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Questions on a South Bend Tool Room Lathe (13") I may purchase

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  • Questions on a South Bend Tool Room Lathe (13") I may purchase

    Hi All!
    I'm new to machining, and I'm looking to get a used lathe. I want something solid that will last me a long time.

    I found a 1953 South Bend 13" lathe for almost $4k. I'm wondering if that is worth it; it looks like it is good condition (from the pictures I've seen). He has some older tooling and accessories which also might be nice to get.

    Any advice on what it is worth, and what I should look for when I check it out? The added plus is the guy said he would deliver it to within 100 miles (I'm about 50 miles away from it).

    --corbin

  • #2
    It sounds expensive to me.
    I have a 13" South Bend which might be a "tool room" since it is a short bed. I paid about $800 for it with 3 jaw & 4 jaw chucks and some tooling. It is a great lathe for my purposes, but that seems like a lot of $ unless you are in some remote place where machines are scarce.
    VitŮŽria, Brazil

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    • #3
      Thanks for the info David, that's quite helpful. If anyone else has some advice on what it is worth, please let me know.
      corbin

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      • #4
        Seems a bit much to me also ---

        Thats getting into the range of some of the better new Chinese lathes, with the plus of "plug & play"

        Its just such a gamble in getting used equipment, and when you pay top dollar and get a stinker -- bummer
        If everything seems to be going well, you have obviously overlooked something........

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        • #5
          Hello,

          Over a year ago, I bought a South Bend 13x40 (without tooling) for about $800 delivered. The thing came from a school and was rode hard and put away wet. Practically every small thing that could be busted was busted. Some parts needed to be re-fit as they had been "adjusted" with a hammer and I had to make some new parts for it on my other lathe.

          Around September, of last year, I finally reached the point where the lathe is quite usable and only have to repair a couple more items...like the taper attachment.

          My guess is that my lathe would be worth around $1500 in my area, once I make the final repairs. My lathe bed has an obvious ridge on the front ways and I once measured about 0.025 in bed wear. That being said, it will still hold under 0.001 for small parts (around 0.5 in diameter) for about an inch. (I usually use my Sherline for the smallest parts.) Larger parts haven't been a problem.

          Unless lathes are pretty rare, in your area, I would expect the machine you are considering to be in good-to-excellent condition and fully tooled, for the price that is being asked.

          I agree, with Bill, that if you have to pay that price, you may want to consider a new import. A new import will also be able to thread metric, out of the box (crate?).

          Regards,

          Brian
          Last edited by Rif; 04-03-2009, 01:12 PM.
          There are only 10 types of people in the world: Those who understand binary and those who don't.

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          • #6
            Thanks Brian, that's also some great info.

            I'm on the west coast -- below San Francisco Bay (San Jose / Santa Cruz area to be more precise).

            I've been keeping an eye out for used machines, but I agree with you guys, that paying $4k might not be worth it when I can get an import for about the same price.

            I'm definitely going to check out the lathe, and I may make him an offer in the $2,000 range.

            thanks again!
            corbin

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            • #7
              Ahh, that would be this one: http://sfbay.craigslist.org/eby/tls/1104396327.html

              I snorted when I saw it, maybe if you can get them to agree with the $2K, but it's hard to tell what's up from the tiny pictures. There have been a lot of lathes for sale in the area lately, check in Sacramento, too.

              Joe

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Optics Curmudgeon
                Ahh, that would be this one: http://sfbay.craigslist.org/eby/tls/1104396327.html

                I snorted when I saw it, maybe if you can get them to agree with the $2K, but it's hard to tell what's up from the tiny pictures. There have been a lot of lathes for sale in the area lately, check in Sacramento, too.

                Joe
                Reading through the listing, I get the impression that the seller doesn't know exactly what is for sale.

                i.e.

                "There are many precision instruments with gadgets unknown."


                Regards,

                Brian
                There are only 10 types of people in the world: Those who understand binary and those who don't.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Optics Curmudgeon
                  Ahh, that would be this one: http://sfbay.craigslist.org/eby/tls/1104396327.html

                  I snorted when I saw it, maybe if you can get them to agree with the $2K, but it's hard to tell what's up from the tiny pictures. There have been a lot of lathes for sale in the area lately, check in Sacramento, too.

                  Joe
                  Yup, that's the one! I got some better pictures from the guy, and it looks like it is in good condition. I've been searching just the SF bay area on craigslist -- I'll start trying the Sac area too. I haven't seen many of these sized lathes for sale in my area

                  corbin

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                  • #10
                    Also -- are there any other good listings of used lathes for sale in the bay area (Other than craigslist and ebay)?

                    corbin

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                    • #11
                      Price will be determined by condition and accessories. That machine looks like it is well equipped, the description is difficult to decipher, but it is probably a full 36" between centers with an L series chuck mount. The photos do show steady & follow rests and maybe a taper attachment as well as several chucks and face plates & dog plates.

                      If it is a true tool room lathe, it will have been manufactured to a higher degree of accuracy than the standard lathe, bed length has nothing to do with it. It also possibly has hardened ways.

                      The condition will have to be assessed by a visit, but at the price, it would be worth the travel. Prices are negotiable, it might be on the high end, but it might also be a very good value considering the amount of accessories. It appears there is quite a bit more than the basic lathe equipment included, there is at least ine dial indicator and what appears to be some boxes of unknown quantity.

                      Sometimes paying a bit more up front will result in savings in the long run.
                      Jim H.

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                      • #12
                        Everyone will tell you about the great deal they got after looking for years. Best of luck finding that special deal and you obviously aren't looking in Ohio where lathes fall from trees. So what's it worth out west? The accessories would cost you over $1000 if you had to buy them on ebay and probably quite a bit more. And a basic SB 13" lathe in good shape will easily sell for $1500-$2500 on the west coast. So if the accessories include some hidden gems, it could be a deal and who knows if they'll drop the price when a buyer shows up with cash. Go check it out.

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                        • #13
                          I would have someone knowledgeable assess the photos for you - can you not post them here? It's all very nice being tooled to the hilt with expensive accessories but not much use spending the extra to end up with a shelf full of stuff that as a novice you'll never or seldom use when you could put it towards more useful tooling.
                          Peter - novice home machinist, modern motorcycle enthusiast.

                          Denford Viceroy 280 Synchro (11 x 24)
                          Herbert 0V adapted to R8 by 'Sir John'.
                          Monarch 10EE 1942

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                          • #14
                            well from what i see in the pics it mite not be too bad of a price. it is the newer 13" with the large spindel hole.

                            lets see about 2000 for a basic lathe in good shape

                            another 1000-1500 for the steady and fallow rests a taper atchment and threading dial. and other tooling.

                            delivery could run 500 to 1000.

                            i would say offer 3000 cash and work up from there.

                            and i would not put too much stock in the great deals every one talks about. you have to decide do you want to set up and start learning now or wast 1-2 years looking for that deal that never comes along?

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                            • #15
                              Thanks everyone for the info. I guess my only concern is being able to cut metric threads; that is something that I may want to do, and I don't want to be stuck with the wrong lathe when I want to do it.

                              I'm considering buying a new small import to get me started (something under $1000, like a benchtop grizzly or enco). I'm not sure if that would be $1000 wasted, or I should just shell out the larger amount of cash for an older solid South Bend.

                              Any advice on that front?

                              Here's some larger pics of the lathe and tooling.





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