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New Lathe User - Just Bought An Atlas MK2 6x18

Skowinski

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#1
I've been around machine shops over the years, but rarely did any work myself, and even then was just being guided step by step. Just picked up what looks like a great deal on a barely used Atlas MK2 6 inch lathe, with tons of accessories and tooling. Starting to dig around on the forum to educate myself, and already learning a lot.



The drawers in the cabinet are full of tooling and parts, some of which I have no idea what it's for. :D
 

Dhector

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#3
Damn!!! You got a lot of stuff for that machine. I BELIEVE the MK2 is almost identical to the 3950 I bought. Wa5cab is very smart on these lathes. He will probably chime in and help to. It looks to be in fantastic shape to me. Lots of tooling, steady rest, follower rest, milling attachment, 2 3 jaw, 1 4 jaw, live center, drill attachment, threading gears, and manuals. I'd like to know what you paid for it, your call though. Dont have to say if you dont want to. I know how much I racked up in my 3950 to get all of those parts together. Yours is in very nice shape too!!! I had a blast with mine. Nice buy!!!

Can we see pics of what is in the drawers???? Please????:)
 

56type

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#4
Have one of those myself and am very happy with it so far. Just don't ask it to try to make cuts that a larger lathe can do and you'll probably be happy with it's performance. You made out like a kid at Christmas with all the extra tooling.
 

ch2co

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#5
Congratulations ! and welcome to the forum. This is a great place to learn and ask questions.
You are very fortunate to have a lathe with the "works". The accessories would probably cost you
as much or more than the lathe. This is the same way I got my lathe and after 3 years there are still a
few parts that I haven't used, and there are very few things that I needed to buy. As Hector said,
we LOVE pictures. Don't hesitate to ask questions, there is no such thing as stupid questions
on this site. Good luck and keep us informed of any projects you are working on.

CHuck the grumpy old guy
 

Skowinski

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#6
Thanks guys! I picked it up for $750, and think it would have been a deal for a lot more than that. It needed a really good cleaning. I think I spent 3 hours and still need to get into the gearbox and pull the tailstock and carriage off and clean those good.

I'll try to get some more pics. I'm sure I'll have some stupid questions as I go along!
 

Dhector

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#8
Thanks guys! I picked it up for $750, and think it would have been a deal for a lot more than that. It needed a really good cleaning. I think I spent 3 hours and still need to get into the gearbox and pull the tailstock and carriage off and clean those good.

I'll try to get some more pics. I'm sure I'll have some stupid questions as I go along!
I for one like stupid questions!!!!!!! Read my thread on my 6913, I had plenty of stupid questions in that thread!!!!!!!! I didnt even know swarf was an actual word!!! :-(

Thats a good price in my opinion for all of that. I have more than that in the extras alone I got for mine after I bought it. This hobby is addictive and can make the pocketbook smaller and smaller!!!!!
Someone on this forum said this but I cant remember who it was but "Welcome to the soon to be broke club!!!!" he deserves the credit, not me, but he was right!!! Nice score!
 

wa5cab

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#9
The Atlas Mk1 (which was never actually called that during its lifetime) consists of the Atlas 612 and 618, the Craftsman 101.07301, and the Craftsman 101.21400. The 618 and 101.21400 are exactly the same except for badges and nameplates, and both have 1"-10 spindle threads. The 101.07301 is almost the same as the 618 made in about 1938 to 1940 except has sleeve bearings and 1"-8 spindle threads.

The Mk2 replaced the Mk1 in about 1973. All have 1"-10 spindle threads and are 8-speed (no intermediate countershaft). The first two models were Atlas 3950 and Craftsman 101.21200. They have ball bearings on the spindle and a cast iron headstock. The first 800 to 1000 or so used the same compound and tailstock as the 618. As those were used up, they were replaced by what you have. The bed was originally the same as on the 618 except for the location of the tapped holes for the headstock and legs.

Sears discontinued the 101.21200 in 1976 or early 1977 and Atlas replaced the 3950 with the 10100 (which Sears never sold). Initially, the only difference was that the headstock (still cast iron) and spindle were modified to take Timken tapered roller bearings like the 618 had. In June 1979 at (supposedly) S/N 007328 the apron was modified to add backlash adjustment to the carriage traverse gears. At some point after S/N 008329, the traverse rack was changed from the 618 type (with 5 mounting screws and two locator pins) to only two larger screws. At some point no later than S/N 9901 and thought to probably be in early 1980, Atlas changed the headstock and legs to Zamak. This proved to be a disaster and although Atlas apparently made a retrofit kit with cast iron parts available (not clear if free or not), the 10100 went out of production probably late in 1980 or very early 1981.

Your machine has the late apron with backlash adjustment but I can't tell from the photo whether the legs and headstock are cast iron or Zamak. If you wouldn't mind, please complete the "Survey Questions For Atlas/craftsman 6" Mk2 Lathes" contained in the thread of that name up in the Sticky area at the top of this Forum.
 

Blacksuit

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#10
Nice looking lathe and equipment. I'm in the same boat as you as I am new to any kind of machining work. I boughta craftsman 101.21400 6 inch about 3 weeks ago and just started playing with. I would love to have that milling attachment!
 

Skowinski

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#11
The Atlas Mk1 (which was never actually called that during its lifetime) consists of the Atlas 612 and 618, the Craftsman 101.07301, and the Craftsman 101.21400. The 618 and 101.21400 are exactly the same except for badges and nameplates, and both have 1"-10 spindle threads. The 101.07301 is almost the same as the 618 made in about 1938 to 1940 except has sleeve bearings and 1"-8 spindle threads.

The Mk2 replaced the Mk1 in about 1973. All have 1"-10 spindle threads and are 8-speed (no intermediate countershaft). The first two models were Atlas 3950 and Craftsman 101.21200. They have ball bearings on the spindle and a cast iron headstock. The first 800 to 1000 or so used the same compound and tailstock as the 618. As those were used up, they were replaced by what you have. The bed was originally the same as on the 618 except for the location of the tapped holes for the headstock and legs.

Sears discontinued the 101.21200 in 1976 or early 1977 and Atlas replaced the 3950 with the 10100 (which Sears never sold). Initially, the only difference was that the headstock (still cast iron) and spindle were modified to take Timken tapered roller bearings like the 618 had. In June 1979 at (supposedly) S/N 007328 the apron was modified to add backlash adjustment to the carriage traverse gears. At some point after S/N 008329, the traverse rack was changed from the 618 type (with 5 mounting screws and two locator pins) to only two larger screws. At some point no later than S/N 9901 and thought to probably be in early 1980, Atlas changed the headstock and legs to Zamak. This proved to be a disaster and although Atlas apparently made a retrofit kit with cast iron parts available (not clear if free or not), the 10100 went out of production probably late in 1980 or very early 1981.

Your machine has the late apron with backlash adjustment but I can't tell from the photo whether the legs and headstock are cast iron or Zamak. If you wouldn't mind, please complete the "Survey Questions For Atlas/craftsman 6" Mk2 Lathes" contained in the thread of that name up in the Sticky area at the top of this Forum.
Thanks for all the info!

The headstock and legs on this one appear to be Zamak - they are non-magnetic. Some of the documentation that came with it indicate it was bought from the factory in 1981. What's the issue with the Zamak parts, brittle, wear out easily?

Looking at the ways it's apparent this thing has little use. The tool/grinding marks are still visible front and back on both ways.

I'll do the survey for sure.
 

Dhector

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#12
The Atlas Mk1 (which was never actually called that during its lifetime) consists of the Atlas 612 and 618, the Craftsman 101.07301, and the Craftsman 101.21400. The 618 and 101.21400 are exactly the same except for badges and nameplates, and both have 1"-10 spindle threads. The 101.07301 is almost the same as the 618 made in about 1938 to 1940 except has sleeve bearings and 1"-8 spindle threads.

The Mk2 replaced the Mk1 in about 1973. All have 1"-10 spindle threads and are 8-speed (no intermediate countershaft). The first two models were Atlas 3950 and Craftsman 101.21200. They have ball bearings on the spindle and a cast iron headstock. The first 800 to 1000 or so used the same compound and tailstock as the 618. As those were used up, they were replaced by what you have. The bed was originally the same as on the 618 except for the location of the tapped holes for the headstock and legs.

Sears discontinued the 101.21200 in 1976 or early 1977 and Atlas replaced the 3950 with the 10100 (which Sears never sold). Initially, the only difference was that the headstock (still cast iron) and spindle were modified to take Timken tapered roller bearings like the 618 had. In June 1979 at (supposedly) S/N 007328 the apron was modified to add backlash adjustment to the carriage traverse gears. At some point after S/N 008329, the traverse rack was changed from the 618 type (with 5 mounting screws and two locator pins) to only two larger screws. At some point no later than S/N 9901 and thought to probably be in early 1980, Atlas changed the headstock and legs to Zamak. This proved to be a disaster and although Atlas apparently made a retrofit kit with cast iron parts available (not clear if free or not), the 10100 went out of production probably late in 1980 or very early 1981.

Your machine has the late apron with backlash adjustment but I can't tell from the photo whether the legs and headstock are cast iron or Zamak. If you wouldn't mind, please complete the "Survey Questions For Atlas/craftsman 6" Mk2 Lathes" contained in the thread of that name up in the Sticky area at the top of this Forum.

Told you. Isn't he something!!!!!!:)
 

westsailpat

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#13

Skowinski

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#14
Thanks westsail, have a notice for the quick change tool post so I can get those when they are available. Here are some photos of the contents of the drawers. A bit of a mess right now, as I've just started arranging similar stuff. Like I said, not completely sure what all I have here yet.

i-bfdDfjM-L.jpg

i-DK8PF7c-L.jpg

i-zRBJX3G-L.jpg

i-2cQWfP9-L.jpg
 

Skowinski

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#15
Thanks everyone for the welcomes! I'm getting into this as I'm about a year away from retiring and want to learn machining and welding, as a support to my main addiction, motorcycles. I hope this doesn't become another addiction! :immersed:

Hey, what happened to my swarf status? I kinda liked that.
 
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westsailpat

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#16
Man you really did score . I see some tool holder blocks in there , those look good . Motorcycles ?
 

Dhector

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#17
There are a lot of very intelligent people on this forum and I don't consider me anywhere close to smart with machining at all but from my little knowledge on this stuff I must say you did good. Very good!!!!! The only thing I didnt get with my 3950 that you did, was some brushes. And about 95 percent of everything else!!!!! Awesome!!!!
 

wa5cab

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#18
Thanks for all the info!

The headstock and legs on this one appear to be Zamak - they are non-magnetic. Some of the documentation that came with it indicate it was bought from the factory in 1981. What's the issue with the Zamak parts, brittle, wear out easily?

Looking at the ways it's apparent this thing has little use. The tool/grinding marks are still visible front and back on both ways.

I'll do the survey for sure.
Noob,

Zamak V is a zinc alloy usually die cast that can suffer from something called Zinc Pest. It is caused by using zinc in the pouring process that is of insufficient purity, primarily lead. It may take years before it appears or it can happen fairly quickly. However for the most part anything Atlas that was going to fail from zinc pest has already done so. It is generally accepted that any Zamak V parts made after about 1960 aren't going to be troubled with Zinc Pest.

However, zinc pest had nothing to do with the problem with the Zamak Mk2 headstock and leg castings. To a first approximation, Zamak has physical properties that are of about the same close order of magnitude as the better cast iron grades. Had the headstock or legs been made of cast iron of the same wall thickness or cross section, the same thing would have happened. One could say that Atlas should have learned their lesson back in the early to mid 1930;s when they made some parts (like the compound slide) out of Zamak and they soon broke. But I am sure that no one was still around to remind the bean counters of what had happened the last time that inappropriate parts were made of Zamak. Probably you won't have any trouble with it. But if the headstock or legs do crack, just replace them with the cast iron versions which are fairly available on the used market.

But the gears and other Zamak parts on the lathe should be fine. The gears will not last forever. But neither would steel or cast iron ones and it's unlikely, considering that they are basically new, that you will live long enough to wear them out.
 

wa5cab

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#19
I forgot to comment on the haul that you made. You really lucked out out the accessories and tooling.
 

Suzuki4evr

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#20
First of all,welcome to HM.
Even in South-African money that is a great find asspecialy with ALLLLLLLL THAT tooling.I am kind of jealous,but congrats and enjoy making chips.You will learn alot here.
 

markba633csi

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#21
My Mk2 also has the "backlash adjustment" carriage handwheel assembly. I have found that it doesn't really give much adjustment in
that regard; on mine at least, the gearcase has to be oriented to the extreme "down" position to obtain proper pinion to rack adjustment. Rotating
the gearcase either to the left or the right simply moves the pinion away from the rack. Perhaps the factory had something else in mind, or just miscalculated and didn't give enough adjustment range, I don't know. But it only meshes well in the one position.
I also found that the Zamak front gearcase half (that holds the handwheel pinion shaft) wears rapidly; I bored mine out to 13/32" and installed
a piece of 13/32" OD, 3/8" ID brass hobby tubing. Nice and tight now.
The belt idler pulley bushing also wears fast- keep it well oiled until you get fed up and replace it with a Torrington needle bearing and hardened steel shaft. Frankly the idler could probably be eliminated altogether; it tends to impart periodic "tugs" to the headstock which is not ideal for good surface finish on your turned parts. Another bean-counter compromise. A spring-loaded tensioner would have been preferable.
The sliding coupling from the step pulley to the spindle is another high-wear area. Bean counters strike again. They should have put two 180 degree woodruff keys instead of just the one. Hard to improve on this item, it is what it is. I do like the ability to pull the collar and twirl the spindle by hand, very handy when indicating a part in the 4-jaw chuck. I also like the backgear lever- no tiny pin to pull out- makes changing chucks a breeze. A nice machine in some ways, but a bit weak in others. Biggest improvement I made was a variable speed motor. :)
Mark S.
 
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markba633csi

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#22
When eventually I aquire a larger lathe, I thought I might modify the little Mk2 to make it a swiveling headstock a la the Unimat DB-200.
If a way could be found to drive the leadscrew with some type of flexible coupling, it would be great for turning tapers and making tapered threads
without needing a taper attachment.
Mark
 

Skowinski

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#23
Would you guys go to the trouble of taking this gearbox apart to clean and relubricate the gears? It's a bit messy and no idea how old some of this grease is, or how much junk is mixed in with it making a nice grinding paste...

i-zKNv3J2-L.jpg

i-HtCRbqJ-L.jpg
 

westsailpat

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#24
Yes you must , get every thing clean and re grease at assembly . When I got my machine the grease had turned to dried glue .
 

Skowinski

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#25
Yes you must , get every thing clean and re grease at assembly . When I got my machine the grease had turned to dried glue .
I think I may have answered my own question with the "grinding paste" comment, lol.

If anyone has tips about taking these gearboxes apart for cleaning, and reassembly please let me know.
 

Dhector

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#26
Take pictures first(as you have) and pay close attention to which shaft/bolt they came off. I'm sure you knew that. Download the manual if you haven't already. One thing to watch for though is when you remove the snap ring inside the pulley assembly, watch for a SMALL ball bearing and a spring that are inside the collar to put it lock it into back gear. They can fly out and never been seen again. Ask how I know that:) Also when you remove that collar, don't rotate it while removing. I did that once on my 3950 and the spring gouged the collar.
 
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markba633csi

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#29
You could solvent-clean it without disassembly by making a "tray" of foil under it and using a brush. Much faster and
practically as good. It will get dirty again fast, so surgical cleanliness is not required.
Mark
 
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