Lathe Cart? (NY/NJ/PA)

So I got a free South Bend 3’ lathe off of craigslist a few days ago. The thing is in rough shape but is cleaning up real nice. I am stuck between selling it (greedy) or turning it in to a lathe cart for FIRST teams (right thing to do).

The idea would be to make a frame custom to the lathe with wheels on the bottom and a tool chest with all the required tooling mounted under the lathe. I would have to find a sponsor to pay for the tooling as I got pretty much nothing with it. Teams would also have to sign a waiver claiming responsibility for all the equipment and a release of all personal liability on my behalf. I would also charge a nominal rental fee (gas for travel and simple upkeep, nothing absurd). I am located in central NJ and willing to drive an hour and a half or so each way to deliver.

Good idea? Bad idea? Input please!

Good idea.

A Lathe must be mounted firmly to the ground (e.g., not on wheels) and must be kept absolutely level (better than 0.001" in a foot) for it to “turn true” (operate accurately).

Inexperienced users can badly damage the lathe. Tooling will be damaged even by experienced users. Consider how this will be handled.

Scheduling use can get sticky; there’s only so much time during build season.

Other ideas: Sell it and donate $ to some team. Keep it and make parts for a few teams. Give it to a team, who will let you (and maybe others) use it. Just ideas…

more other ideas: Get some folks together and start an underwater robotics team, and enter the NURC.

We made a lot of parts for our winning ROV for the last competition using my old South Bend 9" swing lathe.

you could donate the use of it to teams around you, eg, they could come and use it.

All are great ideas, but as of right now I am not sure where I am going to be mentoring. I figure at the least, whever I am mentoring is where the lathe will be. I just don’t want to break a team’s heart if I decide to mentor elsewhere another year. You can be sure that if I mentor elsewhere, this lathe is coming with.

In case you guys want to see the lathe in question:


Looking much better!

No quick change box…hmmmm…wonder if we’d have the patience to use it in the fast modern age? :slight_smile:

(do you have the change gears for it?)

I actually think the gears included just get reconfigured after looking at the diagrams…i still need to find the right motor with the right pulley attached to it but can’t find any specs. Guess I can’t complain too much for free.

The motor and pulley are not very critical, but make sure the motor will reverse (and you need a drum switch to make it reverse, unless you go 3 phase, fed by a Variable Frequency Drive that is fed by single phase power).

Cleaned up really nice! May want to do the same for the comment on picture 10 of 10.

I have one of these in my basement and it has produced many fine robot parts over the years. Unless you cut a lot of threads, the lack of a quick change gearbox is no big deal.

I would be leery of bringing it to a competition and letting somebody else use it though. The design is from the 1930’s (open-belt drive system, etc.) and pre-dates OSHA safety requirements.

I wouldn’t recommend selling it, though. Once you have a lathe you’ll wonder how you ever got through life without one.

I was thinking about the safety issue that Wayne brought up, I agree that it might not be the best thing to have others using. You have to really pay attention with the older machines.

I would give my left foot for that lathe. It’s a fine piece of equipment. I can tell you spent many hours bringing that Old Girl back to life.

I will be done with this lathe tomorrow at which point I will have totalled somewhere around 30 hours cleaning it up and painting it. Now all I need is the proper motor and pulley and I can at least get it spining.

“The idea would be to make a frame custom to the lathe with wheels on the bottom and a tool chest with all the required tooling mounted under the lathe.” -
It is a great idea and works if built right
I set up my lathe (9"x36" atlas) in the same fashion as decribed using a steel plate 3/4"x24"x60" as a top and a detacable angle iron frame and HD locking casters I mounted a “side box” to the frame and still have room for a rollaway too.
I drilled 4 holes in the top plate for eye bolts at the CG point to lift it with a cherry picker for easy transport without dismounting the lathe
the system works great and is ridged and stable
it has been to AZ and NV regionals and transported to many shops over the years
I also did a drill/mill like this when the team was homeless and we had to move equipment around and setup shop on a daily bases

Have fun!

Yikes! That must weigh (gets a napkin…)

Steel has a density of 7.78 g/cm^3
3/4" = 19mm, 24" = 610mm and 60" = 1525mm
So 1.961152.5 = 17675 cm^3
17675 cm^3 * 7.78 = 137500 g = 137.5 kg = 303 lb

300 pounds or so! I can imagine that would be a stable base.:ahh:

Mine is KC2YOJ…currently only have a 2m/440 HT