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Thread: Atlas vs the others

  1. #31
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    Re: Atlas vs the others

    Quote Originally Posted by iron man View Post
    I just started on this forum and I do not want to rub anyone wrong but I worked in a Machine shop for 25Yrs all of are machines are manual no CNC. I built my first metal turning lathe but came across an 10 inch Atlas for a song and could not turn it down. There are some design flaws but nothing that any of us could not repair or design better. I just recently rebuilt the cross feed and updated it with bearings, a direct read dial and a cross feed nut that is twice as long as the stock one with wear adjustments. I also installed a 2 1/2 horse variable speed treadmill motor to it and other small modifications. I have used the counterparts of this lathe and found no huge differance, I dont tend to blame a machine because I could not make do what I wanted instead I try and figure out how to make it work better and that is part of the fun of it.

    As for the the Zamack (pot metal) parts if and when they fail you can buy almost exact replacement change gears from Browning and yes you can weld the atlas pot metal with Aladin 3 in 1 rod with a Tig welder I have welded mountains of this stuff and it welds quit well.. I for one see no problem with the Atlas Lathe it may in its day been inexpensive but is far from being a cheap lathe.. Ray
    Hi Ray, I'm sure there will be a lot of interest in your crossfeed modifications, would you like to start a new thread detailing what you have done with pictures? I only ask because I have to make a new nut soon, and any help with this would be great.

    Bernard

  2. #32
    Cast Iron
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    Re: Atlas vs the others

    Quote Originally Posted by Dranreb View Post
    Hi Ray, I'm sure there will be a lot of interest in your crossfeed modifications, would you like to start a new thread detailing what you have done with pictures? I only ask because I have to make a new nut soon, and any help with this would be great.

    Bernard
    I am not sure how many post I have to make before I can post some pictures. I made the acme tap and threaded a brass block twice as long as the stock one I now have zero back lash I have never had that before. I also made the new crossfeed screw the original bearing surface had the gear against the end with no thrust bearing the other end used the dial as a thrust surface which worked ok until you did an internal bore then I could not turn the dial. I made a complete new piece with a bearing at each end and an 1 1/2" dial the dial floats free and is no longer part of the thrust on the crossfeed screw. I kept all the stock parts but will never go back to them the nut on its own made a huge differance in the machine. Ray

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    Re: Atlas vs the others

    Quote Originally Posted by iron man View Post
    I am not sure how many post I have to make before I can post some pictures. I made the acme tap and threaded a brass block twice as long as the stock one I now have zero back lash I have never had that before. I also made the new crossfeed screw the original bearing surface had the gear against the end with no thrust bearing the other end used the dial as a thrust surface which worked ok until you did an internal bore then I could not turn the dial. I made a complete new piece with a bearing at each end and an 1 1/2" dial the dial floats free and is no longer part of the thrust on the crossfeed screw. I kept all the stock parts but will never go back to them the nut on its own made a huge differance in the machine. Ray
    Sound just what is needed, I had terrible trouble trying to mill a T nut for my new QC tool post due to slack in the screw/nut, sort of got there in the end but it was a bit scary! Click to enlarge pic, then click again on the + to get closeup.

    DSCF7710.JPG

    Keep on posting useful info like that and I'm sure you will soon be able to post pics, ( mods can this be fast tracked? ) thanks for the input.

    Bernard

  4. #34
    Global Moderator wa5cab's Avatar
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    Re: Atlas vs the others

    The only two restrictions I'm aware of are that the first post has to be made (and be approved) in the New Members area and the 20 post requirement to get access to Downloads. But I'll check. In the meantime, Iron Man, go ahead and try to attach a photo.

    Robert D.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dranreb View Post
    Keep on posting useful info like that and I'm sure you will soon be able to post pics, ( mods can this be fast tracked? ) thanks for the input.

    Bernard

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    Re: Atlas vs the others

    Quote Originally Posted by wa5cab View Post
    The only two restrictions I'm aware of are that the first post has to be made (and be approved) in the New Members area and the 20 post requirement to get access to Downloads. But I'll check. In the meantime, Iron Man, go ahead and try to attach a photo.

    Robert D.
    I will try and do that tonight the acme tap is quite easy to make in the passed I have fill the old stock nuts with foss copper a High temp silver brazing alloy and have redrilled and retapped but on this I thought that more surface area would give better support and last longer. I am making the part to make up for wear in the future which will attach to the back of the nut but for now the extra length seems to do the trick and is a lot cheaper than buying one off ebay. I also want to make some brass half nut's as well if you do not want to machine the acme thread you can buy it in 3 foot length pretty cheap. I also made the nut with a shouldered bolt so I can just remove it to free the nut because my next project is a taper attachment. Ray

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    Re: Atlas vs the others

    Hear is the picture of the finished dial I will have to tear it apart to show the details maybe start another post for that. I did not machine the nut at the back of the mount instead I drill a couple holes in the front and use a spanner wrench to tighten it up the nut on the front sets the bearing preload. 100_0352.JPG

  7. #37
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    Re: Atlas vs the others

    100_0353.JPG

    And here is the tap I made crude but it works well.

  8. #38
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    Re: Atlas vs the others

    100_0354.JPG


    And this is not Atlas but it is the power feed I made for my Grizzly GO727 mill I had an Atlas but I like this one so much I sold it. The motor inside is a tiny gearhead motor out of an ICBM missile that is for controlling the directional fins it has a lot of power and is very slow when you need it.

  9. #39
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    Re: Atlas vs the others

    Ray,

    I see that you figured out the attachments bit.

    Robert D.

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    Re: Atlas vs the others

    Clever work you've done there Iron man, looking forward to more detail when you have the time to share it, thanks..

  11. #41
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    Re: Atlas vs the others

    Quote Originally Posted by wa5cab View Post
    Ray,

    I see that you figured out the attachments bit.

    Robert D.
    Yes I did thanks Robert I would not have posted without your prompting!!!

  12. #42
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    Re: Atlas vs the others

    Quote Originally Posted by Dranreb View Post
    Clever work you've done there Iron man, looking forward to more detail when you have the time to share it, thanks..
    I will try and get it torn down sometime this week end I started another post for that I hope it helps you get yours going.

  13. #43
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    Re: Atlas vs the others

    Truth hurts...

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    Re: Atlas vs the others

    In case anyone is following the recent part of this thread because they need Atlas parts and don't know, I'll mention that Clausing still has considerable support for the Atlas lathes and to a lesser degree, some of the other type machines that Atlas built. Prices generally reflect current (not 1940's) costs to produce but a pair of half nuts for a 12" last time I checked were under $35. If you'd rather make a part because you can and don't need the machine back up PDQ in order to make something else (which would generally be my case), have at it. Just know that you may not have to.

    Also (with the exception of the Model 3950 headstock casting), generally ignore derogatory comments about Zamak parts. For the most part they are just sour grapes.

    Robert D

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    Re: Atlas vs the others

    All I was saying was if he was interested is production, an Atlas might not be the machine for him. Try taking a .200 cut on an Atlas with a V belt drive. The box ways are considered a weak point and are generally regarded as inaccurate. Changing gears is also time consuming. By all means though, delete my comment because I offended someone. BTW, I owned an Atlas and enjoyed using it, but I was always mindfull of it's limitations. When I run bigger work, production, and tight tolerances, I use my Harrison.

    Use the right tool for the job.
    Last edited by Brandon; 02-10-13 at 09:57 AM.

  16. #46
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    Re: Atlas vs the others

    Quote Originally Posted by Brandon View Post
    All I was saying was if he was interested is production, an Atlas might not be the machine for him. Try taking a .200 cut on an Atlas with a V belt drive. The box ways are considered a weak point and are generally regarded as inaccurate. Changing gears is also time consuming. By all means though, delete my comment because I offended someone. BTW, I owned an Atlas and enjoyed using it, but I was always mindfull of it's limitations. When I run bigger work, production, and tight tolerances, I use my Harrison.

    Use the right tool for the job.
    I would take issue with the flat ways we had some awful big lathes where I use to work big enough to turn a man hole cover and the ways where flat. It is all about how much surface contact and and inverted V does not give that big of an advantage. I also have used many of the South bend of the same size as the Atlas and I could take no larger cut on them than I could on an Atlas. The gear box on mine looks Identical to a South bend so close I think you could interchange them.. But these lathes where never made for production even though some have found there way being used that way. But for a home machine shop they are only limited by your imagination.. Ray

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    Re: Atlas vs the others

    Quote Originally Posted by wa5cab View Post
    In case anyone is following the recent part of this thread because they need Atlas parts and don't know, I'll mention that Clausing still has considerable support for the Atlas lathes and to a lesser degree, some of the other type machines that Atlas built. Prices generally reflect current (not 1940's) costs to produce but a pair of half nuts for a 12" last time I checked were under $35. If you'd rather make a part because you can and don't need the machine back up PDQ in order to make something else (which would generally be my case), have at it. Just know that you may not have to.

    Also (with the exception of the Model 3950 headstock casting), generally ignore derogatory comments about Zamak parts. For the most part they are just sour grapes.

    Robert D
    That is good info I use to get small catalogs from them but now they dont even have the web site up anymore. Thanks Ray

  18. #48
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    Re: Atlas vs the others

    Brandon,

    The name of this site is Hobby-Machinist. With equal emphasis on both words. Several other roughly similar internet lists use the same word in their names, or use "Home". For the most part, even 20 years ago none of the machines commonly discussed here would have been usable for production. Even today most machine shops will still have several manual engine lathes on the floor for prototypes, one-off's and the like. But if they tried to use them for production, labor costs would be prohibitive. And the cost of even those machines is beyond the means (or beyond the willingness to pay) of the majority of the people who turn up here.

    I've never particularly needed to take a .200 cut but if trying to do so with a V-belt drive would cause problems, trying to do it with a flat belt drive would be if anything worse. But I consider it a non-issue on this site.

    Although very few flat bed lathes are made anymore, it's more because they are generally regarded as inaccurate plus one other issue than because they are inaccurate. A badly worn V bed is just as bad as a badly worn flat bed. The only real difference is that a badly worn V-bed doesn't give itself away by being hard to traverse all the way to the tailstock end of the bed. Unless you have to do work accurate to 0.0001" or less, the only real problem with a properly adjusted flat bed lathe is differential bed wear. Which can be a problem. On the other hand, it's cheaper to regrind a flat bed than a V-bed.

    I don't understand your time consuming gear change comment. If time is critical, don't use a Change Gear lathe.

    In any case, it wasn't what you said, it was how you said it. Had you told the guy that for a production shop, forget anything more than about 30 years old (and therefore most machines anyone on this site owns other than Chinese built), and to go buy a good used NC machining center, there wouldn't have been any reason to take exception.

    Robert D.


    Quote Originally Posted by Brandon View Post
    All I was saying was if he was interested is production, an Atlas might not be the machine for him. Try taking a .200 cut on an Atlas with a V belt drive. The box ways are considered a weak point and are generally regarded as inaccurate. Changing gears is also time consuming. By all means though, delete my comment because I offended someone. BTW, I owned an Atlas and enjoyed using it, but I was always mindfull of it's limitations. When I run bigger work, production, and tight tolerances, I use my Harrison.

    Use the right tool for the job.

  19. #49
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    Re: Atlas vs the others

    I owned a Logan, 3 Atlas lathes, a Sheldon flatbelt, a Jet and now have an 1880's Prentise Bros treadle lathe and a 1440 GoodWay gearhead. All good machines and I made hundreds of parts on them. I was happy with each lathe when I had it, but every now and then each one either wasn't quite large enough or didn't have collets or was too slow for some jobs or something else. They were good 80% of the time but could be agrivating at times also. Life is full of compromises. As I have gotten older and with a lifetime of turning, it's nice to have that I really enjoyed using and has fewer limitations and offers many of the features the others didn't have.

    Charlie W.

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    Aluminum Brandon's Avatar
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    Re: Atlas vs the others

    Robert D.
    I was sharing my experience dealing with Atlas lathes. I gave an honest assessment You didn't like it, so you deleted what I typed.
    Your comment of "Even today most machine shops will still have several manual engine lathes on the floor for prototypes, one-off's and the like. But if they tried to use them for production, labor costs would be prohibitive" Is not accurate at all. Do you see the lathe in my avatar? That lathe is used every day, as well as a collection of manuals that you don't see. I regularly take .200+ deep cuts with my machine in my shop. That is why I make money.

    I am a machinist and tool and die maker by trade, and by choice. I set up and run CNC machines and every sort of manual machine that you can think of, as well as most brands. I belonged to the IAM for years. I was sharing my experience with a person that was asking for help. I'm sorry if I insulted your favorite machine by pointing out it's well known problems. I figured that you would welcome different viewpoints as well as an experienced professional machinist to your site.

  21. #51
    Aluminum Brandon's Avatar
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    Re: Atlas vs the others

    Just in case you forgot what the original post was Robert...

    Quote Originally Posted by macher View Post
    i have started looking for a small bench lathe for my garage shop. I am looking for a 10 or 12 inch machine. The comments I see on some web sites don't hold the Atlas in very high esteem. Based on what I see an Atlas is not much good for anything. Is this a "MAC vs. PC" type of argument or is there some basis to what I have read. We had South Bend, Logan and Sheldon in our college shop. The South Bend and Logan worked good, but we always seemed to have problems with the Sheldon.

    I will primarily be making parts for my antique woodworking tools, wood and metal screws, and some other small parts for basket handles.

    I was only helping out.

  22. #52
    Global Moderator wa5cab's Avatar
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    Re: Atlas vs the others

    Brandon,

    The short answer to his first question should have been a simple "yes". Mac vs PC is an excellent description. Linux vs MS would have been another good one. Mac and Linux users habitually run down people who use MS. Just as owners of some lathe brands that I won't list habitually run down Atlas and Atlas users. The reverse is seldom true.

    I didn't go back and look for his original post and didn't recall what he had said. Now that you've refreshed my memory, I see that what he originally said he was looking for could have been easily handled by any of the five common vintage US makes and had little enough in common with what you've posted since. He certainly never said anything about "production" and I'd bet that a .200 cut would probably part off most of what he wanted to be able to make. As he was logged in as of a few minutes ago, I assume he probably went with one of the other four. I hope he found something that works for him. If you were "just trying to help", you apparently narrowed down his range of choices.

    Robert D.

  23. #53
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    Re: Atlas vs the others

    I recently upgraded to a Craftsman/Atlas 618 from the Mighty Unimat DB-200 and I am pretty darn happy with it. Everything I tried to do with the Unimat apart from model work was at the outer limits of it's ability. I live in a city apartment, with a Model T size garage that I share with a car, so needed a machine that was small, could sit on an existing bench and was semi-portable. Believe me, I would rather have a Monarch 10EE, but living in a big city you have to make compromises. I was just about to buy a Microlux 7X16- on sale, the variable speed brushless motor was a big plus, but I saw a relatively well tooled Craftsman 618 on craigslist- this had the milling attachment as well and was a lightly used hobbyist machine since new. And was a bit cheaper than the Microlux. I went for the 618- it is about the biggest lathe I can justify given my space available, I can horse it around by myself and compared to the Unimat it makes chips like a Colchester. Quality seems on par with the better ChiCom 7X lathes or a bit better, but both machines were built to a price point. I also have TWO other Atlas lathes back in the midwest that I bought literally a month before I started a new career 15 years ago, so I have spare parts I can lug back on the train (which has pretty much unlimited baggage- try dragging a machine tool with you on an airplane!). I like the machine- I still may add a variable speed brushless motor to it, but I am having a lot of fun as it is.

  24. #54
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    Re: Atlas vs the others

    I have an Atlas TH54 and a 19 inch LeBlond regal. For most of my work I prefer my Atlas. My Atlas was bought new by a live steamer and well taken care of. I am the 2nd owner of it. The only thing I added was a quick change tool holder. Ebay is a great place to buy parts and accessories. I have a lot of the toys that go with it. The lathe is one of the handiest tools you will ever own. I like my Atlas and wouldn't trade it for anything.

  25. #55
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    Re: Atlas vs the others

    I posted a helpful ,NON DEROGATORY,actual use experience I had with my first lathe,a 12" Sears atlas. It has vanished. I'd like to know why. I stated in the post that it was not meant to be insulting.

    If any of my posts are deleted,it would be the polite and professional thing to be informed by PM as to the reason it was deleted. Possibly modifications of the post could be made if needed.

    Is it possible that Nelson,working on the forum,caused posts to vanish?

    Does any moderator care to reply to this? Thank you.

  26. #56
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    Re: Atlas vs the others

    Quote Originally Posted by george wilson View Post
    I posted a helpful ,NON DEROGATORY,actual use experience I had with my first lathe,a 12" Sears atlas. It has vanished. I'd like to know why. I stated in the post that it was not meant to be insulting.

    If any of my posts are deleted,it would be the polite and professional thing to be informed by PM as to the reason it was deleted. Possibly modifications of the post could be made if needed.

    Is it possible that Nelson,working on the forum,caused posts to vanish?

    Does any moderator care to reply to this? Thank you.


    Hope it was just a mistake George I saw nothing wrong with your post,.. Ray

  27. #57
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    Re: Atlas vs the others

    Quote Originally Posted by macher View Post
    i have started looking for a small bench lathe for my garage shop. I am looking for a 10 or 12 inch machine. The comments I see on some web sites don't hold the Atlas in very high esteem. Based on what I see an Atlas is not much good for anything. Is this a "MAC vs. PC" type of argument or is there some basis to what I have read. We had South Bend, Logan and Sheldon in our college shop. The South Bend and Logan worked good, but we always seemed to have problems with the Sheldon.

    I will primarily be making parts for my antique woodworking tools, wood and metal screws, and some other small parts for basket handles.
    Reply: I have an Atlas 10F54 lathe that I bought used a few years ago. Decent machine. I don't know how many owners it has had before me, but still in decent shape and I can turn out good parts with it. A lot of times it's not the machine but the operator as far a accuracy is concerned. I have installed a quick change gear box on it. Recently I have also installed a new 1 HP VFD rated 3 phase motor and a new VFD on it, great having variable speed capability now and being able to make the spindle crawl when I need to do power tapping. Like the recent job I had making (40) 2" diameter A-36 HRS spacers from 2.5 inches to 5.5" long with a 3/4-10 tapped whole clear through each of them. Purchaser wanted the spacers to use on his machining center he was installing. I purchased a 6" long tap from Enco and got the job done on the lathe - only had to finish hand tapping on the bench on the longest of the spacers, would have been a "bear" if I had to hand tap all forty pieces. Lots of spare parts available on ebay also for Atlas machines. You might also consider a new Grizzly, but of course those machines are made overseas if that is any concern to you. I have several Grizzly woodworking machines and they are fine and I have had no issues with them.

  28. #58
    Copper Ulma Doctor's Avatar
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    Re: Atlas vs the others

    i'll throw my hat into the ring..
    i loved my atlas th42. it is a beautiful machine, but has severe limitations.
    i quickly learned of vibration issues as well as having to deal with the slow change geartrain.
    the gearing is reminiscent of Fisher-Price childrens' toys, and were designed with minimum cost as the prerequisite.
    i would suggest the purchase of a V bed for any serious machining, a new mini lathe has near the same capabilities as an atlas 6", and eclipses the craftsman/atlas in other ways with variable speed and ease of parts availability.
    IMO, for a 10 or 12" buy a V bed you'll be much happier with the accuracy.
    IMO, stick with heavy duty, not Fisher-Price.
    Mike
    "If it broke once, it WILL break again!"
    Ulma Doctor- Meat Processing Equipment/ Packaging Specialist, Serving the West Coast.
    I'm not a real Doctor, but i have a PHD in difficult Repairs.

  29. #59
    Titanium Ray C's Avatar
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    Re: Atlas vs the others

    George,

    The database crashed yesterday and all posts from the last two days were lost.


    Ray


    Quote Originally Posted by george wilson View Post
    I posted a helpful ,NON DEROGATORY,actual use experience I had with my first lathe,a 12" Sears atlas. It has vanished. I'd like to know why. I stated in the post that it was not meant to be insulting.

    If any of my posts are deleted,it would be the polite and professional thing to be informed by PM as to the reason it was deleted. Possibly modifications of the post could be made if needed.

    Is it possible that Nelson,working on the forum,caused posts to vanish?

    Does any moderator care to reply to this? Thank you.
    ...and a rock feels no pain; and an island never cries.

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  30. #60
    Global Moderator george wilson's Avatar
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    Re: Atlas vs the others

    Yes,I heard. Thank you,Ray.

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