Should I buy this lathe for the Atlas Craftsman QCGB?

ARC-170

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I found a lathe for sale "in good working condition" nearby that has a QCGB. Seller wants $1,350. Says there is "lots of tooling, too much to list", but no pictures to prove it. Machine looks dirty, but it could be fine. I thought I might buy it, put the QCGB on my lathe, then sell this donor lathe after cleaning it and making it all look pretty and work. The price seems way high; I've bought two other lathes for about $400 that were only a little worse than this one, but they didn't have a QCGB. I've also mostly parted out one of them and made all my money back and then some. I enjoyed the process of taking it apart, cleaning it and getting it running. Of course, there was nothing major wrong so it was easy.

What would I look for to see if this is a decent QCGB? It looks to be the same vintage as mine, so I'm sure the QCGB would fit. I know QCGB's are not cheap, but a quick Ebay search just turned up parts. How much are these? Thoughts?

lathe QCGB from CL.jpg
 

ErichKeane

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As someone who modified a QCGB to their lathe, don't be so sure it'll be a bolt on job! I did it to my 10" atlas and it required turning down the lead screw and machining the gearbox quite a bit. The distances from the face of the machine where the gearbox mounts, and the position of the leadscrew could very well be different. In the case of the Logans, an entirely different apron might be necessary as well.

Being able to switch the lead screw from one to the other isn't necessarily possible either, and likely not in a way that both would be swapped. For $1400, you likely won't be able to sell that lathe for anything near enough to be worth-while (unless there is a TON of really good tooling!).

Additionally, the gearbox there almost looks like this one: https://www.ebay.com/itm/ATLAS-12-C...-CHANGE-GEAR-BOX-HOUSING-386-031/373087685722

You'd likely be better off just buying the gearbox, modifying the leadscrew you have, and be done with it.

EDIT: I JUST realized that ebay add is the housing only?! You might end up getting a project here to modify a bunch of inexpensive gears and making some shafts :) In my case, I paid $350 shipped for the gearbox for my logan.
 

ARC-170

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It doesn't look like, from the parts list I have, that the lead screw is any different, other than length. So I could use my existing lead screw. This lathe is a Craftsman and so is mine. It looks like it's "plug and play". Unless it's all buggered up!

I bought a "donor" lathe when I bought my "keeper" lathe for some of the safety covers and a few other parts. I've sold almost all the donor parts for about twice what I paid. I sold them really cheap in sub-assemblies, rather than at outrageous prices for a single part. But, I did get it pretty cheap. This lathe is on the pricey side, I think. I probably won't recoup all of my costs unless I can get it for cheaper.
 

ErichKeane

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So in the case of the logans, despite the lathes being otherwise identical looking, there is some pretty significant differences: http://lathe.com/ll-group-archive/adapting_a_qc_gearbox.html

Basically, the location of the lead screw is in a different place as well. I'm not sure if the Craftsman you have has the same problem. In my case it was a little bit of very careful mill time to take ~3/8" from the mounting face, plus modifying the lead screw to get it to work. In my case, I was happy with the outcome.

If you're going to part out the donor, you perhaps will do better than trying to sell a converted-to-not-having-a-leadscrew version, but at $1500, it seems like making your money back would be difficult.
 

wa5cab

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Atlas made a total of 5 versions of their QCGB. Two fit the Atlas 10" and three fit Craftsman and later Atlas 12". The two for the Atlas 10" include a tumbler for FWD-OFF-REV which the 10" did not come with originally. The internal parts are for the most part the same or the later versions will with only a few exceptions replace the earlier ones. The main housings are definitely not. I recall one person who was trying to fit a 12" box to a 10" but I don;t recall him ever reporting success.

Going price on eBay and elsewhere for any of the QCGB's has typically been $500 and above for several years.
 

ARC-170

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What would I measure/look for to see if a given QCGB would fit my lathe? I saw a video on Youtube that compared three Craftsman QCGB and it looked like the one for sale would match my lathe, but I'd need to know what to look for to be sure.

I'm thinking if I bought the lathe, took the QCGB off, cleaned it up and then sold it and all the tooling for maybe $1,000 or so, I'd get a QCGB for about $300.
 

Moderatemixed

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Keep in mind, that perhaps you might get the lathe, tear it all apart, get the bed ground (if necessary), strip it, paint it and put it all back together. Call it your “forever” lathe and then sell the one you
currently have and recoup ALL or perhaps more than you paid. That’s what I did. Then you won’t have to modify, turn, “jerry rig” or anything. Easy-Peasy!

Go get the darned thing! Good luck.


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mickri

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Ask the seller for the model number and serial number. With those numbers you can cross reference to your lathe to see if it is the same as your lathe but with a QCGB.
 

wa5cab

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You did not say what your current lathe is.

If your lathe is an Atlas 10", the Atlas Model Numbers are:

1500

1570

6800

If you have a 101.07403 or earlier, you need

101.20140

If you have one of the 1/2" bed 12" you need

101.20145 or 101.201451
 

ARC-170

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Keep in mind, that perhaps you might get the lathe, tear it all apart, get the bed ground (if necessary), strip it, paint it and put it all back together. Call it your “forever” lathe and then sell the one you
currently have and recoup ALL or perhaps more than you paid. That’s what I did. Then you won’t have to modify, turn, “jerry rig” or anything. Easy-Peasy!

Go get the darned thing! Good luck.

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Or, it could be a piece of junk that needs the ways scraped, the bearings and gibs replaced, have worn out screws, etc! :) Ha! I think I need to go look at it and see what kind of shape it's in. I think I lucked out on the 2 that I've bought; they were in decent shape and just needed cleaning up and a few parts

You did not say what your current lathe is.

If you have a 101.07403 or earlier, you need 101.20140
I have a 101.07403, so thanks!

Ask the seller for the model number and serial number. With those numbers you can cross reference to your lathe to see if it is the same as your lathe but with a QCGB.
I did that; they are slow to respond.
 

Moderatemixed

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Or, it could be a piece of junk that needs the ways scraped, the bearings and gibs replaced, have worn out screws, etc! :) Ha! I think I need to go look at it and see what kind of shape it's in. I think I lucked out on the 2 that I've bought; they were in decent shape and just needed cleaning up and a few parts


In that case I’m guessing you’d pay $500 and be that much further ahead. It was nice having one to work on when I had one to use in the mean time. It meant, no rush and that I had the best parts to choose from, but I get that the path I took isn’t for everyone and generally I just “bought” my way out of roadblocks that I encountered when I couldn’t (or didn’t want to) fix it. Good luck!

Cheers,

Derek


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ARC-170

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UPDATE:
I went to look at this machine. It was covered in gunk and swarf and had no lube anywhere. It ran fine, but the carriage feed barely worked because of all the grime and lack of lube. The tooling was all rusty and dirty. The ways showed very little wear (0.002" difference between the end and area of most wear). The lead screw was loose so I couldn't measure wear on that. All the gears seemed like they were in good shape.
Seller told me he got it from a friend and that he doesn't use it much. He said he was firm on the price and based the price on his friend getting a slightly smaller lathe a year ago for $1200 from a machine shop and being told by another machinist that that was a good deal. I told him I paid $400 for a similar lathe (no QCTP) around the same time. He knew the cast iron stand was worth something and told me the FWD/REV switch behind the machine was worth at least $100.
The seller is moving and has decided to keep it if no one pays his price. I think he said something about getting smaller lathe, but that deal fell through, so he's maybe keeping this one.
I did not even make an offer. I may let it sit for awhile and see if he takes it off the market, or lowers the price.
 

Moderatemixed

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If it has gathered that much grime and your measurements are accurate, it might be a “cream puff”. He’s right, a drum switch goes for about $100 (although I am sure a bunch of guys will chime in that they can find one cheaper). If you are going to end up paying (for arguments sake) $600 for a QCGB of unknown origin, then the difference is $700. If you can sell yours once this one is cleaned up for more than $700 then you are further ahead. Evaporust will, as I’m sure you are aware, make the tooling like new. I think I would be inclined to offer him $1200 and know you are getting a “screaming deal”. You can sell the base/legs for $300-$400 which puts you into great shape to make money on the deal and end up with a lathe with the original QCGB. Just my opinion. Cheers.


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mickri

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I paid $1200 for my Craftsman 12x36 lathe with a qcgb. It was in pristine condition. Not a chip to be found anywhere. No rust. It came with every accessory in the Craftsman catalog except for a taper attachment. 5 chucks, lots of misc tooling and even some spare parts. The original owner was a local citrus grower who used it to rebuild some kind of pump used in his groves. The next owner never used it. It just sat in his workshop for over a year. I have used it some. IMHO $1350 for a grime covered rusty lathe is too much money unless you think that you can sell off the lathe and everything that comes with it except for the qcgb for close to what you pay for the lathe.

Just my two centovos
 

Moderatemixed

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I paid $1200 for my Craftsman 12x36 lathe with a qcgb. It was in pristine condition. Not a chip to be found anywhere. No rust. It came with every accessory in the Craftsman catalog except for a taper attachment. 5 chucks, lots of misc tooling and even some spare parts. The original owner was a local citrus grower who used it to rebuild some kind of pump used in his groves. The next owner never used it. It just sat in his workshop for over a year. I have used it some. IMHO $1350 for a grime covered rusty lathe is too much money unless you think that you can sell off the lathe and everything that comes with it except for the qcgb for close to what you pay for the lathe.

Just my two centovos
I wish your story was common. What I believe you are describing is a “UNICORN”. If his measurements are accurate there might very well be a very nice, very lightly used lathe under a very protective layer of oil. While every one of us who has rebuilt one of these lathes wishes that your find was common, it generally isn’t. But if he chooses to wait around for another Unicorn to come along, I respect that. Or buy a QCGB on ebay for “way too much” and then hope that it is one of the models that will fit his lathe. Then with any luck he doesn’t have to spend several hours shimming and rigging to make it work. Someone else will see the proverbial “diamond in the rough” and he’ll loose out. It isn’t the deals that you make that you remember, its the deals you don’t.


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mickri

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I looked for over a year to find my lathe. My search radius was 400 miles from my house. Basically all the way from the Mexican border to the Bay area and Sacramento. As I searched I came to realize that lathes used in a machine shop were mostly worn out and came with very little tooling while lathes from estate sales were usually in much better condition and came with lots of tooling. When Jeff was first looking for a lathe I shared my search tactics with him. He found a lathe in decent condition for $400 IIRC and then another parts lathe for a similar price. Now he is looking for only a qcgb to fit his lathe. A much harder task because you either have to buy from someone who is parting out lathes or buy a lathe with a qcgb and part out the rest to try to recoup some of your cost. Also there is a steady stream of lathes that come on the market in Southern California.

Some of my machines were diamonds in the rough but I paid the rough price not the diamond price.

Jeff knows how to play this game and will do what is best for him.
 

Moderatemixed

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I looked for over a year to find my lathe. My search radius was 400 miles from my house. Basically all the way from the Mexican border to the Bay area and Sacramento. As I searched I came to realize that lathes used in a machine shop were mostly worn out and came with very little tooling while lathes from estate sales were usually in much better condition and came with lots of tooling. When Jeff was first looking for a lathe I shared my search tactics with him. He found a lathe in decent condition for $400 IIRC and then another parts lathe for a similar price. Now he is looking for only a qcgb to fit his lathe. A much harder task because you either have to buy from someone who is parting out lathes or buy a lathe with a qcgb and part out the rest to try to recoup some of your cost. Also there is a steady stream of lathes that come on the market in Southern California.

Some of my machines were diamonds in the rough but I paid the rough price not the diamond price.

Jeff knows how to play this game and will do what is best for him.
My reply was not a personal attack..... a shame you have taken it as such, especially when I was only offering “opinion”. Finding lathes in the $400-$800 range is becoming increasingly more challenging. People have figured out that you can pick them up for a song and flip them for a healthy profit. That said I hope his Unicorn hunt proves fruitful; your help I’m sure is appreciated.

Well, back to the dock.....

Cheers.






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mickri

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I did not take your post as a personal attack. I just thought that I would share how I found my lathe. At any given time there are several hundred lathes for sale in California. Everything from small hobby machines to huge CNC lathes. You just have to be patient to find what you are looking for at a price you are willing to spend.

Love your dock. I just tried to buy a house on a lake. Turned out it needed more work and cost to repair than I could afford. Boating especially sailing has been a big part of my life every since my college roommates took me sailing.
 

ARC-170

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Estate sales are the way to go. The widow just wants it gone. That's how I got mine. I showed up with cash and bought it. It helped that it didn't run well (just needed some adjustment). My wife has told me she's giving all my tools away when I die just to get rid of them. After I recovered from passing out, I told her I have about $15,000 of tools and equipment based on me taking an inventory of everything I have and adding up the current purchase prices. At any rate, she should get at least half that, since much of my stuff is used. If she gives it away I will haunt her! Ha! (she just walked in and read this over my shoulder! Ha!)

I think $1350 is too much for this lathe as it is currently. The seller is not really motivated. The tooling is all rusty and I'm not sure any amount of Evapo-Rust will help. I'll have to take it all apart and clean and lube and paint everything. Not a problem, as I enjoyed it when I did it to mine, but it's work and time ans some money. I might be able to sell it whole; I have a friend who wants a lathe for his auto repair shop, but is not ready to shell out the money right now. I thought of buying it (for the right price), then putting it up for sale and seeing if anyone is interested. In the meantime, my friend with the shop can save up some cash. I don't really have anywhere to store it, though.

If I got two lathes for around $400 each and a QCGB is about $500, then it could be argued this lathe should be around $900 or so. I'd even add a bit for it being a "diamond in the rough", so maybe $1,000 tops.

The seller's story about $1200 being a great deal only makes sense for a really nice, clean lathe with tooling that is also nice and clean.

He's not moving for awhile, so I may hit him up in a week or so and see if he's changed his mind. Funny story: he asked me if I was available to help him move when I asked when he was moving. I almost told him I'll help if he gives me the lathe.
 
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