's other deficits compared to using oil. Most manual machine tools are designed and have few areas where grease might be used because of those same minimal clearances. And in the case of ways and slides, the moving surfaces are supposed to ride on an oil wedge to help minimize any metal to metal contact. Ok as lots of forum posts mention, any oil is better than no oil, but that properly engineered way oil is designed to help it cling to the surfaces and not drain off as quickly, prevent stick/slip and also help build that oil wedge with it's different viscosity compared to automotive engine oils.

Reading through my copy of the Connelly book Machine Tool Reconditioning the first time was more than enough to figure out how important way surface cleanliness and an ample amount of the proper lube really is. Learning just that has imo more than paid for it's fairly high price.
Ok, ok............factory recommended oil it is.
Cleaned the carriage and cross slide of layers of filth. Every single component polluted.
Didn't need another project, but down another rabbit hole I go.
Thanks for the help
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While the user manuals seldom or never seem to mention it. Pulling the cross, top slide and tail stock apart and depending on use, doing so yearly or semi yearly and maybe at longer intervals the carriage for a thorough & detailed cleaning, re-lube, feed or half nut adjustment if applicable, and then any gib adjustments is imo normal and expected maintenance. Solvent washing any open change gears at the same time is imo also a good idea. Whatever machine tool it's done on will remain accurate a whole lot longer, be much nicer and smoother to operate and that all helps to produce more accurate parts. On our smaller machines with there set screw gib adjustments, it's much much easier to then set those adjustments without the feed screw in place and moving the slide by hand until those adjustments are correct. Then add the feed screw.

Same for lathe chucks. If they start to bind in the slightest there's chips inside, if it gets bad enough and you then try to force things you can literally break the curved jaw teeth the scroll uses to move those jaws. It also screws with the chucks repeatable concentricity. That discolored or black oil anywhere on the machine that I mentioned is a sure sign the operator is doing something wrong and/or that preventative maintenance is over due. And that's something I really wish I'd properly understood a long time ago.