View Full Version : Tell me about a South Bend 13" lathe

Tony Ennis
04-30-2013, 09:03 PM
I'm on the look-out for a replacement for the NoodleLathe (tm). I stumbled on this:


I have the right of first refusal, but I better not wait too long!

I believe this is a South Bend 13". Can someone confirm? It looks a lot like a Heavy 10 according to the lathes.co.uk site, which doesn't seem to list the 13" model at all.

This looks like the sort of lathe I could keep for the rest of my life.

Can anyone supply more information on the lathe? What type of tapers, spindle bore, type of chuck mounting mechanism, etc?

04-30-2013, 09:16 PM
Looks like a cam lock chuck mount. about a 1 3/8 hole through spindle ,Taper in spindle is morse 4 1/2 I think.

04-30-2013, 09:19 PM
You need to get the ser number of the bed. Its behind the tailstock on in between the ways at the end of the bed.

It is a double tumbler trans, later model even ( like after the war and maybe even 60's to 80's year model). Its has the flame hardened bed ( there will be no scraping marks on the ways), it has the adjustable front foot for taking out bed twist, and it has the large dials.

This is a nice lathe no matter what size it is. The thread chasing dial I see does like like the syle that comes on the 13" SB lathes. They had two size spindles and either the ser number of the lathe, or measuring the diameter of the threads for mounting will help tell what size through hole and tapers it has.

Don't even worry with it though, these are nice lathes are your not going to find one much better than this style. If its the 13" ( and I think it is) they are very stout and you will love it.

Edit , I thnk he is right about the spindle I didn't even look at it. Nice setup.


04-30-2013, 09:38 PM
Of all the SB's I've come into contact with, I think the 13" is the best of the lot. They are stout machines. The one in the picture looks like it has the D1-4 spindle, most likely has a hard bed, and it has the lever apron clutch, much better than the knob. IIRC, it's in the 1200 to 1500 LBS range.

Ohio Mike
04-30-2013, 09:39 PM
Plus large dials too. More than likely a later machine.

04-30-2013, 09:40 PM
That's a solid HSM machine. You wouldn't want it to make a living on simply because it won't be as fast as a newer machine, but other than slow spindle speeds it's pretty desirable. A guy could turn out a lot of fine work on that one.

04-30-2013, 10:10 PM
Directly under the tailstock in the picture is a black tag that tag says "Flame Hardened Ways"!
If you do not jump on this machine you will regret it forever and another wiser and more intelligent than yourself will enjoy your lapse in judgement.
Yes it is a 13".

Bill Pace
04-30-2013, 10:18 PM
Almost certainly a 13" --- I recently had the Heavy 10 and am pretty familiar with it, Note the cast iron motor housing in your pic and the one in the pic of my Heavy 10, where it meets the bed the 10 is narrower. And as others mentioned, its one of the later ones what with the "D" spindle, large dials etc - should be a winner!

http://i22.photobucket.com/albums/b301/pace1980/South%20Bend%20Heavy%2010/finished006.jpg (http://s22.photobucket.com/user/pace1980/media/South%20Bend%20Heavy%2010/finished006.jpg.html)

Tony Ennis
04-30-2013, 10:57 PM
Serial # is 14341tkx

Ohio Mike
04-30-2013, 11:13 PM
Serial # is 14341tkx

14341 = 1974
T = 13" swing
K = Quick Change Gear (QCG), Friction Feed Apron, Underneath Motor Drive (UMD)
X = Special (likely is harden bed, could include other options too)

04-30-2013, 11:24 PM
I have a SB 13 and am very happy with it. They are good machines but i would diffidently take the time to do a tear down and re-felt the whole machine. These are plain bearing spindles and use felt wicks to provide lube to the spindle. Same with the gear box and the apron. With age the felts gather enough crud to get very hard and not pass/wick much lube. There is a good following on PM on the south bend forum. P/s don't let the though of a plain bearing spindle scare you, my sb9a made in 1946 and the sb13 made in 1968 show very little if any wear on the spindle or bearings.

04-30-2013, 11:51 PM
You'll love this machine. I have it's larger brother a SB 16" with an 8" bed and a taper attachment. Gets used all the time. Mine came out of an oil terminal mant. shop and had very little use.
Gave $200 for it in '95 and I'm very happy with it!!!


04-30-2013, 11:59 PM
Pre-gloat pictures! Excellent. It looks like it could be a good kit if an in person appraisal doesn't turn up any mystery cracks and stuck parts. It looks like the kind of machine that can outlive several good owners.

05-01-2013, 12:55 AM

Is it in Michigan? A friend of mine has/had one for sale in Mi.

edit: it is probably in flylo's hanger by now.


05-01-2013, 12:57 AM
The 13"SB is an excellent machine.
Spindle bore-1.375"(large enough for 5C collet draw tube) Spindle taper-4&1/2MT. There is an adapter to 3MT to mount tooling with that shank. Tail stock barrel taper-3MT. Weight of 13 X 28-1500#. The spindle bearings are the thin shell type. The instructions on the head stock are a little sketchy. As mentioned earlier the Practical Machinist Board has an entire forum dedicated to SB lathes. There's a sticky that will give you step by step photos and instructions to disassemble the head stock for replacing the bearing felts. All of the parts lists and manuals as well as parts sources are shown. Buy the lathe and visit the PM site.

05-01-2013, 05:43 AM
We have that lathe's twin brother at work for our students to use. It is a 13".

The nuts of both the compound and cross feed on ours are pretty used up and given the age that is not to be unexpected; but the good news is that you can, incredibly, still get parts for these lathes. I do not have the source with me at my present posting location but if you are interested drop me a PM and I will dig it up for you.

It is an excellent machine and if the price is right and it has no obvious mechanical flaws I would buy it.

05-01-2013, 07:14 AM
pretty sure the spindle taper is a proprietary taper(same as the 10L??) - easy to get though, tools4cheap sells them.

05-01-2013, 03:06 PM
And that would be a good thing,right?:rolleyes: What's your friend asking for his?

Is it in Michigan? A friend of mine has/had one for sale in Mi.

edit: it is probably in flylo's hanger by now.


05-01-2013, 05:07 PM
I'm about 97% completed on a rebuild of a 1947 SB 13". When I took the apron off the saddle, I discovered that it was packed full of chips and hard junk. Also, several of the oil galleys were totally blocked. If you get it, I'd recommend a complete cleaning as possible. I have a factory dis-assembly manual which I could copy if you need it.

05-01-2013, 05:58 PM
Fine by me Eric. He was asking $1,800 with some tooling. The ad is gone so I assume he sold it.


And that would be a good thing,right?:rolleyes: What's your friend asking for his?

Tony Ennis
05-01-2013, 07:40 PM
So, how does one get such a lathe into the basement. Is it easy enough to disassemble into easily-managed 500# components? :-P

I have every intention of getting professional help since it will be cheaper than my insurance deductable.

05-01-2013, 10:56 PM
So, how does one get such a lathe into the basement. Is it easy enough to disassemble into easily-managed 500# components? :-P

Easy Peasy first you get a flame wrench:rolleyes:

Now for real SB's come apart and go back together real easy. Just remember to use your digital camera every time you start to remove something and put parts in plastic baggies with notes and labels.
Broken down the biggest chunk will be the Undermotor drive pedestal, including running gear about 350#.
The Bed with the saddle removed weighs about 200#

To remove the saddle.
Move the carrage all the way to the right.
Remove the lead screw support for the right end of the lathe.
Support the lead screw on the left of the carrage.
Support the bottom of the apron.
Remove the bolt from the carrage lock.
Make sure the half nut is open, feeds are not engaged and the lead screw slot is down.
Remove the 2 screws holding the apron to the saddle.
Slide the saddle to the right to remove.
Replace the lead screw end bracket.

Everything else is less!
Here a URL for a guy who rebuilt a 13" SB very much like yours:
The Rebuild Book & Parts Kit for 13" South Bend Lathe on evil bay is IMHO a must have all the felts and oilers that you will need (don't even think about running the old girl without replacing the felts and oilers.
The manual will pay for itself with the first part that you don't ruin;)

05-02-2013, 09:53 PM
I have a 14 1/2" X 60". The machine is accurate, but, everyone says the 13" is stout and mine is about as stout as a semiwet noodle. Everything is snug but it was used to machine plastic for years and rigidity was not an issue. I have had it for about 10 years and the bearings are just beginning to not need adjusted every year. Custom made shims for the headstock helped. Its accurate in every reasonable way but it would be a hard machine to make money with.

Tony Ennis
05-04-2013, 08:28 AM
Ok, I have made an offer to the seller. I believe this is going to happen. Then I'll start the Grande Adventure of getting this thing to my house. I'm excited!

Edit - yep, it's happening! Yay me!

05-04-2013, 09:13 AM
good lathes i have a 14 1/2 it is a good running lathe. they do come apart easy. or you could use this as a reason to put a walkin door in your basment. then when you get a bigger mill you will not have to worry how to get it in. yes a walk in door does open up a whole new world of machinery.

J. Randall
05-04-2013, 02:13 PM
Although, I sometimes think the SB's are over hyped by the cult following they have, it would be head and shoulders above what you have been using, and you have been turning out some pretty nice looking work on it. I would say go for it.