I just recieved my new South Bend 8K

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Dec 3, 2012
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In a weak moment a few months ago, I sold my SB 9A I had restored a few years back. I regretted it almost immediately. I have owned a few
small chinese lathes in the last ten years which were ok. Not great but
ok. The SB 9A was great for Steel, brass, etc. But mostly I work with aircraft grade aluminum. I could not always get the finish cut I wanted.
The problem I think was the SB 9A's top speed is 1400 rpm. I need something above that for a finish cut in aluminum. Also when I ran the 9A
at top speed for any length of time, the headstock would heat up quite a bit which worried me.

After looking at all the latest offerings in a small lathe, I decided on the new South Bend 8K. I know this lathe has been panned in some of the
forums but overall I like the features and quality it offered. True, it does
not have a gear box or a auto crossfeed. I don"t do much threading and I
rarely used the auto crossfeed on my 9A so this was not a big issue with me. I'm looking for a machine that fits my shop requirements, gives me accurate cuts and good finishes.

The lathe showed up today from Grizzly. I ordered it last friday and it arrived today. The shipping company called me yesterday and said the driver would call me 30 minutes before delivery. He did exactly that and also dropped it in the middle of my garage with a pallet jack. Very good
service from Grizzly. First impression....very nice fit and finish. The crossfeed and carriage move silky smooth and are very tight. When I get
it mounted on the bench and clean it up, I'll post more pics and a review.

This lathe is a little pricey, however Grizzly dropped the price a grand so
that eased the wallet pain somewhat. I hope this chinese built South Bend
lives up to the promise. I'll let you know.


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Hi Dale, Congrats on the new lathe. I look forward to a detailed review of it. When you get a minute post an introduction in the welcome section.

Great pictures and thanks for sharing. I love that new lathe smell :)
You can put an ELS (Electronic Lead Screw) on it which will give you any type of thread you desire and a second stepper motor on the cross slide will give you electronic tapering and fully automatic threading similar to a CNC Lathe. If I remember correctly the software has been upgraded to allow automatic ball turning. Here's the link.
Great looking little lathe.. It should give you years of pleasure in machining. By the way; high RPM is not the need for a silky smooth finish on your aluminum turnings. Put a small radius on the cutting tip of your tool and keep it coated with a good non-sulfur base cutting oil. You will be amazed at what will happen. Same thing goes with brass.
Enjoy your new Christmas Present,
Yee Gods! Zerks for oil fittings. Shades of the older Bridgeports.
Great looking lathe. Please post an introduction in the welcome section to tell us a bit about yourself and perhaps what projects you have planned for this beauty.
Im envious. Good luck with yor new lathe.
I am considering this lathe. Hope to see some good reviews.
What accessaries do you have in mind of acquiring ?
What are the contents of the tool box ?
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As well as the excellent lathe you have acquired, I would like to compliment you on the quality of your workshop floor. You have a very nice even distribution of sprinkles on the paint.

When I painted my floor, I did a rotten job of throwing the paint chips (sprinkles) around, and so I have clumps of them everywhere. :D
I hope this thread is still happening. :confused:

Sorry guys,
I have been out of town on a job assignment. The lathe is still in the crate right where I left it. I hope to get home next week, however I won't be able to work in the shop until after Christmas. I'll update this thread then.

Katy, Texas (Houston)
I'm really thinking about buying this lathe.
Hope it turns out well for you.
Happy holidays.
I am starting to spend a little more time at home. I am in the process of setting up the shop in my new house. I,ve got the workbenches in now and have mounted the SB 8K. My first task this past weekend was to
machine a D1-3 backplate for my Bison 5" 3 jaw chuck I had left over from
my old South Bend 9A I sold a few months ago (big mistake). The Bison Chuck was set up with a 1 1/2" x 8 threaded backplate. The 8K cut a nice finish however, it was slow going, this steel was really tough. I had to limit the cuts to about 20 thousands a pass with a final finish cut of 0.005. I was using a 3/8" carbide insert tool using wd40. The belt was on the slow speed pulley at about 500 RPM.

A few pics:


South Bend 8k 020 003.JPG

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Cool, we used SB lathes on the subs that I rode in the 70s.

How is the 8K working out? I am looking to buy my first lathe and want something well built so I don't have to start out by dealing with a lot of issues. So if the 8k a step up from than the usual bench top import it may work out for my first lathe.


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