small metal lathe

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by Ricardito, Dec 29, 2012.

  1. RidgeCreek

    RidgeCreek Adventurer

    Jan 15, 2009
    Elkhart Lake, WI
    Hey guys, I've often thought about getting a small lathe for the garage and I've been following and thoroughly enjoying this thread since the beginning. Well it seems that my boss has a South Bend he wants me to buy. I'm not sure what model # it is but it is a 10"X24". It's in good shape and everything is tight and accurate. In fact, last week he turned a #4-40 thread on a small shaft for one of our bore gauges here at the shop.

    Here's a list of included tooling etc.

    4-jaw chuck
    3-jaw chuck
    collet chuck
    Phase-2 quick change tool post
    a handful of tool holders
    o.d. turning tool
    a few assorted boring bars
    o.d. threading tool
    knurling tool
    cutoff tool
    grooving tool
    assorted hss and carbide tipped tools
    drill chuck
    live center

    It's 3-phase but my electrician buddy says we can just wire in a converter or swap the motor with a single phase.

    So here's my dilemma, he wants me to make him an offer. I know he'll give me a pretty good deal but I don't want to low-ball him and try to get it for next to nothing. After looking around online I was thinking about offering $1500.

    What do you guys think? Too low? Too much? I hate when someone says "make me an offer". I'm always worried about insulting them with a low ball offer but I'm cheap and don't want to pay too much.

    I wish I had some pictures to post but I didn't take any when I checked it out.

    I could really use some good input on what you guys think.


  2. sailah

    sailah Lampin' it

    Aug 12, 2005
    Turning expensive metal into scrap
    South Bends seem to have a rabid following and the prices to match. BUT, that lathe does appear to have a lot of tooling. And the tooling is where the real money is. If you had to buy all those things you have listed the lathe comes with, you'd have spent over $1500 without the lathe.

    I think that's a very fair price for both of you, especially if the lathe is in good shape and it appears from your insight that it is.

    Here's my thoughts on 3 phase. I love it. The motors last forever. Don't go changing the motor. Either run the lathe off a VFD (variable frequency drive) or using a phase converter.

    Here are my thoughts on those. VFD are best when you want speed control in addition to converting either 115v or 230v single phase to 220v 3 phase for your lathe. And they are economical up to about 1.5-2HP. After that they start getting expensive.

    I Have one of these on my big drill press and I love it. You can adjust the speed of the motor right from the drive or wire in a speed pot and use that. Very handy. Plus you can add a brake, use soft start etc. Depending what HP your SB is, that's probably the way to go.

    However, if you are going to be acquiring more 3 phase tools down the road, it might make sense to buy a phase converter (rotary) and have room for future tools as a phase converter can power multiple tools.

    But even if you were getting more tools, a VFD is a great choice as it allows you to adjust speed in between gears. Or go super low speed for tapping. Or having reverse.
  3. showkey

    showkey Long timer

    Jun 25, 2007

    ENCO could be a problem if your make parts for the space shuttle........50 year old south bend can be just as hobby lathe it can work especially if the price is right......and ones skills are up to the task.:huh:huh
  4. ericrat

    ericrat Long timer

    May 18, 2007
    Cincinnati, OH
    I have been looking for a lathe too, and I just found a very nice except I spent all my money on motorcycles:wink:

    If it is a heavy 10 that is a great, but fair, deal. If it is a light 10, it is okay too considering the tooling. Condition is so vital, knowing that it works it really valuable.

    Lots of info here:

    I am holding out for a metric thread box.
  5. LuciferMutt

    LuciferMutt Rides slow bike slow

    Aug 19, 2008
    New(er) Mexico

    Even seeing pictures of that makes my hair stand on end. The picture was taken by and/or the machine owned by somebody who doesn't know what the hell they are doing. Stay away.
  6. Sic Semper Tyrannis

    Sic Semper Tyrannis Plays with Banjos, Boats and Bikes...

    Aug 9, 2009
    If it runs and isn't chewed up then buy it.

    If it is clapped out and beat up then think about it.

    Tooling alone would nearly cost you that much to acquire and many lathes come stripped down and you have to go find all the tooling.

    If it has the large bore in the head (so you can do bigger stuff like gun barrels) it is worth more.

    I have a sb 9a and paid 550 with minimal tooling and did a disassembled, clean, repaint rebuild as it was operational but filthy.

    I wouldn't part with it for $1000 today...
  7. RidgeCreek

    RidgeCreek Adventurer

    Jan 15, 2009
    Elkhart Lake, WI
    Thanks for the advice guys. My new to me South Bend was delivered this past weekend.(pics to come) I believe it is the Heavy 10. Anyone know how to decipher the serial # to figure out the model and year of manufacture?

    Overall it's in OK shape. My boss said he got it from the local tech school, which is kind of scary, but it seems like everything works well. The paint is in pretty rough shape so I'm debating if I'm going to do a restoration, and if I do how far to go.

    I'll get some pics up in the next couple of days.

  8. kioti

    kioti Cruzinonline

    Mar 15, 2011