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JCHannum
02-26-2008, 11:39 AM
In a recent thread Jerry Tiers classified the Atlas lathe as a "Grind the bed and slam it together brand." and criticized it from every aspect from it's finish to it's "poor materials."

I object to this, as it is not true. The Atlas lathe was originally designed and built in the early thirties as an economical lathe for home shop and light industrial applications. I stress the word economical, as it differs from cheap. The Atlas lathe was designed from the ground up to perform a function at an affordable price.

Fine grain castings were used throughout where the strength and accuracy of cast iron were required. These castings were rough milled and allowed to season for several months before finish machining.

Far from "grind it and slam it together", the bed was next finish milled and then the ways were finish ground on a specially designed and purpose built surface grinder. The bed was inspected on a master surface plate, inspected throughout the assembly and subject to final inspection.

The original babbit bearings in the plain bearing headstock were of high speed copper-hard babbit. The bearings were bored in place after the headstock had been assembled to the bed. They used a line boring machine which attached directly to the lathe and indexed the spindle bearings to the lathe bed.

Atlas used Zamac in many areas as it is an alloy of aluminum, magnesium, copper and zinc, which has a tensile strength nearly six times that of cast iron. It is die cast and was used because it provided an economical means of casting accurate parts to size. It was used for gears, hand wheels and other parts that were not stressed by the forces of machining. Plastics were not available at the time of the Atlas lathe's design. That there are many Atlas lathes, mills and shapers in operation today after 70 or more years use with the original Zamac parts attests to the appropriateness of the material.

The Atlas lathe can be looked at as the equivalent of the Ford Model T and Model A. It was produced to meet a need at an affordable price. The castings were cleaned up and finished and painted. Filling the castings and applying many coats of paint added nothing to the utility of the machine, so they did not have a high finish. They were, however, well turned out and presentable.

While they do have flat ways, so does the Myford and several other lathes that are considered of precision or high quality. They did wear if not taken care of, as does any lathe bed.

Atlas lathes came with the best manual for lathe operation that I have seen. It is over 200 pages with specific instructions covering all aspects of installation, break in and operation of the machine. It is well illustrated, readable, and if followed, it provided all the information a new owner needed to become proficient in the operation and care of his machine.

Atlas lathes do have their drawbacks, but for the most part, they were addressed by Atlas. The weak point of the machine is the half nut assembly and the fact that half nuts are used in all feeds, not just threading. This does impose wear on the assembly. Atlas did an excellent job of support, and every part made for the first series of lathe fits all lathes in the series. They maintained a complete, economically priced inventory of spare parts. I believe half nuts are still available through Sears and maybe Clausing.

The Atlas lathe is what it is, and that is a machine with a design that dates back more than 70 years, that was built to fill a need, using state of the art procedures of that time. It met it's design parameters and many machines have survived those 70 years and are still fully functional. Do not equate them with Harbor Freight machines that are falling apart on the display floor.

aostling
02-26-2008, 11:47 AM
The weak point of the machine is the half nut assembly and the fact that half nuts are used in all feeds, not just threading.

JC,

Thanks, as a 6" Atlas owner I greatly appreciated this post.

I'm puzzled by your statement about half nuts. I thought these were always used for feeds. What is the alternative?

Allan

SGW
02-26-2008, 12:18 PM
A couple of alternatives to using the halfnuts for carriage feed. Some lathes like my South BEnd 10K have a keyway the length of the leadscrew, which is used to drive a carriage feed mechanism. The halfnuts are not engaged. Other lathes have another driveshaft, separate from the leadscrew entirely, for carriage feed.

kendall
02-26-2008, 12:59 PM
I've always considered the atlas a decent lathe, never did equate low-cost with cheaply built.

Had several Atlas tools, and while I've seen better looking ones, they haven't failed me. And as you say, there are still THOUSANDS out and working yet.

Ken.

38_Cal
02-26-2008, 01:07 PM
I still occasionally use the Atlas 6" that my step dad bought new in 1929. Working within it's limitations, it's a good machine still. I just don't ask it to do stuff that would be better done on my 11x24 Rockwell.

David
Montezuma, IA

rantbot
02-26-2008, 01:12 PM
A well-presented argument. Congratulations. The statement about the availability of plastics isn't quite 100% true, but not important.

The fact that the Atlas lathes were designed to meet a price is not really a legitimate criticism. The secret of modern (that is, Industrial Revolution and later) production is that damn near everything is designed to meet a price. Some prices are higher than others, some lower. But there's nothing wrong with the principle. Mass markets can't reasonably be developed in any other way, and without mass markets there's no economy of scale, and without economy of scale 99% of us would be peasants who couldn't afford to buy a bucket of spit.

BobWarfield
02-26-2008, 01:32 PM
The third thread in a very short time about the epic import versus Ye Olde American Iron debate.

Tempers are clearly flaring.

Think what a wonderful thing it would be if instead of bashing other's machines and defending our own all of this energy were channeled into something positive. Whether that's showing more projects created on various machines, or talking about how to get more performance out of any of these machines, either would be very welcome.

I personally can see little point in bashing any machine, for they're all better than no machine at all. I can readily find wondrous things created by just about any machine tool anyone bothers to talk about. I much prefer reading about those wondrous things and how they were made to reading about why someone hates some other's machine that may very well be their pride and joy like one of these Atlas lathes or a lowly Harbor Freight 9x20.

Sincerely,

BW

Malarky2
02-26-2008, 01:47 PM
There has been a 6" Atlas lathe advertised in the classified ads for the last two weeks in the Herald Trib. in Sarasota, FL.

Optics Curmudgeon
02-26-2008, 01:50 PM
Well said, Jim, and likely to be appreciated by many Atlas owners. These machines serve their portion of the market well. Even with the thousands sold, if they were the junk they are described to be they would have become extinct long ago. An interesting split has developed in the market, some (many) deride Atlas as junk, while others join in driving the price of anything Atlas to extreme levels. Other brands experience the price inflation, but not usually in the simultaneous presence of widespread derision. An example of the split nature of Atlas' reputation can be found in Ebay listing 280203551424, it contains the following:

"This elegant South Bend 7Ē cannot be compared with the Atlas shaper of the same size. The South Bend is a heavy duty design that does not use any pot-metal castings like the Atlas."

Yet, the seller keyword spams "atlas logan Bridgeport" in the listing title. On the other hand, an excellent argument can be made that the Atlas shaper is superior in many ways to the Southbend.

I don't believe that Atlas ever expected that lathes made in 1938 would still be in use in 2008. They filled a niche, and if sales are any indication, they were very successful at it.

My few Atlas machines look their age, but work as well as when they were new, and I don't expect more than that from them.

Joe

tony ennis
02-26-2008, 02:31 PM
Nice post. But you aren't going to change anyone's mind. :)

Tinker2
02-26-2008, 02:43 PM
JCHannum

Well said, a good post.

One third (2) of my lathes (6) are Atlas.
One third (1) of my mills (3) are Atlas.
Only one shaper and it is a Atlas.

Not suitable for everything under the sun.
Great for the things that I want to do.

If what I needed to make was big crude ruff scruffy stuff Iíd get something different.

No you canít change peoples minds with facts.


Tinker2

quasi
02-26-2008, 04:24 PM
Dave Sobel calls the Atlas 10" the "lathe that won WW2". When I moved from a Unimat3 to a 10" babbit bearing Atlas, I had an order of magnitude better lathe. I learned a lot with that lathe.

One mistake I made with the lathe was using carbide tooling, I actually partially siezed the babbit headstock bearings on it.

Any lathe is better than no lathe, it is all a matter of perspective. Around here, Atlas Lathe's are not worth what they once were, and neither are Southbends. This is because there are now a lot of used Tiwanese and Chinese lathes becoming available on the market from the original buyers .

IOWOLF
02-26-2008, 06:37 PM
Nice post. But you aren't going to change anyone's mind. :)

I wasn't aware any one was trying to, just pointing out some good points.

I owned an Atlas for Many years,still do own lots of parts.

I also own an Enco 9X24, and 3 other "American Iron" lathes, and 2 "American Iron" Mills, and a SOUTH BEND shaper.

For everyday shop stuff I run to the Enco.

Al Messer
02-26-2008, 07:19 PM
And you would be amazed at the numbers of them that were used for the "production" of critical war-time parts during WWII.

sasquatch
02-26-2008, 07:19 PM
Thanks for posting that Jim, a very interesting read. I have an older Atlas, and although i,m just a tinkerer, i,m very happy to have a N. American made machine.
Ray in N. Ont.

J Tiers
02-26-2008, 07:44 PM
I have no Atlas LATHES, but I DO have an Atlas SHAPER, and an Atlas BANDSAW. I have looked at , but declined, an Atlas drill press. (The one I have is a very large one badged "Atlas, but in fact a Clausing 18".)

While I agree they are nice enough machines, I have NO ILLUSIONS that an Atlas lathe, (shaper, or whatever) is as well designed, made, or assembled as a Monarch, or a Sheldon or a Rockwell lathe.

My Logan I would classify as certainly in a similar class to Atlas, although possibly a little better, mostly because they had Atlas to compare to. I'ts easier to copy and improve than to make "from scratch". Both are "cheap" machines.

In fact, early Logans have a real flaw in their spindle bearings, which are NOT externally "preloaded", a feature that Atlas DID have. That was soon fixed to have preload, and not require the special bearing class of the early machines.

Being "cheap" does not mean have to mean "bad", but it rarely means "very good" on an absolute scale.

Let me throw in that "cheap" means different things at different times.

What I mean is that Atlas were made to a far lower standard than Monarch, or even Sheldon, Rockwell, or Clausing, the sister brand, for that matter. How could it NOT be so? The price you paid for Atlas was far lower, and I can assure you that there was no more interest in losing money back then than there is now.

I don't know all the details of the differences. But I'd suppose one could start in spindle bearing class, move on through allowable tolerances and feature set, etc. Do not forget the infamous "zamak", and last, but not least, the square ways and far thinner and lighter bed than other machines.

Most of those were things the other brands would have considered to be 'cut corners" and for good reason in many cases. Some were benign in effect, but necessary to reduce costs to the minimum possible.

NOW THE IMPORTANT PART........

The Atlas served, for its time, THE SAME FUNCTION AS THE CHEAPER ASIAN LATHES DO NOW.......... A cheaper, affordable, functional metal lathe that could be sold in "tonnage" (500,000 units, I understand).

Compared to the other brands available then, it had reduced features, inferior materials*, looser tolerances, less attention to finish, etc. Every step to avoid hand work and still be "good enough" was taken. But NO effort was taken to be "superior". There wasn't really much competition, anyway, not at the price, so there was no need to be "better".

If you open your mind to the matter, you will discover many of these SAME TRAITS in cheap asian machines. In fact, they are the main features that are complained about when decrying the "poor quality".

And, they are almost required "features" if you want a lathe at a lower cost. You simply canNOT have 'the same thing, just cheaper", you MUST allow some cut corners to get the cost down. Every such 'cut corner" represents a point of inferiority versus the "original".

The FACT that many cheap asian machines are themselves inferior to a decent Atlas, is only proof that cheap just ain't what it used to be........ Some of teh very cheapest seem to be about as good as an "AA", but without the REALLY bad features of the "AA".

* inferior materials......Zamak heads the list, of course. A cheaper material, due to "net shape forming", requiring little secondary operation relative to machined parts. Allowed the lathe to be made cheaper. Paid for by relative fragility, and inferior wear characteristics, along with poor aging if not made to best standards (if lead got in the mix, for instance). Only practical for "tonnage" machines, since the molds were expensive.

The tensile strength is a straw man....... the material as a whole is not competitive in longevity etc to cast iron or machined steel. Just like the plastics that are "3 times stronger than steel", there are details that tend to invalidate the comparison

Now, the fact that many good quality parts and materials were ALSO used is not surprising. Those things were far cheaper back then when it was common to get good cast iron, for instance. Likewise aging etc.

These days you almost can't get a casting, let alone a good one, from US sources. Costs are out of the world, skills are gone, never to return, the EPA hates foundrys, you name it. So those things sound far more exotic than they were back 'in the day".

mototed
02-26-2008, 08:57 PM
I was wanting a metal lathe, period. I was looking at all the Chinese lathes and trying to save up the money, then this add in the local paper showed up It turned out to be from the original owner of a 1945 Craftsman lathe,12x36.Wanted $300.00. I talked with the guy for a while and said I would take it. He had tears in his eyes when I loaded it up in the truck and left .Man I felt bad about taking his old girl away from him. He was 81 years old, and was giving it up and moving. It was really sad.
It was in pretty good shape, Iíve spent way more in tooling than the lathe cost, plus a few parts to get some slop out of her, but it has been a great learning curve. I would love have a modern machine, but Iím still new to this ( noobie, newbe ) and this lathe has been a pain, but a lot of it has been my fault by not knowing how the heck (hell) to get it set up.
The big old Index mill that I got the wifeís approval on has been great. And yes, I would love to have a lathe equal to that, but the Atlas/Craftsman is ok with me. Like you said, they where made for a purpose, that has worked well beyond the intended design life.

Ted

Carld
02-26-2008, 09:11 PM
Unfortunatelly Tony, your right. I like the Atlas lathes and as said, if treated right and used withing their limits they are very good.

Isn't that true with all lathes?

rantbot
02-26-2008, 10:32 PM
Isn't that true with all lathes?
Actually, no. Some lathes have no usable limits at all.

My sole run-in with a Chinese lathe was with a specimen so bad it couldn't be used. The problems weren't subtle - they could be spotted from across the room. It was like a lathe designed by someone who'd never seen one and didn't know how it was supposed to work, but had been given a description of one over the 'phone. The worst problem was that the tool was located a good two inches too low. The entire compound was basically down in the cellar - like it had been taken from a much smaller lathe and just bolted on. The machine physically couldn't cut metal. I hunted around for signs of a simple problem, like maybe someone had left a piece out. No luck on that. I eventually cobbled together enough of a rig that it could at least cut. The motor and spindle worked OK, and the chuck wasn't too awful. Now that was all close to ten years ago, and I'd assume the Chinese product has gotten better since then. It would have to - it couldn't get much worse.

I wouldn't draw any universal conclusions from that one specimen, except that there are, indeed, some awful lathes in this world.

Tim Clarke
02-26-2008, 11:38 PM
I have owned a couple Atlas Lathes, and currently have a 7b Shaper. By any stretch of the imagination, they're not a modern, industrial machine tool. Maybe they never were, I wasn't alive at the time of their introduction, or even their heyday. No matter, they've moved tons of chips to the scrap bin. They work okay, even in the twilight of their life. Many will still be going when every one of us is pushing up daiseys. The same could be said of Sheldons, South Bends, and many more, including the venerable Bridgeport.

You can't make a living anymore with 30's or even 40's machine tools. Hell, maybe even 80's. All the better for us home shop types, Without the flow of retired machines, all we'd have is cheap Imports. Not to knock the Imports too hard, I've got some. I guess my point is, keep the ole clunkers going. Never apologize for the machinery you have. Repeat NEVER APOLOGISE for your eq. Unless you have a gazillion bucks in your shop you don't have the best. As long as the machine fills your need it's just fine.

As a side note, I'd like to think that we should find and restore all the old tools we can. It's a fun and rewarding hobby. Just finished up Dad's old tablesaw, was date stamped April, 1954. Never was in the class of a Rockwell Unisaw, but now works at least as good as new.

I'm 55 soon, in june. All my stuff will doubtless still be going strong when I pass on, even if I make it to 100. A legacy to be proud of.

Some people are snobs, to be sure. I can move more metal with my Colchester clone in a few minutes than I could in a whole evening with my late model 12" Atlas. Not to mention holding a higher level of accuracy. I will be the last one here to ridicule another's machines, if it gives you pleasure, it's fine.

Everyone has their ideal machine. Mine's a Hardinge HLV-EM This will doubtless raise a few arguements from the Monarch 10ee fans, but that's okay. I prefer Ford trucks also. But the bottom line is that they make different brands and models of all kinds of suff. Keeps all of us happy debating the merits of our favorites..........

TC

J Tiers
02-27-2008, 12:38 AM
Re-reading Jim Hannum's post, I tend to agree with much of it......

And the odd thing is that HE MAKES MY POINTS, CONFIRMING THEM......

I particularly LIKE the "Model T " analogy, as it speaks DIRECTLY to the point.

There were Model Ts, AND there were "better" cars...... There are Atlas, and there are better lathes.

ModelTs had a certain minimal feature set, a low price, somewhat limited functionality, no "frills", light construction, low power, etc.

Atlas lathes are the same.......... except that I disagree a bit about the "best" materials..... Ol Henry would spend more for good materials if he could use less of them because of their better properties...... he likely wouldn't have tolerated zamak other than trim... and he wasn't much FOR trim anyhow.

When you bought a higher priced car, you got features that were not on the "T". Many of those allowed the car to perform better, to get the job done better with less hassle, to carry more, etc.

The exact same applies to the Atlas lathe, in lathe terms. You get better accuracy and repeatability, more useful features, heavier cuts, etc, with a better machine.

While a bad driver is no better in a better car than they were in a "T", a GOOD driver can do things with a better car that were not possible with a "T".

Likewise with the Atlas lathe.

It ain't a Monarch, it isn't even a Sheldon. It does not pretend to be, and to lay that load on it isn't fair.

What Jim Hannum calls "criticism", is merely an objective listing of some things that ALLOWED the cost to be lower. Many also lowered functionality as well, but that was accepted for lower cost.

Aside from a few die-hard "it's plenty good for me" folks, most people , once the innovation of access to a car at all was normal, realized the limits of the model T, and progressed to better cars if they could.

Likewise with Atlas lathes.

This is no more a "put down" of the Atlas than it is of the "T". Both had their purpose. Both filled that bill.

But it is unrealistic to fail to realize the limits and actual bad points of the machine, and persist in calling it a "Monarch EE lite', when it isn't.

The real point was that in its day, the Atlas performed the role that the cheap asian machines do now. And it had, vs the then-standard machines, many of the same types of deficiencies that are complained about now with regard to asian machines in the same class. It HAD to, or it would not have been cheaper.

toastydeath
02-27-2008, 12:41 AM
I personally like big lathes. Big horsepower, big cuts. But that's just how I like to machine.

For a hobby, whether you made your part on an Atlas or an American Pacemaker, you made the same part.


A couple of alternatives to using the halfnuts for carriage feed. Some lathes like my South BEnd 10K have a keyway the length of the leadscrew, which is used to drive a carriage feed mechanism. The halfnuts are not engaged. Other lathes have another driveshaft, separate from the leadscrew entirely, for carriage feed.

Just to expand on this and avoid confusion in newer folk, the actual driving part of the whole contraption is a rack under the bed of the lathe, and pinion under the carriage. The slot/leadscrew and the driveshaft just transmit power to the pinion.

Carld
02-27-2008, 09:59 AM
Rantbot, on second thought, there is new junk lathes that are usless for machining. I think that any American built lathe built before WW II would be better than the HF, Grizzley, etc. as long as the American built lathe was in near new condition.

While the Atlas lathes have their problems I believe they are better if in very good shape than any of the Asian economy lathes of the same size. The truth is they are both economy lathes.

J Tiers and Jim Hannum both have good points and the truth lies in the middle of their arguments. The Atlas is neither a silk purse nor a sow's ear but it is a servicable lathe and if treated right it can and will do good work.

A person has to buy a lathe that fits their budget and will do the work they are wanting to do. You can't buy an Atlas and expect it to do high precision work but it's a good lathe to learn with. If you are a very good machinist you can do very good work on a lesser quality lathe.

Ries
02-27-2008, 12:03 PM
My first lathe was an Atlas.
And boy, was I glad to see the rear end of that thing,when I sold it.
Course it was from a WW2 era factory in Chicago, rode hard and put away wet. But it just wasnt much of a tool, for my needs.

And now, I have a Jet- of course, its a 6500lb, 7 1/2hp 18x60 Jet ZX.

Bet my 3 jaw chuck alone weighs about what the atlas did.

It all depends on what you do, what your expectations are, and how much you pay- but I have to say, I get more smiles, satisfaction, and joy from my Taiwan Jet than I ever did with my Atlas. And a whole lot more parts, better made, in every size, shape, and metal. Faster, too.

Yep, the Atlas was cute. Yep, it even made me some money. But it was a toy. If I wanted desktop, I would be looking for a used Schaublin 102. Cheap is cheap, and always will be.

JCHannum
02-27-2008, 01:10 PM
I have not classified the Atlas as a mini Monarch, equated it with any other lathe, and in fact have made no reference to it's abilities. My objection is that it is inferred that the Atlas lathe is a poor quality machine. It is not.

It was made to a cost, accuracy and quality level that made it attractive and economical for the home shop and light industrial application. It was targeted to those markets and filled the bill. From that standpoint, it was well designed, of suitable materials and built with the needed level of craftsmanship.

It fitted the needs of the home shop at a low cost, and in that respect, it can be likened to the current crop of Asian lathes. However, there is a wide range of quality in that crop, from very poor to not too bad. There are many accounts of the poor fit and assembly of these machines, particularly on the low end of the spectrum, and some are obviously fitted with an angle grinder.

Atlas built their machines to a price, accuracy and quality level that fit their target market. I have seen many Atlas machines. I have owned and used a couple. I have had more than a dozen lathes, six or seven shapers and a couple of mills through here in the past several years, not to mention many parts and accessories. I have yet to see a substandard casting, or any evidence of poor quality workmanship. The magazines and internet are full of advice and projects needed to make the low end Asian "kit" machines useable, the Atlas worked out of the crate.

Zamak was used in many areas, and it is not a substandard material. If it were, you would see it replaced in the surviving machines, that is not the case. The most common failure is breakage of the handwheels, and that is from abuse, not use.

The fabled Monarch 10EE is as often as not found with the carriage feed handwheel and tailstock locking lever broken or repaired. These are high quality cast iron, and just as prone to breakage as the comparable parts on the lowly Atlas.

Atlas was not made to a lower standard than their "sister" Clausing, they were made to a different standard for a different market, just as the Model T was made to a different standard than the Lincoln. Atlas purchased Clausing in the 50's to supplement their line just as Ford bought Lincoln.

wirewrkr
02-27-2008, 01:42 PM
I can't talk as purdy as some of you guys, but I will say this about Atlas Lathes. I "restored" an old classic 10-F, and while it was interesting, and I did eventually end up with a working lathe, ( I started with a lump of rust)
I will never have another one.
I think the pot metal used in the lathe has it's place in industry, But NOT in gears!! I've seen lots and lots of gears for these and damned few that weren't worn plum out. There actually is a guy on the net that is remaking them in steel, and possibly if I keep this mastadon, I may invest in a set. I have also never seen one that the bed wasn't worn out. The reason there are so many parts on ebay for them is that they're worth more in parts than as whole lathes. I fear that may be what happens to mine when the next move comes.
I will probably look for an old South Bend or Logan.
Just a users opinion
Robert

J Tiers
02-27-2008, 09:52 PM
Well, both JC and I can add a little spice to the opposition's argument.......

And If you read my comments I have in fact never said it was trash, and I HAVE allowed as how it can be much better than new asian cheapies.



Zamak was used in many areas, and it is not a substandard material. If it were, you would see it replaced in the surviving machines, that is not the case. The most common failure is breakage of the handwheels, and that is from abuse, not use.

It IS replaced in many machines, from breakage, or from pure disintegration due to the zamak being mixed with lead (by a lazy molder) to get it to flow better in molding. I have PERSONALLY replaced zamak parts with machined parts due to disintegration.

Breakage need not be from abuse (unless you are the one guaranteeing the warranty, in which case breakage is an open and shut case of abuse, always :D ) It may be due to the material simply flaking away due to a poor mix.

It CANNOT be replaced , at least not easily, in many of its uses, because as a cast material, it can be made in shapes that cannot be machined without an amount of effort that is just silly. I offer you the feed gearcase (with guards) on the shaper as an example. The ratchet case is easier, but no prize, if you want it to look similar to the OEM one.

It was used because you could make a complex shape cheaply, once you made the mold. The material was good enough for a hobby machine and so it was used. I strongly doubt if it was ever contemplated that it would need to last 60 years.




Atlas was not made to a lower standard than their "sister" Clausing, they were made to a different standard for a different market, just as the Model T was made to a different standard than the Lincoln. Atlas purchased Clausing in the 50's to supplement their line just as Ford bought Lincoln.

I suppose you really DO realize that you just wrote that it WAS made to a lower standard...... You TRIED to write "different", but the words MEAN "lower".

And, how could it be otherwise?

Your choices are:

1) Atlas was made to a lower standard in performance and materials than Clausing, in order to sell for a lower price.

2) Clausing was made to the exact same same standard as Atlas, but a lot more money was charged for Clausing simply because of the name.

Silly choices?

Not really.

There ALWAYS has to be a value difference to justify a price difference. It is extremely silly to argue otherwise, despite the arguments of the marketing folks.

There can be a price difference but NO value difference, in which case the lower price always wins if people know about it.

But in thi8s case, I think it is amply clear that almost any Clausing machine is a better machine than a similar Atlas, given equal condition of the machines.

Does this make Atlas BAD? Only if you NEED the qualities that make the Clausing superior.

Now, Jim Hannum apparently argues that the Clausing is no better than the Atlas, or else that the Atlas is not inferior to the Clausing in performance. (Both seem to be logically the same statement). Otherwise I am at a loss to understand the statements he made.

I claim that Clausing was made to satisfy an industrial market, with possibly some hobby spillover. Price is ALWAYS a consideration, but the Clausing was not made primarily to sell at the lowest absolute price. Rather it was made to sell at a low price RELATIVE TO SIMILAR LIGHT INDUSTRIAL MACHINES.

And I claim that Atlas was made to satisfy a HOBBY market, with compromises in performance, materials, fitting, finish etc to reach the desired price level. This is not a dishonorable parentage, it just means that the machine is what it is, a lower cost machine, made to BE a lower cost machine, as opposed to a fine one.

Jim Hannum apparently feels this is equal to saying the Atlas is worthless junk, and felt the need to defend it. I don't agree, but to each his own.

JCHannum
02-27-2008, 10:27 PM
Where did I say anything like that? You are reading things that I did not say. I never said one lathe was better than another, and in fact neither is. They are different, and cannot be compared on an equal basis any more than a Model T and a Lincoln.

The Atlas is made to a different standard than the Monarch 10EE. That does not make the Atlas worse, and the Monarch better, and in fact the Atlas is capable of operations that are impossible on the Monarch, making it superior in those respects.

Zamak is an alloy of aluminum, magnesium, copper and zinc as previously stated. It contains no lead. Of course, it is replaced when it has worn or broken, and after 70 years one would expect that. It is not replaced wholesale, and many machines are still functioning happily with all of their original parts. Zamak will deteriorate is moist conditions, but steel will rust in the same situations and become an equally useless blob, I guess that makes steel substandard too.

J Tiers
02-27-2008, 11:02 PM
Where did I say anything like that? You are reading things that I did not say. I never said one lathe was better than another, and in fact neither is. They are different, and cannot be compared on an equal basis any more than a Model T and a Lincoln.



I did quote your words exactly...............

But you DO seem to be dancing around the point.... which isn't really so bad a point that you should get uptight about it.

OF COURSE one machine is better than another..... The "different strokes" deal just isn't a real argument......

On any type machine, model T vs Lincoln, Atlas vs 10EE, there ARE commonly accepted measures of 'goodness", and yes it is PERFECTLY POSSIBLE to assign "better" or "worse" to those measures.

If you have been riding in a bucking model T, eating dust, you will surely say that a smoother riding closed-cabin Lincoln is a better car.

And, yes, a 10EE IS a much better lathe than an Atlas..... Sorry, but any argument about that is destined to look pretty silly PDQ.

Two machines that perform the same "nominal" function are not therefore perforce 'equivalent", except "nominally". It is inevitable that one is better than the other if they are not identical. This is in terms of general usability, solidity, ease of working to a particular tolerance, etc. It may be a close match, or it may be a runaway race.

According to your argument, an Atlas is no better than an "AA" lathe, because they are different and so cannot be compared....... While it is tempting to pull your nose by going that way, that isn't the point I was making.

I might be forgiven for suspecting that your profession is "purchasing agent". They are paid to argue that anything that "looks like" another item is "just as good as" that item, and therefore may be freely substituted for it if cheaper.

As for "lower standards"....... how about spindle runout, crosslide alinement, tailstock parallelism, and a host of other such things........ to take only the most gross measurements.

Are you seriously claiming that the limits on an Atlas for any such measurements, let alone ALL of them, were the exact same as a Clausing or Monarch? I suspect that would be "very hard to prove".........

In fact, I would be very surprised if the Atlas specs even MENTIONED many of the measurements that "better" machines had specs for.

You have NOT "said so" in so many words, but your argument could be extended logically to mean that you think the spec limits for Atlas regarding all those possible spec sheet items were the same as for those other machines.

Otherwise, the argument about lower and higher standards simply won't wash. Those items ARE the standards, and the specs on them, or lack thereof, are HOW the standards are "higher" or "lower".

If one item is NOT made to any lower standard vs another, then the specs should be the same for both. AND measurements of the machines should confirm the spec sheets.

Milacron of PM
02-27-2008, 11:10 PM
Zamak was used in many areas, and it is not a substandard material. If it were, you would see it replaced in the surviving machines, that is not the case. The most common failure is breakage of the handwheels, and that is from abuse, not use.

The fabled Monarch 10EE is as often as not found with the carriage feed handwheel and tailstock locking lever broken or repaired. These are high quality cast iron, and just as prone to breakage as the comparable parts on the lowly Atlas.

. I've seen many Zamak failures over the decades where it did indeed have to be replaced, or the machine was scrapped because the casting was too complex to recreate for the value of the machine. Potmetal was the downfall of many Walker Turner machines.

The Monarch 10ee carriage handwheel is aluminum, btw.

JCHannum
02-27-2008, 11:37 PM
Hate to disappoint you, but my career was in plant and facility engineering management. I spent a lot of that career beating up purchasing agents, and I do know a little bit about value analysis.

I have made no claims as to accuracy or any other performance standards, and that is not what I was discussing. I am stating that the Atlas was not a poorly made machine. The current crop of low end Asian lathes cannot make it off the showroom floor intact, and are frequently referred to as nothing more than casting kits. The Atlas was not of this ilk, which is what you were comparing them to with the statement referring to them as a "Grind the bed and slam it together brand."

Atlas and Monarch, Ford and Lincoln, vanilla and chocolate, apples and oranges are all different, not better. That is not tap dancing.

tony ennis
02-28-2008, 01:30 AM
Ries,

I'm not sure what I am supposed to take from your posting. You seem to be saying that a 18x60 lathe is superior to a worn-out Atlas?

Who would have thought it.

JCHannum
02-28-2008, 08:22 AM
I've seen many Zamak failures over the decades where it did indeed have to be replaced, or the machine was scrapped because the casting was too complex to recreate for the value of the machine. Potmetal was the downfall of many Walker Turner machines.

The Monarch 10ee carriage handwheel is aluminum, btw.

Excuse the hell out of me. I did not realize you lowered yourself to read threads on these home shop machines.

Of course Zamak fails, I never said it did not, it wears and is replaced as is any other material used in machine construction. I have seen thousands upon thousands of machines junked because the cast iron or steel or aluminum parts have worn or failed and it has not been cost effective to replace or repair them. Using that logic, aluminum is the downfall of most airplanes.

Zamak works well in it's intended application, and if used properly, it will give acceptable service.

I have not seen a Monarch recently, but regardless of the material, the handwheel is quite frequently broken due to it's flimsy construction.

J Tiers
02-28-2008, 08:29 AM
I have made no claims as to accuracy or any other performance standards, and that is not what I was discussing. I am stating that the Atlas was not a poorly made machine. The current crop of low end Asian lathes cannot make it off the showroom floor intact, and are frequently referred to as nothing more than casting kits.

1) I AM discussing "that" , which is THE ONLY BASIS I am aware of for comparing machines which have objective specifications and definable performance.

2) So if you are discussing some OTHER set of "non-spec", "non-performance-related" issues, then you needn't have ever started this thread.




The Atlas was not of this ilk, which is what you were comparing them to with the statement referring to them as a "Grind the bed and slam it together brand."

No, although you seem to insist that *YOU* know more about what *I* mean than I do.... Very strange, but apparently true.

In any case....

My statement, that seems to have got your goat big-time, is totally about the manufacturing process.

In once case, we have better machines, which were milled or whatever to "close" and then the alignments established and refined on an individual basis machine by machine and part by part, to get to the best possible condition of alignment and resultant performance.

In the other case, we have machines which were made by grinding the various parts to 'close enough", and assembling them.

There was no money for hand work and refinement, and it was NOT done to any significant extent.

Alinements were guaranteed by the process, by jigging and setup, and then perhaps checked to be sure they were within the necessarily looser tolerances.




Atlas and Monarch, Ford and Lincoln, vanilla and chocolate, apples and oranges are all different, not better. That is not tap dancing.

It most certainly is.

I am not quite sure if you are trying to say that they are not all lathes, (cars, whatever) or that they are all the same and each is just as good as the other, or what.

1) they are the same sort of machine in each case, capable of doing the same basic job, within their "work envelope".

2) of any pairing, one is made to exceed the other in its precision or other related qualities that make it a useful machine.

This may be the ride qualities of a car, or the alinement, leadscrew accuracy, etc of a lathe.

3) One will therefore exceed the other in its capabilities for precise work, or ability to get you to your destination without shaking you up and covering you with road dust, etc.


Now, each may be made for a different "market'. In that narrowly defined categorization, one can "almost" argue as you do.

But, even in that, the capabilities of one will be "better" than the other. That "market segmentation" is only very general, and usually a figment of the bean counter's imagination.

Now, let's look at what started this...............

"Worn out junker american iron" vs "new cheaper asian machines"..........

If you have at all an open mind, you will be forced by mere logic to admit that a machine made to looser tolerances is to a certain extent "pre-worn-out".

That is it has irregularities and so forth that impair its accuracy in terms of turning a cylinder, etc.... bed irregularities, crossfeed misalinement, whatever. These things mean that certain work cannot be done on that machine, and the attempt to do it is doomed to failure because the machine has what the QC people call "assignable causes of variance" which will make its variability inherently larger than the tolerance on the part you want to make.

The atlas was made to be sold cheaply. It was made as well as possible WITHIN THAT LIMIT. Care was taken to reduce the need for special fitting, etc.

But it was made to be just "good enough for that market", not to be as base a very good machine. Some ARE very good, and I suppose there were "lemons" in the Atlas output also.

The asian cheapies are made in very much the same way. BUT, their manufacturers have focused on the "cheap" end , and have fallen down in many cases on the "good enough" part.

The benefit of older industrial machines is simply that they were made to be very good. Depending on their degree of wear, they may STILL be very good. Or they may have degraded to Atlas/Logan/etc accuracy. or they may be worse than the output of HF.

Milacron of PM
02-28-2008, 09:45 AM
Excuse the hell out of me. I did not realize you lowered yourself to read threads on these home shop machines.

I'll read most anything if it seems an intelligent discussion of mechanical issues...which this seemed to be. Why the personal attack right off the bat ?


Of course Zamak fails, I never said it did not, it wears and is replaced as is any other material used in machine construction. I have seen thousands upon thousands of machines junked because the cast iron or steel or aluminum parts have worn or failed and it has not been cost effective to replace or repair them. Using that logic, aluminum is the downfall of most airplanes.

Zamak works well in it's intended application, and if used properly, it will give acceptable service. Point is, if cast aluminum or cast iron would have been used instead of Zamak in the parts I've seen fail, the part would not have failed. And the cost for better material would have been minimal and appropriate. Aluminum being the downfall of most airplanes is not "using that logic" since aluminum is the only cost effective choice for the application.

Having said that, for all I know you may be right about the "intended application" as it pertains to Atlas lathes, as I've never owned one and never paid much attention to them, so don't know where they actually used the stuff on the machines.


I have not seen a Monarch recently, but regardless of the material, the handwheel is quite frequently broken due to it's flimsy construction. In that case it's "flimsy" on purpose. Theory being that the lighter wheel makes for more pleasant movement and fine tuning of position. I guess Monarch engineers presumed only the cream of the crop operators would be using the machines and the handwheel would last with careful operators. Personally I'd just as soon have an iron handwheel but many 10ee operators tout the advantages of the light aluminum handwheel. Perhaps a carbon fiber retrofit would have some converts ;)

tony ennis
02-28-2008, 10:41 AM
I don't think most ZAMAK arguments hold water - I think time has shown that ZAMAK is an appropriate material for this lathe. (Sure steel may have been better but it would have bumped the price up. Price is a real and valid constraint.) If an Atlas has worn out gears then they've probably run the lathe a lot. Replacements for individual gears are $7 on ebay. $7 for years of use sounds ok to me. (Full sets are all of $110 or so.) Perhaps I'll change my tune when my 70 year old lathe's gears wear out and I have to buy replacements.

Now, I think that 'a little is good, so a lot is better' approach was taken with the Atlas with regards to ZAMAK and they made errors. Specifically, that damned bracket that connects the apron's handwheel to the rack under the ways. That part fails a LOT and as such is a sign of mis-applied engineering. The right-hand leadscrew bearing is also another suspect part. A sure fire way to tell is when the part is disproportionately expensive. For example, that apron bracket is $70 or more on ebay. WTF.

Both parts on my Atlas are broken. The previous bubba replaced the leadscrew bearing with a welded steel plate-and-tube. It will be 'ok' once I shim it - it isn't close to being in the right place. I intend to repair the apron bracket with steel or aluminum, somehow. Maybe some steel c-channel...

When I look at such things, I include the intended use and price in the equation. Atlas isn't Monarch (etc), but if it were I couldn't afford it. And if I needed a Monarch you can bet I wouldn't consider an Atlas. They live in different worlds.

JCHannum
02-28-2008, 10:55 AM
Not personal Don just a poke, I am sure you can handle it. Actually, I appreciate seeing you here as you do have a wider knowledge of machine tools and their history than most.

Aluminum is a cost effective choice for aircraft. Zamac is a cost effective choice for some machine parts. Same difference.

Atlas had no pretensions, and every part of the lathe was available at a reasonable cost for replacement if needed. Atlas lathes came with a complete parts list, full instructions for dismantling the headstock and reassambly including adjusting the bearings, which was the tricky part. The balance of the lathe could be repaired with common hand tools. Replacement parts were bolt on operation, with minimal or no fitting required because of their production methods.

I doubt you can purchase from the factory the front apron casting for any Grizzly, Jet or Harbor Freight machine that they have manufactured. You could for an Atlas.

Sorry Jerry, you have interjected the performance issues, not I, and that is not what I am referring to. Re read the last post of my initial post, I offer no opinion of the performance of the Atlas machine. It is what it is, nothing more or less.

The low end Asian machines represent quite a different manufacturing philosophy. They are made to sell for the lowest price, period. They have little or no aftermarket support, little interchangeability of parts, if they can be found, and no continuity of production, changes are made wholesale at any time in the production cycle. They are poorly fitted and finished, slobbered with bondo to fill casting voids and flaws and given a shiny paint job and some chrome highlights to make them look good.

If you climb up the food chain, the situation improves somewhat, but you will still have major problems if you need a replacement part for a lathe that is only a couple of years old.

I recall seing a Chicom Kurt clone that looked like it had been hand scraped. Closer examination revealed the pattern was photoetched on the bed of the vise.

The end users of these machines are often very different than what Atlas was targeting. Not to offend anyone here, but many of the lathes sold today end up in "trophy shops" and will never see true use. If you visit HF or one of the tent sales, you will often see people wheeling out loads of gear, with little or no knowledge of what it is or what it is used for. It is merely a stage setting to equip a shop like they see on one of the chopper shows.

The Atlas was not made to be "just good enough", it was made to fill a need and it did. Atlas offered a full line of accessories for the lathes for light industrial use as turret lathes and second operation machines. They sold Unit Plan machines, which were basic sub assemblies such as the headstock and bed for use as bases for other machines or operations. Atlas lathes and parts were distributed by most major industrial hardware and tool suppliers of the time and were widely used in industry. They would never have achieved this level of acceptance if they had not been of a level of quality and accuracy to merit it.

It has been mentioned that Dave Sobel calls Atlas the lathe that won the war, and quite rightly. Because of the economical methods of production and the fact that it lended itself so very well to mass production of a machine tool that possessed the necessary accuracy, they were used by the thousands in all areas of wartime production.

You do not seem to see the difference between different and better. Sure, the Linclon will give a better ride on today's super highways, but on the unpaved, potholed, wagon ruts that passed as roads in the Model T's heyday, you would quite possibly be sitting in leathered out, air conditioned, surround sound comfort with half your driveline torn out watching the Model T disappear over the horizon. Is one better than the other, or different?

Ries
02-28-2008, 01:08 PM
I just feel that the Atlas was a cheaply made, low quality tool.
Yes, because so many of them were made, many survive.
But having owned and used one, there is no love lost between me and Atlas.

The issue was brought up that they are better than current chinese imports- and I merely pointed out that "chinese imports" can cover everything from 9x20 to 36x240 lathes, and that I do indeed own a chinese import (or taiwanese import) that puts an atlas to shame.

If you want to praise their ingenuity, or simplicity, well, I can understand that- but, even at the time they were made, we knew how to make better tools- the only reason Atlas lathes were built the way they were was to hit a low price point- EXACTLY like a harbor freight lathe today.

And I wouldnt have wanted to buy one new in 1940, and I dont want one today.
I only ended up with one for my first lathe because I knew nothing about lathes- so, I guess, the Atlas did serve an educational purpose- taunting me with the possibility of what you can do with a lathe, then slapping my hand with the reality of its inadequacies.

Look, if you want to buy one, be my guest.
I prefer my tools with more meat on em.

IOWOLF
02-28-2008, 01:25 PM
You know, I would own an Atlas 6" before I would own a Sherline or a Emco unimat 3, and for less money.

I will stick up for Atlas like I would for a good car, and we know there is good and bad cars out there, as are good and bad lathes and if you have had a good experience with a lathe you tend to stick by it , as with a car or toaster.

GadgetBuilder
02-28-2008, 03:45 PM
<snip>

I doubt you can purchase from the factory the front apron casting for any Grizzly, Jet or Harbor Freight machine that they have manufactured. You could for an Atlas.

<snip>




Support for the 7x machines (Griz & HF), including most any part in them, is available from LMS: http://www.littlemachineshop.com/

The front apron casting for the 7x machine is $19.95.

John

Mark Hockett
02-28-2008, 03:58 PM
I doubt you can purchase from the factory the front apron casting for any Grizzly, Jet or Harbor Freight machine that they have manufactured. You could for an Atlas.


My friend was just moving his Chinese 13X40 lathe and it fell over breaking the apron casting and cross slide casting. He had no problem getting the new parts and the price was very reasonable.
I have an early 1990's Taiwan built Lux Matter lathe and have never had any troubles getting parts for that one either.

JCHannum
02-28-2008, 06:16 PM
Thanks for the information, I stand corrected. I have no doubt there are good manufacturers, especially of the higher end machines that do provide parts service.

I suspect that LMS is the driving force behind their supply of parts rather than some of the vendors though. They were originally, and may still be, the only source for the gears for the Chicom 4X6 bandsaw.

J Tiers
02-28-2008, 10:36 PM
Sorry Jerry, you have interjected the performance issues, not I, and that is not what I am referring to. Re read the last post of my initial post, I offer no opinion of the performance of the Atlas machine. It is what it is, nothing more or less.

Since YOU felt the need to reply and defend Atlas against what you perceived to be an "attack", you are responding ON MY TERMS. You feel there was an attack, and you are (allegedly) responding to what I said.

As such, trying to squirm around and change the terms of the argument AWAY from performance and machine specs is basically an attempt to twist my words to suit your argument.

I have said the same thing consistently, and I stand by it, because it is true.



You do not seem to see the difference between different and better. Sure, the Linclon will give a better ride on today's super highways, but on the unpaved, potholed, wagon ruts that passed as roads in the Model T's heyday, you would quite possibly be sitting in leathered out, air conditioned, surround sound comfort with half your driveline torn out watching the Model T disappear over the horizon. Is one better than the other, or different?

A lathe and a mill (or a piece of cheese) are different, and cannot be compared on similarities of purpose.

Two lathes are directly comparable, and so are two cars...

Lathes are made for a purpose, and cars are made for a purpose.

If you want an inexpensive lathe, and are willing to give up the precision and ease of use etc, etc, of a better machine, then the Atlas may be, for your purpose, "better" than a more expensive machine, if only because you would not HAVE the more expensive machine.

If you compare them on their ability to do a particular job, the other will likely be better on most objective measurement scales.

Likewise, if you are limiting the discussion to cars being driven on rough rutted roads the model T is obviously "better" at transporting you than a modern low-clearance sports car. (which is probably more likely to get stuck than to break a drivetrain part)

On virtually any other basis, it is very hard to argue the model T is a "better car". There are even far better vehicles for rough rutted roads, which will keep going when the terrain leaves the "T" a smoking broken hulk.

Your concept of "different" and "not possible to compare" for items built in a very similar shape, used for for very similar purposes, that work in the exact same way, is unfathomable....

I am forced to the conclusion that this insistence is because it is the only way to couch the discussion in terms such that your apparent position about the machines can be made to make sense.

I think you are sufficiently aware of my ACTUAL position, which I have rather patiently explained mostly because I don't much appreciate having my name mentioned in connection with supposed "attacks".

However, I will leave you to re-read and see if you can in any way still insist that I am attacking and defaming your favorite machine. My position is that I am not.

I have merely pointed out that some machines are made to be the best possible, while some are made to be as good as possible for a given price. I say that Atlas surely belongs to the latter class, as proven by materials, construction, and methods, along with price.

At no time have *I* said they are trash, in fact I have said that there are far worse available. I have denied that they are the "best". I see that some OTHER people have taken it upon themselves to state their disdain for Atlas, for various reasons which I am not in a position to evaluate, as an Atlas lathe I have never owned (but relatives have them).

I have a number of Atlas machines OTHER than lathes, and have had run-ins with zamak, which I agree was over-used.

But I put it to you that if I held the opinions which you seem to state that I do, I would have to scrap them all. Since I haven't, it appears that you may be mistaken.

Bye-bye now.

JCHannum
02-29-2008, 10:43 AM
Sorry again Jerry, I am not (alledgedly) responding to what you said, whatever that means, I am directly addressing statements you made in your "Abusing and misleading the noob" thread.

In reply #64, you said;
'And the reduced feature set, the inferior materials, the poor finish, ...... it's all there in the Atlas, folks, if you can force your mind to accept the truth.

No essential difference between an Atlas, in it's day, and an asian machine now. Both cheap machines, both cut corners everywhere to reach a "magic price".'

In reply #74, you said;
Atlas was basically a "grind the bed and slam it together" brand.

It is these statements that I was specifically addressing, nothing more. The Atlas lathe was designed and built to fulfill a need. It was certainly a no frills machine, but that does not equate with cheap or inferior.

rantbot
02-29-2008, 12:12 PM
I have merely pointed out that some machines are made to be the best possible, while some are made to be as good as possible for a given price.
This is a gross misunderstanding of the machine design problem. All machines which are built for a commercial market are designed to be sold. If they end up being too expensive for anyone to buy, they're commercial failures, whatever their technical merits might be. The eventual selling price is part of the original product specification, just as much as the technical or cosmetic specifications. The size, weight, spindle runout, way flatness, and price of a lathe are all things which have to be specified before the machine is designed. Then the designer has to juggle things so that all these specifications, including price, are met. In this respect, Monarch obeys the same engineering and economic laws as Atlas.

So, what makes a "good" commercial machine? One which performs as specified to do a job which a real customer wants badly enough to want to pay for. Arbitrary numbers don't come into it. You can't say that a lathe with a spindle runout of .0002" is a good machine, but one with runout of .0004" is not. In some applications, .0002" isn't remotely good enough; in others, .0004" is far tighter than is needed. A good machine is one which is good enough to do the job the customer needs to have done, and no better - if it's better than the customer needs, then he spent too much money on the machine, money he could have more sensibly put into some other part of his operation. A purchasing agent who buys a Monarch to do a job an Atlas could have done just fine needs to be kept away from money, because he doesn't know what he's doing.

The cost constraints are specifications every bit as real, and every bit as legitimate, as any technical spec, and a successful design engineer will take them every bit as seriously.

Now, are considerations of mundane cost "inferior" to good old technical specs? Hardly. Engineering undergrads assume they are, but they still have a lot to learn. Here's another engineering aphorism some of you may not have heard -

To design a water pump for a Ferrari, you have to hire a pretty good mechanical engineer. To design a water pump for a Chevy, you have to hire a genius.

Ries
02-29-2008, 12:28 PM
A purchasing agent who buys a Monarch to do a job an Atlas could have done just fine needs to be kept away from money, because he doesn't know what he's doing.



What a sad world you would live in if a purchasing agent bought your tools for you.

I have the ultimate luxury and grand good luck to have been self employed for these last 30 years.
That means NO PURCHASING AGENTS!!

Thank God.

So I can, and do, buy better tools than I "need".
I buy tools I can love.
I buy tools that make me smile when I use them.
Tools that give me pleasure.
I enjoy using a Starrett 6" satin finish rule, even though it cost $18. I could easily have gotten a chinese one for a buck. And every time I pull that rule out, which sometimes is 20 times a day, I am really really glad I bought it.

Life is short, talk is cheap,
in the words of the great poet Mose Allison- and I dont care if I did buy a tool that is a waste of money because its too high quality.

I feel similarly about lathes. There is no question you can do work with an Atlas. Or a Harbor Freight lathe. But it gives no pleasure. It has no soul. It is cheezy, and disappointing.

I am not bragging on my Jet Lathe- it, too, is crude and only a few steps up on the evolutionary ladder from an Atlas- but I would, and eventually will, pay a premium for a Monarch EE, or a HVLH, or a Schaublin, because I know, based on other tools in my shop, that the spiritual and emotional rewards of owning an excellent tool far outweigh the money saved by buying cheap and adequate.

Just my twisted way of looking at things- but I go out in that shop every day, and will, til I cant no more, and I will be damned if I will intentionally work with just "good enough".

Ries, who has not one single Harbor Freight object in his life. And proud of it.