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Thread: best larger lathe for parts availability

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    bkc541's Avatar
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    Question best larger lathe for parts availability

    Hello everyone, just looking for some opinions. I'm looking to get my first lathe to restore and USE. I am thinking between heavy 10 to 16". I'm thinking maybe the larger ones were built heavier so they might last the longest, plus having the extra capacity is nice. Problem I see is there doesn't seem to be many spare parts floating around for the 13-16 sizes. I'm trying to get this right the first time. Maybe i'm not looking in the right places. I would really like a 13", just don't want something I can't get parts for or is so rare that they cost a fortune.
    I have learned a lot from this forum and can't wait to get my own.
    thank you, bryan

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    thermite is offline Diamond
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    Quote Originally Posted by bkc541 View Post
    Hello everyone, just looking for some opinions. I'm looking to get my first lathe to restore and USE. I am thinking between heavy 10 to 16". I'm thinking maybe the larger ones were built heavier so they might last the longest, plus having the extra capacity is nice. Problem I see is there doesn't seem to be many spare parts floating around for the 13-16 sizes. I'm trying to get this right the first time. Maybe i'm not looking in the right places. I would really like a 13", just don't want something I can't get parts for or is so rare that they cost a fortune.
    I have learned a lot from this forum and can't wait to get my own.
    thank you, bryan
    10" to 16" is still a small lathe.

    16" to 24" is wot I'd 'personally' class as a medium.

    'Large' is at least 30" swing.

    This is a 'large' lathe:

    Used MESTA, 144" X 648". Manual Lathe - Used machines - Exapro

    But the bigger question if you seek even a 'serious' 10" to 16" is:

    - how much space you have (5' to 8' beds +as much as 4' extra overall are common),

    - how much weight are you prepared to move, (a 10" x 20" Monarch 10EE weighs over 3,000 lbs, a 16" lathe can easily go two or more times that mass)

    - how much power you have available, as all of the serious machinery began life with 3-phase power and 3 HP at the least, with 5, 10, and more HP common.

    Have a gander at PM threads on the 16" and up American, Cincinnati, LeBlond, Lodge & Shipley, Monarch and such to get a better idea just what happens when you move up from South Bend/Logan/Atlas/Clausing sizes.

    'Parts' are usually needed to some extent in any restoral, BUT .. most of the cited American-made 'heavy iron' has run 50 to 100 years in a *production* environment with few parts needed.

    Any decent restoral can outlast two more generations of operator if not abused, four generations in hobby/infrequent use.

    Bill
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    Greg White is online now Titanium
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    Seeings as how this is the South Bend dept,maybe the O.P. was talking about South Bends.

    With that being said,I have a 16X8,I was looking at a 13 to buy,my opinion was the 13 was quite a bit smaller and LIGHTER than the 16,I did not buy it for this reason.

    I have no regrets aboot my 16,I can turn small stuff,not as efficent as a jewelers lathe,but I get it done. I also can turn bigger longer parts quite easy.

    And as stated above,South bend arnt the largest heavyest lathes avlable.
    I was pondering turning some 300 -400lb. items on mine, I was talked out of by the good folks on the forum here, I thank em for that.
    Gw

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    klrray is offline Plastic
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    Just a thought, You may find a 10 to be just big enough untill you have a larger pice to turn, and you will be wishing you had a larger capacity. Thats what I have found. Id go with at least a 16 if you have the space larger if you can. You may only need it once in a while but you will have it. There are parts around for the 16 I have a 15 now that is hard to find parts for. good luck. watch ebay.

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    thermite is offline Diamond
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    Quote Originally Posted by Greg White View Post
    And as stated above,South bend arnt the largest heavyest lathes avlable.
    I was pondering turning some 300 -400lb. items on mine, I was talked out of by the good folks on the forum here, I thank em for that.
    Gw
    If I hadda postulate a 'rule of thumb', a SB can turn its max diameter over cross-slide.. OR its max length between centers (or, obviously, some 'reasonable', but rather limited, compromise in between). It cannot 'easily' handle max of both at one go - not even in aluminium.

    The others I mentioned can do - day-in, day-out, and at production speeds and feeds.

    That said, AFAIK, the most common of SB's are the 9" and 10".

    13" seem to be more scarce, and 16" SB even more so. More especially if not 'stone age'.

    I'd expect a geared-head Cincinnati or L&S to be easier to find in 16" - and cheaper, transport aside - than a 16" SB.

    A Clausing, or one of the 'air mobile' lightweight LeBlonds (Regal), might make a fair compromise that's easier to locate at a price-point if weight and motor power rule out the proper 'engine lathe'.

    Otherwise - one is looking at low-volume production/fewer 'survivors', offshore make, or the *genuine* antiques - (Hendey tie-bar, other old cone-heads, etc).

    For those, parts are more often made than bought.

    FWIW, I'm classing SB as a 'replica' of antique lathe engineering, as most of those available were shipped at least post-WWI, if not post-WWII, despite their late 1800's / early 1900's design.

    Bill

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    I thought a lot about this before I bought my South Bend. I wanted to be able to handle small jobs as well as fairly large. I also wanted a lathe that wasn't so heavy it would be difficult to move. Anyway, I bought a SB 1340, and it does everything I want. It turned out the bed is longer than I really needed, but you never know when you will need a longer bed.Being a late model '78 I think most parts are still available from Grizzly's stock, but the prices are high.

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    bmarsh is offline Plastic
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    I ended up purchasing a 13" and went through the whole break down,clean, assemble. I was able to find everything I needed from either sblatheman on this forum, ebay and a few others. I did luck out since my spindle bearing and half nuts were in good shape. I can't imagine now having anything smaller than the 13" (my opinion). It fits easily in my garage with no issues. Jut my 2 cents.



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    Greg White is online now Titanium
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    So Bill point is, THIS IS THE SOUTH BEND DEPT!,what you say has merit,you could go to the antquie machinery dept. and hammer them over the vertures of C.N.C. as well,eh?.
    peace,go a head have the last word,you want it...
    Gw

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    First off thank you to everyone for your responses. Sorry I left a few details out-
    This machine is for a home shop, space is limited now but I plan to build a larger on soon.

    For power I am ok as this is a one man thing one tool on at a time. I already have a vfd for the mill so probably just get another one.
    I am indeed looking for a south bend I want a piece of history that I can use and teach my kids to use. Since this is a home shop you can see where my distorted view of "large" comes from!
    Moving items is not too bad I have access to a 16,000 fork lift. Being in the northwest it seems good machines are on the east coast mostly-based on what i'm looking for. Shipping is a killer but finding a machine here is hard as the cost is inflated.
    It seems like a 16" is going to be where I head. I know these last a long time but my luck is something will give out, so just trying to look down the road.
    thanks again, bryan

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    Greg White is online now Titanium
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    Home Shop ,Kid, (me) one will appreciate the slipping belt as opposed to things breaking apoun a crash, still they can bite! best of luck sir, my 16 is a pc of art as well as fuctionable,my Misses(who doent know the diff between a B.port and traveling column Bormil) thinks the S.Bend is the "prettist"machine in the barn,she also says my drop saw is the uglist.
    As far as I can tell,my S.bend is still wearing orignal paint,1943,single tumbler,war tag,how many diff. hands touched it??
    Bill, I didnt mean to be so harsh,sorry sir,your knowledge is still apprecated.
    Gw

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    thermite is offline Diamond
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    Quote Originally Posted by Greg White View Post
    Home Shop ,Kid, (me) one will appreciate the slipping belt as opposed to things breaking apoun a crash, still they can bite! best of luck sir, my 16 is a pc of art as well as fuctionable,my Misses(who doent know the diff between a B.port and traveling column Bormil) thinks the S.Bend is the "prettist"machine in the barn,she also says my drop saw is the uglist.
    As far as I can tell,my S.bend is still wearing orignal paint,1943,single tumbler,war tag,how many diff. hands touched it??
    Bill, I didnt mean to be so harsh,sorry sir,your knowledge is still apprecated.
    Gw
    No harm, Greg ... but I do check a poster's location, and as Bryan said: ...

    Being in the northwest it seems good machines are on the east coast mostly-based on what i'm looking for. Shipping is a killer but finding a machine here is hard as the cost is inflated.
    Finding a decent AND affordable 14 1/2" or 16" SB on the WEST coast ... well .. let's have a recce....plugging-in the Corvallis ZIP, as I was conceived at Camp Adair (or so I was told...memory is actually a bit hazy on that... )

    ... and we do find a few 13"...

    South Bend Lathe

    South Bend Lathe 13x40 $1000.00 OBO

    southbend lathe

    South Bend Metal Lathe13 inch


    But the closest 16" I was able to turn up was in Minnesota:

    SOUTHBEND 16

    ..all the rest showing were Ohio and East (PA, NY, New England...)

    Looks as if Bryan's best bet might be to scout the Western edge of the Midwest 'rust belt' - close-on a thousand miles closer than the East coast, and probably within single-weekend R/T range with a trailer.

    Bill

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    toolnut is offline Stainless
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    Nice discussion and this is the South Bend Forum so will answer about South Bends. I have 3 other brands in addition to the South Bends.

    I recently finished repairing a sad 14-1/2" x 60" BTC SBL and will say it is a sweet machine however parts are not readily available. I think about 8,000 of these were built versus some 250,000 for the heavy 10. I have used some 13" parts (the taper attachment), some 16" parts (the gear train to drive the quick change gearbox) and the lead screw from a 16"/. I recently bought a box of 13" parts and there was a 14-1/2" steady resst in the box. Good for me.

    I have 3 of the 13" lathes and they are just the right size for a home shop. The heavy 10 is preffered for gunsmithing with the 13" being next in line. I have had little trouble finding parts for the 13" lathes and now think I have enough to rebuild at least two of the three and maybe even the third one. South Bend parts are less expensive than any other lathe I have purchased parts for. A couple of parts for my 13" Colchester cost more than I paid for the most expensive used South Bend 13 and I will not even mention my Monarch 10EEs.

    I look for lathes from the late 1960's thru the end of South Bend production. I like a 13 with the 1-3/8" spindle hole, a D1-4 or a L00 spindle nose, double tumbler quick change gearbox, a threading dial and a taper attachment. Make sure you get one with a tailstock as they often show up without a tailstock. Tailstocks are hard to find at reasonable prices. I find them for sale for more than I paid for the rest of the lathe.
    You can buy an aftermarket toolpost that is much better than the orginal SBL rocker tool post. Try one of the Dorian or Aloris quick change too posts. I am currently using a Royal four position turret tool post until I can find a good buy in a Aloris BXA or the Dorian equivalent.
    I prefer a 3 phase motor and I add a VFD to drive it. Variable speed is really nice on these lathes.
    13" models are more readily available than 16" models however I can often buy a 16 for less than a 13 as there is not as much demand for them.

    I currently have a collection of lathes in this size range:
    a colchester 13 x 36 BTC, geared head
    a colchester 13 x 24 BTC, geared head
    a Hendey GP No 1 x 30, belt drive, which is really 14-1/2 x 30 BTC, 1951 vintage (my most recent project)
    two Monarch 10 EEs of 1951 vintage, DC with motor generators
    two South Bend 13 x 28 BTC, belt drive
    One South Bend 13 x 40 BTC, belt drive
    One South Bend 14-1/2 x 60 BTC, belt drive

    As one can see, I have enough 13 to 14-1/2 lathes to get some comparison.
    I will evently downsize and keep:
    South Bend 14-1/2" , one Monarch 10EE and the Hendey No 1 x 30.
    Bruce

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    Thank you bill, except for that one in oregon I was not aware of the rest. I did try to search CL by clicking on the nearby cities in Washington, N California, and W Idaho. Aside from the cities it suggested I didn't really know where to look. Thank you for finding these I california, had not seen them before.
    Bruce it,s good to know there are a fair amount of parts avail. for the 13". Once I get a lathe that is a solid starter I want to collect common spare parts for it. Because if it happens to last me 10 yrs. then something goes out, they might be harder to come by then.
    Those are good things to remember to look for, easy to forget sometimes. Kinda new with these older lathes but feel the longer I wait the harder it will be.
    Thank you to all, bryan

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    thermite is offline Diamond
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    Quote Originally Posted by bkc541 View Post
    try to search CL by clicking on the nearby cities in Washington, N California, and W Idaho.
    searchtempest.com did that. CL first, then drops into eBay. Sort of. eBay's own search is better on their turf.

    just give it a starting ZIP and max distance.

    But .. have it check ALL lists, not just 'tools', same again with eBay.

    Some folk will list a lathe or a Steptoe shaper in 'lawn and garden' or such.

    Also play with the search string.

    Bill

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    Thanks bill. I was mostly looking on ebay then on CL using the nearby cities it lists. I will have to run those searches tonight and get familiar with them. Its crazy in central Oregon they want 1,500 for a 9"atlas - and it must have sold because it was off in a week.
    Two of those lathes in socal look real nice might have to take a trip.
    Thanks again, bryan

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    airborneike is offline Plastic
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    Default SB Lathe Choice

    Hello Bryan,

    If you can find a 16 sb that is not too worn I think you will be very happy with it. I have a 10l and a 16 and do a lot of gunsmith work with them. The short headstock on the 10l is nice for chambering but I really like the way the 16 cuts. The 16 is just a more solid lathe and while vibration on long pieces can be a problem, for the most part it cuts very smooth. Be patient, try to find a toolroom version with a taper attachment if you can. My 16 is a 1952 model, born the same year as I was and it is an absolute joy to use, especially for threading. I have cut threads from 6tpi to a 4/48 dial indicator thread and am amazed at the ease, accuracy and smoothness that the 16 has.

    Most old 16's will have a worn cross slide screw due to the heavy saddle but it is not too hard to replace. You can live with a little bed wear if you are not turning long precision pieces. The component parts of the 16 are very heavy and unless you are a strong weight lifter or have equipment to handle them, a complete tear-down may be difficult. If the 16 has not been abused too badly you can probably get by with a good through cleaning but I would at least pull the headstock spindle and replace the oiler wicks.

    I mostly lurk on this forum and this is the first time I have posted but I am very impressed with the quality of South Bend machines. They are a work of art and although my machines are used regularly,I sometimes just step back and admire the way they look.

    If you cannot find a 16 you might be satisfied with a heavy 10. They are very good machines and not too hard to take completely apart and are easy to sell if you find a 16 later.

    Good luck, there are machines out there, just requires a lot of searching and patience.

    Ike

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    Lucky 13 is offline Aluminum
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    I picked up my 1950 CL 145C 13 x 72 SB on Craiglist here in Southern Oregon as pictured for $1500 and any part I've needed for it has been easily found.


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    HuskerScott is offline Aluminum
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    Thanks Ike It's good to know you like the 16" I would have to say it would be my first choice. I too am amazed by them - a piece of art that still works well. I'm really trying to be be patient and find the right deal. I would love to find something like Lucky13 though it has been slim pickings lately in oregon. Bill found me a couple of nice machines in socal and also thanks to Scott for that link. California seems like the best source lately, trouble is all of them are 15 hrs away. Now granted it would be worth the trip, just gets costly.
    Thanks to all for your help, will definitely update you guys when I find one.

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    k3vyl is offline Hot Rolled
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    Default SBLs

    The big difference is the belt drive.Gears are expensive to maintain,and or repair.In the home shop environment cost is an issue.You do not have paying work to cover the cost.The SBL is an antique lathe with modern features and parts available.No wonder that even people who work in siphisticated machine shops have one stashed in their basement.

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