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Boxford "C" vs South Bend "A" Upgrade

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  • Boxford "C" vs South Bend "A" Upgrade

    I have had a full metric CUD Boxford lathe for about ten years now. Not sure how it ended up in the USA, but it's done good by me. I have wished for the power cross slide and a way to change feed speeds without breaking out the wrenches, almost every time I use it. Its a hassle to do the change gears and I never have touched the bag of gears to change feeds. It's set at a fairly slow feed speed and I just make do or hand feed it if I am in a hurry. I have tried to locate MKIII parts in the UK to do a conversion but it seems I almost have to buy a lathe from the UK and ship it as a lot of other people are looking for the same parts. I contacted Lathes UK about parts ten years ago and their advice was to start over with another lathe rather than to try the conversion. Here in Oregon USA the main industry was lumber for many years, I think now that's transitioned to pot. Not a lot of industries that use lathes and then retire them, so decent lathes don't show up local often like in other parts of the USA. Most of the time I lose out if it's any good as they go fast. After loosing out on a Heavy 10 last year by waiting to buy because it was not in great shape I decided to just buy next time and sort the details later.


    So yesterday a more worn but usable south bend 9A cabinet model showed up with a three phase motor. I bought it 1 hour of listing, thinking it was the likely replacement for my Boxford. The 9A is about the same machine, all my tooling and chucks cross over. but looking at the specs, it's not. From what I can tell the Boxford maximum spindle speed is close to twice that of the South Bend, The Boxford has a roller bearing headstock and a lot of refinements, large dials, quicker head and tail stock use, t-slot cross slide, a splash shield on the cabinet and 1" taller height. So now I am having second thoughts. Yes the gearbox and power cross slide would be nice but it's a toss up. I did not pay too much for the South Bend and can get my money back out plus a little more for the trouble and fuel to haul it home. It does have the tail stock, it just was sitting on the floor. My CUD didn't look so hot when I got it either but it cleaned up nice. Its got a lot less wear on it though.


    I have gotten a lot of good advice off the forums. Right now it's not so clear what one to keep.
    Attached Files
    Last edited by donf; 09-26-2021, 11:41 AM.

  • #2
    Originally posted by donf View Post
    . Not sure how it ended up in the USA,
    Probably some miss informed or delusional person imported it. Sad really.

    The Boxford is/was a British version of the South Bend lathe with some improvements or modernization's. According to legend many of the parts should be interchangeable.
    The shortest distance between two points is a circle of infinite diameter.

    Bluewater Model Engineering Society at https://sites.google.com/site/bluewatermes/

    Southwestern Ontario. Canada

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    • #3
      Originally posted by loose nut View Post

      Probably some miss informed or delusional person imported it. Sad really.

      The Boxford is/was a British version of the South Bend lathe with some improvements or modernization's. According to legend many of the parts should be interchangeable.
      Some are, the MKIII Boxford has enough changes that they are not interchangeable on the important stuff like gearbox and power cross slide. In fact Boxford told me to find parts from a similar year (1980) as there were enough changes that they did not recommend even using early BUD parts for the conversion.

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      • #4
        The lathe was imported, but its more likely it came from Canada as they use the metric system. That's a 300 mile pickup bed ride from where I bought it. I just took it another 250 miles south.

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        • #5
          Tricky decision. By the sounds of it the qcgb would be of more benefit than the higher spindle speed. If you have space I'd oil up the SB, use it for a while and then decide which to keep
          Last edited by mattthemuppet; 09-26-2021, 08:42 PM.

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          • #6
            likely it came from Canada as they use the metric system
            They do, do they? Well, sorta, depends on who you ask, what part of the country, and what demographic they fall into (or out of...)!

            If you have room and time I'd cleanup/ fix up the SB, use both for a while and see which actually gets the most use and for what, rather than make a too hasty decision on what to keep. All things being equal you will not want to go back to not having a QCGB.
            "A machinist's (WHAP!) best friend (WHAP! WHAP!) is his hammer. (WHAP!)" - Fred Tanner, foreman, Lunenburg Foundry and Engineering machine shop, circa 1979

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            • #7
              Can you not use the gearbox with a bit of reworking. That boxford is a very desirable lathe in my country.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by plunger View Post
                Can you not use the gearbox with a bit of reworking. That boxford is a very desirable lathe in my country.
                I cant use the South Bend gear box on the Metric Boxford. I could have done that years ago. That would be a hokey mess. They are siblings but a lot of stuff changed by 1980. One person I talked to tried it on an imperial Boxford. He had to mill and shim the south bend parts to get things to line up. Not worth it to bastardize two machines as they are both semi desirable. The 9A was a high school machine. lots of dings on the compound and cross slide. Still for what I paid it can sit in the corner for a while to see if it has a home.

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                • #9
                  I have a Boxford AUD which I bought when working in Canada back in the 1970;s
                  Hands down better than the Southbend . You forgot to mention it has needle bearings for cross-feed and tool slides and the tail stock clamp makes the SB look like a chump and the Boxford's superior method to change into Backgear ( One swift move) .
                  I also had a SB , and removed / installed the taper attachment , and steadyrest- which fit the Boxford perfectly.
                  Forget the "recommendations " and yank the QC box of the SB and adapt it to the Boxford . The improvement is worth the effort IMHO
                  The really big question is do you want to stay Metric , or go imperial ? That will determine how to approach the changes needed
                  If you want Imperial , then the SB QC Box and leadscrew AND carriage Apron need to be installed , and possibly the cross-slide lead screw ( Gear for power cross-feed)
                  The Aproen has the same bolt holes , but may have metric cap screws ?
                  Match the SB headstock gear cluster . Since slide dials are metric -- and get a DRO to solve that

                  Rich

                  Attached Files
                  Green Bay, WI

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                  • #10
                    Of course , you could put the sb gearbox on the Boxford and then gradually acquire the metric change gears via ebay.
                    25 miles north of Buffalo NY, USA

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                    • #11
                      Thanks for all the feedback. I could probably cobble something up like I said in the previous post, but that is not the direction I want to go. One person I talked to actually did it, he made a South Bend later Boxford mix and it still was not a great fit. The apron had to be shimmed and milled according to him. Maybe all this swapping works on the original versions as they were basically SB copies? That sounds reasonable. That's probably where all the confusion is coming from. Even Boxford said to use only MKIII parts for conversion as they even made some design changes between the older versions of Boxford. Its OK. Absolutely not going to hokey up a machine with an imperial/metric mismatch and deal with the problems of fit the other person mentioned. I would just wait and try to find a better machine in a year or two of ad searching. I got the 9A South Bend wired and fired up. No too bad for a lathe that has set for at least ten years. Something is the matter in the power feed, It tries to move, but its like the clutch is slipping then it trips a breaker on the back of the machine. If I leave that part in neutral, it goes fine. There are some other fixes that need done. The motor is getting hot for some reason. The gear cover has some pins that are missing so its loose. Those three fixes and some oil and major cleaning and I may have a second lathe that can cut for a few weeks to get a feel for the better choice. The one great thing about South Bend is parts in the USA are pretty common compared to Boxford.
                      Attached Files
                      Last edited by donf; 09-26-2021, 08:49 PM.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by donf View Post
                        I cant use the South Bend gear box on the Metric Boxford. I could have done that years ago. That would be a hokey mess. They are siblings but a lot of stuff changed by 1980. One person I talked to tried it on an imperial Boxford. He had to mill and shim the south bend parts to get things to line up. Not worth it to bastardize two machines as they are both semi desirable. The 9A was a high school machine. lots of dings on the compound and cross slide. Still for what I paid it can sit in the corner for a while to see if it has a home.
                        I see your answer above was made while I was typing my earlier response. It seems you do not want to make the parts transferable. In that case, you may want to fix the SB and have two lathes, One for turning and one for threading . It isn't the first time this has happened
                        Rich

                        Green Bay, WI

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                        • #13
                          I figured as much. Thank you for the feedback.

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                          • #14
                            I have 2 lathes in regular use, One is an SB 9 inch with gearbox, the other is a Myford ML10 with change gears and an auxiliary drive to the leadscrew. They live close to each other.
                            For Example,Today I have been making extra spacers for my Milling machine arbors,
                            The Myford has been used for rough facing and drilling to 7/8", holding them in a 3 jaw then the blanks have moved on to the SB/s 4 jaw chuck, been faced and turned round and then bored under power feed. 2 passes to 1"
                            I was rough facing and drilling a blank 1/4" while the SB was taking a boring cut.
                            While there is twice the clean up there is an easy and quick progression through the job,
                            Incidentally blanks were sawn off in my 100 yr old power hacksaw while I was running the lathes.
                            If you have the space, and the dollars keep both your lathes and use them as appropriate.
                            Regards David Powell.

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                            • #15
                              If you want a slow carriage feed on the Boxford ( which has no QC) you might want to make the modification that was in Model Engineer some years ago\and is found on Myford's as a stock item I believe. That is mount a handwheel on the end of the leadscrew and use it for feeding the carriage. Or even do the Hardinge type with a DC motor running the leadscrew
                              Rich
                              Green Bay, WI

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