Here is a picture of the first
12" Atlas Lathe I restored.
(Click on it to see a larger picture 60K).
Here is a picture of "Son Of
Atlas Lathe" the "New" lathe
There is now a E-mail Forum devoted
to the Atlas Lathe!
To subscribe, send a message to:
I have added a link in the General Links Page to a tutorial on grinding lathe tools for all us Neophytes!!
Atlas Lathe FAQ - Where to get parts and other useful Atlas information! (Updated 02/04/2001)
I have been spending the last several months cleaning and restoring this 60+ year old 12" swing Atlas lathe.
Most of the main lathe is original, but I did replace the solid Babbit bearing headstock with a Timken roller bearing headstock. The original solid bearing headstock had the bearing caps incorrectly adjusted, causing both the spindle and Babbit surfaces to become scored. The Babbit portion of the bearings was not replaceable with an insert. To repair this I would have either had to bore them out and sleeve the spindle or repaired the Babbit and then bored to size! The replacement used headstock (only 47 years old) was only a little more than the cost of a new spindle, so I went that route. I will recoup some of this additional expense by selling some of the duplicate headstock parts back to the dealer. I preferred a roller bearing model in any case (I did not even know Atlas made a solid bearing model before getting the lathe) as it is both lower maintenance and allows for higher spindle speeds for small stock machining. Additionally any wear takes place solely in the replaceable bearings, none on the spindle surface.
I also replaced the motor that came with the lathe. It was not the original motor. It was a 1/3 HP Repulsion motor that rotated in the opposite direction to the original. This necessitated a previous owner to mount the motor on a 9" x 16" x 1/2" aluminum plate, hung in mid air on the opposite side of the counter shaft. This plate was then bolted to the original mounting holes. The stress of supporting this cantilevered weight had broken two of the four original mounting hole locations. The motor's construction and type prevented modifying it to reverse the rotation. In addition the power wiring was badly deteriorated and falling apart. I tore the motor down and replaced the wires, but was not satisfied of the safety of the final job. In addition when it ran it gave off "an Evil Hiss" as related in an old Charlie Daniels song.
I had an old 1/4 HP induction motor from a dryer, that I decided to use temporarily. This size lathe really requires a 3/4 HP motor, but for now the smaller motor at least lets me test the lathe and do small jobs. The motor was originally mounted by the ends, not by a standard central baseplate. I fabricated a baseplate from 6" x 3/8" hot rolled plate, and I used wood to build mounts to adapt to the motor's end mount arrangement. You can see one of the wood mounts behind the headstock in the picture (to the right in the picture). After I get the rest of the lathe restored I will buy a standard type 3/4 HP motor for it.
In the picture the old lathe it is blue but the drive belt cover is green. I obtained this cover with the new headstock (which was also green). After several months of on and off cleaning, I decided that it was time to just get it running!! So I put off repainting this last piece.
There are still several things on the lathe that need repair or replacement (most notably the well worn crossfeed nut), but the lathe is usable!! In fact I fabricated a stronger axle assembly for the wheels on my metal cutting band saw on it.
Atlas Lathe II - Son Of Atlas Lathe Section (A new section for the rebuilding and modifications of my "new" Atlas lathe)
Atlas Lathe Break-Away Leadscrew Bearings (Important information for Atlas Lathe owners)
Atlas Lathe FAQ (Updated 02/04/2001)
Boring Head Toolpost
(Updated 12/18/2001) Changed write-up
to reflect present usage
directly with boring bars (without the boring head).
Boring Bar Toolholder
II - A more traditional type of boring bar holder, with a twist.
Dimensioned Drawings Added (Updated 11/10/2000)
Cleaning the Lathe
Controlling Drill Chuck Spin - Save your tailstock ram and drill chuck arbor tapers!!!
Correcting a Worn Crossfeed Nut
of Handy Lathe References - Simple way to display charts on the
backsplash for quick reference.
Drive Belts - Drive belt option that reduces vibration in the lathe.
Improving the Spindle Index Pin
Lathe Bench (Updated 02/04/2001)
Lathe Chip Pan
Machining a Backplate for a 8" 4-Jaw Chuck - Some lessons learned while machining my first backplate
Minor modifications made to improve the lathe
I. Set screw scarringMy First "Operational" Threads Cut on a Lathe
II. Spindle Pulley Bearing Movement
III. Oil Cup Felts
IV. Reversing Gear Carrier
V. Motor Wiring
Turning an Eccentric Hole in a 3-Jaw Chuck
Oil and Oilers for the Atlas
Repairing a Broken Rack Gear Housing - How I fixed the broken rack gear housing on my lathe.
Replacing the Broken Countershaft Assembly - Ron breaks the lathe!
Storing Larger Drills - Safe and cheap storage for your larger drill bits.
Table of Cutting Speeds
- A chart relating toolbit surface cutting speed to the available Atlas
Tailstock Gib Adjustment and Modifications
Charts for Atlas Lathes
Belt Speed ChartTemporary Motor Installation
Threading Chart For Reverse Gearbox Lathes (For the style lathes with the reverse lever
in the gearbox on the left hand side of the leadscrew, and have 96 tooth gears (Updated 09/03/2001)
Threading Chart (for Older Lathes - from factory chart!)
Threading Chart (for Newer Lathes - from factory chart!)
Transport and Setup
You Can Use
A Babbit Spindle In A Roller Bearing Headstock - The two types
of spindle are
interchangeable, with a few simple mods!
Tool's Threading Bar - Review - A review of the carbide
insert internal threading
bar I use for cutting the threads in backplates.
Go To the Links Page for more Atlas information!
More to come!
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