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Atlas/Craftsman Serial Numbers and Bearing Dates

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Atlasman1980

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Thanks. The bearing dates are consistent with the serial number. And probably with it having the Pick-o-matic. The one parts manual that we have a copy or that includes the Pick-o-matic is Lathe Bulletin 10L-1A dated January 1946. So there must have been a 10L-1 in 1945 (which if it is illustrated will be the first illustrated one known). It would be interesting to know whether or not it included the Pick-o-matic when purchased or whether that was added. If you acquired a parts manual with the lathe, give me the date and number.

Five questions, and some optionals:

1) Do you recall which bearing had which date?
2) Do you recall anything else being engraved on either bearing? Such as the numeral 3?
3) Is the serial number on the right end of the front way or on the nameplate?
4) Is the nameplate on the rear or on the right end of the bed?
5) Is there anything else stamped on the bed near the serial number or engraved or stamped on the nameplate? Such as the letter P for Pick-o-matic?

The database has places for:

Where/From whom/When/How much paid?
Accessories acquired with it.
Accessories added later
Comments on general condition as acquired.
Current general condition and what you've done to it.
Any other comments you wish to make,

All of these are optional.

I used to get out to San Antonio several times a year when my wife's parents were alive. Have you had any trouble out of Harvey? We've been lucky. Except for the test run Friday afternoon, I haven't had to run the generator. And so far no water in the house.
Hello Robert,
Thank you for your quick response. Unfortunately, I didn't get a manual with the lathe or any kind of literature about it. But, to answer your questions :
1.Chuck side bearing dates 6/19/44
Gear side bearing dates 10/25/44
2. Yes, there is a 3 engraved on the bearings /races.
3. Serial number on nameplate.
4. Nameplate on right end of bed.
5. There is nothing else stamped on the bed or anywhere else I can see.
As for harvey ,San Antonio fared really well. As for all my fellow Texans on the Gulf Coast just keep em in prayer.
Thank you James A.
 

NCpatrol

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Does a model number specify the bed length or could there be multiple bed lengths under the same model number? Specifically, found a 101-28990 with s/n 106697 and I can't tell the bed length from the pics. The ways are trashed, but if it's got a good under drive cabinet that I'd love to put my 54" on if it would fit.
 

wa5cab

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NC,

To cover your specific model # question, yes. The 101.28990 is a 12x36 and has a 54" bed. So whatever model you have, it will fit on top of the cabinet. However, only three other model numbers can hook up to the underdrive without modification. These are the other three cabinet models, 101.28950 12x24, 101.28970 12x36, 101.28980 12x24. And all of these are already cabinet models.

I don't have time right now to write up all of the in's and out's of what you will need if you have any of the 15 or 20 possible other models but if you will give your model number, I'll tell you whether or not there are enough parts on the cabinet model 101.28990 to convert yours to cabinet. I have to also do some parts list research as this question never came up before. And my lunch is getting cold.
 

NCpatrol

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My "good" machine is a 28910. The 28990 is cheap enough that I plan to pick it up just for parts I need for my other 3 machines....and to sell whatever's left over. I was planning to trying to sell the cabinet but then it dawned on me that if I could swap my shop-built table for the cabinet, I'd probably be happier in the long run...if it will swap. My 28910 is in extremely good shape. The 28990 looks pretty beat in the pictures, but I need a bunch of "non wear" items from it to complete the restoration on my TH48 and I'll probably come out ahead vs. buying parts individually on ebay.

This is a pic of the donor machine.
 

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wa5cab

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NC,

OK. The 101.28910 has most of the same parts as the 101.28990. Including the same basic headstock. You will need to pull the two spindles and transfer the two-groove pulley on the 28990 to yours. Instructions for disassembly and reassembly of the headstock are in the Atlas Technical Bulletin on the late 12" which you will find in the DOWNLOADS Category named "A/C Lathe Repairs & Tech Bulletins". The filename actually says Back Gears but it covers the entire headstock. Swapping the pulleys and the belt covers is all that you have to do in order to drop your lathe onto the under drive cabinet. I recommend that you call Clausing and order four new rubber bushings/seals to go under the legs. You should also replace the two belts while you have the spindle and back gears out. The belts are A42's. Do NOT use link belts. You can buy the belts locally but as you need to order the seals may as well get them from Clausing. They may cost a little more but you are going to pay UPS shipping rate for the seals anyway. At the cost of petrol today, you won't say any money buying them local.

For removing and re-installing the spindle, I recommend making a puller-installer set from 3/4" all-thread, coupling nuts (long pattern nuts) and some steel mechanical tubing pf appropriate ID and OD. Plus a stepped disk with center hole to support the puller nut.

Also, when putting your machine on the cabinet, pay close attention to the relative position of the pulley grooves and belt relative to the ends of the cutout in the drip pan and cabinet top to clear the drive belts. Mine came misaligned from the factory with the right belt rubbing on the right end of the slot. The belt lasted about three weeks.

There may be one additional socket head cap screw attaching the 101.28990 headstock to the bed than there is on your 101.28910, To find it, lift the belt cover and look down in the vicinity of the left belt just inside the front wall of the headstock casting. That was apparently added during production of the final versions but didn't show up in the parts drawing of the headstock. There are also two bolts up under the left end of the headstock attaching the casting to the bed. These are not shown in most parts lists.

While in DOWNLOADS, go to the Atlas Lathe Manuals sub-category and download the 3996 manual. I have done a lot of editing of it. Mostly cosmetic but also fixed several errors and omissions in the original. Including that screw. The PDF is now at Rev6. If you don't already have it, also download the manual on your original machine from the Craftsman Lathe Manuals sub-category. And download the Craftsman

Also, if you don't already have it, buy a copy of the Atlas Manual of Lathe Operation (AKA MOLO), any black cover edition dated 1967 Twenty-Third Edition or later.



NOTE: The following two paragraphs apply to the 101.28940 and not to the 101.28910...

I would also transfer the improvements that Atlas made to the final version from the 28990 to the 28910. If you do, I would also transfer the nameplate. Improvements consisted of the slip clutch on the left end of the lead screw (and a new right lead screw bearing) (Instructions for adjusting the clutch are in the 3996 manual (and other places)). And the lever operator for the power cross feed. If your lead screw is less worn that the one on the donor, you can modify yours to fit. You will also need to transfer the cross feed selector gear shaft. Because of the detent ball and spring, you will need to drop the apron off of the saddle, too. I think that having done that, you can make the swap without removing the carriage from the bed. While you have the aprons off, examine the key in the bevel gear that is driven by the slot in the lead screw for excessive wear.

If you decide to do the modifications to your lead screw yourself, you will need to rig up some sort of bearing to support the left end of the leadscrew and keep it from whipping around while machining the other end. And also to support the weight. A 1/2" ID self aligning pillow block bearing on some sort of stand should work. If you have a wood working table saw, you may have an adjustable height in feed/out feed adjustable height roller stand that will probably work with minor mods.
 
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wa5cab

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No. Sorry, I keep forgetting that although Atlas appears to have never done so, Sears was bad about using lower numbers on later version equipment. 101.28900 & 101.28910 are newer than 101.28930 & 101.28940 instead of the other way around.. Another good bad example is 101.21200 is newer than 101.21400 (6" MK2 and 6" MK1). The only thing that you shoiuld need to change will be the spindle pulley and the belt cover and bracket (and the nameplate, or part of it).
 

NCpatrol

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Awesome. Hopefully I'll pick up the 28990 this weekend and can assess it's condition. Although I'm not real excited about having to pull the spindle (twice!), it's good to know that's all it needs to make it work. Hopefully the cabinet and associated parts are in serviceable condition.
 

pemdoc65

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I just picked up an Atlas lathe with a 36 inch bed at a late machinist's estate auction. The plate on the end of the bed indicates that it is an H54. The serial number is 055718. It came with a Union 4 jaw chuck, a Union 3 jaw chuck, two faceplates, full set of change gears, the original tool holder and a steady rest. The lathe is mounted on a very nice and sturdy homemade steel table. The 3/4 horsepower motor works well, and the power feed and crossfeed work. The package cost me $500. The unit seems to be well maintained, and has babbitt bearings.
 

wa5cab

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Thanks. Can you please give me country, state/province and city? At the moment, because of the recent server software update, I can't get that info from your Avatar info.

FYI, from the serial number and model number, it was probably made in early 1945, which was the last year that Atlas built babbit bearing headstocks. If it had had Timken roller bearings, the model number would have been TH54. The H means that it has a Horizontal countershaft assembly (the other choice, which was V for Vertical, also ceased production in about 1945). The 54 means that the bed is 54" long (the other choices were 36, 42 and 48, with the 36 and 48 being dropped late 1947 or early 1948). When you subtract from the bed length the length of the headstock and tailstock, each with a dead center installed, you get the distance between centers, which as you said is about 36". So the generic size specifier is 10x36. And the Series that it belongs to is 10F. The 10F parts manual is in DOWNLOADS, which is currently being called Resources.

Atlas never did a Technical Bulletin on the babbit headstocks. There is a little information, including a section view, in some editions of the MOLO (Atlas Manual of Lathe Operations and Machinist Tables). If one did not come with the machine, the best source is probably eBay. The first 15 editions of the MOLO just say on the copyright page Copyright 1937. From the 16th Edition on, the babbit bearing info was dropped from the MOLO. The one that you want will have white plastic binding instead of spiral wire and Part 7 - THREADING will cover the Atlas F-Series 10 Inch instead of the Sears Master Craftsman. They were printed from about 1943 to 1953, but there is no way in the manuals to determine the print year and edition number. eBay sellers almost never put the threading information in their ads so you will usually have to write them and ask what's in Part 7 (or Chapter 7). Prices typically run from about $25 to $40. Anything over $40, keep looking.
 

wa5cab

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I forgot to add that there is a closed thread in the Sticky area at the top of this Forum on navigating DOWNLOADS (Resources). Read it first. It will save you some time. It's currently third from the top.
 

pemdoc65

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Thanks! I'll check those out. The lathe didn't come with a manual, but did come with a 1966 dated parts manual. I'm in Shepherdsville, KY USA.
Wayne
 

oldschoolcane

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Robert,
I also have an H series Atlas lathe. Model H48, serial #51183. It has the metal lathe stand with wood shelves that it came with. I was thinking about mounting the lathe to a heavy wood shop table, with your experience whats the difference in using this lathe with its Atlas supplied stand versus a made to order shop table?
Thanks,

Tim
 

wa5cab

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Tim,

I've only ever had my under-drive equipped 3996 mounted to the floor stand that came with it. But based on what many other have reported, if the table is well braced, the top is 2" nominal (usually 1-5/8" to 1-3/4") thickness, and the table is level and properly anchored to the floor, when compared to a factory floor stand leveled and anchored, one should be as good as the other. However, it shouldn't be any better.

I think that we have a drawing showing the proper location for the countershaft bracket mounting holes relative to the bed. However, because Atlas didn't always supply the motor and because of the variation in motor bases, I don't think that there was ever a template for the motor.
 

KDLaun

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Hello all. Newly joined here, but I've been reading through the older posts on this thread with great interest for the past few weeks. I'm in the process of acquiring an Atlas lathe. It suffered some damage about 15 years ago, which appears to be limited to the cast iron guards over the belts and gears and a broken motor mounting plate. It's been mainly idle in its current location since then. It has some light rust, but all the gears appear to have a full set of teeth. Soon it will be in my garage as a rehab project. I was wondering if any of the Atlas experts here could provide any background information. It doesn't appear there is a "master list" of serial numbers anywhere. My particular machine is an Atlas QC54 with serial number 08849L.
 

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wa5cab

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KD,

The Atlas Quick Change Gear Box first appeared in late 1947, at about the same time that Atlas discontinued the 36" and 48" beds (so there are no QC36 or QC48's). Initially, Atlas started the serial numbers on the QC's at 1 or maybe 100 or 200. At some later point, they were merged into the S/N block being used by the change gear 10F's. Best current guess is that this happened around 1951 and may have coincided with the QCGB change from No. 1500 (which yours is) to No. 6800. This happened sometime before S/N 082925. So far, yours is the highest 4-digit serial number reported. And the only one with an "L" suffix. So for at least the time being, we'll say that your machine was made in 1950.

Although they are not real common, you should be able to eventually find a replacement belt cover and motor mount on eBay. All parts on your machine except for the QCGB and bandjo (change gear bracket) are the same as on the change gear 10F. Of which at least 80.000 were built.

Your machine has the not real common but not rare either factory floor stand. And it has the uncommon factory drip pan.

There is an Atlas machine database in Downloads. As soon as you can see the Downloads tab on the upper tool bar, go to Downloads, click where it says to click here 1st, and 2nd. Click on Atlas/Craftsman/AA, and scroll down and click on A/C Database. I didn't realize that they had gotten that far behind (I'll update them shortly) but there are three files with .TXT extensions. They are actually .MDX, .DBF and .CSV files. Adding the .TXT on the end was a trick to allow them to be uploaded. After downloading, change the file name by deleting the .TXT from the end of the file name. The database includes all types of Atlas machines, including those sold by Sears. Plus the 6" lathes sold by Sears but made by AA.

Also in Downloads you will find a lot of manuals and Atlas Technical Bulletins and etc.
 

KDLaun

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KD,

The Atlas Quick Change Gear Box first appeared in late 1947, at about the same time that Atlas discontinued the 36" and 48" beds (so there are no QC36 or QC48's). Initially, Atlas started the serial numbers on the QC's at 1 or maybe 100 or 200. At some later point, they were merged into the S/N block being used by the change gear 10F's. Best current guess is that this happened around 1951 and may have coincided with the QCGB change from No. 1500 (which yours is) to No. 6800. This happened sometime before S/N 082925. So far, yours is the highest 4-digit serial number reported. And the only one with an "L" suffix. So for at least the time being, we'll say that your machine was made in 1950.

Although they are not real common, you should be able to eventually find a replacement belt cover and motor mount on eBay. All parts on your machine except for the QCGB and bandjo (change gear bracket) are the same as on the change gear 10F. Of which at least 80.000 were built.

Your machine has the not real common but not rare either factory floor stand. And it has the uncommon factory drip pan.

There is an Atlas machine database in Downloads. As soon as you can see the Downloads tab on the upper tool bar, go to Downloads, click where it says to click here 1st, and 2nd. Click on Atlas/Craftsman/AA, and scroll down and click on A/C Database. I didn't realize that they had gotten that far behind (I'll update them shortly) but there are three files with .TXT extensions. They are actually .MDX, .DBF and .CSV files. Adding the .TXT on the end was a trick to allow them to be uploaded. After downloading, change the file name by deleting the .TXT from the end of the file name. The database includes all types of Atlas machines, including those sold by Sears. Plus the 6" lathes sold by Sears but made by AA.

Also in Downloads you will find a lot of manuals and Atlas Technical Bulletins and etc.
Awesome information! Thank you so much.

I've already located a motor mount and have it on the way. The original belt cover is an odd contraption that has a long, thin hatch that opens right to left. It doesn't even seem to cover the gears completely. I've not found anything on Ebay (or even a photo of one anywhere) that compares to it yet. It appears that the more common rounded version (10-18) that hinges on the back will fit. I'll need the hinge parts as well as they are broken off at the bolts.
 
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wa5cab

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I was going to say that the motor mount is probably repairable. Although paying commercial rates to get it done would probably cost more than a replacement. As you have a replacement on the way, it's a moot point.

The belt and gear cover probably isn't repairable. But in any case, it looks like before it was broken, it had been modified . Atlas never made anything that hinged right to left like that.
 

KDLaun

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KD,

The Atlas Quick Change Gear Box first appeared in late 1947, at about the same time that Atlas discontinued the 36" and 48" beds (so there are no QC36 or QC48's). Initially, Atlas started the serial numbers on the QC's at 1 or maybe 100 or 200. At some later point, they were merged into the S/N block being used by the change gear 10F's. Best current guess is that this happened around 1951 and may have coincided with the QCGB change from No. 1500 (which yours is) to No. 6800. This happened sometime before S/N 082925. So far, yours is the highest 4-digit serial number reported. And the only one with an "L" suffix. So for at least the time being, we'll say that your machine was made in 1950.

Although they are not real common, you should be able to eventually find a replacement belt cover and motor mount on eBay. All parts on your machine except for the QCGB and bandjo (change gear bracket) are the same as on the change gear 10F. Of which at least 80.000 were built.

Your machine has the not real common but not rare either factory floor stand. And it has the uncommon factory drip pan.

There is an Atlas machine database in Downloads. As soon as you can see the Downloads tab on the upper tool bar, go to Downloads, click where it says to click here 1st, and 2nd. Click on Atlas/Craftsman/AA, and scroll down and click on A/C Database. I didn't realize that they had gotten that far behind (I'll update them shortly) but there are three files with .TXT extensions. They are actually .MDX, .DBF and .CSV files. Adding the .TXT on the end was a trick to allow them to be uploaded. After downloading, change the file name by deleting the .TXT from the end of the file name. The database includes all types of Atlas machines, including those sold by Sears. Plus the 6" lathes sold by Sears but made by AA.

Also in Downloads you will find a lot of manuals and Atlas Technical Bulletins and etc.

Just looking through the photos I have again and I think that "L" on the end of the serial number is actually a "1" (088491). I took a couple of photos when I first looked and neither is all that clear. Once I get it moved, I will be able to get a better look. Right now the end of it is pushed into a corner. Sorry for the confusion.
 

wa5cab

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OK. When you are able to confirm that, please do so here. I took another look at the photo and it does appear that the horizontal part that makes it an "L" instead of a "1" could be damage instead. Plus none of the other machines in the database have an "L" suffix. And it just registered that if the numeric part of the serial number really is "8849". then if should have been entered as "008849", not "08849". Also, the progression of serial numbers is more or less uniform from "000423" to "004882" so having the next one show up as "08849" is unusual. In any case, I have edited the database, because I'm pretty sure for all of those other reasonns that you are going to find upon examination of the actual plate that the last character was originally "1".

What that says about the QCGB appearing to be a 1500 instead of a 6800, I don't know. But it would be far from the only example of finding either an older or a newer part on one of the machines. You should be able to access the tumbler lever without moving the lathe. Does the handle of the tumbler have a spring-loaded outer sleeve similar to the ones on the other two levers or is it solid and you have to open the change gear cover and loosen a nut in order to select FWD, OFF or REV?
 
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wa5cab

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Common info that's in many of the records is where, when, how, how much ($) you got it. Condition at acquisition, what you did to it, current condition. Accessories and tooling you got with it. Accessories and tooling you've acquired since. Etc.
 

guitarman0023

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Common info that's in many of the records is where, when, how, how much ($) you got it. Condition at acquisition, what you did to it, current condition. Accessories and tooling you got with it. Accessories and tooling you've acquired since. Etc.

I got it in wheeling, west Virginia in 2014 I think. Was in ok shape, but in a barn so very rusted up, gunked up and full of chips. I completely disassembled it, cleaned all the old grease out, painted it, and got it running and tight again. I paid 250 dollars for it, and when I got it, it came with a QC gear box, and a four jaw 8"Chuck. I have since added tooling and a quick change tool post, and a variety of Morse taper 2 Chuck's and centers for the tail stock. It's in great shape, but there is a small amount of wear on the ways, evident when the carriage gets a little snug towards the tail stock, but cuts pretty decent and gives a nice finish on light cuts with a shear HSS tool. I'm very happy with it. I've probably invested around 700 total in tooling, and I would like to find a milling attachment to hold me over until I can find a mill.
 
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