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Lathe Restoration Tips and Opinions. Color?

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  • Lathe Restoration Tips and Opinions. Color?

    Ok guys so I am going to get a SB Model C lathe from an old blacksmith who meticulously cared for his machines. His machines have slight surface rust on them but everything looks amazing. Needs a new flat belt as well. Going to get it and ALL the tooling he has for it for 500 bucks. He said it was around 1500 dollars worth of tooling but maybe more. Anyways I am looking at restoring it first thing I get so I have a "new" machine. I am going to clean all the surface rust off but I am freaking out over the ways because I don't want to ruin the accuracy of the lathe as well as obsessing over checking it and scraping it to make it true... I won't because I don't know jack **** about scraping but its gnawing in the back of my head. Anyways I want to strip the old paint and paint it new. My question is what color do you guys like and what brand/kind. I like flashyish colors... Orange, yellow, bright blue maybe? I just see these old tools and they look like cool old hotrods. I know some of you might think thats wrong. What do you guys think? I can't wait to make chips but I want it to be fresh when i do. #ShouldIputflamesonit? #Racingstripes
    "If at first you don't succeed, skydiving is not for you."

  • #2
    These things don't really go together:

    "meticulously cared for his machines"
    "His machines have slight surface rust"

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    • #3
      I use wd40 and a razor blade on surface rust on any flat surface like the ways. Wire brush the other stuff. Colors,I'm old school and like the original colors or even bare metal. Light gray would be flashy for me

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      • #4
        Lime Green and canary yellow accents, with blaze orange on the handles for paint.
        Forget any kind of scraping, just use the lathe as is, no machine tool is perfect, and trying to achieve perfection will drive one insane

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        • #5
          British racing green.
          Location: Helsinki, Finland, Europe

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          • #6
            Congratulations!

            Post some pictures. Light rust means different things to different people. Check out threads on lathe restoration. First, do no harm, and that probably takes some reading. Techniques that might seem normal for restoring a car wouldn't be appropriate for a lathe.

            There are different ways of removing rust. Rust can be abrasive. Light rust spots on paint can be removed with wax and fine steel wool. I am not a fan of scotchbrite for most things, no matter how tempting. Some wire brushes are hard and will scratch. Some "brass" brushes are merely a brass coating over harder steel.

            Dollar stores sell stainless steel pot scrubbies that are surprisingly gentle for removing rust. They're also pretty soft in the hand, despite their appearance. Flylo turned me on to those.

            Has the lathe ever been used for grinding? Is there any abrasive in the wipers, or hard chips? I don't have much Southbend experience, but they didn't have the best lube system. It isn't always easy to get oil under the sliding surfaces.

            Where will the machine be stored, short term? If you clean rust off machined surfaces, you could come out the next morning to find more rust, depending on the environment and weather. An old coating of dust and oil can be surprisingly good protection.

            Edit: Color? There is a lot to be said for a proper machine grey, nicely applied. Down the road, you may wish to upgrade to a different lathe. Funky paint colors could greatly reduce the market and price.
            Last edited by Glug; 06-27-2017, 09:28 AM.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Glug View Post
              Color? There is a lot to be said for a proper machine grey, nicely applied. Down the road, you may wish to upgrade to a different lathe. Funky paint colors could greatly reduce the market and price.
              Fancy paint job isn't going to improve it's accuracy either.

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              • #8
                I would suggest a thorough cleaning with acetone and scotch bright pads, removing all old grease and gunk.
                Then gently stone, with WD40, any areas on the ways with rust.
                After everything's clean and pretty, You should really reconsider painting it.
                The old patina and original paint looks better than new flashy paint, in my opinion.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by reggie_obe View Post
                  Fancy paint job isn't going to improve it's accuracy either.
                  exactly.

                  I put a great deal of effort into making machines as close to perfect as I can. I think I've painted one. after a year of oil coolant chips you wouldn't know it.

                  I saw guy pay top dollar for a clapped out 10ee with a really nice paint job......don't be that guy (either of 'em lol)
                  in Toronto Ontario - where are you?

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by reggie_obe View Post
                    Fancy paint job isn't going to improve it's accuracy either.
                    No, but it might persuade you to take better care of it.

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                    • #11
                      Rivett didn't paint his stuff and I think it looks really good.
                      www.thecogwheel.net

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                      • #12
                        At least a paint job keeps the wife from complaining that I buy garbage

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                        • #13
                          Stay away from Scotchbrite, Brillo or scouring pads or anything with abrasive powders or paste. A kick in the nads to anyone suggesting it.
                          Clean steel wool and oil is fine. Vinegar will get rust off , but may darken metal. Oil it up soon after you finish cleaning.
                          I would go gray or lighter green for color...hammertone may be nice if you can find it.

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                          • #14
                            Just try it... anytime, 754...... if you feel lucky.

                            400 or 600 grit wet-or-dry paper (does not drop grit) and light oil. Removes rust quickly, and NO, it will NOT ruin the "precision surfaces" (that might have been precise 60 years ago before the wear and rust happened).

                            Steel wool drops particles that stick and cause wear. Just what everyone says about abrasive paper.

                            If yo are really paranoid, a razor blade and oil, but I'd not bother,

                            As for paint.... scrape it in,then worry about pretty. Otherwise you may just have the best painted pig in town..... New paint on a worn machine is like sawdust and bananas in the tranny... just a temporary cover-up until the truth comes out.
                            CNC machines only go through the motions

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                            • #15
                              Clean it. Oil it. Then make chips with it.
                              When you can't get the accuracy you want or need on a part, ask here and get advice on improving your techniques and skills.
                              At some point in the future you may find that the limiting factor is the wear in your lathe.
                              Then you can decide to rebuild your lathe or go in search of a lathe in better condition.
                              By then you may have learned that a 9 inch South Bend is the right model for your needs. Or not.

                              My guess is you can make parts and learn for many years before you ever reach the limits of the lathe.

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