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Thread: 1947 Model 9A

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    Hi again!

    I now have my "new" lathe unloaded and setup for preliminary checkout. (This is the lathe first mentioned in this thread. Please don't laugh at the flimsy stand! I know it's not rigid enough for leveling the bedways, or absorbing vibration, but it will serve as a temporary support for evaluating the lathe, and making various improvements.

    Here's how it looks so far in my basement workshop:





    From the serial number, I was able to determine that the lathe was manufactured in 1947. For such an old machine, it does appear to be in remarkably good shape. The spindle, backgear, gear train, leadscrews, tailstock barrel, etc., seem to operate very smoothly, and with no apparent wear. The bedway surfaces show only minimal wear, with the original "frosting" still faintly visible even in the high-use areas.

    I placed an indicator such that it would read vertical movement of the spindle on the registration diameter just behind the threads. Pushing upwards firmly on the end of the spindle gives a movement of around .0015", which I think is about the right clearance. The 1-1/2"-8 threads look perfect, as does the MT3 inside taper:



    The cross-feed screw has less than .005" backlash. Same for the compound. The leadscrew has less than an eighth turn of backlash -- probably on the order of .010"-.012" -- and has no visible wear whatsoever. I checked the alignment of the headstock and tailstock centers using the following setup:



    Rotating the indicator around the tailstock center shows about .010” horizontal offset (which can presumably be adjusted out at the base), and about .005” vertical offset, which is probably within tolerance.

    I haven’t actually powered the spindle yet, but the motor works great (though the wiring should -- and will -- be replaced), and the countershaft bearings work smoothly, with no sign of any wear.

    So far, I’m extremely pleased with this purchase! I am planning on dismantling the lathe for a complete cleaning and paint job. I also need to come up with a more substantial base. Anyone have any ideas or suggestions here?

    Paula
    Last edited by Paula; 06-07-2008 at 12:50 PM. Reason: updated link

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    Nice machine. Is the tailstock high, or low
    by five thou?

    If it's high that means SB probably set them
    up that way to double the in-spec lifespan.

    If low then it's probably a tad worn, you could
    slip five thou of shim between the top and
    bottom casting to bring it up.

    Probably does not have the "War Production Board"
    tag on it, being made in '47.

    Jim

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    Jim,

    You know, when I was checking the tailstock alignment, I didn't even think to note whether the tailstock center was high or low.

    I checked it again this morning, and it turns out that the tailstock is .005" higher than the spindle center. Which I guess is good, from what you are saying.

    I didn't see any "War Production Board" tag on the lathe. But I did notice something curious, though. The catalog number for this lathe, 644-A, indicates that it should be a 12-speed, while it actually has the 6-speed drive unit. My SBL catalog shows that a 6-speed lathe should have the number 444-A (1/4 HP motor), or 2444-A (1/2 HP motor). Though the drive unit that came with this lathe appears to be original, I suppose it's possible that it was replaced sometime in the past. Or, since the catalog I referred to is a more recent issue, maybe South Bend changed the model designation since this lathe was made. For example, I notice that the 1958 catalog doesn't even list a 6-speed lathe. So, apparently they were phased out by that time.

    The 6-speed doesn't bother me too much. I would like to convert it for higher speed capability (approx. 1000 RPM) at some point, for very small diameter work, and polishing operations. I've also considered getting a 3450 RPM, 3-Phase motor, and using a VFD. But that almost seems like overkill, and maybe just a tad sacrilegious on a machine of this vintage. Maybe it would be best to just find a 12-speed drive unit.

    Paula

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    Hi Paula,

    Nice looking original condition machine! There are plans put out by South Bend Lathe around the date your machine was built for a workbench like stand. I think there is a set of blue prints for it on Yahoo's South Bend Lathe Group in their files section:

    Yahoo's South Bend Lathe Group


    You will have to join this group in order to access the files and photos section but it is a valuable source of information.

    Also, there are specifications on the proper bearing clearances and how to check and adjust them. BTW, .0010" to .0015" is the clearance for cast iron bearings (which I believe you have).

    In your "introductory" post, several people offered good advice about "small dial" lathes. I used one for many years before getting one with large dials. One "trick" you can use is to set the compound at 84 Deg. This way, for every .001" you turn the compound screw, the actual lateral movement of the cutter bit (at 90 Deg. to the work) is .0001"

    The original specification on the tail stock is -.000" to +.003" in height to the spindle. If it is low, you can (as Jim suggested) place the necessary shims between the tail stock and its base casting to bring it back up to the correct height.

    The only criticism I have of the 9 inch bench model lathes are their lack of rigidity. I good solid bench will make a world of difference in the performance of the lathe.

    Good Luck and Enjoy!
    -Blue Chips-
    Webb

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    Given the condition of the ways, it doesn't
    suprise me that the ram is high rather than
    low.

    This means the machine hasn't even been broken
    in yet. [img]smile.gif[/img]

    I purchased a hardinge split bed lathe, the
    tailstock on that still had the original hardinge
    cosmoline on it - and the ram was also about
    three thou high.

    Jim

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    It would seem a shame to use a lathe with ways that nice for a polishing lathe; and the CI spindle bearings sound like they re in very good condition too, given the minimal play. Running the spindle at the higher speeds you contemplate would be hard on them, and may destroy them. Does your's have a hardened spindle? (I'm not up on SB years and models, but some don't.)

    I would look for an old split bed hardinge for small work, high speeds, and polishing duty. You can't thread with them, but the compound cross slides are very accurate, and the spindles are good for 3,000 rpm & instant stop, start, and reverse, all day long. There have been a number on ebay go for less than $350 for older versions with just a tailstock and cross slide.

    BTW, I am talking about the regular Hardinge split bed 9 or 7-1/2 x 18 ball bearing headstock lathes, not the actual Hardinge polishing lathes which are more limited but tend to bring much more money on Ebay.

    smt

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    Hi Webb,

    Thanks for your comments!

    There are plans put out by South Bend Lathe around the date your machine was built for a workbench-like stand. I think there is a set of blue prints for it on Yahoo's South Bend Lathe Group in their files...
    I joined that group not long ago. You're right -- lots of useful information! I couldn't find the plans you refer to, but I'm still sort of learning how to navigate around over there.

    One "trick" you can use is to set the compound at 84 Deg. This way, for every .001" you turn the compound screw, the actual lateral movement of the cutter bit (at 90 Deg. to the work) is .0001"
    Great idea! A 10-to-1 fine feed!

    A good solid bench will make a world of difference in the performance of the lathe.
    I've heard (and read) the same thing. At this point, I'm thinking about designing a base cabinet with a welded frame of 2" square, 11 gauge steel tubing, well braced, with adjustable feet. I'm tempted to use a 2" thick, laminated (glued-up) hardwood bench top, though I realize it's not the most durable work surface for a chip-producing, oil-spewing machine tool. However, though I fully intend to use this machine, I also bought it partly for it's vintage status, and I would like it to be displayed in the best light. I would equip the lower side of the stand with custom-made drawers and cabinets made out of something like birch plywood. Just some thoughts.

    Paula

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    Hi Stephen,

    It would seem a shame to use a lathe with ways that nice for a polishing lathe; Running the spindle at the higher speeds you contemplate would be hard on them, and may destroy them. Does your's have a hardened spindle?
    Well, I wouldn't exactly call it a 'polishing lathe', but your comments are well taken. I hadn't really considered the idea of getting an entirely separate machine more suited to small diameter/high-speed work, but it is a very good one.

    I'm not sure whether or not this South Bend has a hardened spindle. It appears to be close to file-hard at the gear tooth end, but less hard at the spindle thread end. Like you, I'm not familiar with the chronology of when South Bend introduced the various refinements to the 9" line, such as (standard) hardened spindles, bronze headstock bearings, and the higher speed range. Regardless, the advice to use higher speeds with this particular lathe only sparingly, or not at all, is unquestionably prudent.

    Thanks very much for your comments!

    Paula

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    Hey Paula, If you can weld take a look at my steel stand. I made it from 2" pipe plus some angle, tubing would be easier. You can add a wood top for a sturdy stand. The pics are in my yahoo group...Bob
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/southbend10k/
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/southbend10kpics/

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    Hopefully it was clear, but in case it was not, my comment about the ways was not meant in a judgemental sense, "that's too goood to merely be used for polishing!" But more a cautionary note about the inevitable accelerated wear from grit and polishing swarf that can occur if the ways are not well protected. The grit is pernicious, even with carefull covering of the ways at each use.

    It has occurred to me that if my 10K had not come mounted on a steel table with a 3/4" thick steel top; that a Hardinge lathe cabinet base might well make a nice place to mount it. Might even be able to offend 2 purist groups at once But seriously, the hardinge bases are a nice rigid option, and they are usually not worth much, if someone in your area has parted any of the hardinge lathes out.

    OTOH, your wooden top with drawers under sounds like a classy setup, if you have the time.

    smt

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    If you can weld take a look at my steel stand. I made it from 2" pipe plus some angle, tubing would be easier. You can add a wood top for a sturdy stand.
    Thanks, Bob! That's a nifty stand with some great ideas. I love the swing-out rack.



    I got rid of all my welding equipment last time I moved, but I have a place to get welding and fabricating done at a good price. All I have to do is draw it up for them. (Plus wait for my finances recover from buying the lathe!)

    Here's a neat stand that was built for a Rivett lathe. It's almost "too nice":



    That one would look more appropriate in your living room. (Dang, that's a nice lathe!)

    Paula

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    ...my comment about the ways was not meant in a judgemental sense...
    I didn't think you were being judgemental, Stephen. You made some very good points, and I thank you for your interest and comments.

    ...your wooden top with drawers under sounds like a classy setup, if you have the time.
    Yes. And the money, too. I'm self-employed, and it seems I'm always either in a position of working too hard to spend the money I'm making, or having oodles of time to do stuff, but no money to do it with. Oh, well...

    Paula

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    Bally Block makes nice laminated maple tops:



    Jim

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    Paula,

    I am using a four foot section of ten inch C-channel for a base under the lathe. Should stiffen up the bed nicely and dampen as well. I had a set of cast iron legs to fasten the C-channel to, completing the table.

    The cast iron legs had holes drilled for adjusting screws, so it should be easy to level.

    Cheers,

    Fin

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    Fin,

    That sounds like a solid setup. I saw a SB one time mounted on top of a huge I-beam. How are you going to mount the drive? (Assuming it's a rear-mounted drive model.)

    I'm stuck on the idea of building a cabinet-style base, mostly in an effort to reclaim some of the cubic space (for storage) that the rear-mounted drive wants to waste. My shop is not that big.

    Paula

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    The rear-drive models are *real* hogs for space.

    I used to own a 9" model A, with a long bed, the
    bench was fully four feet deep and six feet long.
    Took up most of my shop so the underneath was
    vital for storage.

    The trouble with the rear drives is, if you
    bring the countershaft too close to the
    headstock the belt becomes just too short.

    My underneath drive 10L has a *much* smaller
    footprint than the model A bench had. I suppose
    best would be overhead drive for one of those
    9" machines.

    Jim

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    Jim,

    The rear-drive models are *real* hogs for space.
    I hear that...

    I used to own a 9" model A, with a long bed, the bench was fully four feet deep and six feet long.
    Wow! That's way too big. My 9A (with the original, bulky GE motor and giant-sized capacitor) seems to need around a 20" depth just for the footprint, plus another 5" or so at the rear to clear the large countershaft pulley. I'm thinking of making my cabinet (the top, at least) about 22" deep, and just letting the c'shaft pulley stick out beyond the back edge of the top. This will work out okay in my shop, since the wall I want to place the lathe against has a 6" wide exposed footer at the floor (by 5" high), so I can't actually position the lathe cabinet all the way against the wall anyway. Yes, I could let the top overhang the back of the cabinet, but I don't really want the cabinet to be much narrower than 22", just for stability's sake. The maximum size of the top is determined, in part, by how much extra room you want at the front and ends of the lathe, for placing tools & such.

    My underneath drive 10L has a *much* smaller footprint than the model A bench had. I suppose best would be overhead drive for one of those 9" machines.
    Yes, I was spoiled in that regard with my first South Bend, a 10K that I purchased new from the factory back in the late eighties:



    I stupidly got rid of this machine when I had to move across the country. I was going to be living in apartments for the forseeable future, and I just didn't want to be bothered with it.

    BIG mistake.

    I put one hell of a lot of work into that machine, and it was in absolutely perfect shape. Had a full set of collets, T-slotted cross-slide, leadscrew feed handle with resettable graduated collar, 8-1/2" dia. T-slotted faceplate, shaper attachment, micrometer carriage stop, dial indicator bracket, telescoping steady, KRF toolpost system, MLA milling attachment, rear-mounted toolpost, ball-turner, etc., etc., etc... Gawd, I'm clouding up.

    Oh well. Live and learn.

    Paula

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    My 10K/4'bed/rear V-belt drive came mounted on a steel table that is 3' x 5'. It could not be much shorter, but it could possibly have been a little less deep, maybe 28" or 30". Even a little less if the motor hung over the back. I realized it would take up too much usable space set longways against the wall, so it is placed with the tailstock end near one wall. All the (formerly) open space in back of the lathe beside the motor is now used to store heavy tooling including a 6 x 12 compound sine chuck, 6 x 18 swivel chuck, some small indexes and a bunch of magnetic V-blocks and mag parallels. That way I can walk to it, grasp the tooling at hip height to move to the machine in use without bending or straining too much.

    It is somewhat of a pain to clean the swarf out periodically. A compensatory benefit is that the tooling tends to stay oiled against the rust demons. Thinking about it, if I actually had a "nice" metal shop (instead of a partially dirt floor cellar) maybe I'd just build an enclosed cabinet to cover that area, open to the backside, for tooling as per now, but easier to keep clean.

    Paula, did you build the MLA milling attachment, and did you use it much? I built one some 15 years before ever owning a lathe, and used in on a Mill Drill to do taper turning and taper boring. They are wonderful castings and beautiful drawings.

    smt

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    Hmm. What's with the handwheel on the 10K's
    leadscrew? Is that really a boxford, or was
    that a custom modification?

    I understand about having more space in the
    rear of machines than the floor plan suggests,
    you can see the lower four feet of so of my
    shop walls are stone, above that it steps
    out another 10 inches or so to brick.

    I would have re-mounted the rear drive of
    my 9" lathe to reduce the bench size - but it
    was a solid welded bench and and would have
    been a bear to cut and re-weld, and then rip the
    top thinner.

    As far as apartment living goes, I bought my
    first lathe (small 9" atlas) when I was living
    in one. I stuck the machine in the hallway
    that lead into the kitchen. Worked out fine.

    Jim

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    Whoops, forgot the photo link:

    http://www.metalworking.com/RCM-gall...Jim/Nshop3.jpg

    Jim


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