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Just some minor surface rust...

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francist

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#1
Well, perhaps more than just a little!

Buddy delivered this to me this morning. It's what remains of (or is the remains of, depending on how you see it) a little 6" Craftsman lathe. It saw the inside of a house fire, then sat for a year in the burned-out shell while insurance was being sorted out. It's pretty rough.

My first thought was to maybe get it going again, but that was before I'd seen it up close. Supposedly it wasn't in the area of the house that got completely burned, but there's still pretty convincing evidence that it saw some heat. Some of the Zamak parts have started to melt a bit, and there's a fair bit of scorching. But amazingly, the back gears still turn freely! I guess they were under the hood and remained somewhat protected.

Anyhow, even though it feels a bit creepy to have the thing in the shop, I'm going to tear it down for salvageable parts if any exist. I've got a running Atlas 618 as well as an new-old Atlas mill, both of which have parts crossover. I already see a countershaft assembly that isn't too far gone and there might be others. So while I don't really need another project just now, it looks like I've got one. Time to start a fresh tank of molasses....

Thanks for looking, and if anything really nifty shows up along the way I'll post the findings here.

-frank

image.jpeg image.jpeg image.jpeg image.jpeg
 

juiceclone

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#2
That thing looks just about small enough to fit in a plastic tub of some kind. Think it'd be fun to drown it one of those rust removing formulas for a while just as it is and see what u get. Not much to lo$e there, and u never know!?
 

francist

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#3
Yeah, that's what the molasses will do. I've had good success with it in the past, although it is somewhat slow. Works best when it's warm, and it is summer here so I can soak outside. I do want to disassemble things first though as far as I can.

And on that note, here it is after about two hours of monkeying. Much to my surprise, a lot of things are freeing up pretty quick. Dead centre just popped right out of the tailstock quill, cross slide threaded off, but the most impressive was the chuck. Fortunately the lathe had already been in gear when the fire happened, so I just engaged the back gears and put both hands around the chuck body while uttering a "yeah right frank, like this will work" and it did! Stupid thing came right off as easy as anything. Note near perfect condition of spindle threads in the second photo. Crazy. Some days you just get lucky, I guess.

-frank

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Dave Paine

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#4
Get some Evapo-Rust. Not cheap but it works very well and will remove rust without eating into the metal. Try and use with a container/bag and a lid to prevent the water evaporating. A few hours or overnight and the rust should be removed. Any dirt or grime needs to be cleaned off so the product can get to the rust.

The parts need to be completely submerged or you will get a "tide" mark which is very difficult to remove.
 

mikey

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#5
Hope you can save her, Frank. If the bed is not warped from the heat you just might bring her back to life. Some new guy somewhere could use a start, I'm sure.
 

woodchucker

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#6
Here's my take on that lathe.
It's good for parts. Based on the fact that the gears started to melt, indicates to me that it is not worth restoring. I think you will get too far down and find it just won't track right. it's warped, it's got other issues.
I would part it out and at least someone can make a lathe that might need the good remaining parts .
But that's just my opinion.
 

tq60

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#7
If all of the parts can be removed then tank it.

Get a plastic trash can and a can of drain cleaner (lye) along with a battery charger and some rebar.

Locate a roof rafter or other hard point above and place the lathe bed on a rope and suspend it lengthwise in the trash can.

Place the rebar along the sides inside and hold in place with spring clamps or whatever is handy.

Battery charger positive goes on the rebar and negative on the rusty part and wire wheel a spot to make good connection.

Connect rebar parts all together.

Fill with water about 1/2 way then pour in about 1/3 can of lye then fill to where rusty part covered with a couple inches.water.

Turn charger on and note the current meter.

Should see bubbles from rusty part.

The rebar will collect nasty crud which we call "corn dogs" and amp meter will drop.

Carefully without bumping pull them out and smack them inside your trash can to clean them off.

The above will get the rust and anything organic from the bed.

Do not place anything not iron or steel in it.

With all the rust go now evaluate condition..

If the ways look good and not trashed it could be fixed.

Assemble before much work and try it out.

<REDACTED> but they are still handy for lots of tasks due to small size more than enough lathe for certain things so it can be fixed up and used as a "do-fer" do for now...You can learn things while hunting for next one as we all do...we started with one of those and always made money on them.


Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I337Z using Tapatalk
 
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francist

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#10
Well I've been playing around with this little Craftsman lathe again. I managed to get all the pieces off and broken down months ago already, but then I set it aside for the proverbial rainy day. Enter one rainy day, or several rainy days actually, and I figured I'd break it out again and see if I could make some progress. And while it's not my intention to provide a testimonial for Evapo-Rust (I have no affiliation whatsoever) I have to say I'm pretty impressed.

The rust on this little guy was not years and years worth, but it was enough be significant. The lathe survived the house fire, then sat in the burned out building for more than a year while the insurance claim was being processed. It's really too bad, because I think it was a virtually unused machine prior to that. However, I digress.

It's too cold for molasses treatment right now and I didn't want to fiddle with electrolysis, so I decided to give the Evapo-Rust a try. I knocked together a quick tray out of some pine and lined it with 6-mil poly. I opted to do the bed in two stages so as to not have to have to buy so much product -- one 4 litre jug was enough to fill the tray to just shy of half the bed width. I'm not worried about a tide mark at the centre, it's a rough casting and will also be painted afterwards so who cares.

Here's the bed after one 24-hour soak. I didn't make any attempts to clean the piece first nor did I degrease it. Just put it in there, walked away, and took it out a day later. I did scrub it though with a small wire scratch brush as well as an old paintbrush, but not super-aggressively. I was pleasantly surprised at how easily all the rust just rinsed right off.

image.jpeg

I had earlier determined that the fire advanced from the tailstock end and didn't completely overtake the machine. In this photo the headstock end is to the left, tailstock end to the right. The paint survived at the one end but not the other, and the Evapo-Rust did no damage at all to it. I was fortunate as well in that I was able to remove the rack from the bed casting -- makes cleaning a lot easier.

image.jpeg

View of the tailstock end looking towards the headstock end. There's some pitting of the ways at this end, but again it's fortunate to be the tailstock end where the carriage would not travel. The two small holes are all that's left of the badge (actually I lie, I think I may have retrieved one of the drive screws) that succumbed to the heat.

image.jpeg

And back into the bath again for the second side. As I mentioned earlier, if you're reasonably conservative with your tray building you can get away with one 4-litre jug of solution. I already did the lead screw the slow way (by hand with wire brush!) but I still have the rack as well as most of the other parts to do once I no longer need the long skinny tray. I'm in no rush though.

image.jpeg

Thanks for looking.

-frank
 

mikey

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#11
Have to agree, Frank. Evapo-Rust is some amazing stuff. For big stuff, though, I think electrolysis is a lot cheaper and just as effective (if not more so). Good to see a nice machine have a second chance due to your caring hands.
 

Ulma Doctor

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#14
looking good Frank! there are still parts floating around on ebay
good luck in the restoration!!!
 

francist

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#15
A bit more progress on the little Craftsman over the past few weeks. It's starting to look more like a lathe again.

image.jpeg image.jpeg

The spindle was in great shape although I do think someone had had it apart once before. One dust cover was missing but that's it, everything else was there and not looking worn at all. Fortunately I had a spare cover from my miller so I used that. And I did NOT commit the cardinal sin of failing to have the belt in place before putting the spindle through which would have meant tearing it apart again. I left the bull gear pin out instead, so yes, I still had to tear it apart again!

image.jpeg

So far I've not had to replace many parts, and the ones that I have were pretty minor. I built new spacer washers for the back gear assembly, a new back gear lever, and made a new indexing pin to engage the index holes on the bull gear. Oddly some of those are kind of goofed up, almost like a previous owner had used them for locking the spindle when changing chucks. Not serious, just unnecessary.

image.jpeg

Don't know where I'll head next -- carriage and lead screw I guess. The tumbler reverse probably wouldn't take a lot either, so maybe play with that first.

Thanks for looking.

-frank
 

jcp

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#18
If all of the parts can be removed then tank it.

Get a plastic trash can and a can of drain cleaner (lye) along with a battery charger and some rebar.

Locate a roof rafter or other hard point above and place the lathe bed on a rope and suspend it lengthwise in the trash can.

Place the rebar along the sides inside and hold in place with spring clamps or whatever is handy.

Battery charger positive goes on the rebar and negative on the rusty part and wire wheel a spot to make good connection.

Connect rebar parts all together.

Fill with water about 1/2 way then pour in about 1/3 can of lye then fill to where rusty part covered with a couple inches.water.

Turn charger on and note the current meter.

Should see bubbles from rusty part.

The rebar will collect nasty crud which we call "corn dogs" and amp meter will drop.

Carefully without bumping pull them out and smack them inside your trash can to clean them off.

The above will get the rust and anything organic from the bed.

Do not place anything not iron or steel in it.

With all the rust go now evaluate condition..

If the ways look good and not trashed it could be fixed.

Assemble before much work and try it out.

<REDACTED> but they are still handy for lots of tasks due to small size more than enough lathe for certain things so it can be fixed up and used as a "do-fer" do for now...You can learn things while hunting for next one as we all do...we started with one of those and always made money on them.


Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I337Z using Tapatalk
This is the procedure I've used in the past ......used washing soda instead of lye (Arm & Hammer from the grocery store) ....works great.
Nice work on the restoration!!
 

Latinrascalrg1

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#19
If I didnt see a project like this take place first hand I would Never believe that this is the same lathe that was in the fire! Its amazing what a small bit of science a splash of ingenuity and some good old fashioned elbow grease can accomplish! Cant wait to see your finished product, Nice work.
 

francist

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#20
Some more progress on the lathe resurrection. I'm starting to run into parts that are too burned up or otherwise damaged to be reused, so it's not going quite as speedily as before.

The gears cleaned up alright for the most part, but the knob for the tumbler reverse was no longer present so I needed to come up with one of those. At the outset of this little adventure I decided that I wasn't going to sweat over doing a full-on "restoration" to use the popular term, so I didn't need the knob to be a match to anything. I have a few handles that I save from discarded diamond wheel dressers, and this seemed a perfect opportunity to make use of one. They're already knurled, a nice diameter, away we go. I was going to reuse the pin, but the more I looked at it the more I figured my chances of hitting that off-centre hole in the 3/16" diameter shaft was pretty slim. Easier to just turn a new one from some drill rod and pin the new handle to it instead.

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On to the lead screw. I still had the one front bearing that supports the screw as well as the change gear banjo, but not the one from the tailstock end. I remember being quite stumped when I was first disassembling the machine as to why there was only one bearing on the lead screw. Like, how does that happen, who runs a lathe with just a bearing at one end? Then I twigged. The Zamak bearing was indeed still there, just slightly "modified". The heat came from the right front, and at just over 750 F the bearing melted off the two mounting screws and dribbled down to come to rest on top of the bolt holding the foot to the bench. That's the little silver-coloured half moon shaped thing in the photo below. Cool, eh?

image.jpeg

Anyway, I needed a new bearing so better just make one. Roughed out most of it on the shaper, then finished up on the belt sander. It took more time to set up for drilling the hole, which I subsequently sleeved with nylon 6/6, than anything else really. And I seriously underestimated the degree to which I would need to measure the thing so the lead screw would run true.

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In the end though, or on the end as it were, I think it turned out ok. I stayed with the classic barrel shape although mine is just a hair on the chunky side. The screw turns freely, that's the important part.

image.jpeg

Thanks for looking!

-frank
 
Last edited:

mikey

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#22
Sure is turning out nice, Frank! Its really nice to see a near total loss being brought back to life under some loving hands.
 

yendor

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#23
One thing to think about on the lead screw bearing is Atlas made that out of ZAMAK so it would intentionally self-destruct and break if you crashed the lathe.
Making the replacement out of something much stronger will result in a much more expensive part being damaged if you have a crash.
 

francist

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#24
Yes I am aware of that story and gave it consideration. Ultimately I came up with the resolve that this machine really should be dead already, if for some reason I do manage to crash it seriously enough to want to destruct a Zamak bearing then it was meant to be. ;)

Personally, I think other things would break before the bearing on my 618 but it'd rather not put either to the test. Thanks for the tip though.

-frank
 

FOMOGO

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#26
She's looking great Frank. I know I had fun redoing my 12". I think the screw bearing will be just fine. I can't remember if there is a shear pin on the drive end or not, but I'm thinking that's where I would put any kind of crash disconnect. Mike
 

wa5cab

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#27
There isn't any shear pin in the carriage drive system. It wasn't until 1967 that Atlas (by then renamed "Clausing") did finally redo the basic drive design and add a slip clutch at the left end of the lead screw. At that point, they also re-did the right lead screw bearing, and added ball thrust bearings to it. That setup can be added to any of the Atlas machines that have 3/4" diameter lead screws. But unless you could acquire all of the parts as salvage from an otherwise dead late 12", it would probably be prohibitively expensive. The same comments apply to converting the power cross-feed engagement method from the pull-out knob to the lever.
 

francist

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#28
Made more parts. Many of the apron parts had suffered damage either before or during the fire. The parts on the inside of the apron though, remarkably, were completely unscathed. Half nuts, traverse gear, etc in like new condition. Hand-wheels and knobs, melted and misshapen.

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The half nut lever was broken and missing for the most part, so I made another from a scrap of hot rolled mild steel. I got a nice fit on the square hole to shaft so I got away with just peening to hold things together. The knob was a light press fit.

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I just happened to have a brand new M-23 handwheel that came with my MF milling machine, so I used it for the traverse on the carriage. I'll install the heat-damaged one on the tailstock where it's not as frequently used.

The ballcrank off the cross slide was a different matter though. It was heavily damaged to begin with, and I also had to slice it in order to get it off the lead screw so there wasn't much to salvage. Yes I could have purchased one, but I opted to try making one instead. There were some challenges as far as holding the part and how to achieve certain shapes, but in the end it worked out acceptably. My silver solder job was less than perfect but I'm trying not to dwell on it. I was able to reuse the handle and press it into my new crank so that saved a bit of time.

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And finally the tailstock. The two segments that pinch against the tailstock quill to lock it had been fused into the casting from the heat of the fire. They had actually started to drip out the bottom of the bore. Needless to say, I couldn't reuse those and had to make a couple new ones. I thought about aluminum but went with 360 brass instead, thinking that the brass will be less likely to gall in the holes. Used the sine plate on the milling table for cutting the angle on the ends, worked good.

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So here we are looking more or less lathe-like again. I'm still missing a compound casting, some pulleys for the countershaft and motor, as well as a stand or bench to mount everything on. Oh, as well as a place to set it. First things first, though.

image.jpeg

Thanks for looking!

-frank
 
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