South Bend disassembly

Taking apart my South Bend Model C workshop lathe.

Got a good apron for the model A southbend lathe

complete apron from a south bend nine inch lathe either model a or model b

The first apron I bought off of ebay was a piece of crap. It was totally worn out, and the selector handle was broken in shipping. After completely cleaning and stripping it down I ended up returning it to the the jackass I bought it from, and getting my money back.

Another one showed up soon enough, and this time I asked some important questions and landed a good deal.

So... back to the stripping tank!

Taking apart the apron of a South Bend Model A

I planned to take lots of pictures and document every step.
I didn't.
When I remembered to take a shot I was usually too greasy, and when I was busy I rarely remembered.
Here is what I did manage to shoot.

1. this is the apron as I received it from ebay after running it though my lye bath. I did some partial disassembly before shooting these.

Nine inch South Bend Lathe backgear

backgear, eccentric, and headstock for southbend nine inch lathe

I realized at some point that once things were apart even photos would not necessarily be enough. I really like this way of working, I lay out the parts as I remove them and make notes as to how they go together. Then I shoot  a picture of the whole thing for future reference.

Here is the back gear and eccentric showing how it attaches to the headstock.

backgear and headstock for southbend nine inch lathe

taking apart a south bend 9" lathe

Lots of people buy old lathes and other machine tools and spend too much time fixing them up with no clear idea of what the intend to use them for. Right? Hello, anyone?

Anyway I started breaking the individual components down to clean them, prep them for painting, and to see how they worked. As far as I am concerned there is no better way to learn about a tool then taking it apart and then putting it back together. The putting it back together part in particular.

making the tools I need

I am enjoying the process of taking apart the Southbend lathe, and especially enjoying the opportunity to make custom tools as needed.

Here is a screwdriver cut to fit the nuts on the end of the cross feed screw.

Custom screwdriver for Southbend cross feed screw retaining nut

Some notes on paint removal and clean up

I want to completely strip the South Bend Lathe down to the bare metal and then repaint it. This will mean taking out every screw and taper pin (more on those later) and then using some kind of paint remover to get down to the bare metal. I hate organic chemical strippers. They work great, but long ago I got sensitized to them by being cavalier about wearing gloves. Nowadays even a drop on my hand feels like a burning match.

South bend 9" lathe tear down part 2

Next in line for disassembly is the spindle. At the gear end there is a threaded split collar that retains the spindle and is used to remove end float. It has a set screw that you have to loosen, then you need to know it is threaded or else you will try and pull it off (which you can't). Behind the collar is a fiber washer and a steel washer. Once all of this is removed then you loosen the cap screws (or bolts on some) sqishing the bearings on their shims, and then the only thing holding the spindle in place is the very tightly fitted bull gear and its key.

South bend 9" lathe tear down part 1

I took a bunch of pictures of the basic tear down process. This Model C South Bend is not a particularly complex lathe. It has a plain bearing spindle, a simple backgear on an eccentric shaft, a flat belt cone pulley driven from a separate countershaft, and a very basic apron with little more then a handwheel driving a gear against a rack and a simple set of half nuts. I am lucky in that this headstock has later style bearings with grooves cut in them to reatin more oil (I think) and provide a slightly higher top end speed.