Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard GRM+ Memberand Publisher
12/13/23 3:56 p.m.

If you've followed my series on Making Stuff, you've probably realized that I have a slight addiction to dragging heavy old machines home. It's a fun puzzle to get them home, working and cleaned up, and it's even more fun to make race car parts with them once they're up and running.

I've been looking for a surface grinder for a few years, but every one I found was either in real rough shape or too expensive. Like my other machines, I wanted a name brand. Why? Because name-brand machines hold their value better and are easier to find parts for. They might even make better parts, but at my level of expertise that's not a huge deal. 

A nice looking little Harig surface grinder popped up on Facebook about an hour away from home, with an asking price of $350. And credit where credit is due: Steve Eckerich, my machinist friend, found the listing even before I did. That's a great deal. Err, it's an insane deal. Err, it's a deal so good it has to be a scam or somebody who doesn't know what they're doing. So I messaged the seller, ready to drop everything and drive straight there, and... nothing. No reply. So I forgot about it and moved on.

Until my phone dinged a few days later, with the seller telling me he'd been on vacation and could meet me in an hour. So I dropped everything, grabbed Tim, and drove straight there. I figured I was headed to some dude's garage. Instead, I drove to a gigantic industrial building that makes and refurbishes F-15 parts. This machine, the guy explained, was an extra in the storage building and needed to go to make space for new stuff. Then he gestured to the building (about the size of an airplane hangar) and said "everything else in here needs to go, too, so let me know if you need anything else.

Over in the corner, I saw another machine I'd been casually shopping for: A small South Bend lathe with a big motor and a 5C collet chuck. I dragged home a bigger Jet-brand lathe a few years ago, but it doesn't fit in my garage that well and it's had a hard life. My dream was always to replace it with something small, sturdy, and well kept. And, of course, bonus points for name brands.

That's how I found myself crossing a new frontier in machine hoarding: Accidentally buying two at once on a whim. I handed the seller $1250, and in return he loaded two different machines--the surface grinder and the lathe--into the back of my truck.

Then I unloaded everything at home:

And rearranged my entire shop to find a corner for the surface grinder to live in:

AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter)
AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
12/13/23 4:09 p.m.

i dig that lathe.

more specific than "grinding surfaces", what are you going to use the Harig for? as in, what kind of parts or tools require surface grinding?

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard GRM+ Memberand Publisher
12/13/23 4:24 p.m.

The Harig is going to come in handy whenever I'm working with anything hardened, like Elva driveline parts. Plus it'll be fantastic to make and maintain tooling for the other machines.

My primary goal for it, though, is to build my own limited-slip differentials. I've always wanted to give that a shot, and this gets me a step closer.

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard GRM+ Memberand Publisher
12/13/23 4:42 p.m.

Both of these are three-phase machines in unknown condition, so each one will need to go through the same process I put the Bridgeport mill through: Put it under power, see what's working and not working, then fix and clean it, then cleanly integrate a variable frequency drive and move the machine into its final position.

Now that I have three machines that take three-phase power, why not just use a rotary phase converter? Well, because I didn't realize this hobby was going to progress this far, and the Bridgeport is already happily running on a VFD. Plus, I'd like to be able to infinitely vary the new lathe's speed. 

Because the lathe is more in my way, I'll work on it first, then wire up the surface grinder later.

First I gave the catalog number a quick google, and confirmed my hunch that led me to impulse-buy this thing: It's a South Bend Heavy 10, which is a little toolroom lathe with a decently big motor and a large (for its overall size) spindle bore. This isn't the best lathe in the world, but it will fit perfectly in my shop and be plenty big/powerful enough for anything I'm doing. 

I quickly wired up a MySweety YL600 (this week's flavor of imported VFD from Amazon), then milled a nut for the T-slot to attach an AXA toolholder to the machine.

Then I did a few test cuts on the lathe. Everything works, and it feels like a fairly well-kept machine. Certainly in good enough condition to keep working on, at least. So it was time to integrate the VFD a bit better. Lots of people just mount these on the outside of the cabinet somewhere, or on the wall behind the lathe, but my goal was to maintain the vintage look and feel, and to keep chips out of the delicate VFD. I ended up mounting in inside the cabinet, hopefully out of harm's way but still with plenty of airflow around it:

Rather than control it with the flimsy little keypad, I went ahead and repurposed the OEM drum switch for forward/reverse/off, then added a new potentiometer on top to vary the speed. This little 3D printed bracket isn't a perfect match, but it also doesn't look too badly out of place. Should be perfect as soon as it has some grease on it.

I also went ahead and replaced the flat drive belt, as the old one had stretched to the end of its adjustment range and I figured I might as well get it over with:

And just like that, I have a running, driving, ready to work South Bend Heavy 10! Next step is to get it into position and clean it up:

AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter)
AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
12/13/23 4:49 p.m.

that is a burly chuck!  i wish i had a cabinet like that for my little South Bend.

jimbob_racing
jimbob_racing SuperDork
12/13/23 5:26 p.m.

You need a bigger garage.

Kendall Frederick
Kendall Frederick GRM+ Memberand Reader
12/13/23 5:35 p.m.

I'm jealous!  I actually have seen a couple of lathes come up reasonably priced locally, but I've told myself that I'm not buying anything until the shop has its walls moved to the final configuration, power, and insulation.  

Did it come with any tooling?  4 jaw chuck or just the 3 jaw?

wearymicrobe
wearymicrobe PowerDork
12/13/23 5:36 p.m.

That surface grinder is about perfect size for me and my needs. I really want one but it's hard finding them out here in California in decent shape. All band new resellers and used and worn out. 

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard GRM+ Memberand Publisher
12/13/23 5:48 p.m.
Kendall Frederick said:

I'm jealous!  I actually have seen a couple of lathes come up reasonably priced locally, but I've told myself that I'm not buying anything until the shop has its walls moved to the final configuration, power, and insulation.  

Did it come with any tooling?  4 jaw chuck or just the 3 jaw?

Yes, it came with a four-jaw, a three-jaw, a steady rest, all the trimmings to run 5C collets, and a few other odds and ends. 

brandonsmash
brandonsmash GRM+ Memberand New Reader
12/13/23 7:21 p.m.

Oh man, you absolutely STOLE those pieces. You even have the thread indexer on the lathe, it looks like.

It appears that you're running an AXA toolpost. It seems like you may have the horsepower, and I've found BXA to be more worthwhile; I swapped my Romi over to BXA some years ago and never looked back. I can definitely take deeper cuts and passes on harder materials with the extra rigidity of BXA tooling.

A VFD is definitely the way to go; you're 100% right on with that choice. You're even using the same potentiometer I use on my setups. Obviously at this point you know to keep the RPMs in the "sweet spot" and avoid overheating the motor with too little airflow. One thing you may not know: If you're getting an annoying, very high-pitched whine while running the VFD you can change the carrier frequency to eliminate that. I generally set mine to >20khz so it's outside the realm of human hearing.

If you don't yet have a knurling setup, invest in one. It's easy to cut knurls and that is a VERY handy thing to have. Get a little farther into it and build yourself a radius cutter, too: Then you can really get deep into making your own shift knobs and equipment handles! 

 

NorseDave
NorseDave HalfDork
12/13/23 8:04 p.m.

I really need to go back to looking for a lathe.  (sigh) ...

Nice find.

Appleseed
Appleseed MegaDork
12/13/23 9:18 p.m.

So...which one is radioactive?

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard GRM+ Memberand Publisher
12/13/23 9:42 p.m.
Appleseed said:

So...which one is radioactive?

Funny you mention that... I actually own a Geiger counter and test every old tool I drag home. Especially living an hour away from Kennedy Space Center, I figure I can never be too careful. 

brandonsmash
brandonsmash GRM+ Memberand New Reader
12/13/23 11:49 p.m.

In reply to NorseDave :

Lathes are incredibly useful. I honestly use my lathe more than I use either of my mills. It's especially handy once you learn to cut single-point threads. 

 

 

akylekoz
akylekoz UltraDork
12/14/23 6:20 a.m.

This is an example of an abused for old lathe.  It will hopefully get replaced this year.   I don't need this in my shop now but if I ever retire, it's a perfect fit.

akylekoz
akylekoz UltraDork
12/14/23 6:21 a.m.

Old equipment if cared for can last hundreds of years.

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard GRM+ Memberand Publisher
12/17/23 8:42 p.m.

Okay, the old lathe is out:


Leveling feet have been added:


 

And the new lathe is in place. Success!

brandonsmash
brandonsmash GRM+ Memberand Reader
12/17/23 9:37 p.m.

Most excellent! Will you run any sort of coolant? 

CrustyRedXpress
CrustyRedXpress GRM+ Memberand Dork
12/19/23 7:41 a.m.
Tom Suddard said:

The Harig is going to come in handy [...] My primary goal for it, though, is to build my own limited-slip differentials. I've always wanted to give that a shot, and this gets me a step closer.

Do you mean something like the Phantom Grip LSD, or...?

How do you plan on making metric threads on the Heavy 10?

Toyman!
Toyman! GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
12/19/23 7:56 a.m.

In reply to CrustyRedXpress :

You can buy or make metric conversion gears for the Heavy 10. EBay lists them on occasion. 

SOUTH BEND HEAVY 10 METAL LATHE METRIC TRANSPOSING CHANGE GEAR SET This is a 3D printed set but I've seen metal sets as well. 

Toyman!
Toyman! GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
12/19/23 8:00 a.m.

In reply to Tom Suddard :

Those look to be well bought. Nice!

Kendall_Jones
Kendall_Jones Dork
12/19/23 9:03 a.m.

Dude has his own private label trash cans! Noice!

My work got bought out by a 1B company - their safety guy was not impressed with the machine shop so they sent it home to me.  wound up with a sharp mill, bandsaw, big lathe, finger brake, belt sander, welders, etc - and a fork truck that was surplus as well.  Much to the dismay of my wife I put it up in the other half of our 2 car garage.  I was a fiasco to unload - the free fork truck was like 1" too tall for the garage so I had to borrow a "big joe" brand electric pallet jack thing and place it in the garage.

Still positioning everything but it mostly fits :)

Marjorie Suddard
Marjorie Suddard General Manager
12/19/23 10:35 a.m.
Kendall_Jones said:

Dude has his own private label trash cans! Noice!

That stencil dates back to Tom's great-grandfather, an Army Colonel in WWII who used it on his foot locker. Tim's dad used it enthusiastically, as does Tom. 
Margie

Kendall_Jones
Kendall_Jones Dork
12/19/23 10:45 a.m.
Marjorie Suddard said:
Kendall_Jones said:

Dude has his own private label trash cans! Noice!

That stencil dates back to Tom's great-grandfather, an Army Colonel in WWII who used it on his foot locker. Tim's dad used it enthusiastically, as does Tom. 
Margie

That is so flippin cool.  Yeah, I would too.

ChrisTropea
ChrisTropea Associate Editor
12/19/23 10:58 a.m.

In reply to Marjorie Suddard :

When I bought a Pelican case from Tom a few years ago it took me days to get the stenciled on Suddard lettering off. You can probably still find remnants of them if you look hard enough. 

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