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  1. #1
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    Default south bend milling machine

    Not sure if this is the right forum, today I picked up an old South Bend vertical milling machine and haven't found much info on them. I had been looking for a Bridgeport, but finding a good one in my range has been tough. Anyway, this showed up on Craigslist, was an hour and some away so I went to take a look at it.
    img_9783.jpg
    sorry for the grainy photo.
    I got there and the machine was filthy, but surprisingly in really tight shape. Everything moves smoothly with no excessive backlash in the handles, or play in the table. The table has just one or two crash marks from tooling, and a newer vise. The mechanical table feed is powered by a small 1/3hp motor, running a gear box that looks like it was taken from a south bend 9" lathe. It's cumbersome to look at, but actually works pretty smoothly. The large cabinet next to it has a pump and reservoir for running a hydraulic quill feed. It works but the speed seems to be stuck, as the fine adjustment has no effect. I had read the SB machines use a specific "acorn" style collet, and the machine has a full set from 1/8 to 3/4".
    I have yet to unload or clean it, but it will be a good bookend for my new SB 16x60. Scored it for $450, couldn't be happier about that.
    img_9813.jpg
    I'll follow up w some pics and questions, if anyone knows a thing or two about these I'd love to know it. Thanks.

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    Looks like you got the larger 42" table also, that's a very nice SB VMM score with lots of options. The spindle taper uses the NMTB 30 dimensions, making new tooling a relatively easy endeavor. The only catch is that you will need to add the 'eyebrows' that your spindle set screws press against. If you have an original tool holder then you're golden, you can remove it to measure and make a fixture to modify new NMTB 30 tooling.

    I purchased one of these machines only a couple weeks ago and have had a lot of fun setting up and playing with it. You'll notice there are a couple of drawbacks, for instance there's only 4" of quill travel, no head 'nodding', and what looks like a turret in the main column does not actually rotate... Right now I'm trying to tram in the head with the table, finding that I need a little bit of 'nodding' movement and scratching my head trying to figure that out.

    Best of luck, I'm very jealous of your hydraulic quill feeder. Hope you get the bugs worked out of it.

    -Jake

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    I'm afraid the machine is a little heavy for my Bobcat 773, so I covered it (raining) and hung a 2t chain fall from one of the trolleys at my shop. Tomorrow I'll get it off the trailer.
    I did sort through the box of collets and tooling. Some of the collets are stamped, some marked with a marker, and some bare. But, without measuring each one, it looks like a full set from 1/16" to 3/4". There is also an adapter from the south bend 30 taper to a #3MT, and an unknown collet holder for these collets.
    Did a lot of searching and reading on these machines, and feel lucky to have found one complete with so much tooling. img_9831.jpg

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    Quote Originally Posted by badwithusernames View Post
    I'm afraid the machine is a little heavy for my Bobcat 773, so I covered it (raining) and hung a 2t chain fall from one of the trolleys at my shop. Tomorrow I'll get it off the trailer.
    I did sort through the box of collets and tooling. Some of the collets are stamped, some marked with a marker, and some bare. But, without measuring each one, it looks like a full set from 1/16" to 3/4". There is also an adapter from the south bend 30 taper to a #3MT, and an unknown collet holder for these collets.
    Did a lot of searching and reading on these machines, and feel lucky to have found one complete with so much tooling. img_9831.jpg
    Of course you should use your own discretion, but me, my brother and a good friend of mine unloaded mine from a trailer using a Mustang 940 skidloader with pallet forks and a strap around the overarm. Once it was off the trailer we lifted from beneath the base and over onto machine skates.

    You're right about that tooling, you've got a really nice set there. My collet set only goes from 1/4" to 3/4" by 1/8ths... Not sure about the #3MT adapter, might only be useful for drilling. I've never understood those old-timey Morse taper end mills with the drive tang and no provision for a drawbar. Without the drawbar it seems like they will only back themselves out of the spindle or toolholder. I did experiment once out of curiosity with a #2MT end mill with no drawbar (only had a tang) in my small bench-top horizontal milling machine. No surprise, the end mill walked right out while taking a very minimal cut in a block of aluminum!

    Best of luck!

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    tonight I got it off the trailer, and moved into the shop next to the lathe. I've got a couple of pics to add just for reference, as there isn't much out there. And also I've got a few questions and a small problem..
    img_9843.jpgimg_9844.jpg
    both of these machines are filthy and need a really thorough cleaning and some attention.Here are a few pics of the mill head, showing the hydraulic quill feed on the left, and also the right side. I have my finger pointing to a pin that I have not figured out yet, any ideas? It spins, but does not tighten, and doesn't want to easily pull or push..
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails img_9845.jpg   img_9846.jpg   img_9854.jpg  

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    Quote Originally Posted by badwithusernames View Post
    ..if anyone knows a thing or two about these
    I don't actually. Except.. ISTR SB was soooo lathe oriented they bought-in (some? all?) of the relatively fewer milling machines they sold.

    Made for them by Elliot / Victoria, in the UK, was it?

    Have a gander for similarities on Tony's lathes.co.uk website, perhaps?

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    img_9849.jpgimg_9848.jpgHere are a few pics of the mechanical table feed. You can see the gear box powers the table feed, and the linkage from the front center of the table engages a clutch at the gearbox.

    AND, here's the problem. The table is stuck, and after poking around the machine for a while I figured it out. It's the X axis, the hand wheels were stiff after getting it unloaded, and they weren't before. I decided to grease the fittings, and pull out the tapered gibs. Left side came out fine, right side screw came out with the little part of the gib it is supposed to catch and move. img_9859.jpg
    Here's the one good gib, the two screws, and the little broken piece. I'm guessing a good bump on the trip home jarred the table hard enough to snap the right side gib, and now it's stuck. My problem is that now it's wedged in there tight, and my first thought to free it isn't working. I took a piece of 1/4" bar, inserted through where the other left gib goes, which puts it against the inner end of the stuck right part. Rapped it with a hammer, and nothing. What about disconnecting the screw from the table, and then trying to push the table to the right? Maybe if I put a little pressure on the table with a port power, and then hit the gib it might loosen?
    FWIW, here's the view, looking into the hole at the broken end of the tapered gib.
    img_9851.jpg
    Any thoughts or advice are welcome. Thanks

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    Hi
    I have one also. I bought mine local for almost nothing on eBay. As far as I know it's one of the biggest vertical mills that can still be broken down into manageable parts to move into basements and such. I like mine but as the other poster pointed out there is no turret. To me that is the biggest problem with these. mine is a more basic machine with servo X power feed and no quill feed. I really like the #30mm (Weldon) tooling / spindle. Very fast, compact and ridged much better in my opinion than R8. The collets are one of the Universal Engineering (Letter) series, Z I think. They are available new and used and are very common. As was already pointed out normal #30 tooling can be modified to work and used Weldon tooling is not to hard to find. The Weldon tooling is the QC series and fit in there #40 NMTB master holder. It pops up on eBay fairly often. I can get a photo for you if that is not clear.
    The "pin" you are pointing to is for the quill fine feed hand wheel.
    once you get the broken gib out maybe you can fix it with a smaller pressed in dowel or spring pin. not sure if there is enough meat for that.
    South bend sold several mills over the years but as far as I know this model is the only one they actually made.
    Andy

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    Just typed in "South Bend vertical milling machine" on Google Images and a photo of mine is the second one that pops up. Funny as that is a Photo Bucket image I think and was posted on PM.
    That photo shows your missing fine feed hand wheel.

    Andy

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    Looks like yours is also missing the spindle brake.

    Andy

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    Your in luck, I was able to find both the fine feed hand wheel and the brake for mine. I will post and send photos soon. The hand wheel is about 4.5" OD with a revolving handle. Its offset away from the mill head (not flat) bored for a slip fit with a key way to match the key on the collar still on your machine and a knurled thumb screw to hold it in position. The brake lever is thin cast iron but a steel replacement would be better as they usually seem to be broken (mine was).
    Looking at yours again there is a spring under the feed knob / quill feed handle that is not original.

    Andy

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    Andy, thanks so much! Assuming I get this table un-stuck, giving the head of the mill a thorough once over will be the next thing, including making a replacement hand wheel and brake lever. Today after work I spent an hour or two breaking down the table feed mechanism, removing the feed screw, and staring at the broken gib dilemma. I'm pretty sure I have come up with a plan. The table needs to slide to the right, while the gib is tapped right. Here, on the right end of the table are 4 holes tapped for the 3/8" bolts that held the cap and feed mount on.
    img_9871.jpg
    I'm going to drill a steel plate to bolt here, but let it hang down 2 inches below the table. Then I can get a porta power in to push the table right. If that doesn't work by itself, I'll put some heat into the lower part. Fingers crossed. Assuming this all comes apart, I'm going to pull the whole lower end apart, clean all the old grease off of the feed screws and dovetails, and get it as clean as I can before reassembly. The broken gib will either: A) get the end welded and remachined, or B) drilled and tapped with a machine thread, for an improvised adjustment mechanism. Trying A first.
    The table feed system is a nicely thought out piece of kit. I only took a few pics off the disassembly as my hands were filthy, but I'll get the parts and reassembly pictures posted.
    Thanks.

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    To be honest I'm a bit puzzled on your gib issue and, before doing anything drastic, I'd like you to try a few things, if you haven't tried them yet.
    First, make sure there is no table lock that is locking the gib in place.
    Second, spray with Kroil or PB Blast all the area (i.e. both ends of the gib and the boundary between the table and the saddle and let it work for a couple of days.
    Third, one fairly effective way of dislodging jammed tapered gibs is to go in from the thin end with a bar almost the same height and width of the gib and give a couple of sharp, but not too powerful blows with a hammer. You might want to repeat it while applying pressure to the table with the leadscrew or any other non-destructive meaning.

    Paolo

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    Are you saying there are 2 gibs on the table? I have never seen that and it makes no sense to me. Where did the gib in the photo come from? Show a photo. Where did the broken bit of gib come from? You more than likely broke the gib yourself if it was stuck and you unscrewed the adjuster. Gibs are not strong in the withdraw direction. If a gib seems too tight to me when I try to loosen it I tap on it from the side opposite the adjuster, then turn the adjuster a bit then a tap, then turn. It will loosen in a time or two. There is no way the gib got so tight on the way home that you will need a porta power to remove it. Are you tapping the gib in right direction? The only thing you are going to do with a porta power is break something, there is no way it will take that much force to get it apart. Did you pump grease in the fittings in the photo with you pointing where the gib screw goes? Ways are lubed with oil only never grease, those fittings should be get oil. Are you pushing in on the gib from the screw adjuster side? If you are you need too push it from the opposite end to remove it.

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    OK Here are some photos of the parts in question. But first I'm in total agreement Paolo and Moonlight on the gib issue. Huge huge fan of Kroil, spray it down and let it sit for a day or two. I've seen this stuff work miracles. I use the oil in the photo to lube the ways of the mill and it works great. You will need to make or buy a pressure type oil gun for that.
    In this case I believe South Bend in the factory manual actually recommends a type of Grease for the ways (first time I have ever seen that). I will have to get the manual out to verify that, in any case I use way oil.
    Photos of the hand wheel and brake.

    Andy
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 006.jpg   007.jpg   003.jpg   008.jpg   009.jpg  


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    That brake pad /shoe is made out of a phenolic cloth plastic (Micarta).

    Andy

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    Thanks for the advice, and Andy thank you for the pictures.
    Regarding the table, trust me it is really stuck. After removing the auto feed assembly, I tried turning the handle as hard as I was comfortable while a friend hit the other end with a dead blow hammer, and it is not budging. Here is a pic from the factory part diagram that shows the left and right tapered gibs, #2 and #16, and the lock bolts #7 have been removed.
    south-bend-mill-parts-dragged-.jpg
    It's possible that I broke the gib when I removed the adjusting screw, though it(the screw) wasn't tight, and the first one (left side, #16) came out very easily. I can access the small end of the right gib by going in through the space where left gib was removed. I have done it with a length of 1/4x1" flat steel bar, and given it a few sharp hits but again no luck. And, the first thing I did was empty the remains of a can of penetrating oil into everything. I am out of kroil, but will pick up some more today, agreed it is the best. Looking at the diagram, I should've posted it earlier, it more clearly illustrates the part and problem..
    Thanks again.
    SD

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    That's a really odd arrangement. When entering wit a bar from the left, make sure you're indeed resting against the gib and not the saddle. Perhaps it helps if you taper at a 15-30° angle the side of the bar opposite to the table, so that it will be guided against the gib even if it tries to catch in the saddle.

    I don't believe it will help, unless you've pumped new grease in the zerks, but I'd unscrew them in order to release any hydraulic pressure against the gib.

    Paolo

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    seems to me if you remove the saddle from the knee,table and all you will be able to access the end of the gib directly from the bottom.

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    That's a good idea but although there is a core in the middle of the saddle I think it is blind. I have had mine off at least twice but can't remember. So I don't think it would help with access. It still might be a good thing to remove the saddle and everything else and just deal with the table , saddle and the one stuck gib.

    Quote Originally Posted by iwananew10K View Post
    seems to me if you remove the saddle from the knee,table and all you will be able to access the end of the gib directly from the bottom.


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