South Bend 9A 644R Advice on purchase?

FriscoMustang

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Thanks for taking a minute to help a newbie. I’ve been doing some very minor fabrication in my home garage and have decided I’d really like a lathe. I had my eye on a good looking, possibly restored 618, but after doing more research decided I wanted to go ahead and get a lathe that I could grow with a bit. I’ve looked a little at the Asian lathes and may still end up there, but I just can’t get over the idea that heavy metal would make me happier in the long run. I’ve come across this SB 9A 644R for what I think is a very good price. Spoke to the owner this afternoon and he said it was originally used in a machine shop at a Greyhound station, then used for 25 years or so by it’s 2nd owner, and finally ended up with him where it largely sat under a tarp in the back of his (apparently very humid) automotive shop. He says it runs and the saddle and tail stock move well. He’s sending me pictures tomorrow of “a lot of stuff and tools” in the drawers. Lots of dirt and surface rust, and I have no idea what the liquid is all over it in the pictures. Possibly oil, possibly water, who knows. Overall, looks like it could be garbage or could be perfect hiding under a thin layer of surface rust. I’d love some expert eyes to let me know what you think and what I should look for when I go check it out. I’ve read the “Advice on buying a lathe” article, and of course watched too many Tubalcain videos (wife won’t let me watch anymore with her around). Please let me know what you think. Asking $450, so I’m pretty interested. Thanks for your time and help.
 

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pjf134

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It looks like a good deal for $450. make sure the ways are in good shape and everything moves. When I got mine for $750 nothing moved because of rust and dried up oil, but the lathe had very little wear and needed rebuilt. I did take mine apart all the way and did a good cleaning and took about 4 weeks working on it a few hours here and there. The gear box was the worst part since all gears were stuck and the taper pins in the shaft were facing the wrong way to remove. The gears were like new and dried up oil was the cause of sticking.
Paul
 

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FriscoMustang

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It looks like a good deal for $450. make sure the ways are in good shape and everything moves. When I got mine for $750 nothing moved because of rust and dried up oil, but the lathe had very little wear and needed rebuilt. I did take mine apart all the way and did a good cleaning and took about 4 weeks working on it a few hours here and there. The gear box was the worst part since all gears were stuck and the taper pins in the shaft were facing the wrong way to remove. The gears were like new and dried up oil was the cause of sticking.
Paul
Thanks for the reply. Nice looking work on that gearbox.
 

pjf134

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Ask for tooling and check for wear everywhere. If you get it you should do a teardown and clean good. Kits can be had for the felts and a book to install. I did not know about that info when I did mine. I used a link belt on mine and it works real good and easy to install compared to a leather belt.
Paul
 

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Aaron_W

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Other members here suggest Texas is a tough place to find machine tools.

$450 seems a very decent price if you don't find any major issues. I'm hoping that liquid is oil. I've been pleasantly surprised several times to find that what looked like rust was simply old dried up oil that came right off with some simple green.
 

FriscoMustang

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Other members here suggest Texas is a tough place to find machine tools.

$450 seems a very decent price if you don't find any major issues. I'm hoping that liquid is oil. I've been pleasantly surprised several times to find that what looked like rust was simply old dried up oil that came right off with some simple green.
Thanks. Fingers crossed for sure.
 

FriscoMustang

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Ask for tooling and check for wear everywhere. If you get it you should do a teardown and clean good. Kits can be had for the felts and a book to install. I did not know about that info when I did mine. I used a link belt on mine and it works real good and easy to install compared to a leather belt.
Paul
Thanks. I’ve seen the link belts and hear good things.
 

Jim F

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As long as the ways are good, it is a really good deal.
Looks like the 4' version, also.
 
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