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Question for those knowledgeable about South-Bend lathes...

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  • Question for those knowledgeable about South-Bend lathes...

    I have an opportunity to purchase a 9" bench lathe. One issue that bothers me is that it has the small style micrometer dials on the cross and compound feeds. I'm wondering whether the larger ones would be a bolt on modification. Any info would be appreciated. Thanks.

  • #2
    I have the small dials, the larger dials definetly would be nicer, trying to take off .001 on diameter, gotta go between the tightly stacked lines on the small dials. If your eyes are good, its easy, I have glasses. Cant say if it would be a bolt on. Hmm, well you'd need to replace the part comming out of the cross slide with the spanner, replace with the one with the larger dial back, and the dial itself, so far, bolt on. However you may need to refit the screw, readjust backlash.


    • #3
      There are a couple of ways around the problem without switching dials.

      An OptiVisor is an inexpensive solution when you're down to the last thou or two. If you're over age 40, you'll find lots of other uses for it, like finding & pulling tiny steel shards out of your hands.

      Setting the compound to 9* instead of 90* gives you 1/10th the movement, so 10 thou on the dial becomes 1 thou, etc. Setting to .9* (I use 1* because it's there) gives you 1/100th movement, so 10 thou becomes 1 tenth, etc.

      You may want to call SBL at 1-800-245-2843 and ask for technical services. They'll need the model # & serial # of your machine. They are really helpful.

      Barry Milton
      Barry Milton


      • #4
        Hi x39,

        To answer your question, the "direct reading" dials use a cross feed screw with a longer shaft. Therefore, you will need the complete assembly. The compound screw is the same.

        I hope this helps. Good Luck!
        -Blue Chips-

        [This message has been edited by WLW-19958 (edited 03-26-2005).]


        • #5
          Thanks all for your information. The machine I'm looking at is a former school machine and has very little wear. Should be a fun project to get it set up the way I want. I looked into collets for it, man, those little rascals are expensive compared to the 5Cs. Other than the small dials, the machine is identical to the one on pg.10 of "How to Run a Lathe". Thanks again.


          • #6
            If the lathe is in good shape otherwise, I wouldn't let the dials be show-stopping factor in getting it.

            You may be able to buy a replacement cross slide from a used machinery dealer like Dave Sobel or Plaza Machinery. Or, cogitate on it a bit yourself and make your own replacements....

            Try to make a living, not a killing. -- Utah Phillips
            Don't believe everything you know. -- Bumper sticker
            Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects. -- Will Rogers
            There are lots of people who mistake their imagination for their memory. - Josh Billings
            Law of Logical Argument - Anything is possible if you don't know what you are talking about.
            Don't own anything you have to feed or paint. - Hood River Blackie


            • #7
              Home Shop Machinist Sept/Oct 2002 page 50. "Make Your Own Collets"
              Machinist Workshop Dec.2002/Jan 2003 page 18, "How to Improve Your 9" S.B."
              Home Shop Machinist Jan/Feb 2004 page 48 "Telescope Taper Attachment" shows making bigger dials and new crossfeed screws. Also nice because it moves the dial out so it isn't covered up by the crossfeed.
              Good lathes, go for it. John


              • #8
                You should check on what type of collet you need. On my SB it uses #3morse. I bought a full set on Ebay for $20.00 for a brand name. The closer was already with my machine but making one is no problem. On my machine I changed every thing to direct reading dials. Made life much easier along with eliminating the worry of backlash adjustments.