What's new
What's new

What have you made FOR your South Bend?

Diagram above is correct for the placement of the spring. This is the spring that I used for mine, I cannot remember if I shortened it or not.
I have made two of these. The first one only had .800" of travel, the second one I was able to get the full 1" of travel as the second dial indicator had a bit of over travel that I was able to utilize. I think you could make one that would have 2" of travel but you would need to extend the back of the center barrel out an extra inch to make room for the longer plunger.

I drilled mine from both ends as well. I drilled and reamed 1/8" first. Turned the OD and threaded the center section. I flipped it around in a collet and drilled in 5/16" (clearance fit for the spring, might have to oversize a touch) from the other end until it met the 1/8". Turned the OD and bored the end out to the OD of the dial indicator stem (3/8" / 10mm) as deep as the clamp is wide. The plunger I built up from a piece of 5/16" brass rod drilled and soldered to a section of 1/8" rod. It was cut over sized and trimmed to fit so that the indicator started and stopped on 0.

Hope this helps.

Thanks for the extra info guys. I had been oiling my piston and that was an issue for piston travel. I cleaned out the excess oil and now mine seems to work great without a spring. I've been at this for a week because I have been busy just sneaking in time on the lathe when I can and was frustrated with the result but today I am good.

Taking Bens awesome idea and running with it I found I didn't have any 1/8 reamers so I went with a 1/4 piston and bore. I have a few over and undersized 1/4 inch reamers so I am well tooled to work this way.

Here is the investment piece, the remade micrometer screw with 1/4" bore and 1/8" x .09 deep machined slot. I only have the lathe so I had to break out the trusty milling attachment. I am getting much better at using this.


Using the lathe is also improved with my new vintage lamp. Work area lighting is improved greatly.


I made it a little longer on each end thinking this would buy me options of how to incorporate the spring.


You can see the old screw on the left had a chip chaser cut into the threads. I got a very beat up micrometer stop and someone tried to clean out the threads that were all mucked up. I've been wanting to make a new one for a while and Ben gave me the perfect reason.

The other detailed part was the collar. I drilled and bored it so it slips over the mic screw and then the dial indicator(s) slip in the the other end and push the brass piston out into a useable location.



Here is the collar installed and ready for whatever indicator I need. I use a one and a two inch quite often.


Here is how I used to hold my indicator for blind operation measurements. One of my first projects with this lathe. Later when I got the mic stop there was just too much real estate being used with both of them stored on the dovetail by the gearbox.


This is much better! I haven't decided if I need to trim the piston to any particular depth yet but will after using a while.


Above is the Mitutoyo indicator with the through piston. I can press on that threaded top screw on the left to reset the indicator length. Not needed now that I cleaned the oil out of the bore. The indicator spring is able to do it on it's own.

Here is my big boy 2 incher that I like to use. It is easy to see from far away and all the travel is really nice.


Thanks again Ben for the awesome idea and all who keep me in check!


edit: I noticed I have one more picture i can add so how about a shot of the new paint scheme on the lamp!


/endforreals :cheers:
With (and for) my 9" South Bend - a 4c holder for an annular cutter. The 4c holder fits a small horizontal mill. I make a 1 1/16" dia. hole in 1" steel, then bore to 1 1/8" on the lathe using the 4 jaw, to make tool holders for the lathe. They're patterned off the now extinct KRF Ominpost holders. Even with the annular cutter, there are lots of chips. Hard to believe all that swarf came out of those four little holes.IMG_20230303_181855442.jpgIMG_20230303_182213269.jpgIMG_20230303_181340380.jpgIMG_20230303_181438041.jpg
My dad made this carriage trav-a-dial for our 10L years ago. It's the 2nd version, first being a little bulkier and aluminum. Used to have a 1" travel guage on it until one or two years ago I changed it to a 2". The next version I'm thinking about changing it out to the bed clamp style and losing the rod, so I can mount it on the tail side of the bed and there's less for chips to tangle in.
Don't mind the mess. It's a busy lathe.
just finished a simple steady rest for my sb 13. needed one for a project and started picking up pieces out of scrap pile. turned, milled and welded.


  • steady.jpeg
    51.9 KB · Views: 22