First Cuts with a 1940’s Era South Bend Lathe

After some work, my South Bend lathe is now able to cut parts.  I haven’t tried it on metal yet, but here’s a video of me turning down a tree branch that I found in my yard.  Turning a small dowel out of raw materials that you chopped off with a hatchet is probably one of the manliest things I’ve done recently.  Check out the video in glorious time-lapse:

Of course this isn’t the only thing that I’ve cut with it so far. See the gallery below for such treasures as a piece of square wood turned to have a cylinder on one end, and a PVC pipe with random shoulders on it.

There is one useful thing here that I’ve done with it, which can be seen in the first gallery picture.  I made a dowel to go into my CNC router Shop Vac hose holder in which a laser can sit for laser light painting as explained here.  It sits in its holder with a light press fit, and the laser sits inside the hole drilled in the square part.  This fixture wasn’t used with the original “paintings,” but worked well in some subsequent experiments.  Now that I have a lathe, milling machine, and CNC router, my making possibilities should ope up even more!

The really amazing thing about this piece of equipment is that it was presumably built in 1942.  This is assuming that the label inside of the switch corresponds to the date of manufacture.  This machine is a full 70 years old now, and would have been in use when my grandfather was a teenager.  For some newer stuff, check out my CNC section, featuring the CNC router I built from a kit last summer!

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