Found a South Bend 9" lathe!

I set up google alerts on craigslist for any mention of south bend lathes, southbend lathes, southben laths, and any other silly misspellings. After waiting several months, missing several reasonable deals, and ignoring several apparently solid gold south bend lathes in "perfect" shape, I finally found what seemed to be a good deal. I drove about two hours to get it, and had another enjoyable conversation with a fellow machine tool fanatic.

South Bend 9" Model C workshop lathe

This one is a Model C lathe, which means it has loose change gears instead of a quick change gear box. By all reports this is a pain in the ass, so I am going to investigate what it might take to convert it. My understanding of the various models is:

  • South Bend Model C has loose change gears, and all longitudinal feeds use the half nuts. The lead screw does not have a keyway.
  • South Bend Model B has loose change gears, and handles longitudinal feeds and cross (facing) feeds through a keyed lead screw.
  • South Bend Model A has a quick change gear box and handles longitudinal feeds and cross (facing) feeds through a keyed lead screw.

So the parts difference between my South Bend Model C and a South Bend Model A is:

  • a gear box
  • a different lead screw
  • a different apron
  • a different cross feed screw with a gear to engage the apron gearing

This might be more then I want to tackle, but I (of course) immediately started tearing down the machine to at least clean it up.