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15" South Bend Lathe

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  • 15" South Bend Lathe

    I just recently bought a 1918 South Bend Lathe for $350. It hasnt ran in 30 years due to a missing motor but it was always kept inside and everything still turns real smooth and is remakably tight and operates smoothly.

    I have a few questions about this machine, first How many horse power will I need to run it smoothly. Also is there any way the compound rest can be swaped with a newer south bend so I can have graduations on the compound rest for accuratly facing parts? If not I should be able to make due with it the way it is.

    I am not a machinist by any stretch of the imagination but I enjoy working with these old machines. I'd post a pic of the lathe here if I knew how, mabey someone here can enlighten me so everyone can see my new addition.

    Thanks in advance for the info

  • #2
    There's directions for using Photobucket posted as a note in the "Networking" forum.

    I'd guess that a 1 hp motor would work okay. It may have had more originally, and if you were turning a lot of large-diameter stuff you might want more, but I'd start with 1 hp and see how that worked.
    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


    • #3
      1 HP will certainlu run the machine well enough but you'll be limited for stock removal. Might as well go with the motor best suited for a lathe this size and antiquity. I suggest 3 HP, preferably a repulsion/induction motors from the era. They're big as a boulder and fit the esthetics of the machine but otherwise any motor you like that runs.

      I strongly reccommend a 1750 or 1125 RPM motor. Ex-table saw and cheap "compressor" motors run 3450 which means the motor pulley would have to be too small to drive efficiently.

      I assume the lathe is complete with all the index gears and the cone pulley/countershaft assembly and a heavy box of accessories. Isn't it. Come on, make us all drool.


      • #4
        Does it look anything like this:

        Barry Milton
        Barry Milton


        • #5
          The Photobucket site isnt letting me creat an account at the moment so I'll have to try latter. My connection here at school isnt that great so its probly a problem on my end.

          I was thinking in the 3 horse range, my neighbor tells me he might have a 5 horse that I could have so if he dose that may end up on there.

          The lathe is fairly compleat exept the missing motor and 4 step pully for the motor. There is a belt driven speed box that I think gives 2 speeds to the head stock. It looks like the motor that was on it at one point drove the shaft out of this box and then the output drove the head stock. Its got 2 sets of belts and pullyes in there and what looks like a clutch mechenism to select one speed form the other. I really dont think it is original but I could be wrong.

          I only have one change gear, but all the rest of the drive gears and the back gears are all still in the machine and are in real good shape, I guess when you consider the direction and back gearing cant be changes with it running this is no surprise that they havent been ground on. I also have a 13" 4 jaw chuck and a 10" 3 jaw chuck for this machine. The head stock pully is still on the spindel and the spindel is real tight and spins smooth. Dose anyone know where I might be able to find a set of change gears for this machine? I may have to have a set cut but I would like to find a set and save all the hassel of having someone cut a new set.

          My lathe looks like its close to the one posted in the picture, but the countershaft and pully on top of mine are missing. I think I should be able to adapt a pully from somthing else to the motor and then lace up a belt and be back in buisness. As soon as I can get the photo to load I'll post it.

          Thanks for the input I am new here but from what I have seen this looks like the place for information on precission machines.