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Question About An Atlas Mf Horizontal Mill

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Fairbanks

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#1
Gunrunner you need to order a set of these for the Z axis hand crank. Bill did you just spit coffee on your monitor? :rofl:

View attachment 253356
 
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wa5cab

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#2
Steve,

First, the base is original (and may be the first that I've seen). It is an Atlas S7-442 (A, B, or C although from the photos, I can't see any differences). Sold up through 1943 or 1944, along with the M1-750 hardwood floor cabinet after 1942. In 1945, the catalog shows both replaced by the steel 9050 (which I have one of).

According to the Atlas MMB-5 manual, the serial number ranges for the four models were:

M1, MF, MH 000200 - 001344 4-STEP
M1A, MFA, MHA 001345 - 005465 3-STEP
M1B, MFB, MHB 005466 - 008123 2-STEP
M1C, MFC, MHC 008124 - ? 2-STEP

It appears that the "A" suffix was assigned retroactively, possibly as late as the time of the change to the "B". The three machines that I know of with serial numbers within the "A" range all have the 3-pulley feed chart and say just "MF" on the nameplate. Plus I know of one machine with a serial number a little above 000900 that has the 3-step pulleys. But I didn't think to ask which feed chart it has.

Anyway, I am inclined to assume because of the speed chart that the one you are looking at originally had the 4-step pulleys and that a PO changed them for whatever reason. From the photo that you posted, the machine that you are looking at appears to have the original M1-300 vise. I gave $250 for mine, with the original crank handle, and thought that I did fairly well. Price range on them is probably $200-$300. The original stand is probably in the same range, so that drops the price of the mill itself to an average of about $750. Which if the mill runs as-is and has an arbor (I think I can see it in the photo), arbor driver (can't tell) and drawbar (wouldn't be visible even if the photo were much better), is a good price.

You will want to get the 3-speed chart but otherwise, I doubt that having 12 instead of 16 speeds is a big deal.
 

Fairbanks

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#3
Robert D.- Thanks for your help here!

Steve
 

tbell

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#4
Why old old horizonial?Vertical much more usable. Bridgeport comes mind older J about same price. Just thinking.Tom
 

Fairbanks

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#5
Tom-
Excellent point but I really need a small machine and horizontal will work fine for my primary projects. Besides, I have a soft spot for all things vintage, funky or just plain old!

S
 
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Andre

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#6
Why old old horizonial?Vertical much more usable. Bridgeport comes mind older J about same price. Just thinking.Tom
May I ask why you say that?
More times than not I wish I had a horizontal. What can you do on a vertical you can't do on a horizontal? Some things mat be harder to setup, but the gain in rigidity is worth it. You will not find a vertical in that size range as stout as a horizontal. Or in most cases, any size....
 

wa5cab

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#7
tbel,

A standard Bridgeport (or clone) is over twice the size and three times the weight of an Atlas horizontal. So it isn't really a fair comparison. But as far as being more usable, about the only thing that you can't do with a horizontal that you can do with most verticals is run a tapping head. And if you have a decent drill press, that's no loss. Plus a small horizontal is substantially more rigid than a small vertical, just inherent in the way that they are built. There really are no quality vintage small vertical machines to choose from. All that I know of except for the Clausing 8520/8530 are at least as big as a Bridgeport. Many are larger. Another problem with the Bridgeport designfor the typical home shop is that it is very tall. You really need a 9' ceiling or overhead to move one in, which the average home shop does not have. In any case, you're talking apples and oranges.
 

Dave Smith

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#8
[QUOTE="Andre, post: 303373, member: 31170. What can you do on a vertical you can't do on a horizontal? Some things mat be harder to setup, but the gain in rigidity is worth it. ....[/QUOTE]
Andre---one thing is you can see the small endmill or tool or bit a lot easier and watch it cut -----I have an atlas horizontal mill in my small shop and I would like to have a small vertical head for convenience on small work---I have two larger vertical mills and a large older Hendey/Norton universal horizontal mill for heavier work----making a small vertical head to fit on my small atlas just makes it more handier and it will still have all the horizontal features.---Dave
 

Tool-in-the-Box

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#9
I have a gaggle of small mills. Arboga, Armor JM, Atlas MF, Benchmaster, Burke #4, Clausing 8520 etc...

The big bonus with the Atlas is that most have power feed as standard equipment.
If you wanted the best of both worlds I would say the Burke would be the best hor/vert unit to get. Most have power feed and the vertical attachment is rare but obtainable with a bit of patience.
 

Wierd Harold

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#10
May I ask why you say that?
More times than not I wish I had a horizontal. What can you do on a vertical you can't do on a horizontal? Some things mat be harder to setup, but the gain in rigidity is worth it. You will not find a vertical in that size range as stout as a horizontal. Or in most cases, any size....
Is there a (free) manual or book that explains the workings and use of a horizontal mill ? I have never seen one and just going by pictures of them on this group I don't have a clue how you would do anything but face or cut slots. I have only seen pictures of them with large disk shaped cutters or things that look like a planer blade. Do they in fact use end mills ? I will probably never own one but you never know, I didn't plan on any metal tools but now have 3 lathes and a mill.
WH
 

T Bredehoft

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#11
I ran a horizontal (don't remember it's name) for years, converted to CNC. I had a 12" angle plate which I used much of the time. In use the operator stood behind the table to the machine's left, facing the table. (wish I could remember what it was called, I'd only seen that one machine. It had been modified extensively, once had two spindles, side by side, operated independently, with a provision to move from one to the other. That was before I was put on it.

In any case, it was far more stable than any Bridgeport type machine, capable of the same sort of work, and you could watch the tooling 100%.
 

JPMacG

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#12
Steve,
Bring a good flashlight and thoroughly inspect the machine for hidden damage. Ask to see it run. Run through all the speeds, run the table feed through all its speeds, and run the back gear. Run the table feed in both directions. Feel inside the spindle for damage to the Morse taper surface. Make sure the bull gear pin engages properly. Inspect the spindle gears and pulley for damage. Move the three axes through their travel range. Atlas parts are horrendously expensive. You could easily spend another $500, even $1000 on replacement parts. If you know anyone who has experience with an Atlas mill, take them along.
 

Andre

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Is there a (free) manual or book that explains the workings and use of a horizontal mill ? I have never seen one and just going by pictures of them on this group I don't have a clue how you would do anything but face or cut slots. I have only seen pictures of them with large disk shaped cutters or things that look like a planer blade. Do they in fact use end mills ? I will probably never own one but you never know, I didn't plan on any metal tools but now have 3 lathes and a mill.
WH
As long as your spindle has a drawbar for a collet or endmill holder, they absolutely can use endmills, drill holes, etc.
 

wa5cab

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#14
Harold,

Other than what little Atlas and others published on what the various controls do or what you do with them, I've not come across to anything for horizontal mills equivalent to the Atlas MOLO or the South Bend How To Run A Lathe.

Basically, in Horizontal mode, a horizontal mill runs a long solid round bar or shaft called the "arbor". The arbor is supported at one end by the spindle and at the other by the arbor support (block) with is in turn supported by the overarm (another larger solid round bar) which is mounted above and parallel to the spindle. The arbor has a nearly full length square key and keyway to drive the cutters. The cutters look like small saw blades and come in various thicknesses. They all have a center hole to match the arbor and a key slot to match the arbor key. To position the cutters, there are hollow keyed spacers of various thicknesses. To cut a long slot, you would use a smooth sided cutter of the same thickness as the slot width. If you wanted to cut two parallel slots, or cut something like a T-nut, you would use two cutters properly spaced and of the proper width or thickness and make both cuts at the same time. For facing, you would use a cutter or stack of cutters a little wider than the part. Etc.

Atlas originally supplied the mill with either a 7/8" diameter or 1" diameter arbor. There are some after-market 1-1/4" diameter ones available today.

With the arbor and arbor support removed, you can use end mills, face mills and key seat cutters in the spindle. Operations would be about like using a milling attachment on a lathe.
 

Wierd Harold

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With the arbor and arbor support removed, you can use end mills, face mills and key seat cutters in the spindle. Operations would be about like using a milling attachment on a lathe.
Thank you.
WH
 
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CluelessNewB

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#16
Is there a (free) manual or book that explains the workings and use of a horizontal mill ?


There are several articles in old Popular Science and Popular Mechanics magazines and annual "shop notes" from the 1950s that have content specific to the Atlas horizontal mills. There are several links on this page you will find interesting: http://www.petealbrecht.com/atlasmillshaper/atlasmillshaper.htm

There may be more not listed on that page. There are also articles and videos by Rudy Kouhoupt available you may find interesting.
 

Wierd Harold

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Is there a (free) manual or book that explains the workings and use of a horizontal mill ?


There are several articles in old Popular Science and Popular Mechanics magazines and annual "shop notes" from the 1950s that have content specific to the Atlas horizontal mills. There are several links on this page you will find interesting: http://www.petealbrecht.com/atlasmillshaper/atlasmillshaper.htm

There may be more not listed on that page. There are also articles and videos by Rudy Kouhoupt available you may find interesting.
Thank You
WH
 

spongerich

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#18
Is that a dividing head I spy on the floor? Small-ish ones sell for large-ish sums.

The table power feed does seem to be a bit of a weak spot with these. Replacements are pricey and getting hard to find.
 

gramps1951

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#19
I have the best of both worlds with my little MFB Ser#006652. I have 7/8", 1", and 1 1/4" arbors and a vertical head. I can use the horizontal arbors without removing the vertical head and it is extremely rigid. I have it on a decent cabinet now with lots of tooling storage. Would I like a Bridgeport? Definitely! But can I do what I need to do with this little Atlas? Yup!




Mill Complete 001 (Custom).jpg Mill Complete 001 (Custom).jpg Mill Complete 002 (Custom).jpg Mill Complete 003 (Custom).jpg Mill Complete 004 (Custom).jpg Mill Complete 005 (Custom).jpg
 

rick9345

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#20
They were the go to machines WWII for a gazillion small parts, as a hobby to keep one out of the kitchen excellant choice, but if the bug bites bigger shop and bigger machines will be forth coming. Small Atlas stuff seems to a;ways hold value.
Welcome to addiction central inhabited by tool junkies.
 

rick9345

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#21
Start of the addiction(now for sale)
And then what it has currently progressed to.

L 2.JPG DSCN0624.JPG
 

Earl

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#22
I have an Atlas MFC with original Atlas vise and crank and an original overarm support. It has an original cabinet that has had doors and a shelf added. It has both the ¾ and 7/8 arbors, a full set of spacers and keys for each arbor, and a drive dog for the arbors. The spindle is MT2. It has a threaded draw bar and a knock out bar as well as a copy of the original documentation. Also included were several cutters, several MT2 end mill holders, a bunch of “T” nuts and bolts, some clamping hardware, some slitting saws and some additional odds and ends. The machine had been rebuilt by the previous owner. I have not done a thing to it in the last 4 years that I have had it except for oiling it! I paid $1500 for it. That seemed kind of high at the time but it was ready to go to work the minute I unloaded it from the truck. I love the little mill. I have since obtained a grizzly g0695 vertical mill but just can't bring myself to part with the little atlas although my wife is very willing to part with it! :).

ps - check that your atlas has a power feed "knock out" piece on the front of the table. The picture is too small to see if it is there. Those are rare (and very expensive) on ebay. It will cost you between a hundred and a hundred fifty bucks to replace it if it is missing. I would factor that into the price of the mill.

my mill also has an overarm support that extends down and clamps around the y axis shaft housing. Some of the atlas mills did not include it. It is also very expensive to replace.
 

Dave Smith

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#23
gramps1951--very nice clean machine---Dave
 

Fairbanks

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Is that a dividing head I spy on the floor? Small-ish ones sell for large-ish sums.

The table power feed does seem to be a bit of a weak spot with these. Replacements are pricey and getting hard to find.

Yes, I believe it is. Thanks for the input
 

Fairbanks

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#25
Excellent Posts!! Thanks you all for your help and feedback.

I am leaving to pick the machine up on Friday and will post pictures when I get back next week. The seller tells me he has located some more tooling that will be included....

Steev
 

Green Frog

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Gramps1951, that vertical conversion is unlike any I’ve ever seen. Most, if not all of the ones I’ve seen clamp onto the over arm support and are driven off a pulley attaches to the main spindle. Do you have any info on who made your conversion unit and when? According to all of my sources, Atlas never made one. :frown:

Froggie :frog:
 

34_40

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#28
Gramps1951, that vertical conversion is unlike any I’ve ever seen. Most, if not all of the ones I’ve seen clamp onto the over arm support and are driven off a pulley attaches to the main spindle. Do you have any info on who made your conversion unit and when? According to all of my sources, Atlas never made one. :frown:

Froggie :frog:
Not sure who you were trying to contact.. but it came to me. It was great to see your handle come up on my screen.
 

wa5cab

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#29
I've never seen a vertical attachment like that, either. Note that it, unlike all others that I have seen, has an extensible quill. My guess is that it was a commercial model, possibly the production prototype, that never made it to market.
 

Green Frog

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#30
Hey 34-40... I've had a pretty rough couple of years and haven't touched my MFC. Things are starting to settle down now and I think I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, so I'm taking a shot at getting back into some of my interests. I'm making baby steps on the mill, but it looks like I'm going to have to tear into the controls and gearing of the knee... they seem to be damaged.

My reference to Gramps1951 was in regards to his pictorial of that very unusual vertical conversion for the Atlas Horizontal. It's definitely like none I've ever seen before. As you may recall, I've researched the Atlas mills pretty extensively, but I can't remember even getting a hint about that unit, so naturally I'm interested. Hey Gramps1951, if you are seeing this, any info sincerely and eagerly accepted!

Regards,
Froggie :frog:
 
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