View Full Version : It looks bad, tell me like it is.

12-18-2003, 02:34 PM
Well, heres some pics of my cast iron bearings on my southbend. IT looks very bad, explains why the scuffing on the spindle.

Is it terminal?
When I bought the lathe few days ago, it was smooth, I can probably still use it as is, run it into the ground, then get a new headstock I guess.
ALso, I couldnt find the shims, because they were painted over, but the Flash on my camera brought them out I think, Are those the shims?
also need a new rear oiler it looks like.
You know, I'd be a lot happier if I didnt remove the spindle, and remained ignorant of the bearings. Ah man, this stinks.

12-18-2003, 03:37 PM
No I don't think its terminal. Can be saved by being re-bored. Cutting a few thou off mating surfaces and make proper size bores. or use as is with hi tech fillers in gooves, or possibly check to see if automotive type rod bearing could be fitted.

12-18-2003, 03:52 PM
Damn, he looked that gift lathe right in the mouth.

12-18-2003, 03:55 PM
This type of bearing uses shims to adjust for wear. Thinner shims to take up wear in the bearing and spindle.
With headstock assembled, how much play or shake up & down and side to side do you have? Measure with a dial indicator on the spindle.
Measure the end play in the spindle, again with a dial indicator.
These measurements will tell you the condition of the headstock. The bearings look a tad on the shabby side to say the least, but may have little or no affect on the lathe itself for your purposes.
Clean everything well, and remove any warts and pimples on bearings and spindle so no further damage will occur, reassemble, adding or removing shims as needed to get free operation with no tight spots and minimum play. Keep the lathe well lubricated and try it out to see how it performs. It is probably better than a 50/50 chance that the lathe will run for many years without problems.
You have nothing to loose by finding out how well it will work before performing major surgery, and may be pleasantly surprised with the outcome.

12-18-2003, 04:01 PM
I removed the shims, peeled 1 layer off, and now I have too much gap. I bolted down the bolts to a point where there was no play and no binding. Now I just need more shim stock. Im wondering if I should buy some feeler guages and make some shims, or go another route.
Also, this Maglice stuff that Thrud is allways talking about, can that be used to fill in the grooves of the bearings? Some kind of filler to fill in the grooves?
I almost want to go to a machine shop, but that would be cost prohibitive.

Ragarsed Raglan
12-18-2003, 04:04 PM

If it's any consolation my old SB9 'C' model was in a heck of a worse state than that. I had about .004" up and down play before I finally decided to refurb the old gal. With that much play it was a lottery when it came to parting off (would the piece part off before the tool broke!).

Those are the shims alright, that you point to. Measure your up and down play and the pull it down a tad on the shims.

Long term you can go for an oversize bore with a chromed or metal sprayed spindle re-ground oversize. That's what I did for mine. You might want to consider a thin wall bronze bush instead.

For the short term I think you'll get some fun out of this one though.


12-18-2003, 04:12 PM

First, don't worry about end play, that is adjusted by the collar on the left end of the spindle. You can use some brass shim stock available at most any hobby shop in various thicknesses. It cuts easily with sissors.

The Moglice won't work in that application. It is designed for slow surface speeds.

Jerry B
12-18-2003, 04:29 PM

According to what I am hearing here, after you removed a few shims, the bore is now too small and if you tighten down the bolts this would bind the spendle. This is telling me that you have plenty of life left in the spindle and the head stock bearing surface.

If going to a machine shop is truly too costly, Then perhaps you can just get the spindle hard chrome plated. A .002 to .003 covering will fill the grooves and allow you to polish the surface down a little should it need to be. (Other may have differing opions on this approach.)

As far as the head stock is concerned you might try making a lap from soft material and lap out the bore until is is atleast round and smooth. You won't really need perfect here, just real good.

12-18-2003, 05:24 PM
With the few plain bearing lathes I've seen in production shops, the operators used Allen bolts to adjust the bearing caps. They leave the Allen wrench in the bolt. As the day went on the machines heated up, and the bolt was given a slight loosening to compensate for the heat-expansion.

When a difficult job like parting-off came along the bolt was tightened a little to remove excess bearing clearance.

So rather than have a perfectly adjusted set of spindle bearings the operators adjusted the bearing clearance to suit the situation. Seemed to work and saved a lot of hassle trying to get it perfect.

It's worth noting the SB ads from the fifties (maybe sixties, seventies?) went into detail on the finishing of the spindles and the bearing composition. The spindles were "Super Finished", this is a process not a description of finish quality. SB was quite proud of their spindles. I believe Super Finishing was also advertised by Chrysler Corp as being used on their crank journals.

IIRC, the bearings themselves were multi-layer like engine bearings. To duplicate the original spindle/bearing setup at home or even in a regular machine shop would not be possible.

BillH, remove a shim and live with it, after all it's only a SB. It's unlikely you'll ever find a "good" SB headstock, most are much worse than yours. Besides you open a whole can of worms when you start switching headstocks.

12-18-2003, 05:41 PM
I would clean up the shaft with polishing paper and clean the bearing out with a scraper to get the burrs out, put it back together and set the clearances right with the shims,keep it lubed and run it. You will probably be surprised and it won't cost anything.

John Foster
12-18-2003, 05:46 PM
Bill, what condition is the spindle? You don't mention it. If the spindle is smooth, as I assume or you would have mentioned it, then just work on the headstock. It looks like you have a decent area where the oil wick is, so you might consider a light honing to get a few more bearing spots and put it back together. As stated, remove a shim, adjust and use it, keeping it well oiled. John

12-18-2003, 06:18 PM
I agree with the rest. You can get some 1500 grit polishing paper at anywhere they sell bodyshop supplies. Put the spindle on a length of 3/4" bar with a some masking tape wrapped on it to protect the spindle taper and make for a snug fit. Chuck in the other lathe with tail center and polish up the spindle nice and shiny. Don't try to remove any grooves, just clean up the surface marks. Use good lighting! Make a "flap lap" with the same paper and do the bores. Flap lap: coat hanger wire bent back on itself with two layers of paper several times as long as the bore diameter slid between the folded over wire, in a drill. Use oil when polishing both. If 1500 doen't seem to touch it start with 1000 grit and then go to 1500.

They don't have to be perfect. Don't get down, you're going to have an excellent machine when done.

12-18-2003, 09:00 PM
Is that Poured Babbit I see?

Ohojim on ebay sells a book on pouring babbit.

Search out his seller name under advanced search. I've bought a passel of books from him, he is a nice guy, thou his machine shop is getting rusty and dusty. Ask him about it.


12-19-2003, 01:18 AM
I posted pics of my spindle in anotehr thread, titled, "I took the spindle off my southbend".
I think im going a little crazy with the perfectionism in my brain. the spindle feels smooth to the touch, not rough at all, its the bearings that feel like they have ridges. I;ve decided that im going to flush out the headstock, get 2 new capilary oilers, and use the proper spindle lube, Oil the hell out of it, and use it as is.
THe spindle rotates smoothly, although, not as free turning as it could be, I Think. I dont have another southbend to play with to test this out.
Hearing about other lathes in much worse condition than mine puts things into perspective.
THe grooves in the bearings are all below the surface, I think. I guess it won't hurt to scrape them. I don't know how to scrape them though.
Im going to use it as is, and in the 10 years I suppose it takes for it to wear out, I'll have enough money to convert it to new bushings or precision roller bearings http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//smile.gif

12-19-2003, 03:55 AM
The very finest lathe made (Hardinge HLV with a runout of 25 Millionths") has bearings like yours, not needle bearings, not taper bearing, not ABEC 7 or 9 Ball bearing, but plain, tried and true sleeve bearings 5" in diameter).

Polish up your spindle like I told you and work any high spots down in your spindle bearings. You can always bore the old bearings out later and replace them with bronze bushings - then your lathe will really sing. Don't despair, you still have a nice machine - it just needs a little TLC is all.

12-19-2003, 10:21 AM
"The very finest lathe made (Hardinge HLV with a runout of 25 Millionths") has bearings like yours, not needle bearings, not taper bearing, not ABEC 7 or 9 Ball bearing, but plain, tried and true sleeve bearings 5" in diameter)."

Are you absolutely sure of this? Certainly not the later models?

12-20-2003, 03:52 AM
About a year ago I was going to buy a new HLV and was quoted on price and delivery for one. They told me they still use the large precision sleeve bearings that they have for years and because of this water based coolants can never be used on that machine or it will destroy the spindle bearings and warranty is void - it is in the sales contract. I have no reason to doubt their engineers and sales staff.

12-20-2003, 06:09 AM
Thought I would add a few more words of reassurance to those of Dave, JC, RR, et al. I had an old Lodge and Shipley that had 0.008" of up and down play between the spindle and its old brass bearing caps. I didn't discover this until I had run it for 10 years or so. Did everything from cargo winch repairs to microscope accessories on that old timer. I also would use the trick mentioned by DR of loosening up or tightenting the bearing cap screws while running it as required. I removed both top bearing halves once to inspect them. Gawd, they looked awful BUT spindle ran nice and smooth in its old familiar brass bed.

If the loose fit causes trouble in parting off work try running it in reverse with the cutter upside down. Will help to keep the spindle down in the bearings.

Don't worry about , just enjoy it and whatever you do don't start cutting on the bore or doing anyother type of major surgery. Remember it felt smooth when you first bought it.

12-20-2003, 07:24 AM
I'll second what crypto just said.. My old Lodge & Shipley doesn't have the best looking spindle bearings either..the babbitt is missing a few pieces in two of the four bearings. I removed a few shims and adjust bearing caps as needed.. works ok for what I do. Someday I might try to rebabbitt and bore.. that is a big undertaking.. major surgery.

For now I would take the advice Thrud and others gave.. use it and enjoy.

12-20-2003, 01:01 PM
Thrud wrote: "About a year ago I was going to buy a new HLV and was quoted on price and delivery for one. They told me they still use the large precision sleeve bearings that they have for years and because of this water based coolants can never be used on that machine or it will destroy the spindle bearings and warranty is void - it is in the sales contract. I have no reason to doubt their engineers and sales staff. "

Hmmmmmm.....I know for a fact the chuckers DO NOT use sleeve bearings. They use a pair of angular contact bearings. I have always assumed the HLV's used the same basic headstock. I'll check.

My older Hardinge machines have labels telling not to use soluble oils. Hardinge told me it was because the bearing housings do not have the proper sealing to keep the water out. My newest machine is 80's vintage so I don't know what they recommend for current machines. I know the new CNC machines can run solubles.

12-20-2003, 03:01 PM
Yes it looks bad but,bad is a relative term! In the course of the last year I bought a used head stock for my 10k single tumbler machine from ebay.I swapped the parts I needed and my machine is like new.I plan to sell the rest of the head on ebay agin to recoup some of my investment and make the repair cheaper.Older machine tool parts are plentyful on ebay-buisness&industrial-metal working-machine tool parts. If the repair does not go well this is a simple option. In any case what model SB is it we're talking about?
Best luck,Merry x-mas

12-20-2003, 03:30 PM
Lots of parts there, guy parting out an entire 9" lathe, also 9&10K apron with power cross feed and a QC gearbox.
Interesting looking dividing attachment for lathe headstock there too. Search South Bend.

12-20-2003, 03:40 PM
9C.Im going to polish up the spindle, and scrape the bearings. It should work fine for me, Was able to get all the play out of the spindle without binding it by adjusting the cap screws.
Im going to make all new shims from brass, then fine tune with feeler gauges.

Im not sure how to scrape the bearings though.what do you use for that? Some kind of sharp straight edge?

12-20-2003, 03:46 PM

Don't scrape them. Just use some fine paper to lap off any roughness. You don't want to change the dimensions, just make them smoother. Use the flap-lap I mentioned. Clean very well after.

12-20-2003, 05:56 PM
You can make a scraper from an old file. A three corner file works best. Grind the teeth off two faces, and sharpen and stone smooth the 60* edge that results. You only need 1"-2" long. Use this to remove high spots or what we call "goobers" only. There are likely to be pieces that are kind of welded in place from galling, you want to try to dislodge these to remove them so no further damage will result. The idea is to disturb as little of the bore as possible.
Using powered abrasives to remove the bad spots is likely to get things out of round.
If the spindle is turning freely now, with acceptable clearance, don't do anything at all. The less you do, the less chance you stand to make things worse.

12-20-2003, 06:26 PM
ok, it does turn smoothly, and the photo may not look like it on the spindle, but there is no high spots, just some neat looking wavy marks.
The bearings have grooves but no high spots.
THe one thing I will do though is to flush out the headstock, I suspect previous owners might of used motor oil, its brown oil.
What is the safe bet for flusing it out? Rubbing alcohol? Some stuff that I can get back out before I put the new oil in.

12-20-2003, 07:18 PM

12-20-2003, 10:44 PM
that's certainly salvageable....haven't read the entire thread...imagine there's loads of good suggestions there but absolute...bottom of the barrel "worst case" is you pour (and scrape)your own babbit brngs....not that big a deal. If thats the only problem with this machine, and you got it for little or as a "gift"....you're laughin' .... take care and there's no such thing as "worn out" machinery...just stuff that needs attention or modification (even stuff that comes straight from the factory in my opinion needs modifications, we all know "stock things suck right"....lol)!
good luck

12-20-2003, 11:24 PM
475$ is not exactly a gift, hehe

12-21-2003, 11:34 PM
Bill: I would not put any sort of abrasive on Babbitt. It is too soft, particles may stick and wear your spindle. And the wear goes on and on until the abrasive is buried in the Babbitt.

I have not adjusted spindle bearings, but i HAVE set up Babbitt bearings. The following is for general application:
If you have a pile of shims in there, remove the thinest on each side and torque down. If the spindle binds, put the shim back, your slop is less than the thickness of the shim. If the spindle turns free (by hand) remove another shim. keep the stack on each side a near same thickness as possible. use thick shims if possible and as few as possible. When the spindle "drags" (binds a little) add a shim and if should turn free. Babbitt needs a little clearance- run the spindle for a while, check the freeness every few minutes and if it binds, add a shim.

I would say DO NOT scrape the Babbitt unless you are sure WHERE to scrape (blue it, true it or leave it). Unless you can measure out of round on the spindle, polish it and leave it alone. if in doubt leave it alone.

Now put it back together, lube it and love it. It kind of like women- if it feels good, does what you ask you got a jewel. Keep messing around and you may get the spindle pointing the wrong direction.

Enjoy it. cleaning and oiling is good, but if it ain't broke don't try to fix it.

12-22-2003, 01:04 AM
WAIT a minute. The SB9 spindle bearings don't use babbit. Never have. There isn't room for babbit in there. Babbit isn't part of the equation. You would have to go to great lengths to make some babbit work on that spindle. Highly unlikely. The right hand end of the lead screw has a babbit bearing.

12-22-2003, 02:41 PM
Babbitt or not, if the bearing uses shims the procedure will PROBABLY involve removing shims. I forgot to mention above that you "shim" each bearing to proper clearance separately. Then tighten the clamping bolts. If each bearing runs smoothly when it is clamped and binds when both are clamped, you have a bore alignment or bent spindle problem.

If you use abrasives inside ANY bearing, be sure and wash well, with soap and water, several times. Bearings tend to be soft, abrasives tend to embedded. Soap and water MAY loosen and remove abrasives embedded. MAY not too. I see no reason to remove ANY metal excepting shims unless, as JCH has said , there are boogers sticking up.

The old adage "do no harm" is as applicable to machines as humans and animals. Unless Bills lathe has been run in reverse a long time (running in reverse may put metal removed back on- never worked for me so I guess its a slow process (if it works at all)) he has lost metal not acquired it. Scraping and grinding will only remove more.
I have "scraped" Babbitt and split sleeve bearings using bluing to find the binding places, but once the adjustable bearing fits with its shim stacked, the only way I have ever seen things go is to remove shims and pray. No side metal will go back on, shims only close the top/bottom gaps. When the side gap is too large the bearing (Babbitt or split sleeve) is ready for replacement in some manner.

Unless some one can present a case for damage occurring unless the bearing surfaces are modified, I advise, cleaning it, using it and learn what problems you really have (if any).

So far as how SB is assembled, I have no idea whats under the paint on a small SB. We had some SB in shops. They must have been good machines because I never had to "consult" in the repairs- thus I have never looked inside the head stock of a SB. Thats a compliment to the basic design and construction of SB. Of course we had so many larger machines that there was no reason to have abused the SB.

12-22-2003, 02:59 PM
Dang it Doc, the SB bearings are not soft. Right from the start all SB9 models used microfinished steel spindles running directly in the cast iron headstock. Starting about 1941 they began hardening the spindles as well. Early SB9s had unhardened spindles but for $10 you could order it hardened. It's a hydrodynamic bearing and depends entirely on the oil film to prevent destruction. The spindle bearing shims should be selected to give a free turning spindle with less than .0002 runout. Using brass shims this may be approached by varying the bolt torque. Plastigauge may be used to verify clearances. Of course, as I said, after any operation with abrasives the entire area must be cleaned but the cast iron isn't going to pick up and hold any of it.

[This message has been edited by Evan (edited 12-22-2003).]