Leveling the bed on my south bend model 9A - Page 2
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  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by jim rozen View Post
    1) This really belongs in the SB sub-forum.

    2) There they'll say a level of any kind is worthless for setting up a small, somewhat worn machine like this.

    3) The probable recommendation is to a) sell the fancy level and b) use southbends own two-collar method for setting this machine up.

    Requirements for this: micrometer, aluminum stock a foot or so long, about an inch in diameter.
    While I appreciate and respect these lathes and their past, they are basically small toy hobby lathes. Most of the people on here with them posting new threads are hobbiests. These topics have been talked to death.

    Post it in general get treated like general.

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    I know this has been talked about before many times over the years I've been on this forum.

    The 9" South Bend lathe I have that belonged to my dad and he received it for Christmas in 1949, payed out on their monthly payment plan that had back then. It's always been mounted on a decent solid bench of sorts over the years. Dad always stressed to me that the bolts holding the bed down to the table top were to be tight at the headstock end and left loose on the tailstock end of the bed. It's never been leveled all these years, and still cuts straight and holds reasonable tolerances when I want it to.

    I had another 9" South Bend lathe I bought from a friend many years ago, that was bolted down to a makeshift stand made from welded up pipe. Unfortunately, that bed was warped and had a twist from that. I tried to remove the twist from the bed and got most of it out. The pipe stand was stout enough to let me "untwist" the twist in the bed. Of course, with a worn bed with about .004-.005" wear, I managed to get it to cut fairly straight. Not too long after, I put the lathe up for sale in a local newspaper and sold it. Let someone else worry about it.

    Ken

  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by plastikdreams View Post
    While I appreciate and respect these lathes and their past, they are basically small toy hobby lathes. Most of the people on here with them posting new threads are hobbiests. These topics have been talked to death.

    Post it in general get treated like general.
    My 9A had the war production board sticker on it, and it probably made parts for WW2, it was pretty worn out. It was however a machine that did its part and went to work probably every day. Not a toy.

    I guess my point was the folks in the SB forum will have a long involved discussion with the OP and lead him in the right direction. I do apologize for using the Feyneman socratic method. A bit rude there.

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    I think I said that.



    Quote Originally Posted by neanderthal mach View Post
    And why are you moving the level along the lathe bed by hand at all? Think about what your trying to do, your actually trying to get the bed in a single plane along and across it's length with the machine set up and under it's normal operating condition. Using a proper high accuracy machinist's level is just the easiest method of doing so. One of the reasons any bed twist has a measurable effect under cutting conditions on the part is that bed twist either slowly rolls the cutting tool tip into or away from the work piece as the carriage follows any twist that's there. Because of the tool tips elevation ABOVE the bed ways, that rolling movement is magnified. A .001" change in bed twist does not result in only a .001" change on the part diameter and taper. Get your level zeroed while sitting on either the cross slide or compound. Then just use the carriage hand wheel and run it end to end. Just like the lathe tool tip it's then elevated above the bed ways so it's a more accurate and sensitive method because your replicating the conditions closer to what the tool tip will actually be doing. Knowing that a lathe bed needs to be true end to end is only half the requirement of what your trying to do. Fully comprehending what can and does happen at the tool tip with any bed twist is the other half.

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    I was taught that to zero the level, you used a surface plate, and a parallel bar.

    With everything cleaned, place the level on the plate. Rotate the level about it's vertical axis, until it reads zero.
    Place the parallel bar beside the level as a reference for where the level sat, and lift it, rotate 180, and replace the level in position beside the bar. Adjust as required, rinse, repeat until the level reads the same either way.

    And, don't hold on the the level. The heat from your hands can change the reading.

    Honestly, I think precision levels and hobby lathes together have driven almost as many guys to drink, as women have. Use a carpenter's level to make sure the drip pan drains towards the drain outlet. Use the two collar method to check that your lathe is cutting without taper.

    Does not matter if the lathe is 1/2 or 1/4 degree out of level, as long as the lathe cuts a taper free part.

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    Quote Originally Posted by trevj View Post
    ...

    ...

    ...

    Honestly, I think precision levels and hobby lathes together have driven almost as many guys to drink, as women have...

    ...
    Now that is funny . I'll have to remember that one.

  7. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by DanAl View Post
    Now that is funny . I'll have to remember that one.
    Funny it may be, but true, too! LOL!

    More guys have wasted more time and money on very nice Precision Levels, than just about anything else, because they think they 'need' one, without having a clue just how much their house moves when the humidity changes, etc.

    It doesn't much matter if the lathe is only partly level.

    It DOES matter if the lathe cuts a taper, and the level isn't likely to be much help there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jim rozen View Post
    My 9A had the war production board sticker on it, and it probably made parts for WW2, it was pretty worn out. It was however a machine that did its part and went to work probably every day. Not a toy.

    I guess my point was the folks in the SB forum will have a long involved discussion with the OP and lead him in the right direction. I do apologize for using the Feyneman socratic method. A bit rude there.
    I get that, as I stated. But now they are pretty much relegated to the home shop Harry that wants to "restore" the damn thing, has no idea how to use it and probably never will. Just wants to have a lathe for the sake of saying he has one. Don't get me wrong, they are nice lathes. I had access to one years ago where I first got my feet whet in machining. Did quite a bit of maintenance on it too.

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    Well with that said everyone has to start somewhere and I was looking for some guidance because I'm new to this and am trying to learn on my own without the help I'm sure you and most on this site have had. Thanks to everyone that replied with a HELPFUL answer... much appreciated.

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    Start with assessing how loose your spindle bearings are.
    Are the ball or bronze or iron?
    If your bearings are spanked, you will be twisting the bed
    to try and crutch dlcked out bearings.
    And with a worn bed, leveling per se is not going to help.
    You might try and compensate for a worn bed by actually
    twisting the bed out of level on purpose to make it
    cut straight. But then you have to dlck with the tailstock
    offset constantly when trying to cut a straight shaft in
    between centers.
    So yes begin at the beginning. Just leveling a lathe is
    really a beginning place to start, but if you are going
    to spend 2 days trying to get it within a tenth over
    whatever, it is time wasted.

    --Doozer

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    hint on getting taper out (by "twisting bed"): use an indicator to see if the other corner is lifting.
    Last edited by dian; 05-26-2021 at 10:38 AM.

  13. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hustlerkc42 View Post
    Well with that said everyone has to start somewhere and I was looking for some guidance because I'm new to this and am trying to learn on my own without the help I'm sure you and most on this site have had. Thanks to everyone that replied with a HELPFUL answer... much appreciated.
    Try not to take the 'hobbyist' comments to much to heart, there are lots of SB lathes and far worse, out there earning their bench space.

    Personally, I have never used a level to set up anything on a lathe, or on a mill, I was taught that you dialed in the head so it was square to the table, if you wanted the work to come out the same height at both ends. And that you measured and made adjustments when the level of accuracy required, dictated.

    So, I don't really have a huge amount of use for a precision level. Likely as not, until you are installing some pretty heavy gear, or pretty special gear, from the accuracy expectations aspect, you probably don't need a precision level either. Sorta like a hand full of 10th of a thou indicators, they may well be more accurate than you really need, if you are not able to tell what is being affected by the 'part', and what is affected by the vagaries of the lathe, it's bearings, the sun shining on the bench, etc.

    The two collar method is an easy way to sort out the variability in the lathe's bed, use an easy cutting material like 12L14, higher temper Aluminum alloys(6061-T6, 7075-T6 or higher -T numbers), or brass.

    Personally, find the things that you are most afraid of doing, with the lathe, and get at practicing them. Thread cutting, setting up work in a 4 Jaw chuck, grinding a working cutter, are aspects that I have seen folks spend a LOT of time trying to avoid. Practice those things until they no longer make you even break a sweat.

    Carbide tools are cheap and readily available for most things, but being able to make a cheap HSS bit do what you need, rather than waiting for something to come in the mail, is pretty darn handy too.
    Among other tools you might need, are stuff like a set of thread wires, and a wad of plasticine modelling clay to hold the wires in place.
    A couple decent Micrometers, 0-1", 1-2",2-3", etc. A decent dial or digital Caliper is nice too.
    A threading gage, aka Fish Plate. A set of thread pitch gages.
    A calculator with Trig Functions.
    A pen and note paper, a Sharpie for marking directly on your work.
    A little multi-function protractor is another worth considering.

    There are lots of other measuring tools out there. Pretty sure the Starrett Tools catalog is about three pounds weight. You don't need all of them! LOL! Buy according to needs.

    It ain't rocket surgery! Nobody was born knowing this stuff, everyone learned it along the way. Accept that you will be frustrated some times, and try to work out why things did not work as planned. Some times, the learning curve feels like it has a brick wall built across it...

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    Quote Originally Posted by trevj View Post
    [lots of good advice deleted] ... It ain't rocket surgery! ...
    That is excellent! I shall now steal it and use it myself.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Yan Wo View Post
    That is excellent! I shall now steal it and use it myself.
    Feel free!

    I dunno where I picked it up, but I was an actual Rocket Surgeon in a past life (building parts for F-18's and their various weapons launching accessories!).

    I think it might have been off The Simpsons.

    Hows that go? If you walk a mile in someone else's shoes, now they are a mile away. And you have their shoes!

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  18. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by trevj View Post
    ...
    Carbide tools are cheap and readily available for most things, but being able to make a cheap HSS bit do what you need, rather than waiting for something to come in the mail, is pretty darn handy too.
    ...
    Second purchase after lathe: bench grinder.

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    So I bought a test bar and tested run out of the spindle near the head and at the end of the bar which is 10" and the run out the head is pretty close to perfect and at the end of the bar its only .001 out. Then I took my dial indicator and mounted it on the cross slide with the compound removed and ran it along the tooling side of the bar from the headstock to the end of the bar and its .004 out over10". That is what I'm trying to improve a little and im at a loss. I know Its never going to be perfect but even with an sb9 should it be a little better than that?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hustlerkc42 View Post
    So I bought a test bar and tested run out of the spindle near the head and at the end of the bar which is 10" and the run out the head is pretty close to perfect and at the end of the bar its only .001 out. Then I took my dial indicator and mounted it on the cross slide with the compound removed and ran it along the tooling side of the bar from the headstock to the end of the bar and its .004 out over10". That is what I'm trying to improve a little and im at a loss. I know Its never going to be perfect but even with an sb9 should it be a little better than that?

    My Emco was out 0.005" when I checked it:



    When you say the "tooling side of the bar", do you mean the top or the side of the bar?

    I'd think you'd want to check the bed for twist somehow before you go moving the head, that test bar result might be because the bed is twisted.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hustlerkc42 View Post
    That is what I'm trying to improve a little and im at a loss.
    1) sell the level and recoup your money there.

    2) sell the test bar and recoup your money there.

    3) Whatever you do DON"T use southbend's two-collar test to set this machine up. It will do what you want to do and then you can't spend any more on test gear you don't need. Other things to buy: really sensitive dial gage. Surface plate. Lasers. Autocollimators.

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    I'm sorry Jim does my looking for advice bother you in some way, do you have nothing better to do than be one of those people? Can I just say how helpful you've been, I mean you have had some of the best advice on here... keep up the good work!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hustlerkc42 View Post
    I'm sorry Jim does my looking for advice bother you in some way, do you have nothing better to do than be one of those people? Can I just say how helpful you've been, I mean you have had some of the best advice on here... keep up the good work!
    You may want to investigate PM's "Add to ignore list" feature.


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