South Bend heavy 10 vs....

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robotwizard

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All I can say is lotsa luck as far as finding old iron that's not worn out and is not thousands of miles away. I looked for a heavy 10 for several years. They were usually out of state with shipping being cost prohibitive and one doesn't know the condition unless they can go there and thoroughly check out each one. I bought a Clausing 4900 from a school several hundred miles away and had it shipped, which turned out to be a disaster. The bed was worn out, broken gear teeth and broken compound. Parts missing. I was getting quotes for thousands to regrind the flame hardened bed. Accessories like steady rests are impossible to find. Just because the old iron were grand machines 50-70 years ago, doesn't mean they were well maintained or they don't have a lot of hours on them.
I ended up getting a Precision Matthews 1127. It weighs 500-600# plus about 200-300# for the rigid stand I built for it. It has precision roller bearings in the spindle, 1 1/2" spindle bore, bolt on chucks as opposed to the threaded on chucks that come loose in reverse, flame hardened bed, VFD, came with 2 chucks and a ton of accessories, a warranty, power feed in both x and y directions, quick change gear box, etc, etc. While its not the heavy 10 I dreamed of for years, it can hold .001 or less , runs very quiet, and even included shipping to my door. I'm not doing production work, although from what I've seen on youtube this machine can take some pretty good sized cuts. Best of all it worked right out of the box and I didn't have to spend several years finding parts and restoring it, although I'm sure there are a few upgrades I will do to it over the years.
If you can find old iron thats in good shape , reasonable and isn't thousands of miles away, I say go for it and consider yourself very lucky. otherwise, I would consider PM. Matt over at PM offers great service, he even answers emails on weekends. He puts a lot of effort into making sure the Chinese build these machines to his specs and designs. I have no affiliation with this company, but my experiences after buying 2 machines from them have been very good.


DJP's "Unless you find a Southbend lathe covered in Cosmoline and stored in a military warehouse, it will have lots of wear and require restoration." is not quite correct. My 13" South Bend (originally shipped in 1958) has a tag from my old college (I may have used it long ago). I bought it from a car guy's estate. Came with plenty of tooling (that's a 3/4" drill chuck in the tail stock). The bed ways are flame hardened with no apparent wear. The capabilities of this lathe are far ahead of the typical small China import (1600 pounds of real lathe vs a couple of hundred). These can be had for around $1000 if you look around for a while. As mentioned, a lot of them have been in school service, so show evidence of the occasional crash but little real wear. Of course, takes up more room than the bench tops...

John
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packrat

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{All I can say is lotsa luck as far as finding old iron that's not worn out and is not thousands of miles away. I looked for a heavy 10 for several years. They were usually out of state with shipping being cost prohibitive and one doesn't know the condition unless they can go there and thoroughly check out each one}

I have two South Bend Lathes one 13 inch and a heavy 10, found both here in Salt Lake City. Both lathes show some wear but run good and came with lots of tooling, all I have done to them so far is clean them up and put new drive belts on.
I know that South Bend lathes are getting hard to find and sale fast, I spent lots of time looking for a South Bend lathe...
 

comstock-friend

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My Precision Matthews story was not so happy. They had an eBay close out on Y-axis power feeds for "Bridgeports and clones". As I got a nice 1956 BP (purchased with my 13" SB) with with a Servo power feed on the X-axis, I thought I go for it hearing the usual glowing reports of PM. The first unit had a wire pinched between the housing halves and flamed on power up. There were also other problems in that the units only directly fit metric Asian clones on not an American built Bridgeport. Then there were the missing parts! The eBay ad had said 'not returnable for any reason' but also 'guaranteed to work', so after a month of complaining they OK'd the return on my dime. The second unit didn't power up out of the box, this one they paid for the return. Third times a charm and this one powers up. I've turned down the 16mm OD (0.630”) shaft extension which does not allow a BP hand crank to fit (BP shafts are about 0.625”). I've drilled out the mounting ring to fit the BP bolt circle and used my Imperial cap screws instead of the crappy Chinese socket head screws which don't fit the BP. The US built Servo specifies 0.015 to 0.025" backlash on the bevel gear and shows how to measure. The PM unit's Changlish instructions specify 0.1 to 0.2 mm (0.004 to 0.008"); where measured is up to you. Now it's very tight and bogs down. I'm just about ready to sell for a loss and get a Servo unit at 5 times the price, it would be worth it!

My Thai built Enco lathe is now my only Asian machine and will remain so. The rest (lathes, horizontal and vertical mills, shaper, bandsaw, etc.) are all good American iron and very serviceable for the home shop.

John
 

jdurnya

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I have worked my way up to 3 really sweet south bends... 2 heavy 10's botth with 2 speed motors, cam lok spindles, and hardened beds.. on has a taper attachment and one has a turret attachment AND a 13" with cam lock spindle, taper attachment and hardened bed... took me a couple years to get them but i am VERY satisfied !

Here is a link to my youtube channel where you can see my shop adventures !! https://www.youtube.com/c/RaptorMachineToolCo
 

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