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Ways to Id hardened ways on South bend


Sep 10, 2009
Bothwell, Utah, USA
I bought a 1964 13 with a 6 foot bed several years ago. I haven't had 220 in the garage to get it and a 3 phase converter running. I decided to check out what size spindle bore it had and went and checked the serial. 10009 TKX 14. I was expecting a L or R so the x threw me and I took off the chuck. It is a large bore. Ok. But why the X. I am hoping hardened ways but no black tag. I also know if I had the card it would tell me. But until I get the card is there another way to tell if the ways are hardened or if the x stands for something else? I've been reading but I haven't found the correct thread yet. I'm not to keen on trying a file since I don't know what hardness hardened was anyway and I don't presently have a set of test files. I'm no South bend expert. What else does x commonly stand for? I've been working as a machinist for a good while, several years on manual lathes but I've never had my own running or really know much about their building. Guidance to the correct thread or any info is appreciated.
I could tell a hardened bed from six feet away when doing auction inspections ........... a soft bed will have masses of dings ,cuts and scores under the chuck ..............hard bed lathes are barely marked ,but may have scores if the operators were careless.
Fair enough. These had rust but weren't really dinged up. One reason I bought it. My workplaces have always had hardened ways but Usually foreign, more modern lathes, and surprisingly often dinged up up by the chucks. Especially on the prismatic parts. I'm a mediocre machinist at best but you'd be surprised at many of the people I work with. But I'm sure that's everywhere now days. The good machinists and the experienced machinists really stand out. Well good sign, thank you. Anything else?
The unit code number stamped between the rear ways would end in HG.
The bed is not hard under the headstock. The hardness starts in front of it. If you look at a side view of the bed, above the gearbox, you should be able to see a straw colored area near the front of the headstock. There might be a little blue tint also.
My point was that soft beds were hand-scraped. Older machines like that have no scraping visible anyplace due to wear - but if you check 'under the covers' (under the headstock) and see hand-scraping, it's soft bed. No scraping? Hard bed.