Job shop owners - Should I add a S.B. Heavy 10 to my shop?
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  1. #1
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    Default Job shop owners - Should I add a S.B. Heavy 10 to my shop?

    Good afternoon,

    I recently got a lead on a very nice late model USA Heavy 10 with quite a bit of tooling. I'm tight on cash as I just recently took my shop full time and I don't have a huge amount of cash flow yet. Anyway, my shop consists of a 14x40 lathe, a Bridgeport Series 1, Sunnen hone, Rhodes shaper, surface grinder, presses and full welding capabilities. I'm a small job shop focusing on repair work and power sports applications (bore/hone cylinders for rotax etc). I've had this business for 2 years and just recently took the leap from running it part time to going full time. I'm currently making my bills and I'm not in debt, but things are tight right now for sure compared to having that steady guaranteed paycheck.

    Up until now, I had a a second lathe. It was a little "toy lathe" (Atlas 12x36) that I recently sold, but I liked having a smaller lathe available in my shop (Yes, I realize the 14x40 is still a small lathe).

    I really need to expand into a much larger lathe 18-20" swing, preferably at last 6' bed, but I kind of miss having the bench lathe, too. I do make small bushings and pins and it was convenient to have the small lathe for that purpose.

    A good friend of mine who has a very successful job shop business (all manual) since 1982 says I'm wasting my time and money on another small machine, and to just put the money toward getting my larger machine. He says don't waste your time on more than one small machine. Just go big now.

    My 14x40 is an old Logan 6560 which has seen better days. My strategy was to grab this S.B. Heavy 10 and then find my "big lathe," and eventually sell the Logan and get it out of my shop, leaving me with the S.B 10L and whatever larger lathe I end up acquiring.

    What do you guys think? The 10L is obviously a very light machine, but its worlds ahead of that Sears lathe I had, and I actually did make money using the Atlas lathe......

    What would you do? This S.B. 10L is in such pristine condition and has so much tooling that its just darn hard for me to pass it over.

  2. #2
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    Default

    It is always handy to have a smaller lathe, especially if you have space and the price is right.

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    My first lathe was a 10" Southbend. I traded a cylinder head replacement on a geo metro for it when I was 16.

    I didn't go into business as a machinist/manufacturing biz, but it went that direction pretty quickly.

    I sold that 10" SB pretty quickly, within about a year, and bought a 16x80 Reed Prentice with the same money. That RP was a piece of shit, but it could actually make $100/hr whereas that Southbend was useless.

    Never regretted getting rid of that Southbend. Not for a second.

    I could never generate the income I need to live the way I like by doing just repair work, but I do a lot of it and enjoy that work a lot. For lathes I have two heavy gearheads- One 14x30 (18.5x40 actual) and one 14x120 (19.5x130 actual) they are both D1-6 spindles and use Aloris CA toolholders so all the tooling is swappable. The 14x30 lives with a 3 jaw and the big one has a 4 jaw. I have about $20k into those machines and tooling specific for them and they generate about that in net profit per year. I added a Takisawa TSL-800 a few years ago as I felt I needed the little lathe to handle small work better. The little lathe was just in the way, none of my tooling fit it and I didn't feel that a large tooling investment would ever really pay off into small work so I sold it and have been happy with that.

    My repair work is a lot of ag, aggregate, logging and custom automotive. My biggest manual lathe money maker is class 8 truck drivelines.

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  6. #4
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    Sounds like you have already justified it. I bought a pristine 9C about 45 years ago and it is still pristine with lots more tooling than when first acquired. Way better than an Atlas.
    I used to say you can not have too many lathes. Approaching 70 and I think I have enough now.

  7. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Garwood View Post

    My repair work is a lot of ag, aggregate, logging and custom automotive. My biggest manual lathe money maker is class 8 truck drivelines.
    I’m into basically the same stuff, other than the truck drive lines


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  8. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by FredC View Post
    Sounds like you have already justified it. I bought a pristine 9C about 45 years ago and it is still pristine with lots more tooling than when first acquired. Way better than an Atlas.
    I used to say you can not have too many lathes. Approaching 70 and I think I have enough now.
    You own 70 lathes? Or you're approaching 70 in age and have decided you have enough?

  9. #7
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    If you keep it nice and find what you really need later you should be able to sell it for that you paid...IF you pay a reasonable price.
    t

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    I have three lathes, a SB heavy 10, Victor 618 EM (Hardinge hlv-h knock off) and a Monarch 12CK. The SB is a nice lathe, it has been rebuilt, but it has flaws. The flat belt drive doesn't allow of more than modest cuts and the castings were not designed for readouts to be attached. Of the three, it is the only one with infeeds calibrated in radial rather than diametrical. Without readouts mistakes are easy to make. I have it setup for turret lathe work where, when once set, very little or no setting of dials is required. The Victor and the Monarch are not easily setup for this type of work. The loss of the SB would not materially hamper what I do as there is not much turret lathe work right now. The loss of either the Victor or the Monarch would be a problem.

    If you want or need a small manual lathe, there better and more modern ones out there, hardinge and its knockoffs, Sheldons, monarch 10ee. Each of these have their pluses and minuses.

    Tom

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cole2534 View Post
    You own 70 lathes? Or you're approaching 70 in age and have decided you have enough?
    Getting close to 70 years old. It would only take me a couple of minutes to count them but I do not need anymore. :-)
    Still think a pristine heavy 10 with lots of tooling would be a good deal especially if it has metric conversion threading. Not sure if "lots" of tooling includes that or not.

  12. #10
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    I decided against adding it to my shop. I took the money from the sale of my previous small lathe and put it into accessories for my 14x40 machine.

    Now my 14x40 will be the small lathe of the shop rather than a 10 or 12” machine


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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  14. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by HiltzMachining View Post
    I decided against adding it to my shop. I took the money from the sale of my previous small lathe and put it into accessories for my 14x40 machine.

    Now my 14x40 will be the small lathe of the shop rather than a 10 or 12” machine


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Good idea, S B's are hobby lathes now days, if you want to get any real work done you need a real lathe not a lathe shaped object. I know, I have a SB and 3 other real lathes.


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