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View Full Version : Questions on a South Bend Tool Room Lathe (13") I may purchase



corbin
04-03-2009, 11:30 AM
Hi All!
I'm new to machining, and I'm looking to get a used lathe. I want something solid that will last me a long time.

I found a 1953 South Bend 13" lathe for almost $4k. I'm wondering if that is worth it; it looks like it is good condition (from the pictures I've seen). He has some older tooling and accessories which also might be nice to get.

Any advice on what it is worth, and what I should look for when I check it out? The added plus is the guy said he would deliver it to within 100 miles (I'm about 50 miles away from it).

--corbin

davidwdyer
04-03-2009, 11:34 AM
It sounds expensive to me.
I have a 13" South Bend which might be a "tool room" since it is a short bed. I paid about $800 for it with 3 jaw & 4 jaw chucks and some tooling. It is a great lathe for my purposes, but that seems like a lot of $ unless you are in some remote place where machines are scarce.

corbin
04-03-2009, 12:30 PM
Thanks for the info David, that's quite helpful. If anyone else has some advice on what it is worth, please let me know.
corbin

Bill Pace
04-03-2009, 01:05 PM
Seems a bit much to me also ---

Thats getting into the range of some of the better new Chinese lathes, with the plus of "plug & play"

Its just such a gamble in getting used equipment, and when you pay top dollar and get a stinker -- bummer:confused:

Rif
04-03-2009, 01:08 PM
Hello,

Over a year ago, I bought a South Bend 13x40 (without tooling) for about $800 delivered. The thing came from a school and was rode hard and put away wet. Practically every small thing that could be busted was busted. Some parts needed to be re-fit as they had been "adjusted" with a hammer and I had to make some new parts for it on my other lathe.

Around September, of last year, I finally reached the point where the lathe is quite usable and only have to repair a couple more items...like the taper attachment.

My guess is that my lathe would be worth around $1500 in my area, once I make the final repairs. My lathe bed has an obvious ridge on the front ways and I once measured about 0.025 in bed wear. That being said, it will still hold under 0.001 for small parts (around 0.5 in diameter) for about an inch. (I usually use my Sherline for the smallest parts.) Larger parts haven't been a problem.

Unless lathes are pretty rare, in your area, I would expect the machine you are considering to be in good-to-excellent condition and fully tooled, for the price that is being asked.

I agree, with Bill, that if you have to pay that price, you may want to consider a new import. A new import will also be able to thread metric, out of the box (crate?).

Regards,

Brian

corbin
04-03-2009, 01:15 PM
Thanks Brian, that's also some great info.

I'm on the west coast -- below San Francisco Bay (San Jose / Santa Cruz area to be more precise).

I've been keeping an eye out for used machines, but I agree with you guys, that paying $4k might not be worth it when I can get an import for about the same price.

I'm definitely going to check out the lathe, and I may make him an offer in the $2,000 range.

thanks again!
corbin

Optics Curmudgeon
04-03-2009, 01:23 PM
Ahh, that would be this one: http://sfbay.craigslist.org/eby/tls/1104396327.html

I snorted when I saw it, maybe if you can get them to agree with the $2K, but it's hard to tell what's up from the tiny pictures. There have been a lot of lathes for sale in the area lately, check in Sacramento, too.

Joe

Rif
04-03-2009, 01:38 PM
Ahh, that would be this one: http://sfbay.craigslist.org/eby/tls/1104396327.html

I snorted when I saw it, maybe if you can get them to agree with the $2K, but it's hard to tell what's up from the tiny pictures. There have been a lot of lathes for sale in the area lately, check in Sacramento, too.

Joe

Reading through the listing, I get the impression that the seller doesn't know exactly what is for sale.

i.e.

"There are many precision instruments with gadgets unknown."


Regards,

Brian

corbin
04-03-2009, 01:39 PM
Ahh, that would be this one: http://sfbay.craigslist.org/eby/tls/1104396327.html

I snorted when I saw it, maybe if you can get them to agree with the $2K, but it's hard to tell what's up from the tiny pictures. There have been a lot of lathes for sale in the area lately, check in Sacramento, too.

Joe

Yup, that's the one! I got some better pictures from the guy, and it looks like it is in good condition. I've been searching just the SF bay area on craigslist -- I'll start trying the Sac area too. I haven't seen many of these sized lathes for sale in my area

corbin

corbin
04-03-2009, 01:44 PM
Also -- are there any other good listings of used lathes for sale in the bay area (Other than craigslist and ebay)?

corbin

JCHannum
04-03-2009, 02:02 PM
Price will be determined by condition and accessories. That machine looks like it is well equipped, the description is difficult to decipher, but it is probably a full 36" between centers with an L series chuck mount. The photos do show steady & follow rests and maybe a taper attachment as well as several chucks and face plates & dog plates.

If it is a true tool room lathe, it will have been manufactured to a higher degree of accuracy than the standard lathe, bed length has nothing to do with it. It also possibly has hardened ways.

The condition will have to be assessed by a visit, but at the price, it would be worth the travel. Prices are negotiable, it might be on the high end, but it might also be a very good value considering the amount of accessories. It appears there is quite a bit more than the basic lathe equipment included, there is at least ine dial indicator and what appears to be some boxes of unknown quantity.

Sometimes paying a bit more up front will result in savings in the long run.

Waterlogged
04-03-2009, 03:08 PM
Everyone will tell you about the great deal they got after looking for years. Best of luck finding that special deal and you obviously aren't looking in Ohio where lathes fall from trees. So what's it worth out west? The accessories would cost you over $1000 if you had to buy them on ebay and probably quite a bit more. And a basic SB 13" lathe in good shape will easily sell for $1500-$2500 on the west coast. So if the accessories include some hidden gems, it could be a deal and who knows if they'll drop the price when a buyer shows up with cash. Go check it out.

Peter.
04-03-2009, 03:35 PM
I would have someone knowledgeable assess the photos for you - can you not post them here? It's all very nice being tooled to the hilt with expensive accessories but not much use spending the extra to end up with a shelf full of stuff that as a novice you'll never or seldom use when you could put it towards more useful tooling.

bob308
04-03-2009, 05:37 PM
well from what i see in the pics it mite not be too bad of a price. it is the newer 13" with the large spindel hole.

lets see about 2000 for a basic lathe in good shape

another 1000-1500 for the steady and fallow rests a taper atchment and threading dial. and other tooling.

delivery could run 500 to 1000.

i would say offer 3000 cash and work up from there.

and i would not put too much stock in the great deals every one talks about. you have to decide do you want to set up and start learning now or wast 1-2 years looking for that deal that never comes along?

corbin
04-03-2009, 09:14 PM
Thanks everyone for the info. I guess my only concern is being able to cut metric threads; that is something that I may want to do, and I don't want to be stuck with the wrong lathe when I want to do it.

I'm considering buying a new small import to get me started (something under $1000, like a benchtop grizzly or enco). I'm not sure if that would be $1000 wasted, or I should just shell out the larger amount of cash for an older solid South Bend.

Any advice on that front?

Here's some larger pics of the lathe and tooling.

http://corbinstreehouse.com/lathe/1.jpg

http://corbinstreehouse.com/lathe/2.jpg

http://corbinstreehouse.com/lathe/3.jpg

Rif
04-03-2009, 09:34 PM
Ok. If I was looking for a lathe and had $4000....

I would go to look at the lathe with cash in hand. If the bed has only minor wear, offer (as in count out) $3000 and see if he bites. When he sees $3000 cash maybe he'll sell. If he is firm on the $4000, it is probably worth it. (Especially if the bed is flame hardened....I don't know when they did that.)

If you are really concerned about metric threading, look for a 127 tooth gear with a smaller gear (100 tooth, I think.) Maybe those gears are there and just not in the pictures.

The tooling alone is worth at least $1,000...probably much more. The steady rest and follower rest are each worth over $200. I am pretty sure that the collet closer is worth hundreds. (Going on memory here.)

I think I also see a milling attachement.

It's hard to say, from the picture, but the lathe might have a taper attachment too.

The more I study the picture, the more it appears that it may have been well taken care of. It appears to have all of the oil caps intact and even has the pin for the side cover to the change gears.

I am not sure why the compound is square, however. Maybe it was replaced or the newer SB 13's had a square compound?

Regards,

Brian

Rif
04-03-2009, 09:41 PM
About your remark about the $1000 lathe.... Even a worn South Bend 9A is a much better lathe than a $1000 import lathe. To get the options that a South Bend 9A had, you have to spend at least $2500 on a new lathe. The new Asian lathes, for around $1000, has a lot of compromises in order to keep the price down.

Personally, I would rather buy nice and cry once.

Regards,

Brian

AllanR
04-03-2009, 11:00 PM
Corbin
The lathe is definately a Tool Room model CL8145B is the catalog # not the serial #(the serial number is found on the front way at the tail stock end) It does not have flame hardened ways as that is a different catalog # (CL4956B)
It is also has a four step pully in the head, taper attachment, precesion lead screw and it came from the factory with a micrometer carriage stop and a collet rack both of which I can not see ( if this is the original owner they may be still around some place)
This may be an estate sale and the person selling it is not familiar with the tooling as there is at least one item laid out with with the acessories that has nothing to do with the machining of material on the lathe.
The lathe's shipping weight is according to my catalog 1665 lbs without the motor.
See if you can observe it running and find out if it is single or 3 phase power.
It definately comes with all the goodies and if you are serious I would follow Rif's advice
I hope this helps
Al

67chevelle
04-03-2009, 11:19 PM
Ok.. I'll ask.. Which one is it?

Other than some of the tool bits that I can't see very well, the only things I don't recognize is the item below the traveling rest and the item to the right of the traveling rest.

Mark


Corbin
there is at least one item laid out with with the acessories that has nothing to do with the machining of material on the lathe.
Al

AllanR
04-03-2009, 11:38 PM
Its the red plastic box top center It a bushing/bearing driver set I have the same set. Had it for years before I got my 10K.
Al

J Tiers
04-04-2009, 12:08 AM
Tooling worth $1000?

Depends on what tooling you count in, I suppose.

I have, for my smaller (10") machine essentially all the tooling you see there, plus some more. I never paid $1000 for it. (I know, I know, another "great deal" story, whatever)

Another point......... The "toolroom" precision leadscrew etc is what it HAD when it was new. They have been used for 40 years or whatever, and are no longer what they were, now they are "parts of a used lathe".

That said, I suppose you could pay $3000 for it, assuming the bed isn't worn too badly, without taking too much of a bath. Condition is king, and if it is beat on when viewed, the 3 grand is not valid.

Unfortunately, the seller sounds like the usual "I don't know what this stuff is but grandpappy told me it was worth thousands, and he knew about machine tools". They tend to add in tonnage of "pieces of steel" regardless of their applicability, what they are, or condition, and fall back on the line of 'look at all the stuff you get"...... At least in this case most of it is lathe-related, I've seen much worse..... like an Atlas 6" with a box of MT3 drills....... I wanted the drills, but the seller said "they go with the lathe".... even though the seller couldn't explain how or where....

In THIS present economy, there isn't any particular need to pay top dollar for a piece of equipment including so much stuff that you will not be able to determine if most of it is worth anything. All those dial indicators may be good, or they may have been flipped by the grandkids so much the gears are stripped..... you are'nt going to know, and will have to value the stuff down on account of it.

Also, while it looks good as far as tonnage of stuff, most of it you actually won't use much if at all.....

Those taper parts at left..... they look like 1 to 2 adapters, etc, of which you won't need more than one of each size. They may be tap drivers, or drill adaptors (which require a flatted drill).... I doubt you would ever use them if that's what they are.

The 3 jaw chuck... has apparently only "outside" solid jaws, the LEAST convenient type of jaw to have if you have only one type. It may as well not even be there, you'll never find jaws and will need to buy one.

The 4 jaw has a nice patina, which means it may be pretty loose and junky, or not. Is it also shown on the machine? Or is that a different one?

I am not sure what is in the red box, but to the right of it appears to be a box of adjustable automotive reamers..... whatever........ I have a bunch of them, and have used ONE, ONE time. I got them for $10.

You *need* only one dial indicator, and one DTI. There are several there, which you won't need, and two mag bases..... bases worth $10 each new from china. I get my dial indicators for about $10 to $15 each, and all work fine.

The Palmgren milling attachment is worth at least $150, although if you have a mill you won't need it, and if you don't, its a make-shift replacement. Might be more stable on that machine than on my lighter weight Logan.

I see a drawtube, adapter and nose protector, no collets..... if they aren't on the rack, that's possibly $120.

The drills are nice, but S&D drills are available for cheap, and as for the other drills, I buy them at $5 per bagful here, so not a lot of $$ there.

You'd expect to get a steady, that's the nicer type, give a bit of credit for the upgrade. Follow rest... nice to have for the two times you will likely ever use it.

All in all, the misc tooling I could easily buy here for not a lot of money. Aside from the specific lathe stuff, I wouldn't put it over about $150.

I dunno what it adds up to, but given that you are going to have to accept the tooling in general at face value (you aren't gonna check all that stuff, you'll be there all day), it must be discounted a bit.

They shouldn't, in my opinion, be insulted even by $2000 to $2500, unless the basic machine is in really excellent shape.

if it were in Alaska, that would probably be 5 grand worth of stuff........

All that said, if the machine is in good shape, its nice. Big enough to be very general purpose, but small enough to be just as usable as any 9" machine. A good type machine, even if it IS a Southbend. The big spindle is a plus, I looked at an almost identical machine, a shortbed with a small spindle, and turned it down at $1000 with minimal tooling. It just offered too little added capability for the hassle. That one there is better, and worth the trouble, assuming the price is right.

Rif
04-04-2009, 12:34 AM
J Tiers

Ok, you brought up a good point. I was making a possibly false assumption that the tooling was all good.

Another factor is definately the area. Where I live, everything is usually either very small or huge. A 12" or 13" machine is much more rare....which was why I ended up getting a beat-up model.

Regards,

Brian

J Tiers
04-04-2009, 01:16 AM
YOU make a good point too...... You are correct, the 13" size isn't very common to find here either, possibly because it is useful enough that companies and people keep them.......

I can find 25 examples of 9", 10", or 11" for every one 12" or 13". There are more 16" plus for sale than 13".... You probably need to consider that.

I'd value it based on the machine condition, and the directly lathe-related stuff (steady, chucks, etc) and assume the other stuff adds at most about $150..... See if you like the machine itself with its direct accessories at $150 less than the total.

That way you know what you are buying, and any extras are gravy.

BTW..... you'd use mics a lot more often than indicators, and I don't see any....... odd.

davidwdyer
04-04-2009, 05:11 PM
That appears to be exactly the same lathe that I bought. They were popular for schools in the days when public schools taught such things. In my case the area around the tool post holder was beaten up by students carelessly getting too close to the chuck. But the bushings in the head have almost 0 play. It was abused, but not used very much in the classroom settings. I have gotten a lot of good use out of it and am satisfied.
It seems to have a lot of tooling. The price seems to be the only factor which is quite high.
Can you put the dial indicator on the mounted chuck and pry gently with a 2x4 or pry bar to see is there is any runout on the bushings? How much backlash is there when you move the cross slide back and forth? Can you still see signs of the original scraping on the ways or is it all worn off? When you open the back, are there any broken or damaged gears? Is the belt leather, or have they replaced it with a modern one? I had to pay a lot for a new belt. The leather ones make a lot of noise.
I agree with the rest that you should try for less, maybe $2,000 or $2,500 if it still is in good shape.

corbin
04-05-2009, 05:05 PM
I just wanted to thank everyone for their advice. I checked out the lathe, and as far as I can tell, it is in good shape. I got it from him for $2500 and he delivered it straight to my garage. He said that he has some more gears for it, and some tooling, and is going to dig those up and give them to me too (they are at the place where the lathe originally was at, but he had it at his home in the back of a trailer when I looked at it). In the end, I'm quite happy with it -- now to just wire it up and flip it on!

--corbin

Mark Hockett
04-05-2009, 05:30 PM
I just wanted to thank everyone for their advice. I checked out the lathe, and as far as I can tell, it is in good shape. I got it from him for $2500 and he delivered it straight to my garage. He said that he has some more gears for it, and some tooling, and is going to dig those up and give them to me too (they are at the place where the lathe originally was at, but he had it at his home in the back of a trailer when I looked at it). In the end, I'm quite happy with it -- now to just wire it up and flip it on!

--corbin

With all of the extra stuff that came with the lathe I think you made a good deal. The SB lathes with the base like that one are harder to find than the bench models and that is a very nice feature.

lane
04-05-2009, 06:39 PM
The compound is square because it has been adapted off a Clausing. Look close if you know your machines. The dial tells it all .Looks like you got your moneys worth . Now build something and show us.