View Full Version : New guy with Questions & a couple Pics.

09-03-2006, 12:09 PM
Hello all,

I've lurked here off and on for a year or two (mostly off - too many kids, too few hours in a day!)

Anyway, after owning an Atlas QC 10" lathe for 2 years now, I've finally got it running somewhat. While I have done some work with metals off and on over the years, I am 100% self taught. I have to take some classes/invest in some DVD's or books soon before I hurt myself.

While I am self taught at a number of things, for some reason, metalworking with all it's very unique terms hasn't seem to come very naturally. Maybe I'm getting old!!

Anyway, here is a piece I chucked up and started doing some test cuts with.


A couple questions:

Is this tool post what is referred to as a 'lantern tool post'?

I've since raised the cutter to the centerline of the work piece. Any other comments on how it is positioned.

There was enough runout on the end of the piece that I stopped cutting out there. I will eventually need to address runout, but that's for the future.

I went to use the tailstock and have a couple problems.

The live center won't spin with the material. Is there a way to tear these down and rebuild/rebearing/relube these?


Finally, the movement of extending the tailstock spindle was VERY stiff and when I got to the end, I must have run off the end of the threads, because now it will not extend or retract.


My question here:

What is the small removable metal insert at the end of the arrow?

How do I dissassemble the tailstock to reengage the internal thread mechanism?

Any links to a parts diagram for this critter?

Thanks much everyone,


09-03-2006, 12:29 PM
Welcome to the board!

I can answer most of your questions.

1) Yes, that is a "lantern" tool post. They are also called a "rocker" tool post since there should be a crescent moon shaped rocker under the tool holder to adjust the tool height.

2) The tool holder looks like it is positioned o.k. for turning. The front of the compound slide should be flush with it's base and not overhanging.

3) The runout is probably because the piece you are turning is sticking out too far from the chuck without support from the tailstock. The rule of thumb is 4:1 length to diameter ratio. In other words, you don't want more that 4 times the diameter of the part sticking out without support from the tailstock.

4) Some centers are rebuildable and most can be lubricated. You can pick up a new Polish built Skoda live center or similar for a reasonable amount of money and they are pretty good quality. Stay away from Asian imports, IMO.

5) Was the binding (locking) lever tightened when you were trying to extend your tailstock ram? That would cause it to be stiff. If not, it may need to be taken apart and cleaned up and re-lubed.

6) To re-engage the threads in the tailstock ram, push on the end of the ram while turning the handwheel in the direction that would normally retract the ram. The ram has just come unscrewed. If you pull on the ram when it is unscrewed, it should pull out of the tailstock housing. No worries.

7) The small removable insert is actually a dauber for white lead which was stored in the hole. White lead was once used to lubricate dead centers to keep them from burning up. White lead is as rare as hen's teeth now and I'm amazed that the dauber survived without being lost over the years.

Contact Clausing for an owner's manual. I have seen one online before but I can't remember the address. Google it and see.

Good luck with your new toy and don't be afraid to ask questions. It's how we all learn.


Errol Groff
09-03-2006, 12:33 PM

Here are some thinghts on your questions.

Is this tool post what is referred to as a 'lantern tool post'?

Yes. WHile most have moved to the Aloris style tool post there is no reason that good work can not still be done with this style tool post.

I've since raised the cutter to the centerline of the work piece.

You will want to keep the tool post as far to the left in the compound slot to preclude wacking the compound with the chuck jaws. Just from the appearance of the cut you may not have enough side clearance on the tool bit. Also, one of the rules of thumb is don't have the work extended out of the chuck more than 3X its diameter unless you are supporting the outboard end with a center.

The live center won't spin with the material. Is there a way to tear these down and rebuild/rebearing/relube these?

If it doesn't work now yo proably won't make it any worse. Like I tell my students, give it a try, worst it can be is a complete diasaster and we have had those before. Also I believe it is Royal that will take your old center in trade for a rebuilt one.

What is the small removable metal insert at the end of the arrow?

The well that removable gadget is in was originally filled with white lead or other lubricant and the gadget was used to allpy the lube to the center hole before mounting the piece between centers. Back in the day when dead or solid centers were standard. If you forgot to lube the dead center or didn't adjust it properly you soon had the tip of the center neatly friction welded into the end of your part.

How do I dissassemble the tailstock to reengage the internal thread mechanism?

You might try gently tapping the tailstock spindle back into the tailstock whilst rotating the handwheel to re-engage the spindle. If the lathe had set for a while it probably needs a healthy dose of lubrication to get the tailstock spindle working smoothly again. Also the spindle lock may be not releasing which will cause extra drag.

09-03-2006, 12:45 PM
3jaw just about covered it all.....If you can pull the tailstock ram out put some oil on it and the threads.....The book says 20 weight, but my rule is : any oil is better than no oil.....

Check the live center for a snap ring, etc holding it together.....The pic is blurry but shows a hole in the side of the housing.....Check this for a set screw.....If the bearings anen"t shot, cleaning and lube should help.....

Almost forgot, Clausing Service Center # is 574-533-0371.....They have most parts you'll need.....Consider getting the Atlas "Lathe Operation and machinists tables" book.....It's pricy at $25, but it has specific info on your lathe.....Have the model and serial # handy when you call.....

09-03-2006, 03:48 PM
Did anyone notice?

His first post and he posted pictures.

Corvin,we have had guys here for months and can't post a pic., congrats on that. and welcome to the board.

09-03-2006, 04:53 PM
Did anyone notice?

His first post and he posted pictures.

Corvin,we have had guys here for months and can't post a pic., congrats on that. and welcome to the board.

That's because I'm from Iowa as well IOWOLF! LOL!

Anyway thanks everybody for the welcome and the quick replies.

On the live center - there was indeed a set screw (it's actually in the picture there, but I agree that picture is really blurry.)

I have dropped some 3in1 oil in there without much success. There is no snap ring visible, so I was hoping that there was some mystic dissasembly trick that some one here would know. I'll give it a couple days, then probably invest in a new one.

On the tailstock - Thanks for telling me about the white lead dauber. I can see why they would disappear as the tailstock lock hits it when you try and tighten it down.

The tailstock spindle is VERY stick with the lock loosened. I can't get it out and even using a clamp to push it in I can't get it to re-engage the threads.

I'm very much open to any ideas on getting this back to functional.

Finally, is there a place to find a reference of MT size when you are new and don't know them by site?

Thanks all,


Steve Steven
09-03-2006, 05:00 PM
On your stiff tailstock, I had the same problem on mine. I had to remove the spindle, drive out the internally threaded bottom insetr, which was corroded into the vertical hole, then reassemble, it worked well after that.

09-03-2006, 05:03 PM
And dont forget some way lube. Any lube on hand if you cant get some proper way lube would be better than dry. Have fun.....JRouche

charlie coghill
09-03-2006, 08:24 PM
Corvin, try and find a machinerys handbook at a second hand book store. The book has more information than you will ever need including the answer to the morres taper question.

New books are available but be prepared for sticker shock.

john hobdeclipe
09-03-2006, 09:24 PM
Find a copy of "Atlas Manual of Lathe Operation" and the Southbend book "How to Run Lathe." These will take care of the basics and then some, including the info on Morse tapers. There are always copies of these for sale from various eBay sellers.

Welcome to the forum. It's a great place to learn and have some fun too.

Having a good working lathe is great. I just spent most of today making some parts to enable me to get a battered old Delta Unisaw up and running. Sure beats paying Delta's parts prices.

J Tiers
09-03-2006, 10:26 PM
That's an Atlas....

Dollars to doughnuts that the "split cotter" that locks the tailstock ram is made of that casting alloy called "Zamac".

I had column locks like that on a big 18" Atlas Clausing drill press. Every mother's son of them was locked into its hole by corrosion and the swelling that zamac does over time. Very hard pounding with a big hammer didn't loosen them until a considerable amount of P-Blaster was sprayed on them. Even then I nearly had to drill them out. Broke a 1/2" bolt pulling them.

You may have to drive out the two halves somehow also. They are basically a short cylinder with an angle cut off the end, both the same exacpt one probably has a recess for a nut in it.

When you get a chance, make new ones out of something like a hard bronze, or even cold rolled low carbon steel (1018). That's what I did, and they hold well, but release when they are supposed to now.

Your headstock should take an MT3, tailstock an MT2.

09-04-2006, 08:25 AM
With the split cotters, once they are freed up, it helps to put a short spring between them to help them separate. A short piece of rubber feul line hose will work well.

09-04-2006, 08:53 AM
Wow, thanks again everybody for all the info.

Funny somebody mentioned they were making UniSaw parts. I got the hankering to get this lathe running so I could make a shifter fork for a Delta 13x5 wood planer. I repair a lot of UniSaws, but pretty much only face the arbor flanges. I built a jig for that.

Anyway, I did beat the spindle out of the tailstock and did get the "split cotters" out. I'm assuming the cotters are the two pieces that mount on the spindle lock bolt. (I'm assuming because I haven't ordered a manual yet).

My cotters had already been rebuilt at some point.

My problem is the spindle itself. Without the threaded rod or any of the locking mechanism in place in the tailstock body, I still have to use a rubber mallet to drive the spindle back into the body and even then it won't go very far.

I'll have to get out the caliper and see what the spindle measures and then figure out how to measure the inside of the tailstock casting.

I started looking on the eBay for all the books you all recommended, I'm going to try and order a new live center tomorrow. Any suggestions? I think I may try and buy some basic cutters (are they called tools? or inserts?) and some basic bar stock as well.


09-04-2006, 09:06 AM
A parts list with exploded diagrams is posted in the yahoo group "atlas_craftsman" files section:


You may have to join that group (free) to access the file, or it may become available from this link to non-members...


J Tiers
09-04-2006, 09:44 AM
Well, you can be pretty sure it once worked. It is stiff now.

So the difference is somethng that changed. Things like that usually wear loose. So probably there is some corrosion, or a burr has been raised up somewhere by a previous owner, or the like.

You ought to get ahold of a shop class textbook. Will cover standard lathe and mill etc operations, and is in breadth of coverage far better than "how to run a lathe" or the other similar books. Those ARE good though.

It's just that the text gives you a wider coverage, and a lot of the stuff does cross-over between machines. You can mill on teh lathe and you can turn stuff on a mill.

09-04-2006, 09:50 AM
You also want to take a look at Lindsay Publications website. I believe its www.lindsaybks.com, but anybody in this group can hel[p you find it if I'm wrong.
Besides being a nut, this guy Lindsay has great books on machine shop work and all kinds of neat stuff.
I liked The reprint of Southbends's "How to run a lathe" book.
Good Luck