Looking for Advice: Which Lathe(s) to Keep
Close
Login to Your Account
Likes Likes:  0
Results 1 to 13 of 13
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2016
    Country
    UNITED STATES
    State/Province
    Michigan
    Posts
    72
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    10
    Likes (Received)
    12

    Default Looking for Advice: Which Lathe(s) to Keep

    I currently have 4 complete lathes, and Iím looking for advice on which one(s) to keep. There are 3 South Bend lathes, each with different advantages, and a Logan. I didnít plan on collecting lathes, but I started with one that I cleaned and repainted, and ended up buying two more for the attachments because they were really good deals. The other was given to me rather than sending it to the scrap yard. I donít really have a large enough shop for all of them, and donít want them just sitting around getting rusty when somebody else could be putting them to use. Iíll just describe all of them and would appreciate any advice or shared experiences that may point me in the right direction.

    South Bend 9A Ė 444R 4 Ĺí Bed
    This is the one that started it all. I bought it completely in pieces and spent almost a year and a half cleaning, stripping, and repainting it. It has cast iron head bearings and a horizontal drive with a very cool Ĺ HP motor. Itís bolted to a 2Ē solid-core door since I havenít built a bench for it yet, so I havenít spent any time trying to level it, but Iíve made several parts with it and it works great. It does not have a two-step pulley on the motor or horizontal drive, so speeds are a little limited. I also have a follower rest, steady rest, and decent collet set with drawbar that fit this and the next lathe. Between my sentimental attachment and the 4 Ĺí bed, this one would be hard to let go.

    South Bend 9A Ė CL344ZD 3 Ĺí Bed
    Iíve only had this one for a couple of weeks now. It has the under-mount drive with a two-step pulley on the motor, so twice as many speeds as the first one. The cabinet is in great shape, and I think the only thing missing is the key to the drawers. I just finished disassembling and cleaning everything outside the cabinet with the exception of the headstock, and it is in excellent shape besides the paint. The gears in the QCGB look like brand new, there is very little wear in the half nuts, the flaking is still visible on almost every surface that would have been scraped, and the first cuts last night on a round of aluminum almost frosted my eyes. The cabinet is really nice and very convenient, but at 6í4Ē I would probably need to build some risers to bring it up to a more comfortable height. Iím not sure if I would miss the extra foot on the bed if I were to keep this one, and I would probably want to strip it down and repaint it sometime in the near future which is not a small task.

    South Bend 10K Ė CL670Z 3 Ĺí Bed
    I bought this one from a guy who hadnít run it in 8 years. He assured me that his father bought it from the original owner, who used it to repair film equipment. Itís got a lot of grime and surface flashing, but looks like itís lived a very cushy life. The areas that I have cleaned still show a lot of the flaking, and everything appears to be very tight. Itís a horizontal drive, and appears to be complete. This is also a 12-speed drive, and has a lot of nice features such as the tailstock wiper and micrometer dial, and larger spindle bore. It also has a complete collet set from 1/64 up to 9/16Ē. I donít have a follower rest or steady rest, and I know that the purchase cost of these can be substantial. I donít know that thereís enough here to choose this over the previous two, but itís one of the choices.

    Logan 11Ē Ė 1955 3 Ĺí Bed
    A local machinist friend gave this to me. It was used as a production machine and is currently covered in a film of clay-like material, but seems to be a rock-solid lathe. It has flame-hardened ways in excellent shape, a production t-slot cross slide with an extremely worn screw/nut, and preloaded sealed headstock bearings that feel very smooth. It also has a very nice ĺ HP two-speed 3-phase motor with a two-step pulley and v-belt counter shaft/headstock drive. I bought a nice turret tail-stock for it on a whim, and planned to tear this down and clean/repaint it last year but life got in the way. The cabinet is probably twice as heavy as the CL344ZD, and has a removable coolant/chip pan. I plan to keep this and machine a new cross feed screw with whatever other lathe I keep. I only mention it here because maybe having this one makes a difference for which other I should keep.

    If youíve made it this far, I apologize for the novel and appreciate hearing any and all advice.

    -Keith

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    New Jersey, USA
    Posts
    137
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    30
    Likes (Received)
    19

    Default

    Keep which ever ones you like.. no sense limiting yourself...

    i kept flipping them till i got what i have now.. and im happy .. for the moment...

    im up to 7 lathes and 5 mills...

    and dont listen to cyanidekid...

    he is probably home fondling his harbor freight mini lathe as we speak !!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    moscow,ohio
    Posts
    5,918
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    579
    Likes (Received)
    1893

    Default

    when in doubt,choose the devil you know.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2019
    Country
    UNITED STATES
    State/Province
    Virginia
    Posts
    21
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    15
    Likes (Received)
    2

    Default

    Which one likes you? By that I mean the one that gives you the least trouble. Kinda like choosing a wife.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2016
    Country
    UNITED STATES
    State/Province
    Michigan
    Posts
    72
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    10
    Likes (Received)
    12

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Joseph Durnya View Post
    Keep which ever ones you like.. no sense limiting yourself...
    If I had the room, Iíd consider it! Also, I may have taken small personal loans from our family savings to buy some of these with the promise that I would pay them back. The CFO, er...wife, wouldnít be too happy if I decided not to and I would undermine myself for future opportunities.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2016
    Country
    UNITED STATES
    State/Province
    Michigan
    Posts
    72
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    10
    Likes (Received)
    12

    Default Looking for Advice: Which Lathe(s) to Keep

    Quote Originally Posted by iwananew10K View Post
    when in doubt,choose the devil you know.
    Quote Originally Posted by Adam Selene View Post
    Which one likes you? By that I mean the one that gives you the least trouble. Kinda like choosing a wife.
    I just started machining at home with the first lathe, so I donít have a ton of experience. That being said Iíve been able to make some very nice parts with close tolerances with it, so I know itís good. I just havenít used the others yet so I donít know what I may be missing.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Geilenkirchen, Germany
    Posts
    2,333
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    1408
    Likes (Received)
    1193

    Default

    I think you have just learned a big, very important lesson. As a home machinist, space is a premium. You cannot afford to own a lathe that is not fully equipped and fully featured. None of your machines fit that bill. You are far better off trading everything you have and buying a D1-4 spindle, 40 inch between centers lathe with all the bells and whistles, including taper attachment and metric change gears. Trying to outfit any of your existing lathes is too expensive. Be patient, good , fully equipped machines do pop up every now and then. Sell what you do not immediately need and be ready to buy when the deal arrives.........Have faith, it will.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Geneva Illinois USA
    Posts
    6,134
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    2590
    Likes (Received)
    2379

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by steve-l View Post
    I think you have just learned a big, very important lesson. As a home machinist, space is a premium. You cannot afford to own a lathe that is not fully equipped and fully featured. None of your machines fit that bill. You are far better off trading everything you have and buying a D1-4 spindle, 40 inch between centers lathe with all the bells and whistles, including taper attachment and metric change gears. Trying to outfit any of your existing lathes is too expensive. Be patient, good , fully equipped machines do pop up every now and then. Sell what you do not immediately need and be ready to buy when the deal arrives.........Have faith, it will.
    On the other hand, having multiple machines allow you to set up a machine for a special function and there are times when one machine is in use but you need a second machine. I have a SB heavy 10 that I have configured for turret lathe duty and I leave it that way. But it only takes a minute to convert it back to an engine lathe. I use the HLV_H clone for most of the other work.

    Tom

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2017
    Country
    UNITED STATES
    State/Province
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    286
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    276
    Likes (Received)
    144

    Default

    The 9a's seem (to me) like the runts of the litter. I'd keep the 10k and the Logan (which share the large spindle for the collet set). But I'm partial to Logans.

    Except a 4 1/2' 9a bed is nice...

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2016
    Country
    UNITED STATES
    State/Province
    Michigan
    Posts
    72
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    10
    Likes (Received)
    12

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by steve-l View Post
    I think you have just learned a big, very important lesson. As a home machinist, space is a premium. You cannot afford to own a lathe that is not fully equipped and fully featured. None of your machines fit that bill. You are far better off trading everything you have and buying a D1-4 spindle, 40 inch between centers lathe with all the bells and whistles, including taper attachment and metric change gears. Trying to outfit any of your existing lathes is too expensive. Be patient, good , fully equipped machines do pop up every now and then. Sell what you do not immediately need and be ready to buy when the deal arrives.........Have faith, it will.
    It seems like a lot of advice is to sell everything and upgrade to something more substantial. @cyanidekid mentioned the same thing in his reply before it disappeared, although not quite in the same manner.

    I know that there are much better lathes out there than these, but any of these seem like they would be perfectly fine for any of the type of work I plan on doing with them. So far I've made new bushings for my Case 224 garden tractor, a bearing retainer for a Boice Crane 14" band saw I rebuilt, threaded studs and new knurled nuts for the cast iron base of a Delta 6"x48" belt sander I restored this winter, and so on. None of these tools I just mentioned are top of the line (although they're much better than the stuff you can buy new these days for the same price point), but they're great for someone like me who just likes to tinker on stuff and doesn't care if it takes him couple more passes to bring something down to the correct dimension. A big plus for me is that these are so simple and easy to disassemble and clean. I don't think a smaller Clausing or LeBlonde would be, but I don't know since I've never done it.

    None of that is to say that I don't appreciate the advice and I did spend quite a while today thinking about it. I'd even be lying if I said I didn't consider doing it and waiting for the right deal to come along. I ended up deciding that keeping one of these would be best for me right now, if only because I'm done cleaning and inspecting them and they're no longer "projects" keeping me from using them. And the 9" lathes are fairly well tooled. I have a lantern post with around 20 tool holders including boring bar holders and knurling tools, a 10-in-1 tool holder that I've enjoyed using, a south bend tool post grinder with the dressing tool holder that clamps to the tailstock ram, both the plain style and micrometer version of the follower and steady rests, a mostly complete 3C collet set and drawbar with the clamp on holder, a clamp-on work light, a complete milling attachment, faceplate with about 10 dogs and centers, the cross-slide threading stop, a micrometer holder that clamps to the bed, micrometer carriage stop, among other things. It's definitely enough to keep me busy for a while.

    I think right now the choice is between one of the 9A's, so I'll probably start with selling the 10K. That will give me some time to play around a little more with the one I just finished cleaning. Like @iwananew10K mentioned, sticking with the one I know may be the best route, especially since I've been more than happy with using it so far. If money didn't always seem to burn a hole in my pocket, I'd consider just holding on to what I make from the ones I end up selling, buy a nicer/bigger lathe when the right deal comes along, and then sell the one I decided to keep.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Country
    UNITED STATES
    State/Province
    New York
    Posts
    1,501
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    825
    Likes (Received)
    645

    Default

    I took it down because of the tone of the post, I apologize for the snark, but stand by the content. (no, I don't own any HF machines!), I've restored South Bend lathes, but now that I have some real iron, I will never go back. in fact, I'm selling my WW2 heavy 10, it was good for a lightweight '30s design.
    keep what you like, but don't sink your time into another project that will leave you with a nice looking lightweight. keep whatever weighs the most, and has the least slop, but consider something like a '60s+ 10L with a camlok spindle as your minimum goal. you should be able to turn your inventory over and get something like that that's well tooled and at least break even. good luck!

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Geneva Illinois USA
    Posts
    6,134
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    2590
    Likes (Received)
    2379

    Default

    Let's not forget Sheldon's in the lineup. Clausings are good machines, but the hydraulic speed changer is definite problem.

    A lot of people like Logans. Having done just short of complete rebuild of a 12" Logan, I was disappointed with them from a design standpoint, primarily lubrication.

    You can hardly go wrong with a SB simply because there are so many parts and knowledge available.

    Tom

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2015
    Country
    UNITED STATES
    State/Province
    Florida
    Posts
    589
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    4
    Likes (Received)
    84

    Default

    Bottom line, is the lathe (or lathes) needs to be suited for the work you need to do...
    Is spindle bore relevant? No knowledge of the Logan, but if you ever need to feed stock through the spindle- or if 5C collet capability is relevant, something with a larger spindle bore may be better.

    Absent a larger spindle bore, bed length becomes more relevant (can't feed longer work through the spindle- you can run it between centers IF your bed is long enough. With neither, you may be "screwed"...

    I also have a 944R (1950), 16 speed V-belt but has been converted to 1hp VFD with DRO on both axes. Minimal bed wear, gibs and spindle are "tight" and I can hold a thousandth with it (thanks to the DRO). Yes, they're small lathes. I also own a relatively new-to-me 11" Sheldon that I've just finished restoring (adding DRO now), which is twice the lathe of the SB. Massive bed casting (same as used on their 15" models) that's much wider and more rigid. With 36" between centers and 1-3/8" spindle bore, it can do anything and more (due to the larger spindle bore) that the 9A can do.

    It's very true that space is at a premium in my small, 550 sf shop. I (so far) refuse to part with the SB because it's a very capable machine and am doing everything I can to find space as needed creatively and keep it.

    Like you perfectly stated- if the lathe isn't clapped out and is still "tight", they'll be capable of just as much accuracy as a larger machine within their limitations and it becomes a matter of time- lighter cuts, and more passes.

    If you can only keep one, for me it would be between the 944R and the Logan. But- you need to evaluate the Logan and wear given it was a production machine. Hard bed is for sure a plus, but the saddle still wears... as does the tailstock, compound and cross-slide, and all the leadscrews. I would be very dubious on this one given it was rode hard (and probably neglected)in its previous life.


Tags for this Thread

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •