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Lathe indexer?

Tom-s

Plastic
Joined
Apr 18, 2020
When I purchased my SB 9a lathe many years ago it came with a box of accessories. One of the items was what I think is an indexer that appears to mount on the tool post. The one end of the shaft will accept a lathe chuck. It appears some minor rust got into it, but would clean up easily and new bearings of course. Can anyone tell me what it is, how to use, and help with reassembly
Thanks
Tom
 

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Small workshop SB lathes got used for lots of things, like milling with milling attachments. I suspect this indexer was used for milling flutes, polygonal features or gear teeth, which the standard milling attachment would not be very helpful for. With a stone instead of a cutter mounted in the spindle, might also have been used for some sharpening of milling cutters.
 
It appears to be well made & thought out . So it was apart when ya got it ? Was the lathe apart too ? Those #'s cast into the base may be clue in solving this . Take a look over on the Vintage machinery site . Pull yer compound & see how the casting fit's there .
animal
 
It appears to be well made & thought out . So it was apart when ya got it ? Was the lathe apart too ? Those #'s cast into the base may be clue in solving this . Take a look over on the Vintage machinery site . Pull yer compound & see how the casting fit's there .
animal
The indexer was together when I got it but would not turn freely due to some rust in it. I took apart years ago, tracked bearings and got interested in other things for many years. Was not smart enough to take before photos then. Indexer is painted SB gray. My lathe was together and running when purchased. I have a box of new parts for it the previous owner for some reason had purchased although had not needed. Number of chuck’s, face plates, milling attachment, steady rest, grinding attachment, heavy duty table, and don’t remember what all included.
 
I've looked through a lot of South Bend catalogs and have never seen anything such as that in any of them. I might suggest it is not a South Bend made indexer. But I am not 100% certain that I am correct. Perhaps made to fit a South Bend?
 
Wheres Steve Wells ? I know there were different companies making tools & such for SB lathes . SO it could go different ways . You should probably just box up the parts & send them over to me for safe keeping .
animal
 
Looks like South Bend paint and it looks like it's the original paint.

Steve Wells or SBLatheman need to comment.

Steve
 
It is SB paint color seemingly original and not slopped on with a brush. It has safely resided in a box for many years, will figure how to reassemble and continue to safely reside here with Smith Wesson, Ruger, several others. Thanks for offer though.
 
Is there a vertical slide with the milling attachment? If the indexer can be mounted to it, it would be very useful. I might be missing something but wouldn't mounting the indexer directly the cross slide be fairly limited?
 
There are 2 parts with numbers in them. I rough assembled it. It mounts directly to SB cross slide and has zero scribe line for alignment. A chuck screws into it. The two chucks are in alignment with each other. If you turn 90 degrees and screw cross slide all the way out and it will not pass the main chuck making it useless in that position. Opposite side of swivel is threaded hole for possible alternate mounting and a hole with set screw to hold some kind shaft

I am further confused as to its use.

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To add further confusion to the indexer there are 4 index plates.
30 for 12 degree increments
36 for 10 degree increments
12 for 30 degree increments
The above are about 5/16 thick

4 6 3 2 for unknown use/spacing. It is about 1/8 thick and fits on a boss on the 12 plate.

3 plates are bolted in place, however the thin plate is free to rotate on the 12 plate

The more I study this thing, the more confused I get and the more I hope there is someone out there that can help explain it. Perhaps it will end up being some rare, very expensive sought after item further necessitating close surveillance by Smith Wesson/Ruger.

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4 6 3 2 for unknown use/spacing
So this is probably a masking plate to make it easier for an operator to quickly do divisors of 12 without any chance of error. You set it up so that one of 2 3 4 6 is aligned with a notch on the 12 index plate. It will prevent the index pin from dropping into any other notch on the 12 index plate except the ones for the corresponding divisor. I.e., if you align the "2" on that masking plate with a notch on the 12 index plate, you will only be able to drop the index pin into one other notch, directly across the plate from the one you aligned to.
Perhaps it will end up being some rare, very expensive sought after item further necessitating close surveillance by Smith Wesson/Ruger.
Are you a dragon, by any chance?
If you turn 90 degrees and screw cross slide all the way out and it will not pass the main chuck making it useless in that position.
Yeah, that does not look very useful on that machine. I suspect this thing originally came with a smaller chuck or a faceplate. The base makes it clear it was intended for a SB of some variety.
 
The masking plate makes sense. Since it isn’t held by anything I assume washers could be put on the plate screws which would hold the masking plate. The chuck on it is one I had and put on for demo information. The one thing the chuck noted was it’s center lined up with the center of main chuck indicating further it was for the SB 9 lathe.
 
Update. I reassembled the indexer today, All fits up properly and it works fine. In doing so I noticed a piece of brass shim under the lathe cross slide mount the must have been to perfectly align it to the centerline of the lathe.

I also posted this on another Southbend site and no one has ever seen it there either

Finding no use at this on my lathe, but can think of lots of use on my mill I’m going to mount it on the vise.

Anybody have a worn out cross slide I could machine the sides to fit vise and mount the indexer in the dove tail hole? This way I could rotate the indexer to the mill for various projects?

Thanks
Tom
 
Probably plenty of worn parts on ebay . Or ya could get yerself one of the MAL top slide casting kits & then use the old cross slide for the indexer & have a better cross slide on the lathe .
animal
 
Looking at the base (a separately made, turned section) I sorta suspect that the indexer started life as a Tool and Cutter Grinder indexing head, re-purposed to fit on the lathe, possibly to an extent of making their own spindle with a matching threaded nose. If there is room in the bearing bores, to accommodate it, a spindle with a 5C collet front end would give you a pretty flexible (usage) tool, that could be rotated about the tool post mount hole with ease.

It seems a rather workmanlike job of it too! Neat tool!

If the dovetail that the main body casting is mounted to the base with, is actually a tapered one, you may be able to fit a suitable shim in there to raise it as required to get on the centerline of the lathe bore.
 
It is SB paint color seemingly original and not slopped on with a brush. It has safely resided in a box for many years, will figure how to reassemble and continue to safely reside here with Smith Wesson, Ruger, several others. Thanks for offer though.
I would not place a lot of faith in a color match to, essentially, "Machine Tool Grey" as a link to South Bend.

IIRC, there were several companies that made an effort to use a different shade, but I think you could likely get drums of the same color paint for the asking, if you just called it Machine Tool Grey.

I did do some looking around the Tool and Cutter grinders on the lathes.co.uk site, and saw several very similar spindles that could well have been cut down...
Until someone comes up with a better explanation, and a match for the casting numbers, that will remain my best guess! :) And, guess it is. Until proven wrong.
 








 
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