View Full Version : Way Grinding

10-31-2001, 10:45 AM
I am looking for a company who can grind inverted v lathe ways. I have a 1940 SB 9" with a 4-foot bed. I found a company in Tenn. who is set up to do it, but I was looking for other companies to compare price and reliability. I have completely restored this lathe minus a few parts needing paint. But I need to have the ways ground, because there is as much as a .013 wear them near the headstock. It works great right now, but I would like to turn it into the precise machine it was 62 years ago. Of course I will scrape the ways after they have been ground.

I prefer grinding to machining because of the “stress” milling can put on aged steel. I also have tried to find companies locally who would do it, but they do not want to be responsible for messing it up. Any information on companies, or other ideas would be very helpful. Thanks!

10-31-2001, 07:05 PM
I just looked at the South Bend web site a few days ago and noticed that they're advertising a rebuilding service now. Might be worth checking out.

10-31-2001, 10:07 PM

This may be a stupid suggestion, but can the bed be turned end for end? I know mine can after a fashion - just a thought...


11-01-2001, 06:40 AM
Nope - not South Bend. The ways are aysymetrical. Interesting thought though!

One thing you COULD do though, if you're willing to give up the long bed, is move the headstock to the right along the bed. Except for the gearing at the left-hand end that drives the leadscrew, there is nothing that requires that the headstock be in any particular place along the bed.

So what do you do about the gearing.... I actually did this on my lathe. It IS a feasible proposition. The only gear you need to worry about is the stud gear. Make an extension shaft to go on the headstock in place of the stud gear, and mount a plain bronze bearing in a block at the left-hand end of the headstock to carry that end of the shaft. Mount the stud gear on the left-hand end of the shaft, in position to engage with the gear it's supposed to engage with.

You'll also have to move the motor and countershaft over, but that all relates to the headstock so it's no problem.

Why did I do it? I have a South Bend 10K gap-bed lathe, which I think was one of SB's less well thought out designs. They didn't properly support the bed at the gap, mine warped at that point, and the headstock was misaligned. It's a long bed (4 1/2 ft), so I moved the headstock to the right of the gap, onto the "normal" solid lathe bed, and it's been working fine for years. But I did lose about 15" of lathe bed in the process. Now it's about like a normal short-bed lathe.

[This message has been edited by SGW (edited 11-01-2001).]

11-01-2001, 03:34 PM
I have a 16" lathe w/7' bed that I got a quote for way grind on a couple yrs. ago.It was around $700;the Co. is very reputable.Quality Grinding--in the LA area,I think in the Valley...A friend got a quote from SBL on his 16"x10' SB ways --something like three grand&6-7 mo's! My dad worked for SBL in '36. Good luck! Eric in AZ

11-01-2001, 07:48 PM

There was a company in Newport News, Va. that ground machine ways and I believe 2 or more companies in richmond va. One company you might want to call is Action Tool in Hampton, Va. 757-838-4555, if they don't do it I'm sure they can give you a lead. I'll look through my "stuff" and try to get you some information.Also you can try to get access to a big planer in one of the old machine shops in the area and mount a toolpost grinder in the tool head. You can swivel it to whatever angle you need and effectively have a large surface grinder. Collins Machine in Portsmouth may have a planer, I can't remember, but I know they used to have some very old and large tools. Another possibility may be Craft Machine works in Hampton, Va.

11-02-2001, 12:37 AM
Where are those big, ugly, shapers when you need 'em?

If you do find someone to do the work I would ask for phone #'s or references from satisfied customers. You do not want some "Hack" screwing your machine up worse than it is now.


11-02-2001, 07:19 AM
Thanks Guys,
I will research on. Until the day I have more money than time, I can and will always spend the time. Thanks