South Bend Lathe

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South Bend Lathe
Location Back Room
Manufacturer South Bend
Model 9A
Manual [In a drawer under lathe]
Training required? Yes
South Bend Lathe
Generator's metal lathe

Ithaca Generator now has a functioning metal lathe. It can be used to make cylindrical, conical, and threaded features on metal and plastic parts. A few of you have expressed being interested but unsure what a metal lathe can do. Here's a video with some example lathe projects. I've been surprised by how enjoyable I've found it to be to operate a lathe, and I'm sure that many of you would enjoy it too.

Use of this tool falls under all existing IG policies the same as any other backroom tool. Please be careful. Anyone interested in using this machine who would like an orientation just email the ithaca_hackerspace Google group. Jason or someone else who is familiar with the lathe will be able to show you the basics. No prior experience is necessary. We're all supposed to be here.

A few safety tips (not comprehensive):

  • Everyone anywhere near the lathe while it's being used should wear safety glasses.
  • Nobody should approach or otherwise surprise or distract someone who is operating a lathe.
  • Only one person should operate the lathe at a time. Be explicit about who is operating it, and don't touch any part of it if that's not you.
  • No long sleeves, ties, jewelry, or other clothing or accessories that could get caught in the machine.
  • Long hair should be secured up so that it can't get caught in the machine, and not just in a pony tail.
  • Always unplug the lathe before going near belts or gears, and when doing anything else that could be dangerous if the lathe turned on.
  • Never take your hand off the chuck key while it's in the chuck. It's too easy to forget it and have it become a projectile.
  • Be aware that the lathe has a lot of inertia and will not stop immediately.


Our collection of machinist tooling includes the following:


  • Three-jaw and four-jaw chucks
  • A selection of collets, a spindle thread protector, and two collet closers
  • Dog-driver and one dog for turning between centers
  • Face plate
  • Steady and traveling rests


  • 8" digital calipers
  • 0-1" and 1-2" micrometers
  • Dial indicators and a dial test indicator

Cutting Tools:

  • Our turning and facing tools use CCMW 2-1.5-x inserts
    • Our current supply is T-15 HSS CCMW 2-1.5-1 by A.R. Warner (available through
    • It's unusual for inserts to be high-speed steel, but they have some advantages over carbide, which could also be used
  • Our boring bar (minimum bore is .330") uses CEMW 2-1.5.x inserts
    • Our current supply is T-15 HSS CEMW 2-1.5-.5 by A.R. Warner
  • We also have:
    • A selection of high-speed Steel blanks you can use as is or regrind
    • A high-speed steel parting tool
    • A few brazed carbide tools
    • Center drills
    • A few reamers and other cutting tools

Metal Lathe Videos:

YouTube is a great resource for machining-related videos. Here are some that may be helpful:

Turning a Diameter to Size on the Lathe

Facing on the Lathe

Center Drills and Center Drilling

Parting on the Lathe

Cutting Speed and RPM on the Lathe and Mill (For the lathe, use the diameter of the work instead of the tool.)

How to Safely Use a File on the Lathe

Thread Cutting on the Lathe

Taking the Mystery out of the Threading Dial

Making A Lathe Chuck Back Plate (Examples of various operations, including boring tapers)