View Full Version : 618 atlas or lathemaster 9x30

05-10-2009, 12:31 PM
I need opinions on weather to buy a nice atlas 618 or a lathemaster 9x30, lets here what you have to say!!

05-10-2009, 10:04 PM
I owned a late model Atlas that I bought new in 1980. The only things that I did not like about it were the lack of a power cross feed and the fact that trying to find a collet system for it's small through spindle hole is like finding hens teeth. I put together all of the tooling for it and milled several paying parts the hard way until I aquired it's Clausing verticle mill stable mate. The Morse taper tooling transfered and saved me $ there. When I sold it 6 years later I got almost what Ipaid for it, but that was before you could get a Horrible Freight lathe and the like from just about any hardware supplier or Tractor Supply. I know nothing about the Lathemaster, but the fact that it has a larger swing and if the 30" means between centers as opposed to bed length then that is better too. Spindle taper,(probably 2 or 3 Morse), threading (change gears or quick change box?) What tooling comes with it? These are the things you need to compare in order to make a good decision. Spare parts are available for the Atlas through the Clausing Service Center, is support there for the Lathemaster? Old American vs. new Chinese? Your call. If I had to do it again, I would look for a 9"or 10" Southbend or Logan or a 10" or 12" Atlas/Craftsman lathe, before buying a new Chinese item, but that is just me.

05-10-2009, 10:55 PM
I'd say neither. The lack of power cross feeds noted by ARFF79 in both lathes. The relatively lack of rigidity in both. The lack of a slow spindle speed, a chuck mounting that is safely reversible, etc.

It seems to take people about three or four jumps to get a lathe they are happy to live with. Why not pay a couple hundred more and skip one of those jumps? Start with a 10 to 12" swing machine, either good old iron or new import, with power feeds long and cross, a low RPM around 50 or so, quick change gear box, a cam-lock spindle, ability to take at least 1" through the bore, etc. Even if you don't stick with the hobby (e.g. only one "jump" and out), you're still more likely to get your money back with a desirable machine.

Naturally, all this depends on the work you plan to do. If it's tiny hobby stuff, maybe a 7'- 8" Maximat or ??