Rebuild a Heavy 10L or add a small lathe?

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DianneB
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Rebuild a Heavy 10L or add a small lathe?

Post by DianneB » Mon Sep 17, 2018 4:47 am

I have had my 1941 Southbend 10L for many years but it did hard service for decades before I got it. With winter coming on, I have a lot of very small/fine machining to do and can't decide whether to rebuild the 10L or pick up a small modern lathe. I am retired and live on a small pension so being cost-effective is most important.

Major issues with the 10L are:
1. Headstock bearings are worn but non-adjustable. I have them tightened as far as I can but there is still a tiny amount of up/down movement on the spindle.
2. The bed has a drop of about 0.0015" in front of the chuck and should be ground/lapped.
3. The cross-slide V's are worn - loosest at the front and tightens toward the back no matter how the gibs are adjusted
4. ALL the half-nuts are worn causing excessive backlash.

All the gearing is in good shape and the quick-change box seems in good condition and I replaced the 3 jaw chuck last year. This lathe works great for most of what I want to do but I will need to do a bunch of very small parts this winter including nuts and bolts and the Southbend feels like using a sledgehammer to drive thumb tacks! :wink:

(Within 10 or 15 years I will probably be looking to move to a seniors complex if I am still alive, and a mini lathe could go with me but definitely NOT the 10L - it is HUGE and heavy!)

I really don't know what to do, to rebuild the 10L or look for a mini lathe. Pros/cons?

whateg0
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Re: Rebuild a Heavy 10L or add a small lathe?

Post by whateg0 » Mon Sep 17, 2018 11:18 am

Just my 2¢. I have looked at small lathes before, thinking they would be good for tiny parts. I have a buddy who bought one for the same reason, but, being a cheap lathe, he wasn't able to get good parts off it very easily. I don't know how small is small for you, but I'd think a jeweler's lathe would be pretty cool to have for some of the stuff I've done over the years. I can make small parts on the 10ee, but like you say, it seems like overkill sometimes. There isn't any kind of "feel" when turning a part that is only 0.020" in diameter. That's a tough situation. I suppose any used lathe that is considered affordable is going to have similar wear. Backlash in the screws and half-niuts isn't the end of the world. You just have to be aware of it. Repairing is going to take time, but aside from ending up with a decent machine, you'll probably never recoup what it would take to really address all of the wear.

Dave

Patio
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Re: Rebuild a Heavy 10L or add a small lathe?

Post by Patio » Mon Sep 17, 2018 11:55 am

As I see it, the question becomes, do you want or have time for another project? Do you have the tooling, space and experience to rebuild the lathe? Or do you just want to get the projects your doing, done? As we get older time becomes more important than money. Fast, Easy or Cheap, pick any two!
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kroll
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Re: Rebuild a Heavy 10L or add a small lathe?

Post by kroll » Mon Sep 17, 2018 4:40 pm

I don't know if you ever price bearings for the spindle which are precision bearing but they may be more than what you paid for the lathe.That would be a deal killer for me,if it is the bearings and not the spindle itself.

pete
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Re: Rebuild a Heavy 10L or add a small lathe?

Post by pete » Mon Sep 17, 2018 6:04 pm

I haven't seen ANY of the smaller Chinese lathes I was at all enthused about at the tool suppliers Dianne even though I own one about 50% bigger than those mini lathes. It's also a lot better in every way than them. Fit and finish can be lived with, but basic misalignments, poor machining and grinding, angle grinder improved surfaces, too much plastic that should be metal and generaly really poor cast iron quality can't. At best there a pre worn out kit of assembled castings that needs most areas rebuilt anyway. Manitoba isn't exactly a manufacturing hot bed so that makes your problem even tougher to find good but used. Your still a lot closer to the areas that are than I am. It's only one version among a few. But for very likely around the same cost as one of those mini lathes and it's accessories you should or might be able to find a lightly used and well cared for Emco Compact 5 around Ontario / eastern U.S. I've owned one for a long time, and while there not perfect there light years ahead of those mini lathes. The base machine weight is around 45 lbs. And if set up correctly there very accurate. I wouldn't think there's anything small enough for what your building that couldn't be done on my lathe. There a 5" swing with almost 12" between centers.

A problem but Emco no longer makes any parts or accessories for them. So if you did find one? I'd want something that already comes with most of what Emco made for them such as 3 and 4 jaw chucks, steadys etc. All of that sooner or later will show up on Ebay, but almost always at higher prices than I'd pay. I'd estimate a good condition Compact 5 should be priced somewhere in the $800-$1200 range depending on the additional tooling being sold with it and condition. Brand new prices from around 1989 for the lathe and rear mounted mill plus almost every accessory Emco made for both the lathe and mill. I have about $8k into mine. And the Emco ESX 25 set cost me right around as much as a complete set of Bison ER 40s and the chuck for my now much larger mill. Those were a very expensive accessory so keep that in mind if you see them included with a lathe.

Toyo is another that was made in Japan that's supposed to be quite good. Again no longer supported. Proxxon another and still being made. I've read there 230 ? model lathe is far less well built than there 400 sized one. Even used they seem to sell for high prices. The 400 is a bit better designed than my Emco since it has a proper rack and half nut and mine has a constantly engaged leadscrew nut. There's others of course, but I don't know anything for sure about them. The Lathes U.K. website should have details about almost any machine your likely to find on the used market if more information was needed.

A great many of your South Bend parts could still be made on your now worn lathe and be the equal of factory new. Any extra tooling needed to do so drives the price up of course. Parts on Ebay are easy as I'm sure you know. But South Bend parts are like Myford parts, there priced much higher than they should be. Likely you already know, but the PM South Bend sub forum is filled with a whole lot of good rebuild information. I'd be surprised if somewhere in Winnipeg or Regina didn't have a surface grinder large enough to regrind your bed and carriage if you don't have the equipment and skills to hand scrape them. You'd also have to build the carriage way surfaces back up with Rulon or other way material to then compensate for anything ground off the carrige ways and match the leadscrew and racks elevation.

More than probable there's other areas that need attention as well. Headstock, tailstock tapers, tailstocks quill wear and almost for sure the tailstocks bottom way surfaces will need regrinding. Even with an extremely low bed, cariage and tailstock regrinding price I'd still lowball your total rebuild costs to do it properly in the $2300-$3000 range and after a great many hrs. You could buy a lot of machine in decent shape for that.

I also wouldn't rule out a good used and well equipped Sherline. There like a very small Myford for versitility. Jerry Kieffer wrote more than a few articals about using one to make parts far smaller than anything were ever likely to build. .005" diameter bolts for example. In the right hands there capable of at least .0005" accuracy or better. I started out with one and think I made some good parts even when I didn't know much.

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DianneB
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Re: Rebuild a Heavy 10L or add a small lathe?

Post by DianneB » Mon Sep 17, 2018 7:25 pm

All very good thoughts gang - I appreciate them all!

I DO have an aversion to "junk" and find it frustrating when a tool wont do what I need to do. The Southbend, despite being a WWII product, is far from "junk" so for my own peace of mind (and blood pressure LOL!) I guess I am best off overhauling the 10L one piece at a time as I can afford it.

Thanks again for your thoughts everybody!

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wlw-19958
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Re: Rebuild a Heavy 10L or add a small lathe?

Post by wlw-19958 » Tue Sep 18, 2018 3:24 pm

Hi There,

Is yours one of the SBL 10L's with the bronze sleeve spindle bearings
or with the cast iron segmented spindle bearings? The difference is
that the bronze bearings are supposed to have a clearance of .0007"
to .0010". The segmented cast iron bearings are supposed to have
.0010" to .0015" clearance.

There are laminated shim packs under the bearing caps. They are
soldered together with a very soft solder and are pretty easy to peel
off but you will need a sharp knife to start them. If you have used all
of them up and are down to the aluminum spacer, replace the spacer
with a new laminated shim pack and go again.

Good Luck!
-Blue Chips-
Webb

kroll
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Re: Rebuild a Heavy 10L or add a small lathe?

Post by kroll » Tue Sep 18, 2018 4:37 pm

All very good thoughts gang - I appreciate them all!

I DO have an aversion to "junk" and find it frustrating when a tool wont do what I need to do. The Southbend, despite being a WWII product, is far from "junk" so for my own peace of mind (and blood pressure LOL!) I guess I am best off overhauling the 10L one piece at a time as I can afford it.

Thanks again for your thoughts everybody!
Good call,not only will you end up with a lathe that you will know inside/out its also enjoyable.There is also several Youtubes out there to help along the way.So please take pics and post,love to follow along.

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DianneB
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Re: Rebuild a Heavy 10L or add a small lathe?

Post by DianneB » Tue Sep 18, 2018 5:45 pm

wlw-19958 wrote:
Tue Sep 18, 2018 3:24 pm
Is yours one of the SBL 10L's with the bronze sleeve spindle bearings
or with the cast iron segmented spindle bearings?
Cast iron segments
There are laminated shim packs under the bearing caps.
Yes I have played with them and taken a few out but the bearings are worn egg shaped and if I take any more out, the bearings bind but still have up/down play.

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wlw-19958
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Re: Rebuild a Heavy 10L or add a small lathe?

Post by wlw-19958 » Tue Sep 18, 2018 5:58 pm

Hi There,
DianneB wrote:Yes I have played with them and taken a few out but the bearings are worn egg shaped and if I take any more out, the bearings bind but still have up/down play.


If you can bind the spindle, how can you have 'up-n-down' play?
The point should be 'how much play?' As I pointed out, there will
always be a little (.0010" to .0015" for cast iron bearings).

It sounds like you could spend some time with some Prussian blue
and some bearing scrapers (being careful with the spindle alignment).

Good Luck!
-Blue Chips-
Webb

Glenn Brooks
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Re: Rebuild a Heavy 10L or add a small lathe?

Post by Glenn Brooks » Sun Sep 23, 2018 11:37 pm

I had the same problem with egg shaped bearings when I rebuilt my 1920 Dalton 7” lathe. Spent several days with Prussian blue and scraping the bearings to achieve the desire .002” play. But my bearings are yellow metal, not cast iron. However you could buy a scrapper for 50 or 60 bucks and scrap them back into shape. Brass shims kits are still available to shim them tight if you wish.

If your bed wear is really only .001” then no need to do anything to the bed. My old production lathe had wear approaching .020”! It still made parts and held close tolerance, just wasn’t worth it for long stuff, like axles. I sold it eventually, after fighting wear for years.

Half nuts and cross feed screws are easy to find also. Several people make and sell these as new replacement parts. Makes a big difference when holding tolerances consistently.

Seems like you could reasonably upgrade your SB with a few key repairs and have a good to go machine.

Glenn
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RET
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Re: Rebuild a Heavy 10L or add a small lathe?

Post by RET » Mon Sep 24, 2018 7:18 pm

Hi Dianne,

I have a 13 1/4," WW2 South Bend. It has more wear on the bed than yours but still does a good job. The spindle bearings are OK. However, I had a problem with the cross slide dovetails being "hour glassed" so I made a cutter to match the dovetail angle and used the Bridgeport to remachine the dovetails on the saddle.

I took the least amount possible off the saddle and then I used Temp-R-Tape dry on the cross slide to take up the play. Temp-R-Tape is a teflon tape about 3/8" wide that has an adhesive side like Scotch tape. It comes on a roll. As long as you keep oil strictly away from the cross slide, it works perfectly. I used the tape on both faces of the dovetail and on the face of the tapered gib. I also used it on the knee of the Covel tool & cutter grinder I have.

I did the saddle machining about 20 years ago and its been working fine ever since. About 6 years ago I made a mistake and got some oil on the cross slide and the tape came off the adjustable gib. I took the cross slide off, cleaned everything up, put some fresh tape on and like before its been working fine again.

I also had to put a shim under the forward end of the tailstock where it adjusts for taper turning. For a 75 year old machine, the South Bend works just fine.

I have a set of 2C collets for it and a set of 5C collets from 1/16" up to 1 1/8" by 32nds. Collets are very handy. I bought the 5C holder (Bison) and the collets from KBC when they were on sale.

I guess you can see where this is going. With some work, I think you are better off to give a little TLC to your present machine instead of buying something new. Just my 5 cents.

Richard Trounce.

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