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South Bend 9-A bed wear

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  • South Bend 9-A bed wear

    My old South Bend 9 is a little worn, well really worn. I love that lathe and would like to keep it and get it trued up a little. The firsrt 10" of the bed is pretty well worn. What my question is, is that if I found another bed in good shape if I could easily swap the bed out, or does the head stock and tail stock have to be custom fit to its bed? I am not trying to make this the most accurate lathe in the world but I would like to get it a little closer than it is now.

    Thanks,
    Jimmy

  • #2
    It is doable. The headstock is simple to remove with just a couple of bolts clamping it to the bed. The countershaft assembly is easily taken apart so there is no need to break the belt or take apart the headstock.

    The main issue will be headstock to bed alignment. It is possible to fiddle that slightly without making any permanent changes or resorting to fancy stuff like scraping. Thin brass shims of around .001"-.005 can be placed between the headstock and the vee ways to slightly change the alignment without raising it enough to matter. The tailstock is adjustable so that is no problem. The carriage may present a problem. I don't know if they worked to any standard or just hand fitted each machine to itself.

    You might find this page instructive.
    Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here

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    • #3
      You might consider contacting South Bend. They do refurbish and scrape in lathes for a not unreasonable price. Shipping might be a consideration due to your location. www.southbendlathe.com

      There are frequently beds available on eBay as well. Refitting a bed is not too difficult a problem either.

      Before undertaking a major overhaul though, it is a good idea to go through alignment and inspection procedures. Meridian Machinery is no longer selling machines, but Dave has left his website up. www.mermac.com has excellent information on inspection. Also look at In Praise of Klunkers, it is interesting. Lots of good work can be done on "worn" lathes.
      Jim H.

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      • #4
        It looks like something I need to research a little more. I have found a nice bed, I am a long way away from South Bend. When you say it's not that dificult of a job to fit to a new bed, would you say this is something a newby with a fair amount of mechanical experience could handle?

        Thanks,
        Jimmy

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        • #5
          I would not hesitate to do it. It would be no more difficult than tearing down one of those engines. Care, cleanliness and attention to details is called for.

          Alignment of the completed lathe will determine the ultimate accuracy.
          Jim H.

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          • #6
            Sometimes I think the only thing I have a lot of confidence in doing is tearing into those engines, I'm getting my nerve up for the lathe challenge, alignment is the thing that worries me the most.....

            Thanks for the input,

            Jimmy

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