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Thread: Looking a lathe

  1. #1
    Super Moderator & Official Cast Boolits Sketch Artist


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    Looking a lathe

    I keep wanting little projects done and finding someone to do them has been well a waste of time. The machine shops around me say its not enough to mess with or the cost for doing a little job is just to much to justify.
    So I been on the hunt for a lathe and calling my friend that did run them for a living for help on which one would be what I need and what to look for when buying one. I found three that I would buy first two were sold 5 hours after I found them. The third one I found I been told was restored or rebuilt and been kept in great condition since and used very little. Told me he has a box full of tools cutters and maybe some measuring stuff he said. I spoke to him on the phone tonight and got more info its a south bend thinks its a 15 inch swing and 48 inch bed with a four and three jaw chuck and is 110 volt.
    He knows very little about it since it was not his but his late uncles and is selling it for another family member if its everything he says and has what he says with it she will be coming to live with me. I am stoked that I may finally have a way to make what I been wanting and a new toy to play with.
    The learning part will be slow since I know about nothing about turning metal but I have big dreams on what I could make if I learn how.
    The next ? in my mind is how long before I am hunting a mill to add to the shop since I can already see having one would be a good thing.
    Any one near Goldsboro NC that wants to teach a newbie how not to lose a finger or two.

    Oh my list of things to make
    1 some punches for my sizing to push bullets nose first in my 4500 sizer when I PC them.
    2 maybe some sizing dies like lee sales
    3 a gc tool or two
    4 swage dies for 9mm brass to 40 like the 40 to 44 i have now.

    The punches should be fairly easy but the rest I think will be along way down the road or until I learn a lot more.
    Any other learning projects anyone can think of for a newbie to practice on would be nice.

    Oh if this deal falls threw I will still be looking but I have a good feeling this is the one I should know soon enough just so happy I am this close to having one I had to share. I am like a kid waiting on Christmas and wondering if I been a good kid lol.
    Last edited by RP; 02-21-2018 at 11:13 PM.
    Reloading to save money I am sure the saving is going to start soon

  2. #2
    Boolit Master Moleman-'s Avatar
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    Watch of bunch of videos by tubalcain https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1MqYOgtQGdA He has many videos on tips and tricks on running a lathe.

  3. #3
    Super Moderator & Official Cast Boolits Sketch Artist


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    I seen a few on U tube not much to them I go check the link out thanks
    Reloading to save money I am sure the saving is going to start soon

  4. #4
    Boolit Bub
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    If you do get the lathe and want to figure out what you have (and don't have), I would suggest you look up the Practical Machinist forum.They have a sub-forum for South Bend lathes and other machines.Lots of knowledgeable people there.
    I have a Logan model 200 lathe, which would do everything you want to do, but is too small for most barrel work.
    Good luck in your search!
    Rick

  5. #5
    Boolit Master Moleman-'s Avatar
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    You can make lots of stuff with a mill and lathe! Made a reamer blank tonight for a 44x1.8" with a floating pilot. Tomorrow I'll flute it, cut the groove for the pilot retainer C-clip, harden and sharpen it.
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  6. #6
    Boolit Master
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    Tubalcain’s videos are very good. Also, be sure to get a copy of How To Run A Lathe and one of Machinery’s Handbook. They don’t change much, so one from a used-book store is fine.

    For milling, look for a milling attachment that fits on your cross slide, a draw bar and collet to hold milling cutters and an adjustable carriage stop graduated in thousandths. This will certainly not replace a real milling machine but you will be amazed at how many jobs you can pull out of the fire if you have such a setup.

    If you shoot cast boolits, you can make M die inserts of whatever size you want. If you shoot black powder cartridges, you can make shell mouth reducers and custom diameter push-through boolit sizers from 7/8” x 14tpi threaded stock. You can also blank out reamers and boolit cherries, make firing pins and gun screws.

    You may notice that after a while you read posts by others titled “Where Do I Find?” with feelings of pity.

    You had an intimation of this going around to machine shops and being refused service, but, just for the record, it’s MUCH cooler to be a Manufacturer than a Consumer.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master


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    Be careful! You can seriously hurt yourself if you don’t know what you are doing!
    See if there is a trade school near by and take some classes.
    That’s what I did 20 years ago and it was well worth it for the knowledge gained.
    Also check out “The Home Shop Machinist “ site, there may be some one close to you that can mentor you.
    I have over $10,000 in tooling and machines and it is a very small shop, it is also another addiction like guns and reloading!
    It takes a couple of years to get good!
    Last edited by deltaenterprizes; 02-22-2018 at 05:53 PM.

  8. #8
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    Yes got to be careful one reason I am asking and looking they are very dangerous your sure not going to stop one by grabbing the chuck.
    Well I picked up the lathe this evening and I think I did ok to great.
    Its a south bend and has three chucks one four jaw two three jaws several pieces of tooling and some other goodies. Its a CL 187 R and if I am looking right R is a 10 inch K is for quick change gears and L large spindle hole. The bed specs a 4 1/2.
    I am looking for online owners man and hopefully the year it was made 5779RKL11 is my bed number if anyone has some info.
    I have to unload it still and bolt her down to the floor also need to replace the power cord. No rust to speak of and everything seems to move smooth in and out and back and forth. Oil wells have oil in most of them and I was told that is a good sign my seals are good.
    I am told bolting it down to the floor is best and to make sure I got it level both ways makes sense to me.
    So getting her unloaded and in place ready to go will take all weekend since I have to make a spot lol. I also need to go threw all the extras I got and place them somewhere.
    I am as happy as a kid at Christmas got to get to learning how to so I can make some chips.
    Reloading to save money I am sure the saving is going to start soon

  9. #9
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    You will be amazed at all the new friends and family you will have come to get something made on your lathe. You find friends you never met before .

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    As mentioned by Bent Ramrod,the booklet " How To Run a Lathe " by South Bend is a must have, they must have printed a million copies so buy one right now off Ebay, it is that good of an instruction manual. I envy you with your South bend, my late father in law had a nice one with an incredible amount of tooling, as he spent his retirement years building tiny gas engines up to scale model steam locomotives. My brother in law took all the tools and lathe,probably all gone by now,given away or sold for beer money. I finally got an old Atlas, its OK but not a South Bend.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master

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    Another way to pick up hands on knowledge is check the night schools and vocational schools in your area. A few machine trades courses or the apprenticeship courses will give a lot of information but you may also have to sit thru the times when grinders mills and other tools are being taught. Always remember the safety gear glasses, hat, no gloves, no loose clothing. These classes will also give process procedures lay out and some other information.

    Home Machinist magazine is decent for odd projects. a machinists handbook is a good for information on threads and materials and fits.

    A 15" X40 lathe is getting on the large size for hobby gunsmith work but will do the job. chucks and tooling are heavier to lift spindle rpms may not be what you need for smaller work. But it should be a good solid machine.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master Moleman-'s Avatar
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    10" swing and large bore, sounds like you ended up with a heavy 10 which makes a great gunsmith lathe.

  13. #13
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    Guys I been searching and searching to learn what year this is I wanted to order a owners manual sort of contacting grizzly and giving them 25 bucks for a card which would be nice I guess. I am giving up tonight you would think putting in the model or serial number something would tell me a year model or are the manuals all about the same?
    Reloading to save money I am sure the saving is going to start soon

  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    http://www.wewilliams.net/docs/How%2...203rd%20ed.pdf

    South Bend did not provide an owner's manual.

  15. #15
    Boolit Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by deltaenterprizes View Post
    Be careful! You can seriously hurt yourself if you don’t know what you are doing!
    See if there is a trade school near by and take some classes.
    That’s what I did 20 years ago and it was well worth it for the knowledge gained.
    Also check out “The Home Shop Machinist “ site, there may be some one close to you that can mentor you.
    I have over $10,000 in tooling and machines and it is a very small shop, it is also another addiction like guns and reloading!
    It takes a couple of years to get good!
    EXTREMELY good advice! Most any high power machinery can injure or even kill you and lathes are no exception, probably no worse than some woodworking equipment except lathes just seem more "friendly" and can lure folks into complacency. Fatal accidents can happen so fast on a lathe such as the one being discussed the person hardly knows what hit them but some really gory non-fatal accidents can occur also (don't Google lathe accidents unless you have a strong stomach). Not saying lathes/mills are a particular danger and should be avoided and in fact they can be quite safe as long as a person is aware of potential hazards, however these hazards can easily be overlooked by the newbie and lead to tragedy. Loose clothing is probably the number one cause of serious accidents and can easily be fatal, even something as simple as forgetting the chuck key can get serious in a hurry! Long hair is another fairly common cause and just last year I think it was a collage student (a girl) was killed when her hair became entangled in a spinning lathe. I also know of two fellows over the years who lost fingers by pinching a strip of sand paper on a spinning shaft (a real no-no!!!!) and I read of one who had a file stabbed almost 2" into his hand/arm while filing a spinning shaft, filing is commonly done but it must be done right.

    Lathes are no more so or less so dangerous than a lot of machinery we use but I guess my point is they just don't seem so much so as some others but safety is a big concern with most any powered machinery and someone teaching themselves. I have only mentioned a few causes of lathe/mill/drill accidents, how about we share a few experiences and some advice from some of the experienced guys here, we just might save someone a lot of grief.
    Statistics show that criminals commit fewer crimes after they have been shot

  16. #16
    Super Moderator & Official Cast Boolits Sketch Artist


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    Thanks for all the advice and warnings first off I know easy mistakes can be made when you let your mind drift. Right now I am just getting to know the machine so to speak what tools I have what is needed to do what and how to use them. I have made some chips even made me a top punch for my press my tooling marks show I am a rookie that is for sure. I have to learn what works what and what to use before I try any real projects just taking it slow.
    Reloading to save money I am sure the saving is going to start soon

  17. #17
    Boolit Master
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    Just because what you make is finished rough doesnt mean it wont work OK,or break...... metal you use has a lot to do with finish,so do what you want and dont worry.

  18. #18
    Boolit Master
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    Ive had dozens of accidents and incidents with metal machinery,from huge grinding wheels exploding,to machines falling over when i tried to move them,and just missing me.The main thing is you survive with all your fingers and toes......well most of them anyway....One funny that often happens to beginners is a long rod put in a lathe,and turned at 1500 revs...........starts ok,then turns into a giant whip and smashes everything in reach to pieces.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by john.k View Post
    .One funny that often happens to beginners is a long rod put in a lathe,and turned at 1500 revs...........starts ok,then turns into a giant whip and smashes everything in reach to pieces.
    Not sure how funny it is, back in the 80's I remember an incident where a guy at a mine machine shop near where I was working at the time had that happen, he nearly lost his left ear and severely injured his shoulder in that one! There's one really good YouTube video on lathe accidents (this one is OK for the squeamish among us since it is pretty much just a close call and has a decent ending)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3EdQq5iAGYs

    Shows just how fast something can get you! Also that guy is using the "pinched sanding strip" trick I mentioned in my first post, they way he was doing it at first before he got caught is exactly the way that cost two guys I knew some fingers! NEVER EVER do what that guy is doing, pinching a sanding strip like that he was just asking for a serious injury! Holding a longer length of sanding strip by the ends "May" be OK but besides the safety problem all that sanding grit can wreak havoc with your lathe! Grinding and/or sanding on a lathe requires precautions to keep the grit off the ways and other areas to prevent greatly accelerated wear from the stray abrasive grit, I avoid grinding or sanding anywhere near my lathe unless absolutely necessary and then take all the precautions I can. I never use sand paper or strip (that stuff gets in everything) and about the only abrasive grit mine gets exposed to is from the tool post grinder and I do everything I can to keep any grit from getting on critical areas.

    There are some videos and pics on the 'net of lathe accidents that are just plain scary and extremely gruesome, one in particular even sparked a debate as to authenticity because it was so gory that some folks claimed it had to be faked, unfortunately it is all too real!
    Last edited by oldred; 02-25-2018 at 02:49 AM.
    Statistics show that criminals commit fewer crimes after they have been shot

  20. #20
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    I have long hair(waist length+) and usually keep it in a pony tail. Anytime I operate any machinery(table saw, radial arm, the bench grinder etc) the pony tail gets coiled up and tied to the back of my head then I cover it with a baseball cap. I had a stray hair get snagged by the drill press one day... one little hair... my eyes were watering because that frikking HURT! No loose clothing, no gloves that can snag...

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