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Lathe advice - SB Model A

Discussion in 'GENERAL DISCUSSIONS' started by ideologist, Apr 20, 2017.

  1. ideologist

    ideologist United States Steel Registered Member

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    Hello, I am looking at a 9" South Bend Lathe, Model A, Catalog# 744R

    Does anyone here own one?
    Any worries about buying this model?
    What's the realistic distance between centers?
    What's a good price for one of these in fair condition?

    I am going to go see it and play with it, will indicate and look for slop and wear. Just curious if there is any general advice.

    Thank you!
    Patrick
     
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  2. scwhite

    scwhite United States Active Member Active Member

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    I had a southbend 9" Model A years ago
    And I had it well tooled it was on a big heavy wood table I had made .
    I sold it for $1000.
    And I wish I had kept it now .
    Mine was 36" Center to center .
    It had no wear on the ways and was very precision .
    You can check the half nut by throwing the
    Half nut lever and take the carriage hand wheel
    And see if you have much wear in the half nut by trying to move the carriage back and forth .
    It should be tight .
    My half nut was wore out and I didn't check it .
    So I had to make a new one .
    But It would not have stopped me from buying it .
    Oh yea it was 13 years ago when I sold it .
    I think mine was made in the late 50's
    Or early 60's
    When I bought it it was in 1985
    I payed $650. Or $700. For it and it had
    Very little tooling with it .
    I tooled it up and had it 19 years
     
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2017
  3. fradish

    fradish United States Active Member Active Member

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    Another thing you can do to check for bed wear is to move the carriage near the headstock, tighten up
    the carriage lock to where it just stops movement, then back off just a bit so you can move the carriage.
    Then move the carriage towards the tailstock. Wherever it stops, that tells you where the bed wear is and
    to some degree how bad it is. I would think on a brand-new lathe, you could move the carriage all the
    way to the tailstock.
     
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  4. woochucker

    woochucker United States Active Member Active Member

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    Many here own one.
    I do, you can see my rebuild if you follow my link in the signature.
    If it has not been rebuilt recently, plan on rebuilding. Replace the felts, check the bearings, replace the oil in the head. If you check on ebay Steve Wells sells a rebuild kit for it, and manual. I have no advice on buying it, other than get as much tooling with it as you can. if you can find it with a taper attachment, and/or a steady rest all the better. Mine had nothing, I had to completely tool it. but I paid $250. It's now worth probably 2-4 k.
    distance between centers is up to you.. I have a 36" bed, which is about 24 center to center. My one desire is a bigger throat in the spindle.
     
  5. fradish

    fradish United States Active Member Active Member

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  6. gonzo

    gonzo United States Active Member Active Member

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    I have recently purchased a 1959 SB 9A with under drive.
    I really like it and already made quite a few projects with it.
    It was priced on Craigslist for $2000 and no one snapped it up in three weeks so I offered $1,500 and bought it.
    It came with a LOT of tooling but no steady rest or taper attachment.
    I think I got a fair deal and from what I have seen $1,500 is about the going price in this area with no tooling.
    I just finished converting the motor to a treadmill one and am thrilled with the conversion.
    One good thing about the SB 9 is that there are plenty of used parts available in case you need one/some.
     
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  7. fradish

    fradish United States Active Member Active Member

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    The 2 biggest improvements I made to my 9C was to add an AXA QCTP and switch to
    an automotive serpentine belt from the leather flat belt it came with.

    I agree with woodchucker my biggest complaint about the SB 9s is the 3/4" spindle
    through bore. Though there are also other things to complain about with the 9C vs
    the 9A or even 9B. If you have your choice go for the 9A.
     
  8. Surprman

    Surprman United States Active User Active Member

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    Check the teeth on the back gears/bull gear and cone pulley - they sometimes get damaged. Do plan on doing a full rebuild. It is a great experience and when you are done you will fully understand the whole machine. I concur with the AXA tool post upgrade - it makes turning even more fun.

    Rick
     
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  9. Charles Spencer

    Charles Spencer Active User H-M Supporter-Premium

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    Check the operation of the gears in the gear box. See if they are gunked up. It's not a deal breaker if they're just dirty.

    As to price, I bought one for $150. Great deal, right? No - it had been used to grind armatures in a commercial garage from the 1950s to the 1980s. Then it was stored uncovered in somebody's garage for about thirty years and had significant rust. I bought it to for spare parts, specifically gears. It was worth it for that. I don't know if they ever used the quick change gearing.

    I did get a great deal on an SB 9A of about the same vintage. This one I bought from the small machine shop at an elevator maintenance and repair company. It had been maintained and was used to occasionally make repair parts. I paid $350 three years ago, but probably would have paid twice that. The tooling was only one 3-jaw chuck, a steady rest, and a lantern tool post.

    I guess my advice on buying is to show up with cash and ready to buy to keep something good from getting away. And be equally prepared to walk away to keep from wasting your money.
     
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  10. scwhite

    scwhite United States Active Member Active Member

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    I agree with being prepared to walk away .
    I find that to be the hardest thing to do .
    I tend to get caught up in the buy and sometimes
    I buy anyway then regret it later .
    Auctions will sure get you If you are not careful
    Even if you are careful you can get took at a Auction
     
  11. ideologist

    ideologist United States Steel Registered Member

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    Well, false alarm, he sold it yesterday

    Had a ton of random nonsense tooling and a few chucks, looked pretty dang clean and it was $1800
     
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  12. scwhite

    scwhite United States Active Member Active Member

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    You will find another they are plentiful
     
  13. scwhite

    scwhite United States Active Member Active Member

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    I bought a Clausing 4900 and I really like
    It . 10" swing 36" Center to Center
    I think it might be mid 1970s
    I need to find a taper attachment & a follow rest for
    It
     

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    Last edited: Apr 21, 2017
  14. Charles Spencer

    Charles Spencer Active User H-M Supporter-Premium

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    double post
     
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  15. wildo

    wildo Active Member Active Member

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    My only contribution to the already excellent advice above is to realize you're buying old iron- and all the problems that come with it. The SB 9 lathe didn't have hardened ways, so most likely you're going to get wear (perhaps significant) in the ways. Parts are pretty available on ebay, and the rebuild *IS* a fun, rewarding experience. But like most things that are 70+ years old, you're going to have some age/wear problems with it that you need to be OK with.

    I have no regrets in purchasing/restoring my SB 9a, but certainly I learned a lot of lessons in doing so. I'll have a better eye on things for my next purchase.
     
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