TH54 Atlas lathe rebuild/refurb project (pic heavy)

GoMopar440

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The 4th of July holiday and a boat load of honey-do's have been keeping me off this project for a little bit, but I'm going to be getting back into it very shortly.

I'm familiar with Oilite bronze as I've used it to make bushings before. These bushings don't seem to have the same sort of fuzzy feel to them as Oilite, and the wear looks like what I'd expect to see on brass or regular bronze. I'd like to get some Oilite to remake all the bushings, but it's not going to happen soon due to lack of funds right now. For now I'll have to put it back together as is till I can get some material to make new bushings with. I'll also be on the lookout for some new shafts for the QCGB as well. If I cant find any shafts I'll probably turn down the ends and shrink fit some oversized sleeves onto them and turn them back down to the original sizes. I'll be sure to drill the oil holes through the bushings so I can keep the wear from getting any worse than it is right now.
 

GoMopar440

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Today I cleaned the QCGB housing shell up a bit more till it was ready for paint. I decided to not paint the area under the levers as it just gets scratched up when the locking pins drag across it. Instead I polished that area from the bottom of the label tag to the notched lip at the bottom front edge and all the way across from side to side. I taped off the polished area and plugged the shaft holes to keep the paint out of the bushings. I used the self etching primer first and let it dry while I worked on some other parts.

2013-07-07182504.jpg

Next I was cleaning up the motor and tried to pull the pulley off the shaft. It was stuck on pretty well so I sprayed it with PB Blaster to loosen it up. The larger pulley wasn't useable any more so I decided to cut it off and just clean up the smaller pulley for now. I took an angle grinder with a thin 4" cut off wheel and started slicing the inside of the larger pulley all the way around till it finally came apart. I left enough material all the way around so I could clean it up on the little lathe. The heat from cutting the pulley helped the PB work the pulley hub loose from the shaft. Once I had it off it only took a couple of minutes to get the pulley cleaned up on the lathe.

2013-07-07223830.jpg

The motor and mounting base got cleaned up next and the base got a coat of primer as well.

2013-07-07225104.jpg

After the primer had dried I painted the QCGB housing and the motor mounting base. While the paint was drying I cleaned and polished the QCGB chart plate that goes on the front. I ended up removing the red paint in the process, but that's fine with me since I'm not a fan of the color red anyway. After the paint was dry I pulled the tape and plugs off and remounted the front plate onto the QCGB housing. I just tapped the screw rivets back into place (not hard enough to dimple the plate) and they all went back in place nice and tight. I hung one of the front levers in place to show what I'm doing with those (yup, more polishing).

2013-07-07223706.jpg

And that's where I left off for tonight.
 

woodtickgreg

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Making good progress! I did the same thing with my gear box and polished the flat area too. Looking good, I am enjoying watching your progress. Keep the pics coming.
 

GoMopar440

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The cleaning seems to have unexpectedly done the motor some good. Now it starts up every time with no help needed to get it started. :allgood:

The V-belt groove in the small pulley is worn down to a U shape. It'll probably work for now, but it's just another thing added to the ever growing "need to replace" list.

I pulled the drum switch apart and cleaned up the internal contacts as well as the outer shell and switch handle. The switch handle and name plate got polished and everything else was painted black. The only black paint I had was flat. Gloss would have been better IMHO, but this is good enough for me.
2013-07-10193618.jpg

I painted the motor, support arm and drum switch housing with the same flat black paint. After it dried I bolted it back onto the motor plate and reassembled the drum switch.

2013-07-10200222.jpg

One more sub assembly finished, and just a couple more to go before I can get it all back together and up and running.
 

aforsman

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I've really enjoyed seeing your pics. I'm currently restoring my grandfather's TH54 - it looks like you're a little bit ahead of me. I had to scrap the pulley on my motor after I got a little overzealous with the gear puller when I tried to remove it. Before I realized what was happening, the flange of the larger pulley tore out. I tried to bend it back in and braze it, but this Zamak stuff doesn't cooperate very well when it comes to repairs. I ended up finding a used one on Ebay for a decent price. It has a larger diameter (5/8") than my motor (1/2"), so I made a sleeve bushing for it on my 7x14 lathe. You mentioned being stationed in Mississippi in one of your posts. Since I live in MS, I was just wondering where you were stationed.

Allen
 

GoMopar440

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I'll most likely have to keep an eye on ebay for a pulley when I get ready to fire it up.

The house needed a bit of attention on some fairly major projects so that slowed me down for a while. Now the project is currently back on hold since I started with the fall semester of college again. At least I'll have some time to gather some more parts for when I get back to work on it over the winter break.

I was stationed on Naval Station Pascagoula, MS at SIMA (Shore Intermediate Maintenance Activity) working in the machine shop there from 2000 to 2003.
 

aforsman

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Go figure. I was born and raised in Pascagoula. I live a little over an hour away now near Picayune. That navy base you were stationed at was built on an island made from all the dredgings from the channel. When I was a kid it was simply called "the mud lump".

I took vacation this week and I'm cleaning and painting all of the cast iron pieces. My lathe was passed down to me from my grandfather (in Pascagoula) before he passed away a few years back. I remember being fascinated with it when I was a kid. I was talking to my grandmother on the phone last night and mentioned that I was working on the lathe again and she informed me that my grandfather obtained it from his father, so it would actually make it my great grandfather's lathe. I found the date engraved into the bearing race when I removed the spindle - 12/23/42. Pretty cool. I plan on posting some pics of mine when I'm done.
 

wa5cab

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aforsman,

Please post the model number and serial number with the bearing date (or dates, if the two are not the same).

Robert D.
 

aforsman

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Model TH54
Serial #041945
Bearing/race #1 - 12/23/42
Bearing/race #2 - 12/29/42
 

wa5cab

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Thanks.

Robert D.
 

aforsman

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Robert,

If you don't mind me asking, what is the significance of having that info - do you have some kind of database you're putting it into for historical purposes? Also, I didn't notice until reassembly that there was a "3" etched on one side and an "8" on the other. Do you know what these represent?

Thanks,
Allen
 

wa5cab

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Allen,

I was plugging them into a database on Yahoo which wasn't too badly designed. However, the new Yahoo Database version, unlike the Files, appears to be basically unusable. Fortunately, I had downloaded the information before their big change. So I still have the data, plus that from several other places. Unfortunately, very few records actually have verifiable or believable dates.

As to what it's useful for, realistically the only two things are dating machines without pulling the spindle and dating model changes. One of the several questions a new owner (of an old lathe) always seems to ask is when their machine was built or sold. Unlike several of the other manufacturers, Clausing has lost all production records on both the Atlas and the early (before about 1980) Clausing machines. So they are no help.

I haven't thought of an explanation for the "3" or the "8". If I come up with a possibility, I'll let you know. If there was only one number, we might guess that it ID'd the inspector. My best guess on the meaning of the dates is that they are receipt inspection dates, probably done by Atlas/Clausing as Timken doesn't seem to have been doing that on their other production. There have been reported cases whether the two dates were up to nearly a year apart.

Robert D.
 

aforsman

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Very interesting - thanks. I was guessing that the other numbers may have represented the person who machined it or a quality inspector.
 

maxfli1707

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I noticed the change of dates were very far apart on one of the three of the 12" 54's at the shop here . I actually have to take apart the head stock again tomorrow of the newest find to check on an out of line bearing in the race . Can post what the the numbers are or even better pic them for the thread .
 

drs23

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Bump to see how this project is coming along. Very impressed with the progress so far.
 

GoMopar440

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It's temporarily on hold till the fall semester is over. I'm going to be picking up some Oilite bronze to fix the bushings in the QCGB when I start up on it again over the winter break.
 

Phonnold

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Tagging this thread so that I can use it as a reference. I am about to start the same process on a TH42 that I have recently picked up. One question that comes to mind would be along the lines of there being anything that you wish you would have done different yet? The pictures that you have listed so far show some amazing work but it seems like there is always something we wish we could have done differently, hind sight being 20/20 and all. Do you have anything that stands out to you up to this point in the rebuild?
 

GoMopar440

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Maybe some X-ray glasses so I could have seen some of the worn out bits before taking it apart. LOL.

But seriously, it's going about how I expected for a machine of it's type and age. Nothing really stands out as being completely unexpected so far as I can recall.
 

aforsman

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it seems like there is always something we wish we could have done differently, hind sight being 20/20 and all. Do you have anything that stands out to you up to this point in the rebuild?
I just completed my TH54 a few weeks ago and I have a few observations:

1) Take LOTS of pictures before you tear anything apart. Each major piece has several sub-assemblies and putting all that stuff back together can result in a lot of head-scratching if there is more than a few days between disassembly and reassembly. Detailed pics of each assembled piece REALLY helps when you're putting it all back together. When you're on a roll tearing stuff apart, it can be really tempting not to stop and take pics along the way, especially when your hands are coated with dirt and grease, but do the best you can (get help from wife, kid, etc. if available).

2) Put a box of quart size ziploc bags and a sharpie on the bench and use them to keep track of various small parts as you take them off.

3) I had almost no rust, but TONS of caked on grease. I tried a lot of different solvents along the way (starting fluid, carb cleaner, brake cleaner, mineral spirits, engine degreaser, purple power, oven cleaner). For overall heavy degreasing, I found the oven cleaner to be the most effective and cost efficient with the least amount of work required - just have to use it in an open area because of the fumes. For lighter grease on large parts, soaking with purple power and scrubbing with a wire brush worked well. The carb and brake cleaners work great for spot cleaning in hard-to-reach areas, but I used them sparingly due to the fumes and cost. I have a small electric pressure washer which was also a life-saver for rinsing the large pieces after soaking in oven cleaner/purple power. Mineral spirits seemed to work well for soaking small parts (mainly nuts/bolts) overnight. Just fill a mason jar with mineral spirits and drop the parts in. Use a magnet for easy retrieval from the mineral spirits.

4) Take some overall before/after pics and post them when you're done so we can share your success with you.

Have fun!!!

Allen

20130925_194152.jpg

20130925_194152.jpg
 

woodtickgreg

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+1 on the ziplocks and sharpie. When I did my lathe I bagged and tagged everything, it made it much easier to clean parts in sub assemblies and re assemble. That's great advise, pics too!
 

wa5cab

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aforsman,

This is a little late to be replying to this, but I think that if you look again at your serial number you will find that it is actually 04194S, not 5. A five digit serial number is much too high for 1942, but I didn't catch it at the time.

Also. maxfli1707, if you still have the serial numbers and dates off of the three Craftsman 12x36's you mentioned, could you either post them or send them to me in a PM?

Robert D.

Model TH54
Serial #041945
Bearing/race #1 - 12/23/42
Bearing/race #2 - 12/29/42
 

aforsman

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This is a little late to be replying to this, but I think that if you look again at your serial number you will find that it is actually 04194S, not 5. A five digit serial number is much too high for 1942, but I didn't catch it at the time.
Robert,

Thanks for the info. I guess that's a good indication I've hit middle age - 5's and S's look just alike now :))

Allen
 

george wilson

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a lathe milling attachment is useful for milling the groove for the extractor on gun barrels,even if you have a milling machine. Easier than tilting the head 90 degrees,or mounting a 90 degree attachment.(Well,maybe.)
 

wa5cab

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Additional data collected over the past 6 months (including three nearby examples, only one of which ended in "5" or "S") cause me to conditionally change my statement about the "5" in your serial number being an "S". It appears more likely that you had it right to begin with. I'll continue collecting examples. Maybe one day we will know for certain.

Robert D.

Model TH54
Serial #041945
Bearing/race #1 - 12/23/42
Bearing/race #2 - 12/29/42
 

Round in circles

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I've thoroughly enjoyed the thread so far guys,
One tip I can give you all is that when you have wheels & pulley's or anything made of alloy metals on steel shafts that is tight to take off is to enclose the area/item in a thick walled cardboard box and light up a 100 watt mains bulb in the enclosed box for eight or more hours so the gentle heat can expand all parts .

Then after switching off the lamp 8 or more hours later squirt in your free off stuff in the joint area and gently start wriggling the part you want to come off and tapping it with a block of wood . Don't use pullers or start braying with a hammer as though you want to kill it for that's what you'll surely do .

Don't use gas or oxy /acet torches to heat the alloy for your likely to melt it , gentle heat dissipated through out is what does the trick almost every time . It's how we used to put steel gudgeon pins in or pull them out ..those pins join the crankshaft connecting rod to the engines pistons in days of yore before circlips became the norm.

The bigger the item your working with the longer the heating period required , remember aluminium & zinc alloy coefficients of linear expansion are greater than steel so you in effect expand the joint apart .

Sometimes for big casings like cast iron or alloy gear boxes we used live steam to heat wooden or steel box enclosure for four or five hours . Occasionally you can boil up a part in clean plain water in a steel drum/bucket out on the BBQ if you have big side burners . The use your freeing oils etc. after you have pulled the hot part out of the water .


I wouldn't recommend using the oven in the kitchen as the heat source as most of the time it will be either be too cold or too hot and dry as well as stinking out the homestead and like as not causing a fire .


The tip of taking pictures is good , in this digital age we can take 10,000 pics for almost nothing . It is also worth while to take several pictures of an item from different angles before , during and after and as you take them apart then scribble a greasy picture number referenced note in pencil on a pad of stapled up scrap paper as to what each shot actually is and what your trying to concentrate upon. Pencils write on greasy paper fairly well .

There is nothing more amusing than trying to find a home for the last piece in the Ziploc bag after eight months of rest time once you have almost fully assembled the item from 67 other bits , only to find that you never realized you hadn't got a picture of it and which would have been part No five in your photographic sequences as you took things apart . Guess how I know?

This is especially important with screws which are same thread & diameter but of different lengths .
You can also use a cardboard box side with a drawing plan and make holes where each bolt came out of then slip the bolt in the nominated hole . In my time I've often come across casings where the bolt has popped through because it was not the correct bolt for the hole ..made me wonder where the shorter bold was and what problem that had cause by being in the wrong hole . I've also had numerous occasions cases where I have had to depth gauge each blind hole to find the correct bolt length for the cast iron & alloy casings because someone dumped all of the removed couple of hundred nuts , bolts & washers in a bag & I've had to finish their job many weeks /months later or asi n one case about 18 years later.
 

Strtspdlx

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For disassembly I tend to lay everything out in order I remove it. snap a picture throw it in a bag. I have good memory for parts though so I rarely ever do it. But if I'm unsure I'll lay it out and snap a picture
 

caveBob

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It's temporarily on hold till the fall semester is over. I'm going to be picking up some Oilite bronze to fix the bushings in the QCGB when I start up on it again over the winter break.
FWIW, I ordered plastic bushings to replace the original bronze bearings on my QCGB:

Igus iglide bushings
http://www.igus.com/iglide?C=US&L=en

iglide® vs. bronze bushings
http://www.igus.com/wpck/6410/plastic_bushings

iglide® plastic bushings: product selection tool
http://www.igus.com/wpck/7174/productoverview_iglidur

I have them ready now, in the box waiting for me to get back to "that project", but curious if anyone here has experience with them?
 

GoMopar440

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I'm back in the land of the living... mostly. I had to have a second back surgery on Nov 12 and have just recently been cleared to start physical therapy. Now I'm just waiting for the VA to authorize the PT visits first before I can begin.

I started working on the X2 CNC conversion project a little bit already. I want to finish that before I start working on the Atlas again. I haven't been able to work for quite a while due to my back issues, so money has been pretty tight around here lately. As a result I can only work on one project at a time until my financial situation improves. :/

For the bushings in the QCGB I still need to pick up the Oilite to make the bushings from. The QCGB shafts will be turned down at the worn ends and then I plan on making some interference fit sleeves to repair the areas that ride in the bushings.
 
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