Just a beat up old 10K Light
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  1. #1
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    Default Just a beat up old 10K Light

    I'd been wanting a lathe for many years, but could never justify the cost. One day a friend of a friend messaged me on facebook after seeing our mutual friend comment on pictures of a $FREE$ broken Sharp First HMV-1 I'd picked up the day before. He had the deal of a century waiting for me - a free Southbend lathe of uncertain age, condition, and specs, if I felt like picking it up and using it instead of scrapping it. Naturally, I did.

    Life got busy and it sat in the basement for a few years completely soaked with WD-40 to keep it from rusting (any more than it already had when I got it.) Fast forward to today and I've finally gotten it situated in my hangar/future machine shop and put it back together, since it was partially disassembled to load it into my Jeep back in 2014.

    It's pretty beat. The ways are definitely quite worn, there were a multitude of loose nuts and bolts holding it together, everything's filthy and packed with chips, etc. But it should do until I can fix it up properly or justify buying a better condition machine and pass this one on to the next lucky owner. In the meantime, I'll probably post whatever I did with it/what I have questions about/what I fixed this weekend in here.

    My serial number is 5345KAR7. First few questions:
    - this tells me it's the 5345th machine in this series to be built, according to WSWells excellent site. Further, the K tells me it's a light 10K - but the threading gearbox cover plate says Model A. Are these contradictory? Is this machine a Frankensteins Monster of parts from two or more other machines?
    - anyone have a favorite supplier/manufacturer for chucks with the 1.5-8 threaded mounting style? I'd like decent quality, but I'm not afraid of chinesium if it gets the job done. Remember it's going on a beat lathe. I'm looking for a 4 jaw since I already have two 3-jaws that came with it, and need to be able to center existing workpieces as precisely as possible (given the condition of the machine) to repair worn surfaces and such.
    - there's definitely a few thousandths of play in the headstock spindle bearings. Is there a good writeup I can follow on either adjusting this out, or repairing it properly?
    - where can I buy a set of metric threading gears for it? I know I'll end up needing them since I work on custom parts for a variety of vehicles including Audi, Subaru, Jeep, and GM.

    Any or all of these questions, if there's a wealth of info on them already on the forum, feel free to just tell me what terms to try searching for and I'll dig around myself. I don't even know what I don't know yet, so searching is likely to be less than fruitful.

    The first project I tackle (once I stop making horrible parts with even worse surface finish) will be remachining the swollen bearing journal on the end of a differential locker carrier. I only get one try at it since the manufacturer doesn't sell replacement parts, so I need to get plenty of practice first.

  2. #2
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    This should NOT be your first lathe. Yes, it can be restored, but only after you have a few years of experience and a serviceable lathe and mill. I know you think this more affordable, but it isn't. This is a lesson most here on this forum have learned. Save your money and buy a plug'n play lathe.

  3. #3
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    A set of metric gears can run more than some used lathes.

    I'd let that one go...

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by steve-l View Post
    This should NOT be your first lathe. Yes, it can be restored, but only after you have a few years of experience and a serviceable lathe and mill. I know you think this more affordable, but it isn't. This is a lesson most here on this forum have learned. Save your money and buy a plug'n play lathe.
    I don't particularly mind spending money on it; everything else I own is also a project in its own right - I'm used to that. Fortunately the friend I share hangar space with has a small 3-axis mill and a semi serviceable small lathe that will probably repair or make any parts I need for this one, they just aren't large enough for some of the stuff I expect to be making and repairing. For example, a likely future project is turning out the tubes in a set of dana 60 truck axle kingpin knuckles so they can be welded to a different axle, which isn't something I can do on a hobbyist lathe, but requires "it looks good from my house" level precision on a lathe the size of mine. Turning nasty rusty parts and cast iron are likely as well, and I'd rather do that on a machine I don't feel too bad about putting miles on.

    At this point if I can hold ~1 thou accuracy over (for example) a half inch long, 2.25 inch OD feature by repairing/replacing or adjusting the headstock bearings, that's Good Enough(tm). I might restore it in the future, but making it work and do the job I need it to do is all I am looking for right now. A few thousand for a good lathe big enough to do what I want isn't in the budget, but dropping a couple hundred on parts and repairs every few months while being able to get stuff done? Sure.

  5. #5
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    You're not going to like this response but there is nothing more expensive than a cheap, worn out lathe. If all you want to make are baseball bats and other trinkets, then it should be fine. If you want reliable accuracy then that's a problem.

    To bring it up to the performance it sounds like you want, you're not only talking about "snuggin up" the headstock bearings but you're talking about getting the headstock axis to align with the tailstock axis and getting the travel path of the carriage cross slide to be perpendicular to the spindle axis. These are not trivial nor inexpensive activities.

    Without doing some pretty careful measurements, you won't be sure of what you have. And if you also want to be able to deal with metric threading, as previously mentioned that's a whole other major issue because of the cost of the metric transposition gear sets.

    Since you said you don't mind spending money on it, what I would suggest you do is park it someplace for a while. Get yourself a different lathe to start out on. As bad as it may sound, you might be time and money ahead to get a Chinese lathe which can be quite accurate if you get the right one and which will have metric threading capability already built in. You might look at something like the Grizzly 12" Gunsmith lathe for example. It's really a decent machine and would be accurate unless somebody has beat it up or worn it out. A new one can be quite good. Those lathes lack some features of the South Bend "old iron" but they're pretty serviceable and don't cost a lot of money.

    Then, you could use your new Chinese machine to aid in the rebuilding of the South Bend 10 K and sell it off after you get the SB up and functioning.

    Just some food for thought.

  6. #6
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    I asked 5 questions and got one of them answered, thanks hsracer201. I think you're right and I'll pass on the metric threading stuff till I absolutely have to do something metric, then either farm that job out or buy a newer lathe at that point. Until then, still looking for info on the other four questions. Heck, I'd be fine with info on how to tighten up the headstock or replace its bearings, and what decent chuck I can buy, the serial number questions were mostly curiosity.

    It has a way to set the angle (compound? Not sure I'm calling it the right thing here) so if I have to cut a test piece, figure out how far off from parallel the headstock and ways are, and then do the actual piece, fine. Getting the job done is what I care about here not whether I accomplish that the orthodox way. Again, a typical feature I'd machine is a half inch long and 2.25 OD, and concentricity and roundness are by far the most important criteria, I can compensate for the rest if I have to. Thus, headstock and chuck questions.

  7. #7
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    Well, if it's a 4-jaw chuck you want, go buy a Bison 4-jaw chuck with a fitted backplate for your spindle. It won't be cheap but that will take the chuck accuracy out of the equation

    Be aware that you may have to fiddle with the backplate to get it fit the South Bend spindle nose correctly. I think you'll find other threads on the forum about that issue.

  8. #8
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    Instructions for adjusting spindle bearings:

    http://www.wswells.com/data/howto/Sp..._Adj_9_10k.pdf

    I have new ones if you need them.
    Ted

  9. #9
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    Kastien sir,
    Since you asked... my advice is clean up the lathe and learn to use it. Get a copy of "how to run a lathe" ( amazon has them for 5 bucks or so ). Get the right lubes.. level the machine as best you can and just run it.
    Just for my own edification.. how do you know your head stock bearing are worn/bad ? What type of lathe tooling are you using? ( best is hss for your app more than likely ) What type of metal are you whittling on and what type of cutting oil do you use ?
    Don't get all wrapped up with all the internet gurus that say a bed has to perfect to do good work.. it sure helps but with some time and experience you should be more than able to attain your stated tolerances unless you lathe is a total basket case.. Oh and don't blame the machine when it won't do what you want it to.. learn how to make it do what you want it to.
    Hope this helps and welcome to the world of metal munchers
    Stay safe
    Calvin B


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