The South Bend Lathe Library

CNC & Machining Education Workshop
The South Bend Lathe Library

Founded in 1906 in South Bend, Indiana, South Bend Lathe, at one time, controlled almost half of the U.S. domestic metalworking lathe market.

South Bend did a lot of things right, to earn their market share and reputation, and one of the smartest was to produce clear, well-illustrated, low-cost instructional materials describing not just how to set up and run their tools, but how to use them to perform all kinds of basic and advanced machining operations. Their classic pamphlet How to Run a Lathe was updated and reissued annually for decades, and has often been reprinted. The 1942 edition, in particular, is highly regarded, and has been a centerpiece of the Lindsay Technical Books catalog for years.

Today, South Bend lathes are sold through Grizzly Industrial dealers, and much of their classic instructional library is available on-line. Document sharing site Scribd, for instance, hosts freely-browsable PDFs of How to Run a Lathe’s 1913, 1930, and 1966 editions, as well as several of South Bend’s topic-specific bulletins including How to Grind Lathe Tool Cutter Bits, The Installation and Leveling of the Lathe, and How to Cut Screw Threads in the Lathe. Enthusiast W.E. Williams also maintains a large online library of original South Bend publications, many of which I have not seen anywhere else.

Making antique brass nameplates

8 thoughts on “The South Bend Lathe Library

  1. Mike says:

    I talked with Grizzly, and they sent me to another guy called, because they didn’t have any information on the lathes made during the mid 40’s and earlier. I was able to find really nice printed, clear, easy to read copies of the How to Run a Lathe, and parts manuals with the accessories. I actually talked with him on the phone, and we was really knowledgeable and helpful. He carries a lot of manuals and information on other machines as well.

    Link to South Bend Lathe Manuals category:

  2. Gregg says:

    I used one in high school. I had no idea that the lathe itself had a history older then the building itself. In fact I also used a wood working one, but the metal lathe had character.

  3. Graham Marshall says:

    I used one of these lathes in high school, and I went to school right by south bend, pretty nifty

  4. robert says:

    I have a south bend lathe the ser# is model 6071A how do get parts if ineed them.

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I am descended from 5,000 generations of tool-using primates. Also, I went to college and stuff. I am a long-time contributor to MAKE magazine and My work has also appeared in ReadyMade, c't – Magazin für Computertechnik, and The Wall Street Journal.

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