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It looks bad, tell me like it is.

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  • It looks bad, tell me like it is.

    Well, heres some pics of my cast iron bearings on my southbend. IT looks very bad, explains why the scuffing on the spindle.

    Is it terminal?
    When I bought the lathe few days ago, it was smooth, I can probably still use it as is, run it into the ground, then get a new headstock I guess.
    ALso, I couldnt find the shims, because they were painted over, but the Flash on my camera brought them out I think, Are those the shims?
    also need a new rear oiler it looks like.
    You know, I'd be a lot happier if I didnt remove the spindle, and remained ignorant of the bearings. Ah man, this stinks.

  • #2
    No I don't think its terminal. Can be saved by being re-bored. Cutting a few thou off mating surfaces and make proper size bores. or use as is with hi tech fillers in gooves, or possibly check to see if automotive type rod bearing could be fitted.


    • #3
      Damn, he looked that gift lathe right in the mouth.


      • #4
        This type of bearing uses shims to adjust for wear. Thinner shims to take up wear in the bearing and spindle.
        With headstock assembled, how much play or shake up & down and side to side do you have? Measure with a dial indicator on the spindle.
        Measure the end play in the spindle, again with a dial indicator.
        These measurements will tell you the condition of the headstock. The bearings look a tad on the shabby side to say the least, but may have little or no affect on the lathe itself for your purposes.
        Clean everything well, and remove any warts and pimples on bearings and spindle so no further damage will occur, reassemble, adding or removing shims as needed to get free operation with no tight spots and minimum play. Keep the lathe well lubricated and try it out to see how it performs. It is probably better than a 50/50 chance that the lathe will run for many years without problems.
        You have nothing to loose by finding out how well it will work before performing major surgery, and may be pleasantly surprised with the outcome.
        Jim H.


        • #5
          I removed the shims, peeled 1 layer off, and now I have too much gap. I bolted down the bolts to a point where there was no play and no binding. Now I just need more shim stock. Im wondering if I should buy some feeler guages and make some shims, or go another route.
          Also, this Maglice stuff that Thrud is allways talking about, can that be used to fill in the grooves of the bearings? Some kind of filler to fill in the grooves?
          I almost want to go to a machine shop, but that would be cost prohibitive.


          • #6

            If it's any consolation my old SB9 'C' model was in a heck of a worse state than that. I had about .004" up and down play before I finally decided to refurb the old gal. With that much play it was a lottery when it came to parting off (would the piece part off before the tool broke!).

            Those are the shims alright, that you point to. Measure your up and down play and the pull it down a tad on the shims.

            Long term you can go for an oversize bore with a chromed or metal sprayed spindle re-ground oversize. That's what I did for mine. You might want to consider a thin wall bronze bush instead.

            For the short term I think you'll get some fun out of this one though.



            • #7

              First, don't worry about end play, that is adjusted by the collar on the left end of the spindle. You can use some brass shim stock available at most any hobby shop in various thicknesses. It cuts easily with sissors.

              The Moglice won't work in that application. It is designed for slow surface speeds.
              Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here


              • #8

                According to what I am hearing here, after you removed a few shims, the bore is now too small and if you tighten down the bolts this would bind the spendle. This is telling me that you have plenty of life left in the spindle and the head stock bearing surface.

                If going to a machine shop is truly too costly, Then perhaps you can just get the spindle hard chrome plated. A .002 to .003 covering will fill the grooves and allow you to polish the surface down a little should it need to be. (Other may have differing opions on this approach.)

                As far as the head stock is concerned you might try making a lap from soft material and lap out the bore until is is atleast round and smooth. You won't really need perfect here, just real good.


                • #9
                  With the few plain bearing lathes I've seen in production shops, the operators used Allen bolts to adjust the bearing caps. They leave the Allen wrench in the bolt. As the day went on the machines heated up, and the bolt was given a slight loosening to compensate for the heat-expansion.

                  When a difficult job like parting-off came along the bolt was tightened a little to remove excess bearing clearance.

                  So rather than have a perfectly adjusted set of spindle bearings the operators adjusted the bearing clearance to suit the situation. Seemed to work and saved a lot of hassle trying to get it perfect.

                  It's worth noting the SB ads from the fifties (maybe sixties, seventies?) went into detail on the finishing of the spindles and the bearing composition. The spindles were "Super Finished", this is a process not a description of finish quality. SB was quite proud of their spindles. I believe Super Finishing was also advertised by Chrysler Corp as being used on their crank journals.

                  IIRC, the bearings themselves were multi-layer like engine bearings. To duplicate the original spindle/bearing setup at home or even in a regular machine shop would not be possible.

                  BillH, remove a shim and live with it, after all it's only a SB. It's unlikely you'll ever find a "good" SB headstock, most are much worse than yours. Besides you open a whole can of worms when you start switching headstocks.


                  • #10
                    I would clean up the shaft with polishing paper and clean the bearing out with a scraper to get the burrs out, put it back together and set the clearances right with the shims,keep it lubed and run it. You will probably be surprised and it won't cost anything.


                    • #11
                      Bill, what condition is the spindle? You don't mention it. If the spindle is smooth, as I assume or you would have mentioned it, then just work on the headstock. It looks like you have a decent area where the oil wick is, so you might consider a light honing to get a few more bearing spots and put it back together. As stated, remove a shim, adjust and use it, keeping it well oiled. John


                      • #12
                        I agree with the rest. You can get some 1500 grit polishing paper at anywhere they sell bodyshop supplies. Put the spindle on a length of 3/4" bar with a some masking tape wrapped on it to protect the spindle taper and make for a snug fit. Chuck in the other lathe with tail center and polish up the spindle nice and shiny. Don't try to remove any grooves, just clean up the surface marks. Use good lighting! Make a "flap lap" with the same paper and do the bores. Flap lap: coat hanger wire bent back on itself with two layers of paper several times as long as the bore diameter slid between the folded over wire, in a drill. Use oil when polishing both. If 1500 doen't seem to touch it start with 1000 grit and then go to 1500.

                        They don't have to be perfect. Don't get down, you're going to have an excellent machine when done.
                        Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here


                        • #13
                          Is that Poured Babbit I see?

                          Ohojim on ebay sells a book on pouring babbit.

                          Search out his seller name under advanced search. I've bought a passel of books from him, he is a nice guy, thou his machine shop is getting rusty and dusty. Ask him about it.



                          • #14
                            I posted pics of my spindle in anotehr thread, titled, "I took the spindle off my southbend".
                            I think im going a little crazy with the perfectionism in my brain. the spindle feels smooth to the touch, not rough at all, its the bearings that feel like they have ridges. I;ve decided that im going to flush out the headstock, get 2 new capilary oilers, and use the proper spindle lube, Oil the hell out of it, and use it as is.
                            THe spindle rotates smoothly, although, not as free turning as it could be, I Think. I dont have another southbend to play with to test this out.
                            Hearing about other lathes in much worse condition than mine puts things into perspective.
                            THe grooves in the bearings are all below the surface, I think. I guess it won't hurt to scrape them. I don't know how to scrape them though.
                            Im going to use it as is, and in the 10 years I suppose it takes for it to wear out, I'll have enough money to convert it to new bushings or precision roller bearings


                            • #15
                              The very finest lathe made (Hardinge HLV with a runout of 25 Millionths") has bearings like yours, not needle bearings, not taper bearing, not ABEC 7 or 9 Ball bearing, but plain, tried and true sleeve bearings 5" in diameter).

                              Polish up your spindle like I told you and work any high spots down in your spindle bearings. You can always bore the old bearings out later and replace them with bronze bushings - then your lathe will really sing. Don't despair, you still have a nice machine - it just needs a little TLC is all.