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Things to look for when purchasing

cro-magnum

Plastic
Joined
Aug 31, 2010
Location
Phoenix
Hello everyone

I am considering purchasing this machine to be used restoring antique farm equipment. It just wouldn't be right to have some new (name I cant pronounce) machine in the shop.

I am familiar with lathes but have never operated a South Bend or any machine if this vintage. I would appreciate any advice on what problems the machine may have. Where/how to check oil levels? How much backlash is to be expected? Please give me your opinion on its value. Let me remind you that here in AZ these machines are fewer and farther between than out east.

I will be looking at the machine at noon today MST. I hope some of you can help before then.

Thank you
Travis

South Bend 16x84 Lathe For Sale
 

ChipHeadWayne

Aluminum
Joined
May 1, 2010
Location
Detroit USA
Hello Travis,
Yes, I have one of these lathes, and it has served me fairly well. It's relatively stiff if you level it and bolt it down - may need a couple of tries to get it right, because of settleing and temperature extemes moving the concrete floor beneath it, especially in the winter. This machine is quiet, forgiving, and fairly easy to repair and maintain. The biggest plus to owning a South Bend is the wealth of parts and information available on this forum, and elsewhere. The spindle bearings are adjsutable and fairly bulletproof so they'll outlast me. MAKE SURE you REMOVE THE ADJUSTER SCREWS - which are under threaded plugs - before removing the spindle bearing caps to adjust the bearings. A lot new owners just remove the plugs and don't see the small screws underneath the plugs. You will ruin the $800 bearings.

This example is pretty well tooled. High points include the taper attachement, the Aloris tool post, and the faceplate and chucks. You won't need much if anything to get you going. It looks like the ways are in not-so-great condition, but the picture may be deceiving. Regrinding the ways and then handscraping the carriage , tailstock, etc, to fit is quite expensive and time intensive. Prices vary from shop to shop and range from $1000 for regrinding only to $6000 to completely rebuild. In all likelyhood, you may not need more accuracy than this machine has. Take advantage of the offer to test the machine - bring a 1" cold rolled sttel bar and make some light cuts. Measure the taper in the resulting turned bar. It's probably OK; and this would give you data to make your decision.

I wouldn't worry about backlash - you might expect .010 - .030". 0.050" is getting to be a lot but is still workable. Look for the difference in backlash between center position and at the extremes of travel. If backlash is the same everywhere, ALL the backlash is caused by a worn nut. If the center has a lot more backlash than the extremes of travel, the screw is worn. Members of this forum sell crossfeed nuts, and member Steve Wells has a thread about how to modify / replace your cross feed screw. Lots of Longitudal backlash usually indicates the bed ways are worn.

Look for missing teeth on the backgear behind the spindle - this is fairly common. This condition is repairable, though. Again you can search this forum for repair instructions and people who can do it for you.

This machine is three phase. A VFD is more like $1000, not $100. You can make a rotary phase converter (rpc) for $200-$300, or buy one for $600.

There is no good way to check the oil that I am aware of. Look for wear and lacklash and scoring on the ways and gears as an indication of the oiling history and usage. There are quite a few lubrication points on the machine, so I'll add this link to Steve Wells' site where he generously posted a lubrication chart and other essential info.
The SBL Workshop - Home
http://www.wswells.com/data/general/1967_10-16_Lube_Chart_S6503R.pdf

$2500 might be a good price for you. In Detroit I paid $1700 for a machine that is in a little worse condition but with a little more tooling. You may be able to wiggle down a little but $2500 isn't bad.

I probably gave you too much information, but I hope it is of some help.

Regards,
Wayne
 

cro-magnum

Plastic
Joined
Aug 31, 2010
Location
Phoenix
Thanks so much Wayne

I have three phase power so a VFD is not needed. I have not yet looked at Steve Wells thread yet because I wanted to thank you first. In my first conversation with the seller I mentioned that I think he is high on his price. His response indicated that he will come off his price considerably. I hope he really is moving as I know how stressful it is, he might just wanna get this step of the move out of the way.

I believe the machine will be more precise than I need. It will be used to clean up surfaces for over sizes brass bushings on antique equipment, along with other chores. I have access to other close tollerance equipment when the application needs it.

Great tip about checking lash at many different points, I don't think I would have done that on my own.

Thanks
Travis
 

cro-magnum

Plastic
Joined
Aug 31, 2010
Location
Phoenix
I got a chance to look at the machine yesterday. I am satisfied with everything I checked, but I was surprised how loud the back gears are. I understand that they are large strait cut gears with very little to deaden the sound. Take a look at the video and tell me what you think.

Thanks
Travis

http://i787.photobucket.com/albums/yy152/Cro-Magnum/2011-05-26-15-16-51-978.jpg
http://i787.photobucket.com/albums/yy152/Cro-Magnum/2011-05-26-15-17-57-728.jpg
http://i787.photobucket.com/albums/yy152/Cro-Magnum/2011-05-26-15-17-18-831.jpg
http://i787.photobucket.com/albums/yy152/Cro-Magnum/2011-05-26-15-36-59-785.jpg
YouTube - ‪16X84 South Bend lathe‬‏
 

tentacles

Aluminum
Joined
Jun 29, 2008
Location
Winnipeg, Canada
When my backgears are noisy like that I just give 'em another little shot of way oil, quiets things right down.. Also they tend to be noisier when there's no load on them, for whatever reason. Looks like a nice machine. Looks like the end geartrain has some wear but they appear to be meshing nicely still, though they appear filthy.

Can't tell anything about the ways from the pic, how bad is the ridge?
 

cro-magnum

Plastic
Joined
Aug 31, 2010
Location
Phoenix
http://i787.photobucket.com/albums/yy152/Cro-Magnum/2011-06-01-15-09-19-149.jpg

Is this the tag that means the machine has tighter tollerance than others? It says "this machine conforms to orders of the war production board."

Serial # stamped 149974 JFP (letters are about half the size of the numbers)

Another note is the paint layers go as follows. South bend grey appears to be the first coat. Followed by a dark olive drab (almost john deere green) followed by south bend grey.


What other tags or stamps should I be looking for and where?

Now I'm really excited
Thanks
Travis
 

cro-magnum

Plastic
Joined
Aug 31, 2010
Location
Phoenix
Oh that's about my luck, it's still more capable than I need. I guess I was looking for a piece of history.

Thanks
Travis
 








 
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